About the Postgraduate Research Experience Questionnaire (PREQ)

The Postgraduate Research Experience Questionnaire (PREQ) gathers data about research higher degree graduates' perceptions of their research training and experiences. The Quality and Analytics Group is responsible for administering and reporting the PREQ, which until recently was incorporated within the Australian Graduate Survey (AGS).

From 2016, the AGS is superseded by the Graduate Outcomes Survey (GOS), to be administered externally by the Social Research Centre as part of the Department of Education’s Quality Indicators for Learning and Teaching (QILT) suite of surveys. The PREQ is retained in the 2016 GOS.

The purpose of the PREQ is to provide the University community with a basis for strategic, faculty level academic development and curriculum review to further enhance the quality of research higher degrees. The PREQ also provides data for benchmarking between similar programmes in different universities. It is important to note that, because of the relatively small number of research higher degree graduates in any year, the number of respondents for a given year and faculty are often low. For this reason, the QA also runs an annual survey of currently enrolled research higher degree students, the Student Research Experience Questionnaire (SREQ).


The PREQ asks graduates to indicate the extent to which they agree, or disagree, with statements, using a five-point scale where '1' represents strong disagreement and '5' indicates strong agreement. The University of Sydney collects data for all scales of the PREQ, along with a single overall satisfaction item.

Supervision scale - six items

1. Supervision was available when I needed it
7. My supervisor/s made a real effort to understand difficulties I faced
13. My supervisor/s provided additional information relevant to my topic
17. I was given good guidance in topic selection and refinement
21. My supervisor/s provided helpful feedback on my progress
24. I received good guidance in my literature search

Intellectual Climate scale - five items

5. The department provided opportunities for social contact with other postgraduate students
9. I was integrated into the department’s community
16. The department provided opportunities for me to become involved in the broader research culture
22. A good seminar program for postgraduate students was provided
23. The research ambience in the department or faculty stimulated my work

Skill Development scale - five items

6. My research further developed my problem-solving skills
10. I learned to develop my ideas and present them in my written work
14. My research sharpened my analytic skills
20. Doing my research helped me to develop my ability to plan my own work
26. As a result of my research, I feel confident about tackling unfamiliar problems

Infrastructure scale - five items

3. I had access to a suitable working space
8. I had good access to the technical support I needed
12. I was able to organise good access to necessary equipment
18. I had good access to computing facilities and services
27. There was appropriate financial support for research activities

Thesis Examination scale - three items

2. The thesis examination process was fair
15. I was satisfied with the thesis examination process
25. The examination of my thesis was completed in a reasonable time

Goals and Expectations scale - three items

4. I developed an understanding of the standard of work expected
11. I understood the required standard for the thesis
19. I understood the requirements of thesis examination

Note: For the purpose of reporting, the Goals and Expectations scale is combined with the Thesis Examination scale.

Overall Satsifaction item
28. Overall, I was satisfied with the quality of my higher degree research experience



In addition, graduates are invited to submit open responses to the following questions:

  • What were the best aspects of your course? ..........
  • What aspects of your course were most in need of improvement? ..........

The QA Group has developed a taxonomy for coding these open responses, which are analysed and reported to the SEG Research Training Committee annually.


If you have any questions about the PREQ please contact the QA Group Surveys Team.