Postgraduate conversion courses in data science and artificial intelligence

Evaluating impact

AI and data science conversion course funded programme – April 2020 to March 2023

In April 2020 we appointed external evaluators Careers Research and Advisory Centre (CRAC) to evaluate the postgraduate conversion course programme through to March 2023.

We have now published the final evaluation report.

Key findings from the programme

  • The programme has exceeded its target to deliver 2,500 graduates into the UK AI and data science workforce by autumn 2023:
    • 7,600 students were enrolled up to September 2023
    • it's expected that the programme will produce at least 6,000 new graduates in total.
  • More than 950 of 1,000 scholarships available were awarded to students from groups considered to be underrepresented in higher education.
  • The programme has driven increased diversity - a high proportion of enrolments were from students who are:
    • female (72 per cent)
    • black (35 per cent)
    • disabled students (25 per cent).
  • Evidence suggests most students are successfully completing their degrees with the majority of graduates securing jobs using data and AI skills.

AI and data science conversion course scholarship funding - April 2023 to March 2025 

In March 2023, CRAC were re-appointed as the external evaluators to evaluate the new postgraduate conversion course scholarship funding through to September 2026. 

Emerging findings from the first interim evaluation report 

  • The programme has potential to contribute towards meeting the aim of increasing the supply of digitally skilled workers through conversion courses, with 57 courses taking part in the programme. Nine of these courses are newly developed.  
  • The programme predicts there will be over 4,200 enrolments on courses in the 2023-24 academic year.  
  • The programme is likely to increase the diversity of students graduating from AI and data science conversion courses who are part of the programme, with providers broadly on track to deliver all available scholarships in the 2023-24 academic year.  
  • Industry support from 120 organisations, totalling over £6.7 million in co-investment, has been reported to date. However, the majority of this co-investment (just under £6.3 million) is provided in in-kind support such as providing placements, dissertation projects, employer mentoring and industry talks.  
  • 22 scholarships have been co-funded by the industry partners. The extent of industry co-investment specifically in scholarships is below the levels anticipated. 

Read our press releases

  • New analysis shows over 7,600 students have enrolled on AI and data science courses to tackle digital skills gaps
  • OfS confirms £8.1 million boost for postgraduate AI conversion courses as evaluation finds promising signs of increase in diversity of graduates

Your future in AI and data science

Information for students about applying for postgraduate conversion courses in artificial intelligence and data science.
Published 13 June 2022
Last updated 14 February 2024
14 February 2024
Added link to final evaluation report and listed updated key findings.
10 January 2024
Update to anticipated publication date of final report.
01 November 2023
Information updated and link added to November 2023 evaluation report.
30 March 2023
Updated key findings, and added link to March 2023 interim report

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