Queen’s University Belfast
Tel +44 (0) 28 9097 2500 www.qub.ac.uk
Our ref: FOI-19-376
27 February 2020
Mr Kai Chen
Dear Mr Chen
Further to your access to information request received on 17 November 2019 please find below the
University’s response in relation to your request for information about admissions statistics for
Postgraduate Taught Programmes in 2019/2020 academic year.
The information requested is as follows:
1. List of all postgraduate taught courses for 2019/2020.
The University’s Postgraduate Prospectus is accessible via the University’s website and has
also been attached at Appendix 1.
2. Number of applicants (all postgraduate programmes).
The number of applicants on postgraduate programmes for 2019/2020 academic year is
3. Number of offers made (all postgraduate programmes).
The number of offers in relation to all postgraduate programmes for 2019/2020 academic year
4. Number of Chinese applications and offers made (all postgraduate programmes)
Please note that information in relation to the number of Chinese applications made relating to
postgraduate programmes is linked to the University’s recruitment strategy and is not being
provided as it constitutes commercially sensitive information and is, therefore, exempt under
section 43(2) of the Act. Section 43(2) of the Act provides that information is exempt if its
disclosure under the Act would be likely to prejudice the commercial interests of any person,
including the public authority itself. Commercial interests relate to the University’s ability to
successfully participate in a commercial activity. This could be the ability to buy or sell goods
or services or the disclosure of financial and planning information to market competitors.
In this instance, the University regards recruitment information against a specific group of
students as commercially sensitive due to the potential impact on student recruitment. The UK
Higher Education Sector is a highly competitive environment in which Universities seek to
recruit students from a limited pool. Therefore, the manner in which the University directs its
recruitments strategy provides the University with a possible advantage over its’ competitors.
Disclosure of this information would, therefore, be likely to prejudice the commercial interests
of the University itself, and reduce its’ ability to successfully attract Chinese students to the
University for postgraduate programmes. Please note that the offering of courses by
universities is deemed a commercial activity (University of Lancashire (UCLAN) v IC and
Professor Colquhoun, EA/2009/0034.
Section 43(2) is a qualified exemption and the University must, therefore, consider where the balance
of the public interest lies. The University has, therefore, weighed the prejudice caused by disclosure
of the requested information against the likely benefit to the wider public. The University has taken
into account the importance of transparency and accountability and the general public’s interest in
ensuring that we operate in a competitive environment.
The University considers, however, that in the circumstances of this case, there is a greater public
interest in protecting the commercial interests of the University and ensuring that we are able to
compete fairly with competitors. In view of this, the University considers that the public interest in
If you are dissatisfied with the handling of part of your request, you have the right to ask for an internal
review. Internal review requests should be submitted within two months of the date of receipt of the
response to your original request and should be addressed to the Information Compliance Manager c/o
firstname.lastname@example.org. Please remember to quote the reference number FOI-20-376 in any future
f you are not content with the outcome of the internal review, you have the right to apply directly to the
Information Commissioner for a decision. The Information Commissioner can be contacted at:
Information Commissioner’s Office, Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire, SK9 5AF.
Information Compliance Unit