- The National Student Survey (NSS)
- Employment information
- Course accreditation
- Scheduled learning and teaching
- Course assessment
- Entry requirements
- National Union of Students
The National Student Survey (NSS) is an annual survey which gives university and college students the chance to have their say about what they liked and did not like about their student learning experience during their time in higher education. The majority of students who complete the survey are in their final year.
In the survey, statements are put to students who then rate their university/college and the course they took against these, answering on a five-point scale from 'definitely disagree' to 'definitely agree'. The groups of statements cover topics such as:
- The teaching on my course
- Assessment and feedback
- Academic support
- Organisation and management
- Learning resources
- Personal development
NSS data is only shown on Unistats where at least 23 students have completed the questionnaire and where the respondents make up at least half of all the students on that course. If there are less than 23 students, data cannot be published even if they were all to complete the NSS questionnaire.
In some cases, course numbers may be combined so as to meet the thresholds for publication but for some courses there will be no other relevant data that will serve the purpose. If the subject is new to the university, information about it may not be available yet.
The National Student Survey is run by the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) on behalf of the Scottish Funding Council (SFC), Department of Employment and Learning, Northern Ireland (DELNI) and the Higher Education Funding Council for Wales (HEFCW). The survey is undertaken on their behalf by Ipsos MORI.
For more information about the student satisfaction survey, visit the National Student Survey website.Back to top
The Destination of Leavers from Higher Education (DLHE) survey is managed by the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA). The DLHE survey asks those people who have recently completed higher education courses what their current activity is, whether it is working, studying, looking for work or even travelling. If they are employed, it asks for the job description and the kind of company they work for to help give a better understanding of the nature of their employment. The data also help to give a picture of the patterns of further study and how destinations differ across subjects.
The survey is in two parts: an early survey covering all students who complete their course roughly six months after completing, and a later survey (known as the Longitudinal DLHE) that follows-up a sample of these respondents three and a half years (40 months) later on. Roughly 80% of those asked to complete the early survey (DLHE) respond to it and the response rate for the longitudinal survey is about 40%. In Unistats the results from both these surveys are brought together. Please note that, for the longitudinal DLHE, it is not possible to give detailed data on individual courses due to small samples sizes, so instead Unistats shows data for all similar courses from across the UK.
The Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education (DLHE) survey [insert link back to info area] collects information on the type of job that graduates do and classifies them using the Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) system. The SOC system has nine groupings of which groups 1-3 are used to define "professional or managerial jobs" as shown on Unistats.
Graduates by major SOC group
- Managers and senior officials
- Professional occupations
- Associate professional and technical occupations
- Administrative and secretarial occupations
- Skilled trades occupations
- Personal service occupations
- Sales and customer service occupations
- Process, plant and machine operatives
- Elementary occupation
- All occupations
Unistats provides a link to employability statements on university and college websites. The employability statement is a short summary of what each university or college offers to their students to support their employability, and their transition into employment and beyond.Back to top
All courses included on Unistats allow those who complete them successfully to gain recognised UK awards. In addition, some courses, or in some cases departments or whole universities and colleges, will have additional accreditation conferred on them by another body. Sometimes, additional accreditation may be a requirement in order to allow you to join a particular profession; for example, doctors must complete courses accredited by the General Medical Council.
In other cases it may indicate that the course allows students to join professional bodies, prepares them to work in certain professions or meets the expectations of employers in particular sectors. Where a course has some additional accreditation links are provided to allow you to understand exactly what this means for each course.
Accrediting bodies include Professional, Statutory and Regulatory Bodies (PSRBs) who have statutory authority over a profession or group of professionals. For example, the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) provides standards, training and support of architecture and architects across the UK. It monitors compliance with internationally recognised minimum standards in architectural education, and identifies courses and examinations which achieve these standards necessary to prepare students for professional practice.
Universities and colleges with PSRB accreditation have to satisfy the relevant body that their students meet particular professional standards, and accreditation allows graduates to qualify for certain types of employment, or even gain exemption from the body's own examinations. If the data for a course indicate that it has additional accreditation, you can check the university/college website for more information.
Programme accreditation may lead to one or more of the following:
- Graduates are able to practise as a professional in a specific field, and in some cases receive a licence to practise that is required by law;
- Graduates are granted chartered status;
- Graduates are granted exemption from all or part of professional exams;
- Graduates are eligible for entry to membership of a professional association or learned society;
- The programme is confirmed as meeting externally designated standards and quality.
Some types of accreditation may be partial, so for example a course might be specifically described as 'recognised'. You should always check with the university or college what type of accreditation the course has, and what it may lead to.
You can find a list of the accrediting bodies currently recognised as eligible for inclusion in Unistats on the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA) website.
We have asked the PSRBs which accredit courses at universities or colleges to provide relevant information on their own websites explaining in general terms the purposes of accreditation and the potential benefits to students.Back to top
Scheduled learning and teaching includes lectures, seminars and tutorials. The table below indicates how different learning and teaching methods are categorised in the KIS.
|Activity type||KIS category|
|Practical classes and workshops||Scheduled|
|Supervised time in studio/workshop||Scheduled|
|Guided independent study||Independent|
In UK higher education, the expectation is that full-time students will spend 1,200 hours each year, learning. Everyone learns at a different rate, so the number of hours will vary from person to person.Back to top
Guided independent study
Independent study (which may be guided) typically features alongside lectures, seminars and similar. Independent study might include preparation for scheduled learning sessions, follow up work, wider reading or practice, completion of assessment tasks, revision etc.
Placements refers to any planned period of experience that takes place outside of the university or college (for example, in a workplace) to help students develop particular skills, knowledge or understanding as part of their course.
Courses delivered in Welsh
Unistats allows you to see whether you can take all or part of a course in Welsh. Where courses are available in Welsh, please note that it is not compulsory; you can choose whether or not to study in Welsh.
The proportion of the course available to study in Welsh may also vary depending on the modules you choose. You should contact the university or college for more information.Back to top
Written exams usually occur at the end of a period of learning to assess if students have achieved the intended learning goals. Written exams may be 'seen', where students are told the questions they are expected to answer in advance, or 'unseen', where the questions are only revealed at the time of the actual exam. Some written exams are 'open-book', where students are allowed to use a selection of reference materials (e.g. text books) during the assessment.
The questions asked as part of a written exam may be essay, short answer, problem or multiple-choice. Written exams usually (but not always) take place under timed conditions.
Coursework may include: written assignments, essays, reports, dissertations, portfolios, group tasks, presentations, projects, or other similar activities that count towards your qualification or progression.
Practical exams may include: presentations, assessment of clinical skills or laboratory techniques, critique of or commentary on artwork, language translation, or other similar activities.
Sometimes there are assessments that don't count towards your qualification but you nevertheless have to pass. For example, medics might have to pass a fitness to practice test.Back to top
Each university or college has different entry qualifications and requirements for their courses. Qualification requirements can include GCE A-levels, Scottish Highers/Advanced Highers, Advanced Diploma, BTEC awards, NVQs/SVQs, Access to HE and others. Universities and colleges express entry requirements in a variety of ways depending on the requirements of the course. An offer will often be expressed as a minimum grade, or set of grades, depending on the qualifications you are taking, or as a total number of UCAS Tariff Points.
An offer may also include a minimum grade in a specific subject or qualification. Some institutions take additional information into consideration, such as contextual data about where you went to school or where you live, and may make you a different offer than the minimum specified on their website. A number of universities and colleges will also consider applications from potential students with no formal qualifications but who have experience that is relevant to the course.
In addition to academic and vocational qualifications, some courses have additional non-academic requirements that you will need to satisfy before you start your course, in order to enable you to follow your chosen career when you graduate.
For example, initial teacher training courses will require you to undergo a Criminal Records Bureau check before you can start a course where you will be working with under-18 year olds in the classroom.
The Unistats website shows the range of entry qualifications that students who were previously enrolled on the course had achieved. This is not necessarily the only range of qualifications that will be accepted for the course and you should check the information provided on the university or college website for full details.Back to top
The UCAS Tariff is the system for allocating points to qualifications used for entry to higher education. Universities and colleges can use the UCAS Tariff to make comparisons between applicants with different qualifications. Tariff points are often used in entry requirements, although other factors will often be taken into account by universities and colleges when deciding whether to offer you a place.
The Unistats website shows the UCAS Tariff points held by the students who were previously enrolled on the course. These are not necessarily the minimum entry requirements for the course and you should check the university or college website for full information.
For further information on the UCAS Tariff, see the UCAS website
The NUS (National Union of Students) is a voluntary membership organisation. Its mission is to promote, defend and extend the rights of students and to develop and champion strong students' unions. Through its member students' unions, the NUS currently represents the interests of more than seven million students.
Each university or college will have their own students' union that is the independent voice of students. Each students' union will offer services such as clubs and societies, social events and offer advice and guidance. Their mission is to ensure that the student voice is listened to within the university or college, campaign on issues which affect students and to make the university and college experience great. To find out more about the services of individual students unions and the work of NUS go to the NUS website.Back to top