About Unistats

What is Unistats?

Unistats is the official site that allows you to search for and compare data and information on university and college courses from across the UK. The site draws together comparable information on those areas that students have identified as important in making decisions about what and where to study. The items that students thought were most useful have been included in a Key Information Set (KIS), which can be found on the Overview tab for each course.

The site draws on the following official data on higher education courses:

These data have been provided by the Higher Education Statistics Agency, HESA, the Skills Funding Agency, universities and colleges and Ipsos MORI (National Student Survey)

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How to use Unistats

You can use Unistats to find out what previous students thought about the course, as well as to learn about the likely costs and the kind of jobs or further study which students who completed the course went on to do.

It is important to remember when you use Unistats that the information here is designed to give an indication of what it might be like on the course you select. Obviously, the experience of each course will be different for each person, and will differ from year to year.

Some of the information on Unistats, for example on student satisfaction and employment outcomes, is retrospective - and some of it, like fee information, is for the next academic year. You should be careful to make sure that you understand which year the data relate to.

When comparing survey data for courses, care should be taken especially where the differences between courses are small. To help you interpret the data, the site will show the number of respondents to the survey for each course. For some courses these data may be grouped to show survey results for more than one year or more than one course. The site will indicate where this has happened and will show the total number of respondents in the grouped data. In general, differences of less than ten percentage points between two courses each with a small but similar number of respondents (e.g. 30), are unlikely to be statistically meaningful.

Please see the section Why not all courses have full KIS data sets for further information on how the survey data is grouped for courses with small numbers of students, new courses, or courses with responses from less than half of their students. Please note that sometimes there may be no data and that this is not an indicator of quality.

Where information has been collected from fewer than 53 students, the percentages you see (e.g. on bar charts and pie charts) on Unistats have been rounded up or down to the nearest five percentage points. To calculate a percentage (to show that, e.g. 8 out of 24 students got a first class degree) we would divide 8 by 24, then multiply by 100, which equals 33.33% - this figure would then be rounded up to 35%.

If data have been collected from more than 53 students though, the percentages shown are rounded up or down to the nearest one percentage point (e.g. 39.89% would become 40%).

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Key Information Set

The Key Information Set (KIS)

The Key Information Set, or KIS, comprises the items of information which students have said they find most useful when making choices about which course to study. Some of the items are measures of student satisfaction from the National Student Survey (NSS), which is completed by more than 220,000 mainly final year students in the UK each year. Some of the items are from the Destination of Leavers from Higher Education (DLHE) which surveys students who gained a qualification from a university or college, six months after they left. The DLHE survey asks whether they are employed, studying, both or, neither. In the KIS these results are combined with the results of a similar survey, the Long DLHE, which surveys a sample of those who responded to the DLHE, 40 months after they left university or college. The KIS also contains some information provided by universities and colleges. The items in the KIS and where the items come from are given in the table below:

Institution owned/sponsored accommodation: average annual costs - upper and lower quartiles, and number of units (to which students can reasonably expect to have access)Private rental accommodation: average annual costs - upper and lower quartiles

Information items for publication in the KIS Source of this information For the September 2016 KIS, this information relates to:
Results from the following NSS questions:
  • Staff are good at explaining things
  • Staff have made the subject interesting
  • Overall, I am satisfied with the quality of my course
  • I have received sufficient advice and support with my studies
  • Feedback on my work has been prompt
  • Feedback on my work has helped me clarify things I did not understand
  • The library resources are good enough for my needs
  • I have been able to access general IT resources when I needed to
  • I am satisfied with the Students' Union (Association or Guild)
National Student Survey (NSS) 2016 NSS results
Proportion of time spent in various learning and teaching activities - by year/stage of study, with a link to further detail Universities and Colleges The experience a typical student may have
Proportion of summative assessment by method - by year/stage of study
Professional, statutory and regulatory bodies that recognise this course, details of the type of recognition with a link to further detail Accreditation in place or planned for academic year 2017-18
Institution owned/sponsored accommodation: average annual costs - upper and lower quartiles, and number of units (to which students can reasonably expect to have access). Private rental accommodation: average annual costs - upper and lower quartiles Universities and colleges Academic year 2016-17
Financial support available from the institution: whether it offers a fee waiver; means-tested support; non means-tested support; and a link to more detailed information UCAS or Universities and colleges (for courses that do not recruit through UCAS). Financial support planned for academic year 2017-18
Average fees (excluding fee waivers) per year by country of UK domicile UCAS or Universities and colleges (for courses that do not recruit through UCAS). Planned fees for academic year 2017-18
The destinations of graduates six months after completing their course - comprising working, studying, working and studying, unemployed, and not available for work Six-month figures from the Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education (DLHE) survey. 2014-15 DLHE and 2015 Longitudinal DLHE results
Of those in employment, the proportion in managerial/professional jobs six months after graduation.
Salary data for those in full-time employment:
  • upper quartile, median and lower quartile six months after graduation from the course at the institution displaying the KIS
  • regionally adjusted upper quartile, median and lower quartile for the subject across all institutions six months after graduation
  • regionally adjusted upper quartile, median and lower quartile for the subject across all institutions at 40 months after graduation
40-month figures from the Longitudinal DLHE survey

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Why full KIS data may not be available

A lack of data does not reflect on the quality of the course. There are several reasons why some courses will not have the full KIS data to display. For example newer courses may not yet have had the opportunity to collect student satisfaction data from the National Student Survey (NSS), or employment data from the Destination of Leavers from Higher Education (DLHE). Very new courses will also not have had time to build up data about continuation, qualifications on entry, and the degree that previous students have obtained.

Some well-established courses may also not be able to show student satisfaction data or employment data. This might be because the course runs with a small number of students, so that there are not enough responses to the surveys for the data to be statistically meaningful. Data can be misleading if it only represents a small number of students, and/or less than half the students on the course.

Some private companies that provide courses do not take part in the National Student Survey (NSS), Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education (DLHE) survey, or other national data collections. Therefore these data do not appear for these courses.

For some courses that have small numbers of students but receive survey responses from over half, Unistats will show data either for:

  1. more than one year of the same course, or
  2. for this course added together with data for other similar courses at the same institution. For example, if the course was for Forestry, then data may be shown for all agriculture and related subjects.

Some universities or colleges may not have accommodation available, for example the Open University provides its courses entirely by distance learning so that students do not need to leave home to study. Also, some colleges may not offer their own accommodation (e.g. halls of residence), but can provide information about the costs of private accommodation.

If there is not a full set of data about the course you are interested in, you should contact the university or college for more information.

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About the Data

The National Student Survey (NSS)

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 10 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 10 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.

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Source of employment data

The Destination of Leavers from Higher Education (DLHE) survey

The Destination of Leavers from Higher Education (DLHE) survey asks those who have recently completed higher education courses about their current activity, which may be working, studying, looking for work or even travelling.

Those who are employed are asked for a description of their role and the kind of company they work for so that the nature of their employment can be understood and classified appropriately. They are also asked how much they are paid.

As well as providing information to prospective students about the destinations and earnings of those previously completing courses they are considering applying for, the data collected help to give a picture of patterns of further study and how destinations differ across subjects.

Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) survey their students under direction from the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA) while Further Education Colleges (FECs) fund and administer the survey for directly funded HE students and return the data to HEFCE. Students studying on courses in further education colleges (FECs), which are franchised from HEIs, are included in HEIs' DLHE survey data. 

Students are surveyed roughly six months after completing their course and response rates are high, with around 80% of eligible graduates responding. The information collected in the survey is self-reported by students, or by other people they have nominated to respond on their behalf.

A further survey, the Longitudinal DLHE, follows up a sample of these respondents three and a half years (40 months) later. The response rate to this is about 40%.

Data from both surveys is displayed on Unistats, with the data for the Longitudinal DLHE being shown for all similar courses as it is based on a sample of all graduates, in contrast to the early survey which is a broad census.

While graduate employment in the future may shift from current patterns, destination information for those previously completing the course is among those factors rated most important in making decisions by users of the site.

In the DLHE survey, jobs that graduates report doing are classified using the Standard Occupational Classification 2010 (SOC2010) system. The SOC system has eleven 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
  • Unknown
  • All occupations

HEFCE have worked with the Higher Education Careers Support Unit (HECSU) to develop a guide to understanding the how the information from the DLHE survey is used and what the data can tell us. 

Employability statements

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.

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Course accreditation

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:

  1. 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;
  2. Graduates are granted chartered status;
  3. Graduates are granted exemption from all or part of professional exams;
  4. Graduates are eligible for entry to membership of a professional association or learned society;
  5. 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.

Further information on accreditation on the HESA website.

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Scheduled learning and teaching activity

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
Lecture Scheduled
Seminar Scheduled
Tutorial Scheduled
Project supervision Scheduled
Demonstration Scheduled
Practical classes and workshops Scheduled
Supervised time in studio/workshop Scheduled
Fieldwork Scheduled
External visits Scheduled
Work-based learning Scheduled
Guided independent study Independent
Placement Placement
Year abroad Placement

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.

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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.

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Course assessment

Written Exams

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

Practical exams may include: presentations, assessment of clinical skills or laboratory techniques, critique of or commentary on artwork, language translation, or other similar activities.

Other assessments

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.

Further information on assessment on the HESA website.

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Entry requirements

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.

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UCAS Tariff Points

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 UCAS Tariff has changed for courses starting in September 2017. The new Tariff uses a different numeric scale to allow more qualifications to be added. As it is possible to map old Tariff points to the equivalent new Tariff points, Unistats displays points held by students who were previously enrolled on the course expressed in new Tariff points. This is to allow comparison with Tariff information displayed elsewhere for 2017 courses.

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 National Union of Students (NUS)

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.

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About Unistats

Answers to frequently asked questions on Unistats and KIS

Quality and Standards

Quality Assessment in Higher Education

Quality Assessment is the process the higher education funding bodies use to gain assurance about the quality of learning and teaching at a higher education provider. Quality is assessed at provider level and the quality system that the provider falls under depends on where it is located and what type of provider it is:

For publicly-funded universities and further education colleges delivering higher education in England and Northern Ireland, the core mechanism for assessing quality is the Annual Provider Review process, managed by the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) and the Department for the Economy in Northern Ireland (DfENI). The Annual Provider Review draws on existing data and information (such as National Student Survey data), and uses indicators and metrics in a rounded and contextualised way to form its judgement. It provides assurances about quality in these providers to students and to others with an interest in the secure operation of the higher education system. It provides confidence in high-quality provision and reliable degree standards for all students, and evidence that each provider is taking any necessary actions to improve the quality of the academic experience and outcomes for its own students. For recent entrants to the sector, the Quality Assurance Agency (QAA) will also carry out a Quality Review Visit on behalf of HEFCE or DfENI.

For alternative providers in England, quality is assessed through an external quality assurance review carried out by the Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education (QAA).

For higher education providers in Scotland quality is assessed through an Enhancement-led Institutional Review carried out by QAA Scotland as part of the Quality Enhancement Framework.

For higher education providers in Wales quality is assessed through an external quality assurance review as part of the Quality Assessment Framework for Wales. The most recent QAA review acts as the external review for Welsh institutions.

Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF)

About the TEF

The UK has a world-class higher education sector, with rigorous systems in place to ensure high quality teaching. The Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF) is a new scheme for recognising excellent teaching, in addition to existing national quality requirements for universities, colleges and other higher education providers. It provides information to help prospective students choose where to study.

The TEF is voluntary and each higher education provider decides whether or not they wish to take part.

The TEF was developed by the Department for Education in England. While higher education policy is a devolved matter, individual providers in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland are also able to take part if they wish to.

Participating higher education providers receive a gold, silver or bronze award reflecting the excellence of their teaching, learning environment and student outcomes. The awards cover undergraduate teaching.

All Participating higher education providers and their TEF awards are listed here.

The government introduced the TEF in 2016 as a trial year, from which lessons will be learned for future years. The awards were published in June 2017. Providers are able to appeal their award and any resulting changes will be made in August 2017. 

The Government has previously indicated that universities and colleges in England that have a TEF award will be able to increase their tuition fees in line with inflation. The Department for Education will confirm the 2018-19 fee caps in due course.

Providers in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland are able to take part in the TEF, with no direct impact on their tuition fees.


Which higher education providers have TEF awards?

Higher education providers decide whether or not to take part in the TEF. Participating providers and their TEF awards are listed here.

What do the gold, silver and bronze awards mean?

A provider taking part in the TEF is awarded:

  • gold for delivering consistently outstanding teaching, learning and outcomes for its students. It is of the highest quality found in the UK
  • silver for delivering high quality teaching, learning and outcomes for its students. It consistently exceeds rigorous national quality requirements for UK higher education
  • bronze for delivering teaching, learning and outcomes for its students that meet rigorous national quality requirements for UK higher education.

What do provisional awards mean?

The higher education provider meets rigorous national quality requirements for UK higher education, and is taking part in the TEF, but does not yet have sufficient data to be fully assessed. The provider may be fully assessed in future when it has sufficient data.

How are the TEF awards decided?

The awards are decided by an independent TEF Panel of experts including academics, students and employer representatives. Details are available here.

The provider's undergraduate teaching is assessed against ten criteria that cover the areas of teaching quality, learning environment and student outcomes.

The TEF Panel considers evidence from a set of metrics using national data as well as written evidence submitted by the provider. The metrics cover continuation rates, student satisfaction and employment outcomes. The metrics for each provider are benchmarked to take account of differences in its students' characteristics, entry qualifications and subjects studied.

The metrics and provider submissions can be viewed here.

Is there more information about a provider's TEF award?

A short statement by the TEF Panel explains each provider's award, available here.

What if a higher education provider doesn't have a TEF award?

All higher education providers in the UK must meet rigorous national quality requirements for higher education. The TEF measures excellence in addition to these requirements and is voluntary. If a provider has no TEF award it may have decided not to take part. You can find out more about the national quality requirements here:

To be eligible to take part a provider must meet national quality requirements and teach at undergraduate level.

How does the TEF affect tuition fees?

The Government has previously indicated that universities and colleges in England that have a TEF award will be able to increase their tuition fees in line with inflation. The Department for Education will confirm the 2018-19 fee caps in due course.

Providers in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland are able to take part in the TEF, with no direct impact on their tuition fees.