Unistats

About Unistats

About 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.  It is owned and operated by:

The OfS took over from its predecessor, the Higher Education Funding Council for England, on 1 April 2018.

The data on the site is drawn from national surveys of students and information collected from providers of higher education.  It includes:

  • Student views from the National Student Survey
  • Graduate destinations and salary from the Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education (DLHE) survey
  • The percentage of students continuing on the course after a year
  • The tariff points held by students who have entered the course previously
  • Accreditation or professional recognition of the course

Each course has links to the pages on the university or college website where you can find detailed information on areas such as:

  • Course content
  • How the course is structured and taught
  • How the course is assessed
  • Costs (tuition fees and accommodation costs)

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How to use Unistats

Unistats is a course comparison website.  You can use it to search for and compare data about the courses you're interested in.

You can find out more about what you can do on Unistats by watching our video guide.

Understanding the information 

The information on Unistats is designed to give an indication of what it might be like on the course you choose and the outcomes for previous students.  It is important to bear in mind that the experience of each course will be different for each person, and could differ from year to year.  Also, the outcomes you experience might be different due to various factors, such as changes in the job market by the time you graduate.

When comparing survey data for courses, care should be taken especially where the difference in figures between courses is small.  To help you interpret the data, you can see the number of respondents to the survey for each course.  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.

For some courses we need to group responses with those from the previous year (please see information about NSS 2017) or other courses in the same subject area at the institution.  This may be because the course has not run before, is small or we have received responses from less than half of the students to a survey.  There will be an icon with four bars where this has been necessary and you can hover over this to see more information.  In some cases, we still do not have enough data to publish even when it is grouped, so no data appears.  It is important to note that this is not a reflection on the quality of the course.

You can find out more about the National Student Survey (NSS) in the National Student Survey (NSS) section and more about the other data on the site in the About the data section.

National Student Survey (NSS)

The National Student Survey (NSS) 

The National Student Survey (NSS) is an annual survey which gives final year higher education students the opportunity to provide feedback about their experience on their course. The information gathered is intended to help future applicants to decide between courses and also to allow higher education providers to improve the learning experience in areas where feedback is less positive.

The survey is run by Ipsos MORI on behalf of:

  • The Department for the Economy Northern Ireland
  • The Office for Students
  • The Higher Education Funding Council for Wales
  • The Scottish Funding Council

In the survey, students respond to statements using a five-point response scale from 'definitely disagree' to 'definitely agree'. The statements are grouped into the following sections:

  • The teaching on my course
  • Learning opportunities
  • Assessment and feedback
  • Academic support
  • Organisation and management
  • Learning resources
  • Learning community
  • Student voice

On Unistats we display the percentage of students who either responded 'definitely agree' or 'agree' to each statement.

For more information about the NSS, visit the National Student Survey website (Opens in a new window).

Publication of results

NSS data for the course can only be displayed on Unistats where at least 10 students have completed the survey and where we have responses from half of all the students surveyed on that course.

In the past we have grouped responses with those from the previous year to allow us to publish information for the course. If this did not result in more than 10 responses, we published responses for all courses in the same subject area.

NSS 2017

A new survey questionnaire was used for the NSS this year. This included some new question sections ('Learning opportunities', 'Learning community' and 'Student Voice') and revised wording for existing questions to bring them up to date and to make them clearer.

As the survey has changed substantially this year, we cannot group responses with those from the 2016 survey where we have had fewer than the 10 responses we need. We will still group data for courses in the same subject area to allow us to publish it where possible, but this year there may be more courses without data or with subject-level data. We also display subject-level data where a course has not been running long enough for data to be available or has not yet started. It is important to note that an absence of NSS data is not a reflection on the quality of the course.

Please note that, if you are viewing NSS data outside of Unistats, it is not valid to compare question level responses from 2017 with data from 2016 or previous years.

  

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About the Data

Information about the National Student Survey (NSS) can be found in the National Student survey (NSS) section.

Graduate outcomes

On Unistats, the information about graduate outcomes comes from two different sources:

  1. The Destination of Leavers from Higher Education (DLHE) survey and
  2. The Longitudinal Educational Outcomes (LEO) dataset.

About the DLHE survey

The data for employment outcomes six months after graduation comes from the Destination of Leavers from Higher Education (DLHE) survey. The DLHE questionnaire is completed by course leavers across the UK, around 6 months after they graduate. Graduates are asked about their current activity, if they are working, studying, looking for work or even travelling. Those who are employed are asked how much they earn and for a description of their role and the type of employer they work for (if relevant) to allow their job to be categorised. The survey has a very high response rate of around 80% with around 400,000 graduates responding to the most recent survey (of 2015/16 leavers).

The most recent data we can show is from those who graduated in the 2015-16 academic year.

About the DLHE data on earnings

The DLHE data shows average annual salary for graduates 6 months after completing the course as well as a typical salary range for graduates. If the course only has a small number of students, two years-worth of DLHE data may be combined in order to publish, or results may be shown for the wider subject grouping rather than the specific course (e.g. results are combined for all Maths courses rather than just the course on Maths and Statistics).

The average salary and typical salary range is also shown for graduates from all similar courses across UK institutions to give a wider picture of earnings from studying this subject.

Other DLHE data

Unistats also uses DLHE data to give a picture of the first jobs that course-leavers find including whether graduates are working at professional / management level, the most common jobs that they do, and if they are doing any further study. The data helps to give a picture of patterns of further study and how work-destinations differ across subjects.

About the Longitudinal Education Outcomes (LEO) dataset

The data on earnings for three years after graduation comes from the Longitudinal Education Outcomes (LEO) dataset. This data is based on government taxation records that are used to calculate earnings. As it doesn't rely on students responding to a survey the level of coverage is higher than the DLHE survey.

About the LEO data displayed on Unistats

  • The LEO data shows how much graduates working in the UK were earning 3 years after graduating.
  • The data includes taxable income for those who had tax deducted at source by their employer and does not include earnings for those who were self-employed.
  • The data published is for the subject area of the course and we average this over two tax years.
  • The data displayed is for earnings of those who graduated in 2010-11 and 2011-12, as the most recent earnings data we have is from 2014-15 and 2015-16 tax records.
  • We have this information for most universities and colleges in England, with the exception of private providers which began to return data about their students more recently.
  • LEO data is not yet available for Northern Irish providers, as the legislation allowing for its creation did not extend to Northern Ireland. 
  • In Scotland and Wales, there is a different policy position of the use of this data in Unistats, as it does not currently take account of factors other than course quality that can affect graduate earnings, such as UK and regional variations in salaries and labour market conditions.

Experimental statistics

The LEO figures published on Unistats are labelled as experimental statistics. This highlights to users that the statistics are new and still being developed, or are being used in new ways. It does not mean that they are of low quality. We would welcome feedback on how useful the statistics are and what can be done to improve them.

You can find out more about the methodology for how the statistics are produced and provide feedback on the Office for Students website.

More about earnings data

Key points to remember

Labour markets change - earnings data from past graduates can only give an indication of what the labour market and earnings might be like when you graduate

Salaries vary across regions in the UK - for example a job in London may be paid more highly than a similar job elsewhere. If a lot of graduates from a course go on to work in a higher pay region, the salary from that institution may be higher - this doesn't necessarily reflect on the course they studied.

Earnings are only one measure of success of employment and not all students are motivated by high salaries. Some train for jobs in the public sector (e.g. nursing, social work), while others may work part time to support themselves while they build careers as performers or set up their own business

Be cautious about data from subject areas with small numbers: one student with low earnings would have a strong effect on the average earnings for that course.

Comparing graduate earnings

There are lots of factors that affect graduates' earnings - not just the course or institution.

Some parts of the country are less wealthy than others, and regardless of your degree and where you studied, where you work could be reflected in your pay. Salaries are known to be higher in some big cities, especially London. Not all graduates will be free to move away from home. Many universities and colleges have large numbers of local students who want to study close to home and work in their local community afterwards. The wealth of the region they live and work in will be reflected in the job market and ultimately their salaries. In less wealthy parts of the UK, courses will show lower earnings unless the graduates move or find work in a more competitive job market.

Different careers have different trajectories, for example, becoming established as an artist or performer could take years. In some professions, graduates will start in quite junior roles and progress as they become more experienced over time. Others will start quite high up the career ladder.

There is also no way of knowing if the salaries we see are from jobs relating closely to the subjects that graduates study. Students can have very different career paths from the same course and many courses provide a stepping stone to a wide range of careers. For example, a maths graduate might use the numerate skills they gained to become an accountant, or they could stay in research or academia. The earnings between these two career paths may be very different. Others may be working in an area completely unrelated to the subject they studied.

Studies done on the LEO data have shown a strong link between the grades a student leaves school with and how much they go on to earn. Those with higher grades tend to end up earning more. The data also shows that students from wealthier backgrounds tend to earn more than those from poorer families. Universities and colleges will have different mixes of students studying with them and some may specifically aim to encourage a wide diversity of students from much broader backgrounds into higher education. Their average earnings may therefore be lower.

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Course Accreditation

All courses included on Unistats allow those who complete them successfully to gain recognised UK qualifications. Some courses, or in some cases departments or whole universities and colleges, will have additional accreditation awarded to them by another body.

Sometimes, completing an accredited course is a requirement 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 graduates to join professional bodies, grants them chartered status, exempts them from professional examinations.
  • Prepares them to work in certain professions or meet the expectations of employers in particular sectors.

The statement describing the accreditation on Unistats will explain the benefit obtained by pursuing a course with that accreditation. You can click on this statement to see a fuller explanation on the accrediting body's website.

Some accrediting bodies 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.

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Entry Requirements

Each university or college has different entry requirements for their courses and qualifications accepted can vary. Universities and colleges express entry requirements in a variety of ways. 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.

The Unistats website shows the types of qualifications students who were previously enrolled on the course had achieved.

These are not necessarily the only qualifications that will be accepted for entry onto 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 Unistats website shows the UCAS Tariff points held by the students who were previously enrolled on the course. These are not necessarily the current minimum entry requirements for the course and you should check the university or college website for full information.

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 changed for courses starting from September 2017. The new Tariff uses a different numeric scale to allow more qualifications to be added. We currently display entry data for students starting the course in 2014-16 and we map the old tariff points to the new tariff so that prospective students can compare with information about courses starting in 2018 which is expressed in the new tariff.

For further information on the UCAS Tariff, see the UCAS website. (Opens in a new window.)

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Teaching Excellence Framework

Teaching Excellence and Student Outcomes Framework (TEF)

The TEF is an assessment exercise introduced by the Government in England to determine the excellence of universities and colleges at teaching and ensuring students get good outcomes in terms of graduate-level employment or further study.  It is designed for universities and colleges in England, but those in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland are also able to choose to participate. There are systems in place to help ensure that all UK colleges and universities meet national quality standards. The TEF looks at what they are doing above and beyond these standards, and awards them gold, silver or bronze for excellence.

The TEF is intended to help those considering higher education choose where to study.

All higher education providers taking part in the TEF, with their current awards, are shown here. The TEF is voluntary, so if a university or college is not listed it may have decided not to take part.

The TEF process is managed by the Office for Students.

 

The awards

These are the TEF awards that can be given to a university or college:

  • 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.

There is also an award of provisional for a university or college that meets the rigorous UK quality requirements, and takes part in the TEF, but does not yet have enough data to be fully assessed.

A short award summary by the TEF panel explains the reasons for each provider's award. It is important to look also at these as well as the actual award. You can read the award summaries here.

 

How the TEF awards are decided

An independent panel of experts - including academics, students and experts in employment and widening participation - carries out the TEF assessments. Details are available here.

Each university or college is assessed against criteria that cover areas of teaching quality, learning environment and the outcomes students achieve in terms of graduate-level employment or further study.

The panel considers evidence from national data on continuation rates, student satisfaction and subsequent employment or further study. They also consider written evidence submitted by the university or college. The assessment takes into account each university or college's particular student mix - their characteristics, entry qualifications and subjects studied.

The data and the submitted evidence can be viewed here.

 

The TEF and fees

England

Publicly funded universities and colleges in England with a TEF award may charge up to the higher maximum tuition fee for 2018 entrants. The maximum tuition fee they can charge for a full-time course is £9,250 per year. Those without a TEF award can charge a maximum of £9,000 per year. The Government will announce maximum fees for the academic year 2019-20 in due course.

Northern Ireland, Wales and Scotland

As the TEF is an England initiative, in which HE providers from the other UK nations can participate, gaining a TEF award has no effect on the tuition fees that providers in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales can charge.

 

Development of TEF at subject level

Universities and colleges currently receive a single TEF award to cover all their teaching and subjects, but in future awards will also be made at subject level, so that students can understand more about what is on offer in the area of study they are interested in. This new approach is currently being tested with some universities and colleges. More information about subject-level TEF will be available later in 2018.

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, which was 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.

You can find out more about the national quality requirements here:

 

Teaching Excellence and Student Outcomes Framework (TEF)

The TEF is an assessment exercise introduced by the Government in England to determine the excellence of universities and colleges at teaching and ensuring students get good outcomes in terms of graduate-level employment or further study.  It is designed for universities and colleges in England, but those in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland are also able to choose to participate. There are systems in place to help ensure that all UK colleges and universities meet national quality standards. The TEF looks at what they are doing above and beyond these standards, and awards them gold, silver or bronze for excellence.

The TEF is intended to help those considering higher education choose where to study.

All higher education providers taking part in the TEF, with their current awards, are shown here. The TEF is voluntary, so if a university or college is not listed it may have decided not to take part.

The TEF process is managed by the Office for Students.

The awards

These are the TEF awards that can be given to a university or college:

  • 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.

There is also an award of provisional for a university or college that meets the rigorous UK quality requirements, and takes part in the TEF, but does not yet have enough data to be fully assessed.

A short award summary by the TEF panel explains the reasons for each provider's award. It is important to look also at these as well as the actual award. You can read the award summaries here.

 

How the TEF awards are decided

An independent panel of experts - including academics, students and experts in employment and widening participation - carries out the TEF assessments. Details are available here.

Each university or college is assessed against criteria that cover areas of teaching quality, learning environment and the outcomes students achieve in terms of graduate-level employment or further study.

The panel considers evidence from national data on continuation rates, student satisfaction and subsequent employment or further study. They also consider written evidence submitted by the university or college. The assessment takes into account each university or college's particular student mix - their characteristics, entry qualifications and subjects studied.

The data and the submitted evidence can be viewed here.

 

The TEF and fees

England

Publicly funded universities and colleges in England with a TEF award may charge up to the higher maximum tuition fee for 2018 entrants. The maximum tuition fee they can charge for a full-time course is £9,250 per year. Those without a TEF award can charge a maximum of £9,000 per year. The Government will announce maximum fees for the academic year 2019-20 in due course.

Northern Ireland, Wales and Scotland

As the TEF is an England initiative, in which HE providers from the other UK nations can participate, gaining a TEF award has no effect on the tuition fees that providers in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales can charge.

Development of TEF at subject level

Universities and colleges currently receive a single TEF award to cover all their teaching and subjects, but in future awards will also be made at subject level, so that students can understand more about what is on offer in the area of study they are interested in. This new approach is currently being tested with some universities and colleges. More information about subject-level TEF will be available later in 2018.