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Frequently asked questions:

 

Destination of Leavers from Higher Education Survey (DLHE)

Last updated: September 2018

The DLHE is a survey of graduates six months after finishing their degree course to find out whether or not they are employed, and if so, what they are doing, whether they needed their degree for this, and how much they are earning. This is provided to us by the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA), and we draw on data for the following intakes: 2014/15, 2015/16 and 2016/17.

We publish employment and salary data where we have 20 respondents or more and feature the most relevant, recent and granular information available. Where we’re unable to meet this threshold using the most recent year’s data, we look to aggregate data back two or three years and then, if necessary, look at reporting data at a higher subject area.

Note, we use mean averages for this data so we can compare different universities.

You’ll find this information on our course profiles and university and college profiles.

HEPI-HEA Student Academic Experience Survey

Last updated: January 2014

The Student Academic Experience Survey is an annual survey of full-time undergraduate students, asking them a range of questions around their academic experience and analysing them by broad subject area.

Our subject pages feature the average number of timetabled teaching hours on courses for the subject per week, reported by students, compared with the average teaching hours for all subjects, based on data from 2012 to 2014. For this analysis we only included first- and second-year students, because contact hours tend to drop off in the third year.

 

Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA) student record

Last updated: June 2018

The Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA) is the official source of information about students in higher education, including the profile of students and the qualifications they achieve. Our site features student details for each institution based on data from 2015/16.

Where enough data exists, it also features student details for individual subjects at different institutions. We base this on data from 2015/16, back to 2013/14. We publish data where we have 20 respondents or more and feature the most relevant, recent and granular information available.

You’ll find this on our university and college profiles, A-level Explorer results and course profiles.

 

Longitudinal Educational Outcomes (LEO)

Last updated: July 2018

This LEO data combines HESA student record data with that from the Department of Work and Pensions and Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) to plot employment salaries for graduates from different subject fields one, three and five years after graduating (utilising data from 2008/09, 2010/11 and 2012/13). 

This is at a broader level to other subject data-sets displayed on Which? University, and covers the following: Medicine & Dentistry, Subjects allied to medicine (excluding nursing), Biological sciences, Veterinary science, Agriculture & related subjects, Physical sciences, Mathematical sciences, Computer science, Engineering & technology, Architecture building & planning, Social studies (excluding economics), Nursing, Law, Psychology, Business & administrative studies, Mass communications & documentation, Languages (excluding English studies), Historical & philosophical studies, Creative arts & design, Education, Economics, English studies.

Note, this is an experimental data set and not directly comparable to DHLE data (which is measured through a survey of recent alumni).

 

National Student Survey (NSS)

Last updated: September 2018

The NSS is an annual survey of final-year students to find out how they rated different aspects of their course and university experience. 

On Which? University, we show the student satisfaction score: a mean rating of all responses to indicate whether this is high, medium or low compared with other institutions. 

For each subject where data is available, we also show a detailed breakdown of student satisfaction within specific aspects of their academic experience, such as feedback received and facilities. We explain below why we show this broader subject level data on our course profiles (rather than more granular data relating to just that specific course).

You’ll find this information on our course profiles and university and college profiles.

 

SpareRoom private rental data

Last updated: December 2017
 
SpareRoom, a nationwide website for finding rental properties by area, has provided us average rental cost data for specific cities we have a dedicated city page for, based on postcode. We calculated the mean rental price for each city and used a LinPlot analysis to rank them as either low (‘cheap’), medium (‘average’) or high (‘pricey’) on the site.
 
You’ll find this information on our city pages.

 

Student budget calculator

Our budget calculator shows you the average monthly living costs for students in the UK, adjusted for regional price differences for your selected university. 

We’ve had to make some assumptions when crunching these numbers. We've also excluded anyone who did not spend any money on a particular category, from our calculations. 

Therefore, use these figures as an indication of regional costs and average student spending, rather than an absolute measure. Your own spending will vary, so think about what you’ll need to budget for, based on your circumstances. 

For each cost category, you can tell us your own (predicted) level of spending (either high, low, medium or zero), so we can further personalise these figures: 

  • Medium = median ie 50% of students who spent on this category
  • High = 75th percentile ie 75% of students who spent on this category
  • Low = 25th percentile ie 25% of students who spent on this category


We’re continuing to improve and refine the tool: tell us what you think here

 

Living Costs and Food Survey, Office of National Statistics (ONS)

We've used the nationally representative household expenditure survey to calculate average student spending. In order to get a large enough sample, we used four waves of this survey – 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2015/16, reclassifying the expenditure categories to the Which? Expenditure Classification and using the National Statistics-Socioeconomic Classification (NS-SEC) to identify the students within the data. Expenditure figures were adjusted for inflation.

We've grouped the data in the various categories you see on the calculator and calculated the median, as well as the 25th and 75th percentiles. This data has been adjusted by geographical area – South West, London, South East, Northern Ireland, East of England, East Midlands, Scotland, Yorkshire and The Humber, West Midlands, North East, Wales, North West – using the regional price relative level from the ONS’s Relative Regional Consumer Price Levels. 
 

Accommodation data 

Halls of residence -
We've collated halls of residence prices advertised on individual university websites (correct as of February 2018). Our calculator shows you the cheapest self-catered halls we found.

Private halls rents -
Where a university has not displayed halls of residence information on their site (ie because they don't offer their own), we've collected the cheapest self-catered private accommodation provider they have signposted instead (as of May 2018). 

Private rentals -
We've used the 2011 Census Output Area Classifications to identify the areas students were most likely to live and mapped these neighbourhoods to universities (within an estimated 30 minutes driving time). 

We asked SpareRoom to provide us with all their listings from April 2017 to March 2018 for those areas and used the prices on the listings to provide the median rental price for private properties around each university. 

Where rental data was unavailable for the student area surrounding the university, we took the median private rent for student areas in the UK. The following universities use this UK average: 

  • College of West Anglia
  • Accrington and Rossendale College 
  • Blackpool and the Fylde College 
  • Lakes College West Cumbria 
  • University Centre Reaseheath 
  • SRUC Scotland's Rural College (Ayr) 
  • University of the Highlands and Islands (UHI) 
  • University of the West of Scotland (Ayr) 
  • Greater Brighton Metropolitan College (formerly Northbrook College and City College) 
  • Sussex Coast College Hastings 
  • Bridgwater and Taunton College 
  • Cornwall College 
  • Duchy College 
  • Coleg Llandrillo 
  • Coleg Sir Gar 
  • University of Wales Trinity Saint David (Carmarthen) 
  • University of Wales Trinity Saint David (Lampeter) 
  • Harper Adams University 
  • Hereford College of Arts 
  • DN Colleges Group 
  • Doncaster College and University Centre 
  • Selby College 
  • University Campus Barnsley 
  • University Centre Grimsby 


Additionally, we had very few listings available for some universities. We had less than 30 listings available for the following universities:

  • Bicton College
  • Glyndwr University, Wrexham
  • Milton Keynes College
  • Royal Agricultural University
  • South Essex College of Further and Higher Education
  • SRUC Scotland's Rural College (Barony)
  • University Centre Hartpury
  • University of Buckingham
  • University of Chichester
  • University of Huddersfield
  • University of Suffolk
  • University of the West of Scotland (Dumfries)
  • University of Wolverhampton


We also display SpareRoom’s private rental data at a city-level on our city guides. Please note that these figures are based on mean averages, to allow us to categorise cities as 'cheap', 'pricey' or 'average' for comparative purposes.
 

 

Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF)

Last updated: August 2018

The TEF is a measure of teaching quality at Higher Education providers as a whole. Universities and colleges are awarded a gold, silver or bronze rating (Note, not all universities and colleges have participated).

You’ll find this information on our course profiles and university and college profiles (at an institution level).

Learn more about the TEF in our guide.

 

Ucas course details

Last updated: October 2018

The Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (Ucas) is the organisation responsible for managing applications to Higher Education courses in the UK.

It holds details of full-time and some part-time undergraduate courses provided by over 350 universities and colleges. We feature details for over 32,000 full and part-time undergraduate degrees of two years or more duration, via Ucas and based on what information the institution has provided them about a course.

You’ll find this information on our course profiles.

 

University league tables

Last updated: Guardian, June 2018; Times and Sunday Times, October 2018; Complete University Guide, June 2018.

We display university rankings on our university profile pages as awarded by the three main league tables:


Not all institutions feature in the league tables; for instance, where they’re small or specialist and there isn’t enough data to create a ranking, or, in a few cases, where universities have opted out of appearing in certain league tables.

You’ll find this information on our university and college profiles.

 


Which? University Student Survey

Last updated: September 2018

Each year, Which? commissions a survey of current higher education students in the UK to find out more about their university experience. 

In 2018 we asked over 5,000 students to score their uni as being sporty, political, creative, having a diverse local nightlife and varied student union activities on offer. We merged these findings with results from our 2016 and 2017 student surveys to characterise a greater number of institutions (using a larger combined base of 10,754 students). You can read this year’s results, here

Statistical differences between groups of universities were identified as follows. For each measure, a mean score on the 1-10 scale was calculated for each university. Analysis of variance was used to establish whether there were any significant differences between the means, and then a linear plotting technique was used to identify significant breaks between the means of groups of universities. The groups with the highest mean scores were reported as 'highly rated'.

Our minimum threshold is 30 respondents per university - standard for our customer surveys that use this linear plotting technique and is based upon empirical testing of a range of sample sizes we carried out in 2014. The survey samples used to analyse all but one of the categories were: third years responding to the 2018 survey; second and third years responding to the 2017 survey; and all respondents to the 2016 survey. For the job-readiness category, we used second and third years from all three survey years.

Students also provided feedback on the upsides and downsides of their university or college, the quality of facilities, accommodation, their academic experience and managing costs. These comments are displayed as student views within our university and college profiles.

The surveys were carried out in March/April 2018 by YouthSight using a panel of students.

 

Frequently asked questions:

Why do you show data at a subject level rather than course level? What’s the difference?

Please note that the following datasets used on Which? University pages are presented at a subject level for each university, such as ‘English Studies’ or ‘Mechanical Engineering’, rather than more granular course level:

This is where there isn’t enough data about a specific course to present, or it’s the most detailed information made available to us. We present the most relevant data that’s available from the most recent cohort of students. 

This is why sometimes, even where there’s a brand-new course listed, you will still be able to view statistics for it (ie these relate not to that specific course, but to the subject area the courses sits under, for the previous year).

We use the HE Classification of Subjects (HECoS), grouping subjects together using the Common Aggregation Hierarchy (CAH) and mapping existing data collected under the previous Joint Academic Classification System (JACS) structure to this new system.

 

I want to query information or data you’re showing for an institution I represent

Hopefully this page sheds some light about where we get our data from, including the calculations behind what we present on Which? University. You may also want to explore our About Us and Who We Work With pages, too.

If you represent a university or college, and you’ve spotted something that’s not quite correct concerning your institution profile or one of your courses on Which? University, please check this is up to date in the information you’ve entered into Ucas (via their Collection Tool), and update this if necessary. This is often the reason why.

If this is correct or has been updated very recently, this should be reflected on our site in our upcoming data update. 

If something is still incorrect, please then get in touch with us and we’ll be happy to investigate this for you.

Our team can also update some editorial elements of your institution profile:

  • - main image at the top (1280 x 460px)
  • - gallery images at the bottom (1280 x 460px)
  • - intro text (roughly 350-380 characters)
  • - links to your social media channels, official site and union site

 

Do you cover all university courses?

We only feature courses advertised via Ucas but not all universities or colleges use this system to manage applications.