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About our data

The data on Discover Uni are official statistics created for this purpose. This page explains where that data comes from and the approach we take to publishing it.

National Student Survey

The National Student Survey (NSS) is an annual survey which allows final year students to provide feedback about their course. The results are used by universities and colleges to improve the learning experience as well as helping applicants to decide between courses.

The survey is run by Ipsos MORI on behalf of the UK higher education funding and regulatory bodies.

Students respond to statements using a five-point scale from 'definitely disagree' to 'definitely agree'. The numbers you see on Discover Uni are the percentage of students who either responded 'definitely agree' or 'agree' to each statement.

The NSS data on Discover Uni is from the 2019 and 2018 surveys.

For more information about the NSS, visit the Office for Students website.

Destination of Leavers from Higher Education Survey

The Destination of Leavers from Higher Education (DLHE) survey collects information from students around six months after they finish their course. It asks them what they are currently doing. If they are working, it asks them about the type of job they are doing and how much they earn.

We use DLHE data to compile the statistics on Discover Uni in the ‘After the course' section for six months after graduation.

The most recent data is from those who graduated in the 2016-17 academic year. We sometimes combine this with data from students who graduated in 2015-16.

The DLHE survey has recently been replaced by the Graduate Outcomes Survey. We will start to use Graduate Outcomes data in its place in 2020.

Longitudinal Education Outcomes dataset

The Longitudinal Education Outcomes (LEO) dataset uses government tax records to produce earnings data. As it doesn't rely on students responding to a survey it includes data for more students than the DLHE survey.

We use LEO data in the ‘After the course' section on Discover Uni for earnings 3 years after graduation.

About the LEO data displayed on Unistats

There are some things you should be aware of when using the LEO data on Discover Uni:

  • The LEO data shows how much graduates working in the UK were earning three 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.
  • As the most recent earnings data we have is from 2015-16 and 2016-17 tax records, the data displayed is for earnings of those who graduated in 2011-12 and 2012-13.
  • We only publish LEO data for courses taught at English providers.

Experimental statistics

The LEO figures published on Unistats are labelled as experimental statistics. This tells our users that the statistics are new. 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 how the statistics are produced and provide feedback on the Office for Students website.

The UK higher education funding and regulatory bodies collect data from universities and colleges about all their individual students. We use this data to create some of the statistics we use.

The datasets we use are the:

HESA Student record

HESA AP Student record

Individualised Learner Record collected by Education and Skills Funding Agency

And the data we use is for the academic years 2015-16, 2016-17 and 2017-18.


We use this data to tell you what students are doing one year after starting the course. The number of students still on the course is called the ‘continuation rate’.

It’s not unusual for some students to leave during their first year. If the continuation rate is much lower than other courses this could be a sign that the course is not meeting students’ expectations.

Entry information

We use this data to tell you what type of qualifications previous entrants had and what UCAS Tariff points they had.

The data on UCAS Tariff points is the distribution of qualifications held based on 2018-19 entrants, and sometimes 2017-18 and 2018-19 entrants combined when the course/subject sizes are too small to publish for a single year.

For more information about UCAS Tariff and entry requirements, see our Entry requirements page.

Using data in your decision making

The data that we publish on Discover Uni is from reliable sources and can help you make an informed decision.

It’s important that you don’t make decisions based on small differences between courses. Instead look for large differences, and particularly where figures are much lower than for other courses you are considering.

Sample sizes and response rates

On Discover Uni we tell you how many students the data we publish is from and, if it was from a survey, the response rate.

These numbers might be smaller than you expect, as we try to publish data for the course and not all courses have large numbers of students on them.

A high response rate from a large number of students means you can be more confident in the data. With smaller numbers, it’s especially important that you don’t make decisions based on small differences.

We only publish data if we have it for more than a certain number of students. This is partly to protect their identity and partly to ensure the reliability of what we publish. For surveys, we also don’t publish data if response rates are low.

For most of the data we need data from at least 10 students to publish it. For LEO, we need at least 15 students.

Small courses

For many smaller courses we don’t have data for the number of students we need to be able to publish it.

So that we can show some data, we group the most recent data with data from the previous year. If we still don’t have enough, we group data for courses in the same subject area at that university or college.

We say where we have done this on the course page in a yellow box.

New courses

Where courses are new or don’t have any students who have finished them yet we publish data for other courses in that subject area. This is to give you some idea of the student experience and outcomes at that university and college.

Again, we say where we have done this on the course page in a yellow box.


We publish National Student Survey data to the nearest percentage point. For other data, if we have data for less than 52.5 students we round the data to the nearest five percentage points.

This can mean that the figures shown do not always add to 100 percent. The total may instead be 95 percent or 105 percent when you add them together.

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