Higher Education

We have invaluable experience in carrying out large-scale and complex research studies, including the National Student Survey (NSS). We offer a range of student and Higher Education (HE) stakeholder research; we have an established reputation for our work in the HE industry and are experts in our work among students, HE stakeholders and a host of other audiences.

We have undertaken a full range of quantitative and qualitative studies for the HE sector. In addition to the high profile NSS, Ipsos MORI has been involved in the Intentions after Graduation Survey (IAGS), student satisfaction and experience surveys, research looking at attitudes and behaviours, evaluation studies of current activities/initiatives, cognitive testing for survey development, longitudinal surveys of graduates, as well as branding and marketing research for individual institutions. We have worked with a range of audiences including students/learners, HE providers, HE stakeholders and policy makers.

Client context

Our clients include nearly every HE provider in the UK including private providers, funding bodies and regulators. Our key HE clients and partners include the Office for Students (OfS), the Higher Education Funding Council for Wales (HEFCW), the Scottish Funding Council, the Department for the Economy and Health Education England.

National Sudent Survey Partner and Client Logos

Our Solutions

The National Student Survey

The National Student Survey (NSS) is a complex survey which employs a mixed methodology approach of online and telephone methods to achieve a final response rate of at least 50% from the 350,000 or so students eligible each year.

Ipsos MORI's gold standard higher education research project is the NSS, which we have conducted annually since 2005 on behalf of UK higher education funders and regulators. The NSS is an opportunity for nearly half a million students across the UK in their final year of their courses to give feedback on their academic experience.

The NSS asks 27 questions, relating to nine aspects of the learning experience:

  • Teaching on my course
  • Learning opportunities
  • Assessment and feedback
  • Academic support
  • Organisation and management
  • Learning resources
  • Learning community
  • Student voice
  • Overall Satisfaction

Students are also given the opportunity to make positive and negative comments in an open answer question.

The NSS is conducted for three main reasons:

  1. To inform student decisions: it enables prospective students to compare courses at different institutions when deciding what and where to study.
  2. To provide information to enhance the student learning experience - the results are used by universities and colleges to identify what is going well but also where improvements can be made, to help develop their courses and facilities for future students, and improve the overall student learning experience. .
  3. To support quality assurance and accountability - the survey provides information as part of the quality assurance system and contributes to the public accountability of HE.

The NSS is an influential source of public information about Higher Education and the results are made available to prospective students and their advisors through the Unistats website. The NSS has helped to build a broader picture of the quality of Higher Education in the UK and has made it possible to monitor trends over time.

The Intentions after Graduation Survey (IAGS)

Ipsos MORI conducts the Intentions After Graduation Survey (IAGS) on behalf of the Office for Students (OfS).

The IAGS asks final-year undergraduates about their plans for what they will do after graduation, including plans for postgraduate study. It is an optional online survey attached to the end of the National Student Survey (NSS), which Ipsos MORI has been running since 2013. The IAGS helps identify if intentions change between different cohorts and whether gaps exist between different student groups.

Once NSS questionnaires have been completed, students eligible for the IAGS are asked to complete the IAGS questionnaire. The transition is seamless, although both surveys have distinct branding. The IAGS is linked to the NSS online questionnaire using a click-through methodology.

The survey covers final-year undergraduate students undertaking a BA/BSc degree, typically 90% of the NSS sample. Typically, 65% of NSS respondents complete the IAGS and Ipsos MORI achieves in excess of 100,000 interviews each year.

Case studies

For more information, kindly use the contact form below.

More insights about Public Sector