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Sussex scores highly again in student satisfaction poll

Students have given their seal of approval to studying at Sussex in the National Student Survey (NSS) for 2009, pushing Sussex up the rankings for the second year running.

The overall average score for Sussex rose from 75.09 per cent (2008) to 77.18 per cent – while the trend across the rest of the higher and further education sectors was for an unchanged score of 75 per cent.

The new scores place Sussex in the top 20 (19th place) for student satisfaction among the elite universities of the Russell Group (which includes Oxford and Cambridge) and 1994 Group (including  Durham and York).

According to the NSS results, 86 per cent of Sussex students expressed satisfaction with their learning experience. Sussex also performed particularly well in teaching.

The University showed strong improvement in its scores for library services (up nine per cent), offering detailed comments on work (up seven per cent), and helpful feedback to students (up six per cent). These are areas which the University has prioritised in light of previous results, for example with 24-hour library opening.

This year’s NSS results do not include the scores for the Brighton and Sussex Medical School (BSMS), which Sussex runs jointly with the University of Brighton. BSMS shared top National Student Survey rankings for the second year running, as 95% of final year students said that they were satisfied with the quality of the course. The Medical School also achieved the second highest overall score for any higher education institution in the UK.

Sussex subjects that scored highly include: Social Work (top in the country); Philosophy (3rd overall); Biochemistry (4th overall); Psychology (15th overall); Computer Science (19th overall) and Law (20th overall).

In 2008, the University recorded one of the biggest improvements of all universities, and the best of all institutions in the elite 1994 and Russell Groups, in the NSS results.

The NSS asks finalist undergraduates 22 questions across a range of measures: teaching, academic support, assessment and feedback, learning resources, organisation, personal development and overall satisfaction.

All categories of question show overall improvement for Sussex, though there is scope for improvement in IT access and specialist equipment provision.

Vice-Chancellor, Professor Michael Farthing said: "The University continues to build on the success of last year’s results. I am especially pleased that we have shown improvements in assessment and feedback and academic support, where we have been targeting particular efforts. We expect to see further improvement as new teaching and accommodation buildings come on line and with the introduction of our new schools this autumn, offering the courses our students have requested."

Other innovations in the student experience at Sussex for 2009-10 include:

  •  Introduction of SussexPlus and PostgradPlus to help students maximise their potential as academics and future employees;
  •  An overhaul of catering services, focusing on healthy eating, convenience and choice;
  •  The refurbishment and re-dedication of the Gardner Centre as the Attenborough Centre for the Creative Arts

The NSS is just part of the range of student feedback mechanisms used at Sussex to help improve the student experience. The University makes use of it own detailed surveys of second-year undergraduates and postgraduate students, as well as the independent International Student Barometer, course evaluation questionnaires and the student reps scheme.

Notes for Editors

Full results are available on the Higher Education Funding Council for England web site

For further information contact the University of Sussex Press office

Last updated: Friday, 4 September 2009