National Student Survey

In your time at Sussex, you've lived, learned, studied and changed. Now what will you pass on to those following in your tracks?

Think back to when you started; the anxiety you may have felt when you arrived on campus for the first time; the feeling inside the lecture hall; the ecstasy of gaining your first 2:1; or the stresses of deadlines. They all make up a very unique Sussex experience - now it's your time to look back at it...

If you take part in the survey, you can claim a free £5 lunch voucher to spend in University or Students Union outlets on campus, and £5 print credit. You can also help to win your School up to £2000 to help improve social spaces for students.

The annual National Student Survey (NSS) asks final-year undergraduate students across the UK to rate their university experience.

Am I eligible to take the survey?

If you are in your final year of study on a course leading to undergraduate credits or qualifications (such as Bachelors Degrees, Foundation Degrees, Higher Education Certificates and Diplomas) you can take the survey.

Who else can complete the survey?

  • If you are on a flexible part-time programme you should complete the survey in your fourth year of study
  • If you have withdrawn from study during your final year you should still complete the survey as your feedback is equally valuable
  • If you are repreating your penultimate year you should complete the survey now (not when you eventually progress to your final year).

Who should not complete the survey?

  • If you already completed the survey in 2015, you should not complete it again in 2016.
More details about the NSS survey

The survey is run on behalf of the UK government and is used to assess the quality of a student's degree as a whole. If Sussex students decide to take part, they should think back over their three years at university when responding - not just their final year.

It is conducted by the external polling company Ipsos-MORI and whilst the University helps to promote it, all the personal contact with Sussex students, e.g. by phone or email, is carried out by them.

Sussex, like other UK universities, is required to take part and both the University and the Students’ Union believe wholeheartedly that the NSS is a worthwhile exercise.

By giving a few minutes, Sussex finalists help to inform students who plan to enter university about the quality of their course (and Sussex) and help them to decide what and where to study.

The 2016 survey is running at Sussex from 25 January until the end of April.

A record 2,196 final-year Sussex finalists - around 73% of those who were eligible - took part in the 2015 survey. The 2015 NSS results were published in August 2015.


What is the NSS?

The NSS is a survey of all final-year students in the UK about the quality of their academic experience. The survey provides students with an opportunity to make their opinions on their higher education student experience count at a national level. The results are analysed and used to compile a year-on-year comparison of data that:

  1. Helps prospective students make informed choices of where and what to study.
  2. Enables the participating institutions to identify and improve in areas where they may have let their students down.
How do I take part?

The 2016 survey is running for finalists at Sussex between 25 January and the end of April. You can take the survey online.

How did Ipsos MORI get my email address and phone number?

Students' contact details are provided to Ipsos MORI by the University. The participants and their answ+ers remain anonymous throughout the entire survey process.

Students are asked for some personal identification information in order to verify that they were eligible to take part.

Sussex, like other UK universities, is required to take part in the survey and to provide students' contact details.

Can I change or retract my responses once I have completed the survey?

No, Ipsos MORI accepts only the first set of survey responses from any student. Subsequent completions of a survey are discarded. Once a student completes the survey it is not then possible to change or withdraw their survey responses. The survey responses given reflect students' opinions at the time they are surveyed.

On occasion, students contact Ipsos MORI to request if they may complete the survey again. This will be permitted only where students' responses are not valid, for example where errors have been made in identification details and/or the number of questions answered. It does not permit students to 'change their minds'.

Why should I complete the survey?

By completing the survey, you will help to inform students who plan to enter university in 2017-18 about the quality of your course and Sussex and help them decide where and what to study.

Sussex students who complete the NSS or opt out will receive a £5 voucher to be spent in catering outlets on campus, including those run by the Students’ Union.

We will also give £1,000 for improving the student experience to each school that achieves a 70% response rate and £2000 for each school that achieves 80%.

How do I claim my £5 catering voucher?

All students participating in the NSS will see a confirmation screen at the end of the survey with the following text:

“Thank you for taking part in the National Student Survey. Please use this voucher to reclaim your reward from your institution. University of Sussex is offering a reward to each eligible student who completes the NSS online. To claim your £5 reward to be spent at campus catering outlets please hand this voucher to the Library Information Hub, in person by 12/06/2016. You may print or get this form as proof of completion emailed to you.”

You also have the option of entering an email address to have this confirmation forwarded to you.

In addition, you will be automatically emailed a thank you message for taking the survey, which will be sent to the main email address that we hold on your student record. We can accept this message as proof of participation.

If you think you haven't received any email confirmation, make sure you check your spam folders.

Have students completed their final year when they take the survey?

The survey is for final-year undergraduates only, although there are a few exceptions/additions (these can be read about at the NSS website). 

The survey typically runs in the spring. So, no, students will not have completed their final year when they take the survey.

Where are the results published?

The results are published online at the Unistats website (, which aims to assist prospective students in making informed decisions about what and where to study.

How many Sussex students have completed the survey so far?

See our response rate updates.

I don't understand some of the terminology used in the NSS. What does it mean?

The NSS uses some general academic or student experience terms which are not used in all universities. This page gives a quick list of what these terms mean at Sussex.

  • "Feedback": comments from your teachers and peers on all aspects of your work = at Sussex feedback is given not only in response to assessments, but also in lectures, seminars, tutorials and individually via academic advising and office hours
  • "Academic support": the person who provides advice to you on your academic programme of study = at Sussex this mainly means your academic advisor, but it also includes input that you may have received from other academic colleagues in relation to course choice, and so on.
  • "Learning resources": this covers the range of resources - electronic library, Study Direct materials, hard copy study packs, periodicals, books and so on, across the full range of resources provided by the Library, ITS and your department;
  • "Personal development": all the elements in your studies which help you develop wider experience and skills = at Sussex these are often embedded in your academic programme and includes things like group working, time management and making oral presentations. But it also includes extra-curricular opportunities that you have experienced at the University, through clubs and societies, student volunteering/development projects, mentoring other students, student representation and/or involvement in the Students' Union, and so on.



For information about how the survey is promoted at Sussex, contact the central internal communications team: 
T 01273 87 8888

For information on how the NSS results are used at Sussex, contact Chris Wellings, Head Of Academic Development & Quality Enhancement Office:


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