Students Staff

13 August 2013

Essex in top two in UK for student satisfaction according to NSS

Students outside the Tony Rich Teaching Centre

Students outside the Tony Rich Teaching Centre

Students at the University of Essex have given a massive vote of approval to their degree courses with record scores in the National Student Survey placing the University second in the UK.

Overall satisfaction ratings rose to 93 per cent, compared with a national average of 85 per cent, confirming Essex’s second place among more than 100 mainstream UK universities.

Twelve of Essex's 30 subjects covered by the NSS were ranked in the top ten including Computer Science, ranked top, Drama ranked second and Sociology ranked third. Among mainstream UK universities, Essex ranked in the top 20 in 23 subject areas.

The University achieved record scores in every category with a jump of eight percentage points for satisfaction with assessment and feedback to 76 per cent, and a rise from 78 to 84 per cent satisfaction with personal development.

Nine out of ten students were satisfied with the teaching on their course (89 per cent); 85 per cent were satisfied with academic support (up five percentage points); 87 per cent were satisfied with organisation and management (up five per cent), and the learning resources rating rose from 77 per cent to 83 per cent. Satisfaction with the Students’ Union, a new category last year, rose by three per cent to 74 per cent, compared with a national average of 67 per cent.

The National Student Survey (NSS) for 2013 saw Essex’s strongest results across all categories since the NSS was launched in 2005, confirming the University’s commitment to excellence in research-led teaching and preparing students for the world of work and a successful future.

Fifteen of the University’s 16 schools, departments and centres which were covered by the NSS achieved overall satisfaction scores of over 90 per cent. The School of Computer Science and Electronic Engineering; Department of Literature, Film, and Theatre Studies; Department of Sociology; Centre for Psychoanalytic Studies and East 15 Acting School achieved overall satisfaction ratings of 95 per cent or above.

Vice-Chancellor, Professor Anthony Forster said: “We are delighted that our commitment to offering an outstanding education is appreciated by our students. We are putting our money where our mouth is, with a £200 million investment in our facilities. Over the last three years the University has started work on a £26 million Student Centre and library extension at its Colchester Campus to be opened in 2014, a £22 million student village with 650 bed spaces on the Meadows at the Colchester Campus, and a £27 million academic and public library and learning centre at our Southend Campus, opening in September 2013.

“We have also launched a Big Essex Award, completed by more than 300 participants in its first year, which allows students to log extra-curricular experience and volunteering hours. This log is included in students’ degree transcripts.

“We celebrate our 50th anniversary in 2014, and recent rankings confirm the University of Essex was again in the top 30 universities in the world under 50 years old (Times Higher Education) and this year was awarded a Regius Professorship in Political Science by Her Majesty the Queen – the only one in the country and one of two in social sciences.”

Professor Forster attributed the excellent results to close working relationships with Essex students. Earlier this year the University announced it was investing more than one million pounds in the year ahead in the Students’ Union (SU), which is a major contributor to the student experience through its clubs and societies, volunteering activities and employment opportunities. The Essex SU won two awards in the National Union of Students’ inaugural internationalisation awards and holds a Gold Investors in People award.

Becky Fisher, President of the Students’ Union, said: “We’re very pleased to see the huge increase in overall satisfaction, with a high majority of third year students at the University being satisfied with their course. As the representative body of students at Essex we work closely with the University, both in terms of encouraging student feedback in this survey and in delivering services and support that have a positive impact on the student experience.

“We echo the priority of the Vice-Chancellor around the commitment to offering excellence not only in the education we provide, but also in the experience attained at Essex, including essential employability skills. We continue to work closely with the University to develop students’ expertise and experience so that they stand out from the crowd in an increasingly competitive job market.”

The National Student Survey (NSS) is undertaken on behalf of the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) and was completed by around 304,000 final-year students at 154 higher education institutions and 165 further education colleges across the UK.

Find out more about the student experience at Essex on our Vimeo channel

Sociology: Hristina, Bulgaria from University of Essex on Vimeo.

"How frontrunners helped me land a graduate job" Ana from University of Essex on Vimeo.

So you think you know Essex? from University of Essex on Vimeo.

Languages for All - Lucy on learning Spanish from University of Essex on Vimeo.

  • If you have any problems watching the videos on this page please visit our Vimeo channel


Full details of the national results are available on the HEFCE website:

For further information about the University’s results, please contact the University of Essex Communications Office on 01206 872400, e-mail:

...more news releases