Information about the National Student Survey (NSS) can be found in the National Student survey (NSS) section.
On Unistats, the information about graduate outcomes comes from two different sources:
- The Destination of Leavers from Higher Education (DLHE) survey and
- The Longitudinal Educational Outcomes (LEO) dataset.
About the DLHE survey
The data for employment outcomes six months after graduation comes from the Destination of Leavers from Higher Education (DLHE) survey. The DLHE questionnaire is completed by course leavers across the UK, around 6 months after they graduate. Graduates are asked about their current activity, if they are working, studying, looking for work or even travelling. Those who are employed are asked how much they earn and for a description of their role and the type of employer they work for (if relevant) to allow their job to be categorised. The survey has a very high response rate of around 80% with around 400,000 graduates responding to the most recent survey (of 2015/16 leavers).
The most recent data we can show is from those who graduated in the 2015-16 academic year.
About the DLHE data on earnings
The DLHE data shows average annual salary for graduates 6 months after completing the course as well as a typical salary range for graduates. If the course only has a small number of students, two years-worth of DLHE data may be combined in order to publish, or results may be shown for the wider subject grouping rather than the specific course (e.g. results are combined for all Maths courses rather than just the course on Maths and Statistics).
The average salary and typical salary range is also shown for graduates from all similar courses across UK institutions to give a wider picture of earnings from studying this subject.
Other DLHE data
Unistats also uses DLHE data to give a picture of the first jobs that course-leavers find including whether graduates are working at professional / management level, the most common jobs that they do, and if they are doing any further study. The data helps to give a picture of patterns of further study and how work-destinations differ across subjects.
About the Longitudinal Education Outcomes (LEO) dataset
The data on earnings for three years after graduation comes from the Longitudinal Education Outcomes (LEO) dataset. This data is based on government taxation records that are used to calculate earnings. As it doesn't rely on students responding to a survey the level of coverage is higher than the DLHE survey.
About the LEO data displayed on Unistats
- The LEO data shows how much graduates working in the UK were earning 3 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.
- The data displayed is for earnings of those who graduated in 2010-11 and 2011-12, as the most recent earnings data we have is from 2014-15 and 2015-16 tax records.
- We have this information for most universities and colleges in England, with the exception of private providers which began to return data about their students more recently.
- LEO data is not yet available for Northern Irish providers, as the legislation allowing for its creation did not extend to Northern Ireland.
- In Scotland and Wales, there is a different policy position of the use of this data in Unistats, as it does not currently take account of factors other than course quality that can affect graduate earnings, such as UK and regional variations in salaries and labour market conditions.
The LEO figures published on Unistats are labelled as experimental statistics. This highlights to users that the statistics are new and still being developed, or are being used in new ways. 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 the methodology for how the statistics are produced and provide feedback on the Office for Students website(Opens in a new window).
More about earnings data
Key points to remember
Labour markets change - earnings data from past graduates can only give an indication of what the labour market and earnings might be like when you graduate
Salaries vary across regions in the UK - for example a job in London may be paid more highly than a similar job elsewhere. If a lot of graduates from a course go on to work in a higher pay region, the salary from that institution may be higher - this doesn't necessarily reflect on the course they studied.
Earnings are only one measure of success of employment and not all students are motivated by high salaries. Some train for jobs in the public sector (e.g. nursing, social work), while others may work part time to support themselves while they build careers as performers or set up their own business
Be cautious about data from subject areas with small numbers: one student with low earnings would have a strong effect on the average earnings for that course.
Comparing graduate earnings
There are lots of factors that affect graduates' earnings - not just the course or institution.
Some parts of the country are less wealthy than others, and regardless of your degree and where you studied, where you work could be reflected in your pay. Salaries are known to be higher in some big cities, especially London. Not all graduates will be free to move away from home. Many universities and colleges have large numbers of local students who want to study close to home and work in their local community afterwards. The wealth of the region they live and work in will be reflected in the job market and ultimately their salaries. In less wealthy parts of the UK, courses will show lower earnings unless the graduates move or find work in a more competitive job market.
Different careers have different trajectories, for example, becoming established as an artist or performer could take years. In some professions, graduates will start in quite junior roles and progress as they become more experienced over time. Others will start quite high up the career ladder.
There is also no way of knowing if the salaries we see are from jobs relating closely to the subjects that graduates study. Students can have very different career paths from the same course and many courses provide a stepping stone to a wide range of careers. For example, a maths graduate might use the numerate skills they gained to become an accountant, or they could stay in research or academia. The earnings between these two career paths may be very different. Others may be working in an area completely unrelated to the subject they studied.
Studies done on the LEO data have shown a strong link between the grades a student leaves school with and how much they go on to earn. Those with higher grades tend to end up earning more. The data also shows that students from wealthier backgrounds tend to earn more than those from poorer families. Universities and colleges will have different mixes of students studying with them and some may specifically aim to encourage a wide diversity of students from much broader backgrounds into higher education. Their average earnings may therefore be lower.
All courses included on Unistats allow those who complete them successfully to gain recognised UK qualifications. Some courses, or in some cases departments or whole universities and colleges, will have additional accreditation awarded to them by another body.
Sometimes, completing an accredited course is a requirement to allow you to join a particular profession; for example, doctors must complete courses accredited by the General Medical council. In other cases, it may indicate that the course:
- Allows graduates to join professional bodies, grants them chartered status, exempts them from professional examinations.
- Prepares them to work in certain professions or meet the expectations of employers in particular sectors.
The statement describing the accreditation on Unistats will explain the benefit obtained by pursuing a course with that accreditation. You can click on this statement to see a fuller explanation on the accrediting body's website.
Some accrediting bodies have statutory authority over a profession or group of professionals. For example, the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) provides standards, training and support of architecture and architects across the UK. It monitors compliance with internationally recognised minimum standards in architectural education, and identifies courses and examinations which achieve these standards necessary to prepare students for professional practice.
Each university or college has different entry requirements for their courses and qualifications accepted can vary. Universities and colleges express entry requirements in a variety of ways. An offer will often be expressed as a minimum grade, or set of grades, depending on the qualifications you are taking, or as a total number of UCAS Tariff Points.
An offer may also include a minimum grade in a specific subject or qualification. Some institutions take additional information into consideration, such as contextual data about where you went to school or where you live, and may make you a different offer than the minimum specified on their website. A number of universities and colleges will also consider applications from potential students with no formal qualifications but who have experience that is relevant to the course.
In addition to academic and vocational qualifications, some courses have additional non-academic requirements that you will need to satisfy before you start your course, in order to enable you to follow your chosen career when you graduate.
The Unistats website shows the types of qualifications students who were previously enrolled on the course had achieved.
These are not necessarily the only qualifications that will be accepted for entry onto the course and you should check the information provided on the university or college website for full details.
The Unistats website shows the UCAS Tariff points held by the students who were previously enrolled on the course. These are not necessarily the current minimum entry requirements for the course and you should check the university or college website for full information.
The UCAS Tariff is the system for allocating points to qualifications used for entry to higher education. Universities and colleges can use the UCAS Tariff to make comparisons between applicants with different qualifications. Tariff points are often used in entry requirements, although other factors will often be taken into account by universities and colleges when deciding whether to offer you a place.
The UCAS Tariff changed for courses starting from September 2017. The new Tariff uses a different numeric scale to allow more qualifications to be added. We currently display entry data for students starting the course in 2014-16 and we map the old tariff points to the new tariff so that prospective students can compare with information about courses starting in 2018 which is expressed in the new tariff.
For further information on the UCAS Tariff, see the UCAS website. (Opens in a new window.) (Opens in a new window)