National Student Survey (NSS)

The National Student Survey (NSS) is run by IPSOSMori on behalf of the Office for Students. It surveys all final year undergraduate students and is a compulsory survey from the Office for Students. If we reach the 50% response rate threshold as an institution then our results are used on the Discover Uni website (which is linked to UCAS) and is used by prospective students thinking of applying to universities in the UK. Individual subject areas e.g. History, also need to meet the 50% threshold for results to be published publicly.

If we receive more than 10 responses per department, course, college but less than the 50% threshold the results can only be used internally. The NSS survey was boycotted by the Oxford Student Union since 2016 over a previously perceived link to the TEF framework and fees and the commercialisation of Higher Education, but these factors have now been considered and there was no active boycott in 2023. Oxford passed the 50% threshold in 2023 for the first time since 2016 and the public version of Oxford's results (and the public results of other institutions who passed the threshold) can be found on the Office for Students website. Colleges and departments will be sent prepared versions of the results including (where available) open comments from their students.

The results are benchmarked against other UK Institutions and many HEIs use the results in their promotional materials.

Students access the survey via the NSS website and only need their student number to complete the survey. There are 27 main questions (which focus on the learning experience and resources e.g. libraries, IT and then the option to ask some additional themed questions (we ask 12 questions about study skills and workload). Students can also leave open and anonymous comments about these areas.

Undergraduate finalists are asked to complete the survey (with some exceptions based on Office for Students rules on suspended and study abroad students). This is approximately 3,000 students each year.

The 2023 survey opened on 26  January and closed on 30 April. Reminders were also sent a few times during this period from Student Information and the survey was promoted with the help of colleges, departments and via the Student News.

IPSOSMori also do text and phone reminders which, when combined with email reminders, seems particularly effective as the survey often receives 40% to 45% response rates.

Results are available from IPSOSMori in July or August each year and are then prepared, split and sent to colleges and divisions (to send to their departments). For results from previous years, please contact

After the results have been received from IPSOSMori they are used in internal reports and committee papers and any outcomes should be cascaded to students in the News Alerts. It would be helpful to receive any feedback from colleagues that could be added to the Student Surveys website for students on any changes implemented as a result of the survey.

The public version of the NSS results for Oxford (and all other institutions who made the 50% threshold in 2023) is available on the Office for Students website.

2023 NSS results (document coming soon...) IMPORTANT: these are confidential results for Oxford staff use only and as students submitted comments and responses in confidence and anonymously they must not be used to identify an individual student.