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Durham University News

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Durham University students among the most satisfied in the UK

(27 September 2012)

Durham University students are among the most satisfied in the UK, according to this year’s National Student Survey (NSS).

Overall, 89 per cent of students said they were satisfied with the quality of their course compared to the national average of 85 per cent. As a result, Durham remains one of the highest ranked UK universities for student satisfaction.

The NSS is an independent annual survey that evaluates how satisfied students are with the overall quality of their higher education experience. Students rated their satisfaction in seven areas of academic life: teaching; assessment and feedback; academic support; organisation and management; learning resources; personal development and overall satisfaction.

Durham students were particularly satisfied with the teaching they received, with 92 per cent describing their course as intellectually stimulating. The enthusiasm of teaching staff and the way they explained their subjects also scored highly at 91 per cent.

Ninety-one per cent of students said they had been able to contact a member of staff when needed, highlighting the accessibility of the University’s academic staff.

Across individual subjects, Molecular Biology, Biophysics and Biochemistry achieved a satisfaction rating of 100 per cent.

Other subjects, including History and Sports Science (98 per cent), Music and Theology and Religious Studies (96 per cent), and Initial Teacher Training (95 per cent) registered particularly high satisfaction ratings.

Professor Tom Ward, Pro-Vice-Chancellor of Education, Durham University, said: “Durham gives students the opportunity to combine research-led teaching and learning with a college system that allows them to develop their personal skills through activities such as sport, the arts and volunteering.

“The experience we offer helps students to develop key skills for life that make our graduates among the most sought after in the world by leading employers.

“We are delighted that our students have such overall satisfaction with the experience they enjoy at Durham.

“To enhance this experience further we have invested £100m in new facilities across the University, including £48m in the new Main Library extension, Durham Law School and Palatine Centre, which brings student support services, including Counselling Services, Services for Students with Disabilities, the Careers, Employability and Enterprise Centre, and the Academic and International Offices, together on one site for the benefit of students.”

As part of its overall investment, the University has also spent £5m to £6m each year since 2003 in refurbishing College accommodation and £12m in new sports facilities at Queen’s Campus, in Stockton, and at Maiden Castle, in Durham, which is home to one of only three indoor powered rowing tanks in the UK. Work is also currently underway on a major redevelopment of Durham Business School.

Durham Students’ Union Education and Welfare Officer Jenny James said: “Durham University students benefit from excellent research and teaching and also the opportunity to feedback to the University directly on all elements of their education so changes and improvements can be made.

“Organised by Durham Students’ Union, there are over 500 students elected each year from every course and level in the University to ensure all students are represented in their department on academic matters.

“This allows staff members to get a real insight into what is working well and to address any issues that might arise to enhance the experience offered to students.”

The NSS results follow continued excellent performance by Durham University across the league tables. Durham is ranked as a World Top-100 University by both the QS World University Rankings 2012 and the Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2011-2012. The QS guide also placed Durham in the top 20 globally for the reputation of its graduates among leading employers.

The University is also ranked third in the prestigious Sunday Times University Guide 2012 and fifth in The Times Good University Guide 2013 and The Complete University Guide 2013. 

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