26 January 2011: Postgraduate Student Satisfaction Survey Results for 2009-2010
Postgraduate Student Satisfaction Survey Results for 2009-2010: Summary and Response from the Head of Department
Postgraduate (Taught) Student Survey (PTES)
We always await our survey results with interest and this year were very pleased to find that we performed well in both postgraduate and undergraduate surveys. Our undergraduates in 2010 gave us an overall satisfaction rating of 90% and this score places our Department 3rd out of 89 institutions in the UK in the ‘Biology and related sciences’ category; our masters students have given a similarly high rating of 87%, which is comparable to that for masters students in the 1994 UK group of similarly-sized universities and above the satisfaction rating of 85% for the sector as a whole. This is the first year of the PTES survey, and we are pleased that students highlighted the quality of teaching and the intellectual stimulation as highlights; we are also pleased that staff were enthusiastic and made the subject interesting. Most importantly, students felt that the programme has developed their research skills and as a result believed that their future employment prospects were better.
We will be aiming to build on this success and promise to remain alert to issues raised by the PTES and by student representatives during the year as we cannot improve without the help of our students. Despite the good results seen this year, we do want to continue to do better and the area where we are most concerned about is assessment and feedback. Students are happy that they have received detailed comments on their work but students were concerned that they should receive feedback in time to allow them to improve their next assignment. This is being addressed by seeking to return work within our target of 4 weeks and by adjusting deadlines so that no two related assignments have deadlines too close together.
Plagiarism is a key problem in many courses throughout the world, and previous surveys indicated some dissatisfaction relating to the way plagiarism was handled. Following recent innovations in the way we teach students to understand the issues, e.g. involving drama, we are happy that this no longer seems to be a major problem.
We would like to thank everyone who took part in the surveys. The results are a valuable way to find out how we can improve our courses and they tell us something about the experience you have had in the Department. Credit should also be given to the students who give up their time to participate in the Staff Student Liaison Committee, who we hope will have encouraged you to take part in these surveys and who also bring your views to our attention at meetings during the year. Thank you all.
Professor Graham Underwood
Head of Department, Biological Sciences