Find out more about universities, colleges and courses

Before making a final decision on your application, it’s worth researching universities, colleges and courses using independent and unbiased sources. Two ways you can do this are through the Unistats website and reading reports from the Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education (QAA) .

Comparing courses: Unistats

You can use the Unistats website to compare facts and figures on institutions and courses. You’ll find information on:

  • course continuation
  • student achievement
  • graduate employment
  • student population (which includes the percentages of mature, part-time and overseas students)
  • students’ qualifications on entry

You’ll also find details of students’ views on teaching quality, academic support and information from the UK National Student Survey (NSS). The NSS is an annual survey containing the views of all undergraduates studying in universities and colleges in Northern Ireland, England and Wales.

There aren’t any official university or college league tables, though many newspapers produce their own, unofficial tables.

Checking course quality

Academic standards across the UK are checked by the QAA. This means that whichever university or college you study at and whichever course you take, the 'threshold level' to reach a particular standard, a first or 2:1 degree, for example, will be comparable.

Universities and colleges are responsible for the standards and quality of the courses they offer. This is internal checking. However, the QAA also checks to see how well universities and colleges keep to these standards.

The QAA produces reviews and reports which highlight areas of good practice and make recommendations for action. It also provides guidance on the reliability of the information on standards and quality published by each university or college.

Course accreditation from professional bodies

Some professions approve or accredit related courses. If you're planning to pursue a career in a particular area, you should check that your course is one of those approved by the relevant organisation that represents the career you are choosing. Every university or college should be able to give you this information.

Other sources of information on universities, colleges and courses

Choosing where to go and what to study is an important decision, so it’s worth getting together as much information as you can.

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