National Student Survey 2016 – another resounding success for Sheffield Archaeology

Once again, our combined score for overall course satisfaction plus Students' Union satisfaction – a whopping 95% – is the highest of any UK Archaeology department.

NSS resultsNothing matters more to us here at Sheffield’s Department of Archaeology than the quality of our students’ experience. For that reason we pay very close attention to what our students say in the National Student Survey.

The NSS is an annual event administered by HEFCE (Higher Education Funding Council for England) and asks nearly half a million final year university students about their experiences on their course.

This year we are very pleased to announce that the Department of Archaeology scored an excellent 95% in the Overall Satisfaction category, with the vast majority of our respondent students stating they were either satisfied or very satisfied with their course. This places us above the sector-wide satisfaction rating for Archaeology and amongst the company of a select few Archaeology departments across the nation.

Course satisfaction + student union excellence = a perfect combination!

Archaeology students on fieldwork

And when our students’ satisfaction with their Sheffield Archaeology course is combined with their love for the Students’ Union, we are by far the Archaeology department with the most satisfied students.

Our students’ overwhelming satisfaction with the University of Sheffield’s Students’ Union – which also stands at 95% – is the highest of any Archaeology department and well above the sector-wide average of 59%. 

"I've had an amazing four years in the Archaeology Department at Sheffield - the teaching style of the staff is very stimulating and I really appreciate all the support and opportunities that they opened for me both here and abroad. The mix of practical work alongside open discussion within lectures and seminars made me engage with the topics far beyond just being lectured to!"

Nick groat, bsc Archaeology with Employment experience (2016)

The Students' Union

University of Sheffield’s Students’ Union - voted the best in the UK for the fifth year running

Otis Gilbert, BA Classical and Historical Archaeology (2015) and current Student Union Councillor for Archaeology, explains the Students’ Union’s success in this way:

Our student union provides an excellent space for students to socialise, engage in a wide range of activities or take part in activism. We focus on providing exemplary services in the manner chosen by our members in regular referenda and elections, which ensures every voice is heard.


I'm delighted with the feedback we have received from our students in the NSS. Yet again, we see that our students appreciate the hard work of our staff, and have an excellent experience while they are with us. It's a wonderful response at the end of yet another great year for the staff and students of our department.


Teaching Excellence

In particular, our NSS scores highlighted the excellence of the teaching and learning experiences in our department:

96% of our students were satisfied with the teaching on their course
98% say that our staff are good at explaining things
100% of our students think our staff have made the subject interesting
95% say that our staff are enthusiastic about what they teach
93% say that their course was intellectually stimulating

Our students also praised the library and learning resources available to them (95% satisfied) and also overwhelmingly agreed – 93% – that their communication skills have improved through studying Archaeology at Sheffield.

NSS statistics

NSS statistics

In the NSS, students are asked a series of 23 questions covering six aspects of the learning experience as well as their overall satisfaction. For each questions students are asked to what extent on a five-point scale they agree with a statement, with the top two scores being Mostly Agree and Definitely Agree. In order to be included in the published results a department must meet an eligibility threshold of at least a 50% response rate and a minimum of 10 responses. This avoids results being skewed by very small sample sizes.

The full dataset of NSS 2016 results are now available on the HEFCE website.  We would like to thank all of our students that took the time to complete the survey, and wish them all the best with their future plans.