Swansea University postgraduate student satisfaction levels increase

With over 2,500 postgraduate students Swansea University is delighted that the satisfaction levels of our postgraduate research and postgraduate taught students are increasing.

Latest results, from the renowned Higher Education Academy student experience surveys, show an ongoing improvement across the University with an overall 89% satisfaction response from taught postgraduate students (6% higher than the UK average) and 83% satisfaction response from research postgraduate students (1% higher than the UK average).      

Postgraduate Research Experience Survey

·         A 3 percentage point improvement for overall satisfaction to 83%

·         A 5 percentage point improvement in satisfaction with Research Culture

·         A 4 percentage point improvement in satisfaction with Progress

·         A 3 percentage point improvement in satisfaction with Supervision

Postgraduate Taught Experience Survey

·         A 3 percentage point increase in Overall satisfaction to 89%

·         A 7 percentage point increase in satisfaction with Assessment and Feedback

·         A 5 percentage point in satisfaction with Organisation and Management

Professor Martin Stringer, Pro-Vice-Chancellor, Swansea University said:

“ Students are at the centre of everything we do, so I am delighted to see that we have increased our high levels of student satisfaction.

“ These results are a real tribute to the hard work going on across the institution to improve the experience of all our students. It is also a reflection of an institutional culture which values each and every one of our students.

“ The Data from these surveys allows organisations to compare postgraduate provision against others in the sector at a national, institution and department level. This information can be used to identify areas of strength, as well as to address how teaching may be changed to improve student outcomes.”

Swansea University PhD student case study:

David Mair

27 year old Cyberterrorism researcher David Mair is studying for a PhD in Criminology at Swansea University, investigating how terrorists use social media. David’s interest was sparked during his undergraduate degree in psychology which he took at Glasgow Caledonian University, his local higher education institution. "I worked part time as a special constable for Strathclyde Police while studying and really enjoyed that role," he says. David went on to take an MSc in intelligence and security informatics. One of his courses was about terrorists' use of the internet for their core logistical objectives. David hadn't previously thought about doing a PhD, but from that point on he was tempted.

An online search threw up the Cyberterrorism Project at Swansea, an interdisciplinary and international group of researchers investigating a number of core questions related to cyberterrorism and terrorist use of the internet, and everything fell into place. "I'm studying something really interesting that could have real-world impact," Mair points out. Whilst at Swansea University he completed a six month secondment to the Home Office where he worked with the cybercrime research team then he returned to Swansea to work on his PhD and teach in the criminology department, giving lectures on cyberterrorism and cybercrime. He recently helped run a research workshop on the dark web, which was well-attended by employees of the Home Office, United Nations and Swansea law enforcement.

Cyberterrorism students in Boston

David also won the Ede and Ravenscroft anniversary student award for outstanding contribution to the University beyond academic study.  He said; ” I think this was motivated in no small part to the role I had at the Home Office and the trips to represent the University at the United Nations and NATO.”

David has just returned from a trip to Massachusetts where he led a team of Swansea University students who undertook a research project which involved examining the official publications of designated terrorist organisations that follow a jihadist ideology.

In addition the PhD has given David some great opportunities: a summer school in Dublin, visiting Turkey and Macedonia to give lectures on counterterrorism at NATO, and to Italy to deliver lectures to the UN. David has also been invited to Abu Dhabi to present his research to the International Combating Violent Extremism Research Conference this coming December.

"The thing I like best about my PhD is how relevant it is," Mair concludes. "It's also very dynamic. In terrorism, things change overnight and I have to scramble to find out what's going on, who's behind it, and to analyse the reasoning behind it. I'm a people person, but I prefer to look at the broader picture, rather than working closely with individuals one-to-one. I'm looking at the psychology of terrorism: why are people attracted to terrorism? How do we stop people engaging with extremist groups? How can we challenge the perception of terrorism as heroic or justifiable? Social media is a key element in answering these questions, so this really is a new and exciting field."

Swansea University is holding two Postgraduate Open Day events this month :

  • Wednesday 11th November at the Singleton Park Campus (Colleges of Arts &Humanities, Human and Health Sciences, Law, Science and the Medical School 
  • Wednesday 18 November at the Bay Campus (College of Engineering and School of Management)

Launched in 2009, the Higher Education Academy's annual Postgraduate Taught Experience Survey (PTES) is the only sector-wide survey to gain insight from taught postgraduate students about their learning and teaching experience.

Launched in 2007, the Higher Education Academy's biennial Postgraduate Research Experience Survey (PRES) is the only sector-wide survey to gather insight from postgraduate research students about their learning and supervision experience. 

Picture 1: PhD student David Mair

Picture 2: David with fellow cyberterrorism research students in Massachusetts