Graduate Q&A

Survey details

What is the Graduate Outcomes survey?

Graduate Outcomes is the biggest UK annual social survey and captures the perspectives and current status of recent graduates.

All graduates who completed a higher education course in the UK after August 2017 will be asked to take part in the survey 15 months after they finish their studies. The survey aims to help current and future students gain an insight into career destinations and development.

We want to understand the graduate perspective and what success looks like for you following your time in higher education. Your valuable responses will help your university or college to evaluate and promote their courses.

Why should I complete the survey?

As the biggest UK annual social survey, the collective graduate voice is powerful and will directly impact the future of education for prospective students. Join your fellow graduates and be part of the picture of education today.

You’ll also be helping your university / college understand the choices you’ve made since graduation and how this reflects the skills you developed whilst in education. This will ensure they’re promoting their courses accurately to prospective students.

What will I be asked about?

The survey asks you about what you’re doing 15 months after completing your higher education course. It also asks some subjective questions about how you feel about your current situation and general wellbeing. The survey includes a set of core questions and your response won’t be used if you don’t answer all of these questions. Further banks of questions may be included at the request of your university / college and these will be clearly signposted.

What are the subjective wellbeing questions and do I have to provide responses?

The subjective wellbeing questions ask the following on a scale of 0 to 10:

  • How satisfied are you with your life nowadays?
  • To what extent do you feel that the things you do in your life are worthwhile?
  • How happy did you feel yesterday?
  • Overall, how anxious did you feel yesterday?

These aren’t mandatory so you don’t have to share this information if you are unhappy to do so. You should take your time to decide if you are happy before providing an answer, but they do add value to your survey answers. Your HE provider won’t receive your answers to the subjective wellbeing questions in a way that identifies you (they will only get aggregated statistical information about the wellbeing questions).

When will I be surveyed?

Graduates will be grouped across the year into four cohorts based on the end date of your course. Depending on when your course ended, you will receive your survey invitation around 15 months later. For example, if your course ended in May to July 2023, you’ll receive the survey in September 2024.

The table below shows when you’ll be surveyed if you're in the class of 2022/23:

End date of course Survey invitation
August - October 2022 December 2023
November 2022 - January 2023 March 2024
February - April 2023 June 2024
May - July 2023 September 2024


You’ll have approximately 12 weeks to complete the survey and we’ll send you emails and texts to remind you to take part.

How will I be surveyed?

HESA is working with your university or college. You will receive an email from Graduate Outcomes with your university or college name in the email address inviting you to complete the survey online. As an example, graduates will receive an email from: [providername] This is the quickest and easiest way to take part. You can take the survey on most devices so you can complete it on the morning commute, on your lunch hour over a sarnie or when you get a spare few minutes in your day.

You can save your place in the survey and come straight back to where you left off – just don’t forget to complete it in full. If you start the survey but don’t complete it, you’ll receive a reminder. If you don’t want to finish the survey, we will keep your answers if you completed the core questions or delete everything if you didn’t get that far.

You may also be contacted by telephone. HESA (Higher Education Statistics Agency) is delivering the survey and it has appointed IFF Research to call graduates to encourage survey participation over the phone. They will identify themselves as calling on behalf of your university or college.

If you are not contactable by email, text or phone, we may seek the answers to the survey from a third party, such as a family member who answers the phone. If someone else completes the survey on your behalf and you would rather provide your own answers, you can still complete the survey yourself and over-write the third-party answers. Please contact [email protected] if you want to complete your own survey in place of a third-party response.

Who will contact me about the survey?

The Graduate Outcomes survey is delivered by HESA on behalf of the UK higher education funding and regulatory bodies working with your university or college.

  • Email: The survey will be emailed to you - the email will come from Graduate Outcomes with your university or college name in the email address. These emails will contain a link to the online survey. As an example, graduates will receive an email from: [providername]
  • Text messages: You will receive text reminders from ‘GradOutcome’. These texts will contain a link to the online survey.
  • Phone: If you receive a phone call regarding the survey, it will be from IFF Research. It has been appointed to capture survey responses by phone. They will introduce themselves as calling on behalf of your university / college.


How long will the survey take to complete?

The survey should take about 10 minutes to complete online and slightly longer over the phone.

How do I make sure I am invited to take part in the survey?

Your university / college will securely pass on your contact details to us for the sole purpose of administering the Graduate Outcomes survey. All you need to do is make sure your university / college has accurate contact information for you – especially a valid email address and phone number. You can do this at any point up to a week before the survey closes. Then make sure you respond to the email survey invitation as soon as you receive it.

How will / did you get my email address / telephone number?

Your university / college is actively collaborating with HESA in the delivery of the Graduate Outcomes survey. As part of the set up, your university / college has / will supply the contact details they hold for you to HESA for the sole purpose of conducting the Graduate Outcomes survey. Your university / college will need to tell you separately about any other use of your contact information.

Can I take the survey at a different time?

When you receive your survey invitation is determined by the month you graduated. We need all graduates to complete the survey approximately 15 months after the end of your studies so we are unable to alter this timeframe otherwise it will lead to inconsistent results. Refer to the table in 'When will I be surveyed?' above to find out when you’ll receive your invitation. You’ll have 12 weeks to complete the survey from the first email invitation.

I need to make changes to my survey but it won’t let me go back – why is this?

This is an additional security measure we have put in place to protect your partial survey response. If you wish to amend previously submitted information, please contact [email protected] and we will contact you to arrange this.

What are the results of previous surveys?

National level results have been released as official statistics by HESA and can be found in full on the HESA website. We’ve also shared a snapshot of some of these statistics on our survey results page to help you understand how your participation creates a picture of graduate success that can support the future of higher education.

Your university / college will also have a suite of data for their own graduates which they may use to evaluate and promote their courses.


Privacy and data protection

How will my responses be used?

Your responses will be used by your university / college, by higher education funding and regulatory bodies and some other organisations primarily for research and statistical purposes, but also in the performance of a task carried out in the public interest or in the exercise of official authority. Your individual answers won’t be used to make decisions about you.

You can view some of the statistics on our survey results page.

In the email survey invitation, we will provide a link to the privacy information page on this website which shares detailed information about how your data will be processed, who will receive it, and what they will use it for. Read more about your privacy »

What if I don’t want to be surveyed?

It is not compulsory to complete the survey but we hope you understand the benefit that your input will have for the future of education. To opt-out please use the opt-out link in the footer of the email invitation, or email [email protected] with this instruction, or let us know when we call you. You can also request to opt-out of the survey by contacting your university / college directly.

If you wish to opt-out of any further contact from your university / college, this must be done through direct contact with your university / college.

What if I don’t want to give my university / college my contact information?

The contact details your university / college holds for you will only be used by HESA to send you the Graduate Outcomes survey. Your university / college will need to tell you separately about any other use of your contact information.

Read more about your privacy »

Are my contact details held securely?

HESA takes information security extremely seriously and is committed to keeping your data secure. HESA is certified to the ISO27001 international standard for information security management, and the UK Cyber Essentials PLUS standard for cyber security. HESA undertakes detailed monitoring and penetration testing of the systems used to run the Graduate Outcomes survey to keep all your information secure.


Further information

Who runs the Graduate Outcomes survey?

The survey is delivered by the HESA, part of Jisc, to help universities and colleges (HE providers) fulfil their legal requirement to report on the outcomes of higher education to the higher education funding and regulatory bodies. The funding and regulatory bodies commission the Graduate Outcomes survey and require HESA and HE providers to work together to deliver the survey.

HESA supports the advancement of the higher education sector by collecting and publishing timely and reliable data about the sector. HESA is working in collaboration with all UK higher education providers to deliver the survey.

Where can I find further information?

Your university / college will provide you with further information about the survey shortly before you are invited to complete it. You can also learn more on this website and you can take part in the dialogue on TwitterLinkedIn, Facebook and Instagram.

If you have any other questions about HESA and data protection, please see the data protection section of the HESA website or contact HESA's Data Protection Officer: Email: [email protected]  Tel: 01242 388 513  Address: HESA, Clockwise, Festival House, Jessop Avenue, Cheltenham, GL50 3SH. Read more about your privacy »

COVID-19 and Graduate Outcomes

The Graduate Outcomes survey is key research that influences the future of higher education. By enabling remote working, we are able to continue to survey graduates and deliver the survey at this time.

The Graduate Outcomes team and HESA would like to remind all current and future survey participants to keep up to date with the latest guidance via GOV.UK and websites.


Joining the dialogue

Do you have a presence on any social media platforms?

Yes! Follow us on TwitterLinkedIn, Facebook and Instagram. We’d love to hear your views on education and life afterwards (although we know many of you went back for more!).

How can I influence others to complete the survey?

It’s vital that we receive high response rates from graduates to ensure the results are representative. We’d love your support in spreading the word amongst your fellow graduates. On this page, you’ll find some materials that you can use on your favourite social media channels so you can help us get the message out.

Make your voice count.
HESA, part of Jisc