Architectural Blatherations

How Happy are Architecture Students?

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The Good Oil

You can hear no end of whingeing and whining from architecture students about their education. But are they any less happy than their other friends at university {college}? We present some data.

Measuring satisfaction in the United Kingdom

The UK government publishes a National Student Satisfaction Survey (NSS). Of the 40 university disciplines listed, architecture came in third worst in the overall ratings, just above Art and Design, and Creative Arts. However, the scores are all very close: the happiest discipline scores 4.25 to Creative Arts at 3.69. We can't say if these differences are significant.

Measuring happiness in Australia

The most comprehensive data we have for a study of student satisfaction comes from Australia. Unlike the NSS results, the Australian data is in raw form and susceptible to our investigations. We used the Course Experience Questionnaire (CEQ), an annual survey of all graduates from all disciplines in all Australian universities. Over 20,000 responses. We discuss the CEQ in more detail here. We used the Overall Satisfaction Index (OSI) from this survey to rank student satisfaction in a variety of disciplines.

What we measured

We examined only those universities with architecture schools. We then collated the responses from all pass bachelors students. (Australia only recently moved to award professional architecture degrees are awarded at the masters level). We discarded the really oddball areas of study with fewer than 10 respondents (out of a survey population of more than 20,000, mind you).

The Results

We have used just the 2005 results to plot this chart. Architecture students are not the most disgruntled by any means, but they have no great love of their education.

OSI index for selected fields of study
OSI index (satisfaction) for most common fields of study from the 2005 Australian Course Experience Questionnaire. High numbers indicate happy students.