Topical Modules

Academic Advising

This module, updated in 2020, examines student experiences with academic advising, including frequency of interaction with advisors and advising practices that reflect NACADA core values. It also asks students to identify who has been most helpful. The module complements a question on the core survey about the quality of students' interactions with academic advisors. A FSSE version is available

Items  |  Survey

Career & Workforce Preparation (New in 2021)

This module represents a collaboration between NSSE and Strada Education Network to assess how the college experience prepares students for their future. Questions address institutional contributions to students’ career plans, influences on their goals, confidence in work-related skills, career exploration in the curriculum, and use of career resources and services. A FSSE version is available

Items  |  Survey

Civic Engagement

Adapted from a pilot survey developed by the American Association of State Colleges and Universities, this module asks students to assess their conflict resolution skills, and examines perceptions of support for activism and how often students have engaged with campus, local, state, national, or global issues. The module complements questions on the core survey about service-learning, community service or volunteer work, and becoming an informed and active citizen. A FSSE version is available

Items  |  Survey

Development of Transferable Skills (Updated in 2021)

Adapted from a pilot survey that was developed by the American Association of State Colleges and Universities, this module examines activities that develop useful and transferable skills for the workplace and beyond (such as verbal and written fluency, critical thinking, creative thinking, problem solving, project management, and time management). The module complements questions on the core survey about higher-order learning, reflective and integrative learning, and students' perceptions of their development in a variety of areas. A FSSE version is available

Items | Survey

Experiences With Information Literacy

Updated for NSSE 2024, this module was developed in collaboration with college and university librarians from the Association of College & Research Libraries. Items focus on students' use of information sources, research-based inquiry, and experiences traditionally associated with research libraries. It complements questions on the core survey about reflective & integrative learning, higher-order learning, and assigned reading and writing.

Items  |  Survey 

Experiences With Online Learning (New in 2021)

This module was developed in collaboration with Quality Matters, a leader in online instruction. Based in part on their Higher Education Course Design Rubric Standards (6th Ed.), the item set measures instructional aspects that experts consider to be ideal for online courses. The set also assesses how students engage in both online and hybrid courses, their degree of comfort with online learning and experience of support, and ideas about how the learning experience can be improved.

Items | Survey

Experiences With Writing

This module is the result of an ongoing collaboration between NSSE and the Council of Writing Program Administrators. The questions touch on three aspects of good writing assignments—interactivity, meaning-making, and clarity. It complements questions on the core survey about how much writing students do, the nature of their course assignments, and perceived gains in written expression. A FSSE version is available

 Items  | Survey 

First-Year Experiences & Senior Transitions (Updated in 2021)

This module includes separate sets of items for first-year students and seniors (based on institution-reported class. The first-year items focus on academic perseverance, help-seeking behaviors, and institutional commitment, while the senior items explore post-graduation plans, links between the academic major and future plans, and confidence in skill development.

Items  |  Survey: First-Year & Senior

HIP Quality (New in 2022)

This module—originally developed for the Assessing Quality and Equity in High-Impact Practices project, supported by Lumina Foundation—explores the extent to which HIP experiences incorporate elements theorized to account for their educational benefits and enables participating institutions to examine quality and equity concerns related to high-quality HIP experiences. Students who indicated on the core NSSE that they had done or are doing at least one HIP receive a set of questions—Questions for HIP Participants—probing their experience, while those who have not done any of the HIPs receive an open-ended item—Question for HIP Non-Participants—to describe another powerful learning experience they may have had.

Items |  Survey

Inclusiveness & Engagement With Cultural Diversity

This module examines environments, processes, and activities that reflect the engagement and validation of cultural diversity and promote greater understanding of societal differences. Questions explore students’ exposure to inclusive teaching practices and intercultural learning; perceptions of institutional values and commitment regarding diversity; and participation in diversity-related programming and coursework. The module replaces the former Experiences with Diverse Perspectives module.  A FSSE version is available.

  Items | Survey

Mental Health & Well-Being (new in 2023)

The Mental Health and Well-Being Topical Module provides colleges and universities an opportunity to understand and address current concerns about students’ emotional, psychological, and social wellness. Results will help institutions promote well-being by purposefully creating supportive environments and providing necessary resources for students to thrive. This module assesses students’ experiences related to a range of dimensions for mental health and well-being. It also examines sources of support and explores students’ perceptions about campus resources. Some components for this set were influenced by the Butler University Student Well-Being Institutional Support Survey (SWISS). 

  Items | Survey

Retired Topical Modules

Topical Modules address current issues related to student engagement and quality of the undergraduate experience. Modules are occasionally retired to accommodate new or related topics and maintain sufficient institutional participation numbers.

  • HIP Quality (2022 version)
    In 2023, the HIP Quality module was reduced in length from the original version which had extended items for HIP non-participants. The 2022 version codebook is available for download.
  • Learning With Technology
    (Available 2013—2020)
  • Experiences With Diverse Perspectives
    (Available 2013—2016; Replaced by Inclusiveness and Engagement With Cultural Diversity)
  • Global Perspectives-Cognitive and Social
    (Available 2013—2015; Replaced by Global Learning)
  • Coping With COVID
    (2021 only)