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Regular version of the site

About the Project

Student Experience in the Research University (SERU) is an academic and policy research collaboration based at Center for Studies in Higher Education at the University of California, Berkeley and the HSE Institute of Education.

The main goal of SERU- I is to generate regular comparative research on the student experience in research universities and use the results obtained for institutional self-improvement. The consortium aims to create a global network of universities with an interest in improving the educational environment.

Mission of the project

The results of the Student Experience in the Research University project are used to:

Improve academic programmes

Raise the quality of student services

Increase student engagement in the academic process and university life

Compare the experience of Russian and international universities

History of the project

2008 Leading American research universities unite to create the SERU-AAU Consortium housed at the University of California, Berkeley

2011 The SERU International (SERU-I) Consortium is established. It includes a selective group of top ranked international research universities in China, Brazil, South Africa and Europe

2012 HSE joins the International SERU Consortium

2013 The first survey, entitled ‘A Comparative International View of the Student Experience in Research Universities’, is conducted at HSE

2014 HSE hosts the second conference of the SERU-I Consortium entitled ‘A Comparative International View of the Student Experience in Research Universities’

2016 The HSE Institute of Education becomes a co-administrator of the international Student Experience in the Research University (SERU) Consortium

Design of the Project


Student Background:

  • Socioeconomic status
  • Parental education
  • Personal characteristics
  • High school GPA
  • Goals and aspirations
  • Reasons for choosing this university

Academic Environment

  • Academic engagement
  • Collaborative learning
  • Student-faculty interaction
  • Time allocation
  • Research engagement
  • Campus climate
  • Co-curricular activities
  • Use of technology


Learning Outcomes:

  • Quantitative skills
  • Understanding the field of study
  • Foreign language skills
  • Leadership skills

Student Satisfaction:

  • Academic experience
  • Social experience
  • Sense of belonging
  • Services
  • Overall value for money

Core Module (36 questions)

Academic and research engagement, time use, learning outcomes, personal development, plans and aspirations, satisfaction and background characteristics

Module 1
(11 questions)

Academic Experience and Globalization

Module 2
(23 questions)

Community and Civic Engagement

Module 3
(11 questions)

Student Life and Development

Module 4
(12 questions)

Use of Technology

Module 5
(6 questions)

International Students

a set of questions specific to the campus

As part of the project, member universities:

  • Conduct online student surveys adapted for a particular country and university;
  • Share results, as well as institutional and longitudinal data;
  • Exchange best practices for utilizing SERU results, participate in international conferences, symposiums and other projects related to education policy and the development of the academic environment;
  • Analyze challenges facing research universities and discuss possible solutions.


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