Frequently Asked Questions

Why am I getting this survey?

Graduate and professional students asked for a way to provide anonymous feedback about their experiences; gradSERU is the University's response.

Are gradSERU results confidential?

Yes. Neither the University of Minnesota Graduate School nor colleges/programs have access to identifiable response data. To verify eligibility, students are required to log-in to the survey using their UMN Student ID number.

Who is eligible to take the survey?

All degree-seeking graduate and professional students are eligible to take the survey.

I get surveyed all the time. How is this survey different?

gradSERU is the only comprehensive survey of graduate and professional education at the University of Minnesota. gradSERU is more comprehensive than other surveys and includes a wide of range of questions specifically focused on graduate and professional student experiences at research universities. Additionally, gradSERU is readily customizable, allowing the introduction of questions specifically tailored to the University of Minnesota.

Can I take the survey in more than one sitting?

Yes. If you exit the survey before you've completed it, when you log back in to take the survey you'll be directed to the place where you left off.

Can I take the survey on my mobile device?

The survey works best if you take it using a desktop or laptop computer.

What do you do with the data? How is the information used?

Results are reported to academic departments and administration at the University of Minnesota and are used to improve our graduate and professional programs and services. We also share our data with other universities in the gradSERU consortium to improve our understanding of educational best practices at leading research universities. The collected data is used by researchers, professors and students from various countries to gain a better understanding on how to improve the graduate and professional student experience.

What are some examples of how the data is used?

A few examples from Directors of Graduate Studies of how programs are using feedback from previous gradSERU surveys to improve the graduate education experience:

  • "The survey responses about ‘having a feeling of solidarity’ and ‘having a friend in the program’ suggested that our graduate students were having trouble forming positive peer relationships. To address this issue, our program has planned a series of graduate student information sessions and workshops as well as social gatherings during this academic year to disseminate important information while encouraging students to get to know each other better.”

  • "We learned from the gradSERU results that many of our students are struggling with finding adequate funding for research conference travel, which contributes to increased stress levels and is a barrier to timely degree completion. In response, and with the support of the department's leadership, the budget for doctoral students' conference travel awards was increased from $3,000 to $10,000!”

  • “We used the gradSERU data to ignite conversations about how to support students with their writing. What has been most exciting is our four writing retreats scheduled for this year and a February Writing Challenge where everyone who signs up commits to writing 30 minutes a day for 20 days. There has been a lot of enthusiasm about these community-building activities!”

  • “The survey results told us that we could improve the overall climate in our program. We’re addressing microaggressions that occur both in and out of classroom by hosting professional development workshops on topics like supporting our queer and transgender community; incorporating equity, diversity and inclusion into course curriculum; and providing an orientation short-course to help build community in our program.”

  • “The gradSERU results indicated that graduate students in our program wanted a physical space in which to meet and build relationships with one another. To address this, we remodeled a break room for students to use for studying, meeting, or eating lunch. This is a huge commitment because space is at such a premium in the department.”

  • “We have been working hard to address issues that came out of the gradSERU survey, particularly with respect to our program resources and advising. For example, we have updated our faculty handbook to better clarify the responsibilities and expectations of advisors, and we’ve updated our graduate student handbook to provide better guidance through the program.”

How long does the survey take to complete?

gradSERU takes about 30-35 minutes to complete.

Are gradSERU survey results used to make funding decisions?


Will students be able to see the results of the survey?

Yes, we will publish an announcement to graduate and professional students when the data is available and post it online.

What other universities participate in gradSERU?

Participating North American gradSERU institutions:

  • Michigan State University

  • Purdue University

  • Rutgers University

  • University of Connecticut

  • University of Delaware

  • University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

  • University of Iowa

  • University of Maryland

  • University of Oregon

  • University of Pittsburgh

  • University of Toronto

  • University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee

Participating international gradSERU institutions:

  • University of Bremen (Germany)

  • University of Gottingen (Germany)

  • Lund University (Sweden)

  • Utrecht University (Netherlands)

Who do I contact if I have questions about the survey and results?

Contact Daniel Jones-White, Managing Director of the SERU Research Consortium, and Research & Development Director, gradSERU,