All undergraduates are asked a common core of questions about time use, student development, academic engagement, experience with their major (for declared students), campus climate, and background characteristics (demographics).
Following the core, each student is asked a set of questions from one of the various topical modules, which are determined by random assignment. Over the years, the number of modules have varied from 5 to the current number of 2. When there were 5 modules, 20% of respondents were typically assigned to a given module. However, with 2 modules the distribution has typically been such that 50% of respondents were assigned to one module,and 50% assigned to the second module.
Topics covered in the modules have included the following:
- academic engagement,
- civic engagement (politics and community service),
- student development (moral and psychological),
- student programs and services,
- globalization, or
- a wild card group of items unique to each campus.
The form of each module, except the wild card, is identical across all UC campuses for a given survey administration. This arrangement allows greater breadth of topics and more discretion over content without increasing the length of the survey.