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Creating a subject for Course Search

Advice and guidance to help you complete the Subject page in Course Publisher.

When to create a subject

You should create a page for a subject before completing the Course Entry and Course Variant pages.

The information you enter into the Subject page in Course Publisher will show on the subject's page on the website. Some of it will also be shared on relevant course pages on the website.

This guide does not explain all the fields in Course Publisher but covers those that need detailed explanation or standardised copy. You can use the template for creating a subject as well as this guide.

Writing accurately and clearly

All our content must comply with the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA).

Read our guide for writing Course Search content that complies with the CMA.

Writing a Subject summary

Your Subject summary must be 160 characters or fewer.

It should start with a broad, up-to-date definition of the subject. If it helps to make it clearer, break the summary into separate sentences.

You should not mention the number of courses or the graduate outcomes in the summary as these are covered elsewhere.

Here is an example of a Subject summary:

Mechanical Engineering combines maths, scientific analysis and creative thinking. Students learn about designing and making machines, technologies and systems.

Writing a Subject description

Your Subject description must be 400 characters or fewer.

Focus on the benefits of studying this subject, including the skills graduates will learn from studying it.

You can also summarise any specialisms relevant to the subject.

Writing about the learning experience

Your learning experience content must be 400 characters or fewer.

Describe the experience of the teaching staff and how students can benefit from their knowledge.

Highlight any of the staff members' relevant achievements and how they can help the students.

Writing about specialist facilities

Your specialist facilities content must be 400 characters or fewer.

Summarise the benefits of the facilities available to students and how they will use them. If the facilities represent a significant investment make this clear.

Make sure you highlight any facilities that are not available anywhere else in the country or world.

Writing about graduate prospects

Your graduate prospects content must be 400 characters or fewer.

Give examples of the types of roles and sectors that employ graduates of this subject.

If you mention specific companies, use their full name. You can use an acronym if it is the official name, like PwC, or universally known, like BBC.

Provide the source of any facts and figures, like a DHLE survey or our own surveys. Always use the latest information available.

Adding awards and rankings

The section for awards and ranking on the summary page contains a heading, a summary and space for up to four accolades.

You should only add rankings for the subject from a recognised body, such as:

  • The Complete University Guide
  • The Guardian University Guide
  • The Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide

You must use the most recent ranking, even if we were ranked higher in previous years.

Awards and rankings heading

Say whether the heading should be ‘Awards’, ‘Rankings’ or ‘Awards and rankings’.

Awards and rankings summary

Give a brief summary of the highlights of the subject’s awards and rankings.

Adding awards and rankings

You can add up to four accolades. For each one, you should add a short description of the award or ranking.

You should include the:

  • ranking
  • category, if applicable
  • subject area
  • full name and year of the league table

Use this standard format to be consistent with other subjects:

'[ranking] for [category] in/for [subject area] in [full name and year of the league table]'

Here are two examples of award and ranking descriptions:

1st for Graduate Prospects in Economics in The Complete University Guide 2017

Highly ranked for Politics in The Complete University Guide 2017.

Be consistent when writing rankings, for example:

  • 1st
  • 2nd
  • 3rd
  • Top five
  • Top ten

You can use ‘Highly ranked’ when referring to a subject that appears outside the top ten but in the top third of the ranking. Your description of the ranking must not be misleading.

You can include other accolades such as the Queen’s Anniversary Prize. You should not use a specific ranking here.

Don’t manipulate data to create a ranking that it is not simple to prove. Users should always be able to verify the ranking by looking at a league table.


If you have any questions, please contact us.