About the study


The Graduate Panel 2017 is designed as a longitudinal study with several waves. The first survey of the graduates of 2017 is conducted 1-2 years after graduation. This part will focus on the topics of transition into the labour market, early career, and transition into further academic training. Additionally, mapping the study patterns and retrospective rating of study programmes will have a high priority as this information provides important feedback for quality management of study programmes.

The later survey waves will most likely take place five and ten years after graduation. 

In addition to a nationwide representative sample, higher education institutions (HEI) had the possibility to extend the survey based on their own requirements and interests. This was be carried out via participation in the "Kooperationsprojekt Absolventenstudien" (KOAB), which was coordinated by ISTAT (this option entails costs).


The AP2017 is a nationwide survey of the graduate cohort 2017 (= examination year 2017). A random sample of 75,000 graduates was drawn, including graduates of all degree levels and all types of HEIs in Germany (with the exception of colleges of public administration and "Universitäten der Bundeswehr"). Individual study programmes of various HEIs are included in the sample. There is also a possibility that multiple programmes from a single HEI are a part of the sample.


Multiple actors were involved in the development of the AP2017 questionnaire. The process included the integration of two approved nationwide formats (DZHW Graduate Survey and KOAB studies). The prestent tool is oriented on the latest research in regards to content as well as methods, providing seamless continuation of most of the time series that originated in the DZHW graduate survey, the KOAB studies or a format based on one of these two types.

The AP2017 questionnaire is conceptualized as a core instrument, which can be extended  to include HEI-specific questions by KOAB universities.

The instrument is provided in German and English languages. Specific questionnaire variations exist for different subgroups (bachelor, master, doctorate holders, graduates of law, medicine, teachers training and universities of the arts), as well as for non-traditional programmes of study.


The field phase for the first wave of the survey took place from October 2018 to April 2019. The survey was carried out using an online questionnaire; the graduates were invited both by post and email. For data protection reasons contact was made via the HEIs. 

An average response rate of at least 25 % was asumed for the survey.


The results of AP2017 will be structured in a way that they meet the needs of different user groups. This includes the requirements of national education monitoring, higher education research as well as for internal use by HEIs for their evaluation research and quality management. These perspectives are reflected in a jointly created project publication as well as in specific result formats and documents.

All participating HEIs receive free tabular as well as graphic presentations for the study programmes surveyed in the AP2017 .

An anonymised scientific use file will be made available to the scientific community.