There are separate record layouts for student, postdoc, and non-faculty researcher (NFR) data. The layouts for each type of data is similar in that each row represents an individual record and the columns represent the requested GSS data elements.


Click the links below to see detailed information about the record layout for the .csv files by data type:



The record layout contains a person_id variable. We recommend that you create a person_id consisting of unique random numbers. Do not use the social security number, employee ID, or student ID. We also recommend that you maintain a crosswalk that maps to an actual student or employee ID for each individual record. This crosswalk will assist you in case you need to review or reconcile any data issues during the data collection and review process. For example, if you only upload the demographic data and will manually enter the financial support data via the GSS Web survey, you can use these IDs to keep track of the individual records included in the uploaded unit-level data.  Do not share this crosswalk with anyone outside your institution, and please do not use any personally identifiable information in the person_id variable.


The unit_id can be alphanumeric and should ideally be whatever is listed in your institutional systems. For example, your Biology department might be coded "BIOL" or "BIO" in your enrollment database. If your institutional systems do not contain a unique unit_id field than you should create one that you can use each year for data reporting.  Please note that each unit reported should have a unique unit_id.


For the unit name, please provide the name used in your university databases to refer to different units. This should be a name you will be able to pull consistently from year to year. When you see your units in the GSS unit status menu, these are the unit names that you will see. For example: Department of Biology, School of Aerospace Engineering, CHEM, or University Center for Interdisciplinary Research.



Upload Option 1 - Upload Individual-Level Data

Sample data files can be found here:



To download the Excel templates for each of the data types please go to the "GSS Codes, CIP Crosswalk, and Data Templates" located in the Survey Menu.  


In each file, the first worksheet provides the variable coding specifications and the second worksheet is the template.


Upload Option 2 - Upload Excel Macro Generated Unit-Level Data

To download the Macro Enabled Excel templates for each of the data types please go to the "GSS Codes, CIP Crosswalk, and Data Templates" located in the Survey Menu.


In each file, the first worksheet provides the variable coding specifications and the second worksheet is the template.


To enable the macro, click the "Enable Content" button in the Security Warning bar. Once the macro is enabled, add the extracted data to the appropriate template and run the "Create_Upload" macro. This macro can be run by holding down the Control and Shift keys and typing M (i.e, CTRL+SHIFT+M) or clicking the "Macros" icon under the "View" tab, selecting the "Create_Upload" macro, and clicking "Run."  The macro will then create the .csv file needed for the unit-level upload in the same location as the template. The macro generated .csv file should not be modified.


Once you have reviewed your results and your data are free of error, you may submit the results to NSF.



For additional assistance, please refer to the frequently asked questions or contact the GSS staff directly at 866-558-0781 or gss@rti.org.



OMB 3145-0062
Expires 10/31/2020


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