Two studies were conducted in order to investigate the factors that drive overall course satisfaction scores on the National Student Survey (NSS) in D&S. The first involved the analysis of NSS scores from the 2012 survey across departments in D&S. The second study was larger in scale and scope, being designed to capture what course aspects, psychological factors, and academic strengths related to overall course satisfaction in current students. The first study indicated that of the items captured on the NSS, those that related to teaching excellence and to personal development were the greatest predictors of overall satisfaction. Quite some way behind these two factors came organisation, academic support and resources, in that order. Study two extended study one by matching individuals’ satisfaction scores to person variables such as self-esteem, self-efficacy, basic psychological needs, self-reported study skills and entry points. Participants were 250 level 5 students across D&S departments. All variables except entry points correlated with overall satisfaction, but regression analyses showed that all variance was accounted for by levels of felt competence. Both studies highlight the importance of teaching quality and students’ personal development to the overall satisfaction students report as experiencing on their SHU courses. The implications are that resources aimed at improving student satisfaction should be put towards enabling academic staff to excel as inspirational tutors, tutors who facilitate the development of competence and confidence in the personal journey of SHU students.