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New guide ranks St Andrews among UK’s best

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The University of St Andrews has once again been ranked the best university in Scotland and third in the UK behind Oxbridge, according to a new higher education league table published today (29 May 2018).

The Guardian University Guide 2019 places St Andrews as the only Scottish university in the top 20 of the 121 universities ranked.

The results show St Andrews has consolidated its third-placed UK ranking behind Cambridge in first place and is now 0.2% points behind second-placed Oxford.

This is the fifth time Scotland’s oldest university has been ranked among the UK’s top three universities in the Guardian league tables.

St Andrews was ranked first in the UK for student satisfaction with their courses and with teaching.

The Guardian’s league table ranks universities according to: spending per student; the student/staff ratio; graduate career prospects; the grades applicants require to be offered a place; a value-added score that compares students’ entry qualifications with their final degree results; and how satisfied final year students are with their courses, based on results from the annual National Student Survey (NSS).

This year a new continuation measurement has been introduced for the rankings based on whether students continue beyond their first year, and this has seen a shift in the rankings.

St Andrews academic schools again performed strongly with 18 of the University’s 20 subjects in the UK top 10:

  • Five subjects placed top in the UK – Computer Science & Information Systems, Physics, Psychology, International Relations, and Biosciences.
  • Five subjects were ranked second in the UK – Business, Management & Marketing, English & Creative Writing, Mathematics, Philosophy, and Religious Studies & Theology.
  • Seven subjects were ranked in the top five in the UK – Earth & Marine Sciences, Economics, Classics & Ancient History, History, Geography & Environmental Studies, History of Art, and Modern Languages & Linguistics.

St Andrews Principal, Professor Sally Mapstone, said:

“We have not only maintained third place next to Oxford and Cambridge, we have consolidated that position and are the leading university in Scotland, beyond Glasgow and Edinburgh at 24th and 28th respectively.

The Guardian itself notes: ‘For the first time in five years, the gap between Oxford, in second place, and St Andrews, in third, has narrowed, with a difference of only 0.2% points.’

“This is a much-deserved endorsement of the commitment of all who teach, work and study here. It would not be possible without a considerable team effort across our schools and professional service units.

The Guardian’s methodology is designed to rank universities principally by their teaching strengths and support for the student experience, areas in which we traditionally perform well.

“The fact that we have been able to do so at a time of much increased competition from a highly-pressured sector speaks a great deal for the resilience of our model of high-quality research led teaching.”


Issued by the University of St Andrews Communications Office.

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