St Andrews rises to third in the UK in independent guide

Tuesday 25 April 2017


Scotland’s top university is the University of St Andrews, according to a new league table published today (Wednesday 26 April 2017).

The Complete University Guide 2018 ranks St Andrews top in Scotland and third in the United Kingdom. Only Oxford and Cambridge outrank St Andrews, which has secured its highest ever place in this league table.

In separate listings covering 70 subjects, St Andrews features in the top ten for 23 of the 25 subjects it teaches, occupying the top UK spot in two (Business & Management Studies and Middle Eastern & African Studies).

As a nation, Scotland outperformed the other UK countries in three of the key measures used to rank universities. The mean scores for Scottish universities in Entry Standards, Good Honours and Graduate Prospects are all higher than those recorded in England, Northern Ireland and Wales.

St Andrews’ rise from fifth to third place in the guide is believed to be due to its high scores for teaching quality and student satisfaction with the quality of its academic programmes. It is currently UK University of the Year for Teaching Quality.

Welcoming the news, Principal Professor Sally Mapstone said: “This all-time high is a great endorsement of what St Andrews stands for. Our values are those of a small, Scottish, and highly international university. We are outward looking, inclusive and focused on excellence.

“We see teaching quality and research excellence as commensurate, and we provide them in an environment that is beautiful, friendly and enriching.

“That Scottish universities have done so well in three of the key measures here is notable. Brexit and its consequences notwithstanding, Scottish universities will strive to continue to out-perform, and we look for meaningful support to enable us to do so.”

Congratulating staff and students at the University, MP for North East Fife Stephen Gethins said: “The University of St Andrews is a world-leading institution with leadership of the highest calibre and teaching of an extremely high quality. This is reflected in tremendous academic achievement and student satisfaction. Being given third place in the rankings, and the top spot in Scotland, is testament to all of the hard work that goes on and shows just what a great asset the University is to this area.”

Dr Bernard Kingston, Chairman of, explained: “It is ten years since the guide launched its online university league tables, and they have proved their accuracy, independence and robustness over the decade.

“This year there is a considerable degree of stability at the upper end of the league table, as in the past. This stability, while it may not attract the headlines, demonstrates that the rankings fulfil our principal objective – to provide credible and freely accessible information for individuals seeking a university place.

“The Government has said that applicants need access to robust, timely and objective information, based on criteria that are straightforward and easily understood.

“We believe the Complete University Guide 2018 meets these criteria and more, and we intend that this will remain the case for the next decade – and beyond. Indeed, we use the same three metrics which the Government plans to include in its much-heralded Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF).”

Background information

The Complete University Guide is published online.

Issued by the University of St Andrews Communications Office, contactable on 01334 467310 or 462530 or [email protected].

Category University news

Related topics

Share this story