St Andrews retains top spot in university league table


The University of St Andrews has been named the best university in Scotland by the Complete University Guide 2015 for the second year running. It has also risen two places, to fourth, in the UK-wide league table.

St Andrews is the only university in Scotland to make the UK top 20 this year, with the two other major Scottish universities of Edinburgh and Glasgow falling by three and seven places respectively to 21st and 30th. No other university in the top ten rose by as many places as St Andrews, which has now moved up three places since it was ranked seventh just five years ago.

For the fourth year in succession, Cambridge prevailed over Oxford at the top of the table, with only the London School of Economics separating Oxbridge from St Andrews.

Notable strengths of St Andrews include extremely high student satisfaction figures – second in the UK after the private University of Buckingham – as well as top five rankings in a range of subjects (see below).

The Complete University Guide assessed nine factors: entry standards, quality of research, student satisfaction, graduate prospects, how many students obtain a first class or upper second class degree, student-staff ratio, academic services spending, facilities spending, and degree completion rate. St Andrews achieved the top category (five out of five) in eight of the nine areas. The only noteworthy deficiency was in facilities spending, where it was graded three out of five, with exactly the same score as Salford University (ranked 84th in the overall league table).

This new position means that St Andrews is currently ranked fourth in all three of the UK’s mainstream university league tables – the Complete University Guide, the Guardian and the Times.

Louise Richardson, the principal and vice-chancellor of the University of St Andrews, said: “Every university is only as good as the people who research, teach and study there, so this ranking is essentially a reflection of the dedication and talent of St Andrews students and staff.

“It is particularly encouraging that we have been able to improve our position in this national league table despite the increased financial pressures which we – along with all Scottish universities – face. The challenge for us is to secure the resources to match our potential and ensure that we can continue to compete at the highest levels, both nationally and internationally.”

Dr Bernard Kingston, the principal author of the Complete University Guide website, said: “The league tables, taken with the rankings for specific subjects, offer would-be students an accurate and independent guide to the UK university system.

“What is beyond dispute is that the top ten includes some of the world’s finest higher education institutions.”

The University of St Andrews placed in the top five in the following subjects:

  • Anthropology (3rd)
  • Business and Management Studies (3rd)
  • Iberian Languages (3rd)
  • Computer Science (4th)
  • English (4th)
  • History (4th)
  • Physics and Astronomy (4th)
  • Politics (4th)
  • Chemistry (5th)
  • French (5th)
  • Geology (5th)
  • Middle Eastern and African Studies (5th)
  • Theology and Religious Studies (5th)



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