University of St Andrews ranked first in Scotland, fifth in UK

St Andrews also ranked in the top ten in the UK for 24 subjects out of the 70 that the Guide covers and top for three subjects. The University also recorded high marks in teaching quality, student satisfaction, and the quality of its academic programmes.

Photo: Kylie Andrews

The University of St Andrews has been ranked the top university in Scotland and fifth in the United Kingdom in a new league table.

Published on Wednesday 25 April 2018, the Complete University Guide 2019 has ranked St Andrews in top spots, and Scotland outperformed other UK countries in measures used by the Guide when ranking universities.

The University has been consistently ranked the best in Scotland since the Guide was first published 11 years ago.

In the top five, respectively, are the University of Cambridge, University of Oxford, London School of Economics, Imperial College London, and University of St Andrews.

St Andrews was previously ranked third best in the UK by the Guide in 2018, falling two spots for 2019. However, it also held the fifth spot in 2017 and 2016.

On the rankings, Principal Sally Mapstone said, “It’s an honour to be top in Scotland after another very strong performance from the sector north of the border. St Andrews’ values are those of a small, Scottish, and highly international university. We are outward looking, inclusive and focused on excellence.”

She continued, “We see teaching quality and research excellence as commensurate, and we provide them in an environment that is beautiful, friendly and enriching. This is an encouraging result for St Andrews, and for Scottish higher education which continues to show its strengths.”

Additionally, St Andrews is one of three universities, other than Oxford and Cambridge, to hold the top spot in the UK in three subjects, those being Business & Management Studies, Anatomy & Physiology, tied with Oxford, and Middle Eastern & African Studies.

The University ranked in the top ten in the UK for 24 subjects out of the 70 that the Guide covers.

Additionally, out of the 70 subject tables, Scottish institutions hold the top spot for 19.

Scotland as a whole recorded the highest mean Entry Standards and was awarded the greatest proportion of good honours, classified as either a first-class or upper second-class honours degree, out of any region.

On good honours and Entry Standards, Dr Bernard Kingston, Chairman of The Complete University Guide, said, “The proportion of good honours has steadily but inexorably increased at almost all universities. Either students are working harder, or they are being better taught, or something else is happening. But it is one of the criteria over which universities have a significant degree of control.”

He continued, “Entry Standards, one of the measures used in the Main Table and subject tables, relies on the UCAS Tariff for the underlying data. A new Tariff with an updated methodology has replaced the original one since the 2017 admissions cycle. This has positively impacted on the Entry Standards measure for most Scottish universities and, hence, on their rankings, particularly in our subject tables.”

Additionally, St Andrews saw top marks for its teaching quality, student satisfaction, and quality of its academic programmes.

President of the Students’ Association Lewis Wood said, “These fantastic results cement our position as a world-leading university. Our students have long recognised the exceptional quality of learning and teaching, as well as the overall student experience at St Andrews.”

He continued, “Both the University and the Students’ Association work hard to continue to improve upon the world-class offering we provide to every student. I feel very proud to have been a part of this and I hope this news encourages students from around the globe to continue to apply and contribute to the University of St Andrews.

“The experience that students receive here really is exceptional, and I’m very happy to see the league table reflect what all students here feel very intimately.”


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