St Andrews ranked best in Scotland, third in UK

The University of St Andrews was the only Scottish university in the top 20 of the 119 universities ranked and was top in the UK for four subjects: English & Creative Writing, Philosophy, Physics, and International Relations.

Photo: University of St Andrews

The University of St Andrews has been ranked best in Scotland and third in the United Kingdom by new league tables from The Guardian University Guide 2018, published on Tuesday, 29 May.

The University came behind the University of Cambridge and University of Oxford, which ranked first and second in the UK respectively, though the gap between Oxford and St Andrews has decreased with only 0.2 points separating the two universities.

On the rankings, Principal Sally Mapstone said to The Courier, “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. This is a much-deserved endorsement of the commitment of all who teach, work and study here.”

The University of St Andrews was the only Scottish university in the top 20 of the 119 universities ranked. In terms of individual subject rankings, five subjects at St Andrews placed top in the UK: Computer Science and Information Systems, Physics, Psychology, International Relations and Biosciences. 

Ranked second in the UK were Business, Management & Marketing, English and Creative Writing, Maths, Philosophy, and Religious Studies and Divinity. In the top five were Earth and Marine Sciences, Classics and Ancient History, Geography and Environmental Studies, History of Art, Modern Languages and Linguistics, Economics and History. 

Additionally, eighteen of the University’s 20 subjects were ranked in the top 20.

Principal Mapstone continued, “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.”

The Guardian University Guide 2018 ranks universities according to spending per student, the student to staff ratio, graduate career prospects, grades required for applicants to be offered a place, a score which compares students’ entry qualifications to their final degree results, and student satisfaction of final-year students with their courses based on results from the National Student Survey (NSS).

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

The rankings came as the University revealed it had joined the Europaeum, a network of European universities with an aim of maintaining academic links and dialogue across the borders after Brexit.

Other member universities include the universities of Oxford, Leiden, Helsinki, Munich (Ludwig-Maximilian), Prague (Charles), and Paris I.

St Andrews is the first Scottish and second British university to join the group.

On its membership, Principal Mapstone said, “St Andrews is, and will remain, a highly connected global university. We are taking practical steps to strengthen our academic networks, in Europe and across the world.”

She continued, “When governments disagree, diverge or disconnect, academia has an even more important role to play in communication and the maintenance of relationships. This is a time to build bridges, not burn them.”

Dr Andrew Graham, Chair of the Academic Council of the Europaeum, said, “We are delighted that St Andrews with its long tradition as an excellent university is joining the Europaeum. As Professor Mapstone has indicated, the timing could not be more significant, and we look forward to working with St Andrews to strengthen cross-Europe links.”


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