St Andrews University ranked third in UK guide

St Andrews University is ranked highest in latest UK university guide. PICTURE: NEIL HANNA
St Andrews University is ranked highest in latest UK university guide. PICTURE: NEIL HANNA
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St Andrews University has risen to its highest ranking to scoop third place in the online 2018 Complete University Guide released today.

The university now lies below only Cambridge and Oxford in the league table covering 129 universities across the UK.

The university’s highest ever ranking is due to its teaching quality and student satisfaction with the quality of academic programmes.

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 and management studies and middle eastern and african studies.

Edinburgh University, Scotland’s second-highest ranking university, has fallen four places to 23rd in the UK.

Glasgow University (36th in the UK) is down from third to fifth place in Scotland, after falling seven places nationally, and is overtaken by Heriot-Watt (28th) and Dundee (29th), both of which have climbed six places.

The University of the West of Scotland recorded the biggest climb in Scotland, up ten places to 100th. The guide’s compilers say this boost was due to a number of factors including increased scores in student satisfaction, graduate prospects, academic facilities spend and good honours - the percentage of graduates achieving a first class or 2:1 degree.

Robert Gordon University in Aberdeen saw the biggest fall in Scotland, going down 11 places to 75th place.

Scotland outperformed other UK countries with its mean scores in three measures - entry standards, good honours and graduate prospects- used to rank universities.

Welcoming the news, St Andrews principal Professor Sally Mapstone said the ranking was a “great endorsement what the university 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.”

Professor Craig Mahoney, principal and vice-chancellor of the University of the West of Scotland, said: “Our rise in the 2018 rankings - the highest in Scotland and joint 8th highest in the UK is an extremely positive reflection of the work we are doing to enhance our position in the UK sector.

“I am delighted that we have achieved this recognition for our work towards our corporate goals, acknowledging the rise in our graduate employment levels and the investment across our campuses to create truly 21st century learning environment for our students.”

Dr Bernard Kingston, chairman of, said the guide provides prospective students with carefully researched information.

“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.”