St Andrews named the best Scottish university and closes on Oxford

St Andrews University – where Prince William met Kate Middleton – is Scotland’s top university and one of the top three in the UK, according to a new league table published today.

The Complete University Guide 2020 makes the ancient Fife seat of learning top of the class in Scotland and just a few points behind Oxford and Cambridge, the former taking first place in the annual assessment of universities’ strengths across a broad range of teaching and research indicators.

Other Scottish universities are also on the rise.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Edinburgh Napier (86th) improves 15 places, West of Scotland (104th) jumps ten places and Queen Margaret climbs seven to 68th. Glasgow Caledonian also places higher in this year’s table, moving from 85th to equal 77th.

St Andrews graduates. Picture: Jane Barlow
St Andrews graduates. Picture: Jane Barlow

However, some, including Stirling and Abertay, are on the slide. Aberdeen (29th) drops one place, but remains in the top 30 after its climb of 12 places last year. Robert Gordon (85th), Stirling (43rd) and Abertay (103rd) are others to fall, dropping two, three and four places respectively.

St Andrews is also top in the UK for student satisfaction in the new guide, recognising the exceptional quality of learning and teaching and overall student experience on offer at the university.

In separate listings covering 70 subjects, St Andrews features in the top ten for 21 subjects, topping four, making it one of just five institutions in the UK to be top of more than two subject tables – Glasgow came top in seven subjects.

St Andrews is just one Scottish success story in the new guide. Edinburgh (equal 16th) rises seven places, while Glasgow (18th) jumps six, meaning Scotland’s top three universities all appear in the top 20 of the main table.

Welcoming the news, St Andrews’ principal Professor Sally Mapstone said: “It’s an honour to be top in Scotland in such a competitive and high-quality field north of the Border. These results are a reflection of the commitment of our staff and students to the highest standards of teaching, research, study and student experience.

“It is, however, vital, at a time of global change and the ­dismantling of traditional alliances, that St Andrews and other Scottish universities are able to continue to compete on a world stage.

“Our universities are one of this country’s great assets. Maintaining the brand of Scottish higher education overseas and ensuring that the world knows that Scotland is open to talented students of all nationalities and backgrounds is now one of our greatest challenges.”