St Andrews University named best in Scotland

THE University of St Andrews has been named the best in Scotland for the second year running.

The University of St Andrews has been ranked the best in Scotland for the second year running. Picture: Jane Barlow

The alma mater of former First Minister Alex Salmond and the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge was named joint fifth in the Complete University Guide’s league tables along with Durham University, down one place from fourth in last year’s rankings.

The University of Edinburgh forced its way back into the top 20, effectively replacing Leicester University, which fell from 19th to 24th.

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Elsewhere, the University of Glasgow maintained its place in the top 30, unchanged from last year while the University of Strathclyde (up to 38th from 41st last year) and the University of Aberdeen (up to 40th from 44th) squeezed into the top 40.

Dundee (up seven places from 49th to 42nd), Stirling (down two places from 45th to 47th), Robert Gordon (down 10 places from 54th to 64th), Queen Margaret (up two spots from 80th to 78th), Glasgow Caledonian (down 11 places from 72nd to 83rd), Abertay (down four places from 91st to 95th) and Edinburgh Napier (up nine places from 101st to 92nd) all made the top 100 while the University of the West of Scotland (UWS) placed 118th, up one spot from 119th last year.

The institutions were ranked for entry standards; student satisfaction; student / staff ratio; graduate prospects; research intensity; research assessment; academic services spend; facilities spend; good honours and completion.

In separate listings covering 67 different subjects, the University of St Andrews is in the top 10 rankings for 23 out of 25 subjects, placing first for Middle Eastern and African Studies and Theology and Religious Studies.

Both Edinburgh and Glasgow appear in top 10 listings for 20 subjects, with Glasgow topping Dentistry and Nursing.

Elsewhere, Strathclyde tops two of its 12 top ten rankings (Accounting and Finance, and Medical Technology) while Dundee and Robert Gordon appear in seven subject top tens.

Glasgow Caledonian and Heriot-Watt are listed in five, Stirling in two and Aberdeen in one.

Dr Bernard Kingston, principal author of, 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.

“They should not be used in isolation but alongside all the other advice and information in the Guide.

”Its tables are recognised for their stability and consistency, and this year once again demonstrates this.”

Scotland was also revealed to be the UK leader in ‘virtually every year’ for graduate prospects as well as consistently achieving the highest rate in every year reviewed.

Dr Kingston added: “UK students seem to be getting a better deal for their higher tuition fees in almost every area. It remains to be seen how far this trend can continue but in the short term at least, students are benefitting from spending on facilities that affect them directly.

“The outcomes for Wales and Scotland contrast markedly, particularly for entry standards, good honours and graduate prospects with Wales the UK lowest and Scotland the UK leader in virtually every year. These countries do, of course, have widely differing student funding arrangements.”

Professor Louise Richardson, Principal and Vice-Chancellor at the University of St Andrews, said: “This ranking is a reflection of the dedication and skill of all the people who work and study here.

“It is encouraging that we have maintained our position in the top five universities in the UK despite the increased financial pressure and competition we face along with all Scottish universities.

“Securing the resources to match our potential and to continue to compete at the very highest level both nationally and internationally is a major strategic challenge for us.”

The University of Cambridge topped the overall list, with Oxford in second and London School of Economics and Political Science third.

The rest of the top ten was made up of Imperial College London (4th), Warwick (7th), Surrey (8th), Lancaster (9th) and University College London in tenth.

The strongest climbers were Roehampton (up 27 places to 66th); Harper Adams (up 24 places to 60th) and Cardiff Metropolitan (up 19 places to 79th) while Winchester experienced the largest fall, dropping 27 places from 59th to 86th.