According to The Complete University Guide (TCUG), one of several publications ranking UK universities, St Andrews was ranked 1st for student satisfaction in the UK and 3rd across all criteria, after Oxford and Cambridge.
This compares with the latest QS overall ranking of 18th in the UK, 3rd behind Edinburgh and Glasgow in Scotland and, according to the latest Times Higher Education (THE) ranking, 24th in the UK and 4th after Edinburgh, Glasgow and Aberdeen in Scotland. The TCUG ranking does not include teaching quality while neither QS nor the THE include student satisfaction as a criterion (see Editor’s note below).
Among the other Scottish universities, The Complete University Guide had Edinburgh on 16th overall, equal with Bristol, Glasgow on 18th, both improving on last year. Aberdeen 29th, Dundee 31st (as last year), Heriot-Watt 35th, Strathclyde 39th, Stirling 43rd, Queen Margaret 68th, Glasgow Caledonian 77th, Robert Gordon 85th, Edinburgh Napier 86th and West of Scotland 104th.
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.”
Paloma Paige, president of St Andrews Students’ Association, said: “The experience that students have at St Andrews is truly exceptional and I am proud that the immense dedication to this unique experience is being recognised. I hope this news encourages students from around the globe to continue applying and contributing to the University of St Andrews.”
Editor’s note: It is difficult to compare the rankings by different organisations since each use different criteria and methodologies. TCUG uses a broad range of criteria: Entry standards, student satisfaction, research quality, research intensity, graduate prospects, student/staff ratio, academic service spend, facilities spend, proportion of good honours, degree completion rates. These have equal weighting (1.0) apart from student satisfaction (1.5), research intensity, academic services and facilities spend (each 0.5).
By contrast, both QS and THE use a different and more focussed approach. QS: of the overall score, academic reputation accounts for 40%, employer reputation 10%, faculty/student ratio 20%, citations per faculty 20%, international faculty ratio and international student ratio 5% each. THE: of the final score, teaching accounts for 30%, research 30%, citations 30%, international outlook 7.5%, industry income 2.5%.