Again in third place behind Cambridge and Oxford in the Times/Sunday Times Good University Guide 2020 to UK universities, St Andrews has been awarded the title of ‘University of the Year’, a position it held previously in 2002. Neighbouring Dundee was ranked 24th in the UK and 3rd in Scotland behind St Andrews and Glasgow and is ‘University of the Year for Student Experience.’ Strathclyde is ‘Scottish University of the Year’ and Stirling ‘Sports University of the Year.’
However, in the Times Higher Education (THE) World University Rankings published last month, St Andrews had slipped 33 places from =165th to =198th behind Edinburgh (30th) and Glasgow (=99th) and Aberdeen (=168th). The positions of Dundee (score between 201-250th) and Stirling (351-400th) were unchanged from 2019.
Examination of the THE results indicate that St Andrews decline in the World rankings is attributable to progression by other world universities rather than any drop in St Andrews’ standards.
The disparity between international and UK national rankings has been examined in detail elsewhere but, in brief, international rankings and more heavily research weighted and favour larger institutions strong in STEM subjects whereas UK national rankings focus more on factors influencing the student experience such as teaching quality and learning resources, together with the quality of a university’s intake, employment prospects, research quality and drop-out rates.