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Ranked: These are officially the 20 best universities in the UK right now

Brb, applying to St Andrews and finding myself a prince


With a new uni year starting in the next couple of weeks, there’s a whole new load of freshers who will become CONVINCED that their uni is the best uni in the UK. They’ll buy the merch, learn the chants and basically become insufferable by the time they go home for Christmas.

But if you need cold hard proof to back your claims up, The Guardian has just released the Guardian University Guide 2024. The guide ranks UK universities on a range of factors including teaching satisfaction, student-to-staff ratio, spending per student and the number of students who get jobs 15 months after graduating. The guide then awards each uni with a “Guardian Score” out of 100 which is a “rating of excellence based on a combination of all the other factors.” You can find the full list and university ranking 2024 here.

Here is the ranking of the 20 best unis in the UK right now, according to The Guardian University Guide 2024:

20. Southampton

Going down a couple of places from 16th last year, Southampton is officially the 20th best UK university. It has an overall score of 67.3 and ranks number one for Midwifery in the UK.

19. York

Just creeping into the top 20 after ranking at 21st last year, The University of York is at 19. With 85 per cent of York graduates in a job after 15 months, it also ranks ninth for Nursing, seventh for Mental Health Nursing and fifth for Children’s Nursing in the UK.

18. Exeter

Going down four places from last year, Exeter is the 18th best uni in the UK according to the rankings. It has an overall score of 69.7

Exeter ranks highly in Engineering courses, coming in at fourth for Mechanical Engineering and sixth for General Engineering as well as fourth for Zoology.

17. Bristol

Bristol has fallen down in this year’s league table by one spot. As the 17th best uni in the UK right now, The University of Bristol has an overall ranking of 69.8 and is also the top uni for studying Education in the UK.

16. Strathclyde

The University of Strathclyde in Glasgow might not be one of the most well known of the Scottish unis, but it has remained at a decent 16th place from last year’s rankings. At Strathclyde, 84 per cent of students are satisfied with their teaching.

15. University of the Arts London

The University of Strathclyde in Glasgow might not be one of the most well known of the Scottish unis, but it has remained at a decent 16th place from last year’s rankings. At Strathclyde, 84 per cent of students are satisfied with their teaching.

15. University of the Arts London

The uni also ranks top for  the amount of students in jobs after 15 months as well as students most satisfied with the teaching on the course with an overall score of 71.2.

14. Edinburgh

Going down two places from last year, The University of Edinburgh is the 14th best UK university right now. It also ranks top for student satisfaction with feedback given on essays, exams and assessments.

13. Glasgow

Two graduating students

The University of Glasgow, ranking at 13th overall, is number one in the country for studying Biology. It has, however, gone down two spots from 11th in last year’s rankings.

12. Aberdeen

The second highest Scottish uni on the list, Aberdeen is at number 12. Aberdeen is also ranked the number one university for studying Medicine in the UK.

11. Lancaster

Not quite making it into 10th place, Lancaster is the 11th best UK uni right now. With an overall Guardian score of 75.3, Lancaster is also third for Marketing courses and sixth for English Literature.

10. Loughborough

It might already beat you at every single sports tournament but Loughborough University also ranks highly at number 10 on the league tables. With a high satisfaction score of 82.1, Loughborough remains at the same spot as last year.

9. Warwick

Slipping down one place from eighth last year, The University of Warwick is at ninth place. Warwick is also number one for Media and Film Studies in the UK as well as second for Accounting and Finance.

8. University College London

Number one for Law and Criminology, UCL has risen one place from last year’s ranking to eighth. With a ranking of 10.9, it is also number two for student to staff ratio.

7. Durham

Going down one place from last year, The University of Durham is at seven. The University of Durham also holds a high continuation score with 97.5 per cent of first year students carrying on to second year.

6. Bath

Rising one place from last year, The University of Bath ranks at sixth place. Bath is also ranked fifth for Business Management as well as Sociology and third for Education.

5. Imperial College London

Staying at the same spot as last year, Imperial College London is at number five. Imperial also ranks top for a couple of subjects including Civil Engineering and Aerospace Engineering.

4. London School of Economics

Two students graduating university

Another London uni remaining at the same place as last year, LSE is the fourth best UK Uni right now. Of course, it is also number one in the UK for Accounting and Finance.

3. Cambridge

Just missing out to Oxford for the second place spot, The University of Cambridge is currently the third best uni in the UK. I can practically hear all the Cambridge students weeping at the lost bragging rights.

It does come number one for a number of subjects though including Veterinary Sciences and is also ranked fourth for student to staff ratios.

2. Oxford

Remaining in second place for another year, Oxford is the second best university in the UK. Neither Oxford or Cambridge provide student satisfaction scores in the rankings, the only two universities not to do so. And honestly, why would they considering the amount of work they force their students to do?

Oxford tops the ranking for several subjects including Geography and  Economics and ranks top for student to staff ratio.

1. St Andrews

For a second year running, The University of St Andrews is officially the best uni in the UK. The gap between St Andrews and Oxford has also widened even further this year.

It’s all now about “Stoxbridge” apparently, with St Andrews also claiming the top spot for nine different subject rankings including Languages, English Literature and History, more than ever before.

St Andrews might have just had to close their Student Union Club due to dangerous RAAC, but at least its students can say they go to the best uni in the UK.

Matt Hiely-Rayner, who compiled the guide, said: “St Andrews has consolidated the lead it took last year and has even extended it”.

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