Top Scottish universities revealed in Times Good University Guide 2017

St Andrews is runner up for University of the Year while Edinburgh finishes bottom of the class

St Andrews University has finished in second place for the title of UK University of the Year in the Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2017 after being pipped at the post by the University of Dundee, which has landed the overall top spot for the second consecutive year.
It has, however, been named as University of the Year for Teaching Quality in the same index.
Edinburgh University has sadly finished bottom of the class in Scotland for teaching quality.
This year Dundee has been ranked 28th overall in the UK, their highest ever finish in The Times and The Sunday Times Good University Guide league table. This places the university second in Scotland overall, behind only St Andrews and taking it above Edinburgh and Glasgow for the first time. Dundee also earned a shortlisting for the UK University of the Year award off the back of its outstanding performance.
The Times and The Sunday Times Good University Guide 2017 is published over three days, beginning with a free 60-page supplement published this weekend in The Sunday Times (September 25). It provides the most comprehensive overview of higher education in Britain. It includes an analysis of student satisfaction with the quality of the teaching at each institution.
A fully searchable website with full university profiles and 67 subject tables will be published online on Sunday for subscribers to The Times and The Sunday Times.
Top in Scotland
Regional rank
Name
National rank
Last year’s rank
2016 National student survey Teaching excellence
(%)
2016 National student survey Student experience
(%)
Graduate prospects
(% in professional jobs or graduate-level study)
Completion rate
(%)
1
St Andrews
3
4
88.4
91.0
83.3
95.5
2
Dundee
28
37
85.9
88.8
80.9
86.4
3
Glasgow
29
26
79.4
85.6
81.8
88.4
4
Edinburgh
37=
22
71.8
79.6
73.0
91.3
5
Heriot-Watt
37=
38=
80.0
85.3
79.7
84.4
6
Stirling
43
50
80.4
83.7
77.5
86.1
7
Aberdeen
44.1
45
78.1
84.4
78.5
84.3
8
Strathclyde
48
46
76.3
84.7
77.2
87.2
9
Abertay
85
97
83.0
84.5
68.4
77.2
10
Robert Gordon
86=
69=
78.8
82.3
77.5
83.1
11
Edinburgh Napier
93=
93
80.1
83.3
72.3
82.5
12
Glasgow Caledonian
99
94
75.7
81.8
71.2
83.3
13
Queen Margaret, Edinburgh
101=
96
80.6
83.3
57.8
79.7
14
West of Scotland
106
118
82.1
83.6
69.9
79.0
15
Highlands and Islands
128
126
78.6
74.1
51.1
67.7
The Scottish University of the Year, the University of Dundee, has climbed 17 places in The Times and The Sunday Times Good University Guide league table over the past two years, last year’s eight-place rise being followed up by a nine-place improvement this year to an all-time high UK ranking of 28. So while it is not yet Scotland’s top university, only near-neighbour St Andrews bests it in the new league table — an outstanding achievement.
Its latest success is underpinned by a UK ranking of seventh for both student satisfaction with teaching quality and the wider student experience, as measured in the annual National Student Survey.
Dundee produces consistently strong graduate employment results. The university claims to send more graduates into the professions than any other institution in Scotland. More than four in five graduates are in professional employment or further study within six months of leaving.
Most degrees include a career planning module and an internship option, and students have their own personal development website. The Enterprise Gym gives students the chance to improve their self-reliance and employability.
They can also take the Internship Graduate Certificate, an eight-month Scottish programme combining a six-month internship with career management learning. There is a global equivalent, lasting seven months and with an internship in India or China.
The top university in Scotland, the University of St Andrews, is third in The Times and TheSunday Times Good University Guide league table overall, matching its highest ever finish. In addition to being runner-up for the UK University of the Year title, St Andrews has won the University of the Year for Teaching Quality.
Many of the leading Russell Group of research-led universities struggle to get decent scores from their students for teaching quality, but there is no such problem for St Andrews who clearly match their students’ expectations. It pulls off the unique feat of combining a top-10 ranking for student satisfaction (third for teaching quality and second for the wider student experience) with a similar ranking in the overall league table.
St Andrews has been investing heavily in the sciences, which produced some of its best results in the 2014 Research Excellence Framework, when more than 70% of its submission reached the top two categories. Classics and history of art scored particularly well, but more than 90% of two joint submissions with Edinburgh in chemistry and physics was rated world-leading or internationally excellent.
For the University of Edinburgh, student satisfaction has been a problem in recent years, with stubbornly low scores in the National Student Survey (NSS) keeping Edinburgh outside The Times and The Sunday Times Good University Guide 2017 top 20, and this year depressing its overall ranking to a new low of 37= in the UK. Just 10 institutions have a lower score for student satisfaction with their university experience, and Edinburgh ranks next to bottom (with only the London School of Economics scoring worse) for student ratings for the quality of the teaching they receive.
The university is addressing this with a new personal tutor system and a peer support scheme, among other measures designed to improve the student experience.
Nevertheless, Edinburgh produced Scotland’s best performance in the 2014 assessments carried out under the Research Excellence Framework. Although well behind St Andrews overall in our league table — and this year adrift of Dundee and Glasgow, too — the university retains a special status north of the border, where it is regarded as on a par with Oxbridge.
More than 80% of the research submitted for assessment was judged to be world-leading or internationally excellent. Sociology, earth systems and environmental sciences, including geography, and computer science and informatics were among the leaders in the UK.
Not surprisingly, the demand for places is higher than ever, seemingly unaffected by the poor NSS scores, with the volume of applications growing by almost 50% in four years with close to 60,000 applications last year, second only to the University of Manchester in terms of volume. The university has responded by increasing the intake by 1,200 places, but it remains one of the few to make offers to fewer than half of its applicants.
The Times and The Sunday Times Good University Guide 2017 published on September 25 provides students and their parents with an invaluable first reference point on the path to finding a university place. It contains full profiles of all universities. The league table is made up of nine indicators including student satisfaction with teaching quality and their wider student experience, research quality, graduate prospects, entrance qualifications held by new students, degree results achieved, student/staff ratios, service and facilities spend, and degree completion rates.
The Times will complement coverage in The Sunday Times with two further supplements to be published on Monday and Tuesday, September 26 and 27. These will focus on the best universities for student satisfaction and the universities that come top in different subject areas.
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