​The Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide ranking

Image source: Binary University

The Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide is one of the three main national rankings for universities in the UK. The 2017 UK rankings were released 26th September, and universities were graded by student experience, graduate prospects, entry points, completion rate and overall point score. But why does this rank system matter, anyway?

• For international students, studying in the UK is a massive investment. The annual university rankings help to determine the international standing of universities they want to apply for nationally AND globally. This may ultimately sway their final choice of university.

• The Times and Sunday Times Good University guide also makes its rankings based on student satisfaction. Potential university students are usually concerned about whether or not graduates are satisfied with the teaching quality and standards of their course. It is an expensive investment, after all.

• For future postgraduate students, they ought to be paying attention to the graduate prospects of universities, which is a criterion for rank.

See below for the 2017 official rankings:

University The Sunday Times Good University Guide


(UK Ranking)

Cambridge 1
Oxford 2
Imperial College London 5
St   Andrews 3
Durham 4
Warwick 7
Exeter 9
Surrey 14
Lancaster 9
Bath 12
Loughborough 11
Leeds 13
York 17
Southampton 21
Birmingham 16
East Anglia 15
Sussex 18
Bristol 19
Sheffield 24
Edinburgh 37
Kent 23
Newcastle 22
Nottingham 20
Glasgow 29
King’s College London 27
Leicester 25
Manchester 32
Aston 33
Queen’s University Belfast 26
Reading 31
Cardiff 46
Queen Mary University 40
Essex 30
Royal Holloway 34
Dundee 28
Heriot-Watt 37
Liverpool 39
Buckingham 41
City 50
Swansea 44
Keele 42
Aberdeen 44
Strathclyde 48
Coventry 47
St George’s University of London 70
Harper Adams 36
Stirling 43
Royal Agricultural University 63
Bangor 61
De Montfort 67
Nottingham Trent 57
Oxford Brookes 69
Falmouth University 52
Ulster 68
Bath Spa 75
Portsmouth 59
Brunel 54
Norwich University of the Arts 88
Lincoln 51
University for Creative Arts 53
Northumbria 65
Winchester 72
Goldsmiths 54
Hull 65
Edge Hill 58
Robert Gordon 86
Huddersfield 77
Chichester 82
Sheffield Hallam 79
West England 60
Liverpool John Moore 86
Bradford 76
Hertfordshire 91
Manchester Metropolitan 72
Roehampton 78
Aberystwyth 56
Liverpool Hope 49
Arts University Bournemouth 64
Bournemouth University 62
Northampton 97
Derby 83
Middlesex 74
Plymouth 80
Chester 81
Gloucestershire 71
York St John 110
Brighton 104
Leeds Trinity 96
UCLan 101
Edinburgh Napier 93
Glasgow Caledonian 99
Staffordshire 92
Queen Margaret 101
Abertay 85
Salford 98
UAL 109
St Mary’s University Twickenham 116
Worcester 90
Teeside 101
Canterbury Christ Church 114
South Wales 115
London South Bank 120
Bolton 124
Newman 112
Southampton Solent 110
Kingston 122
Suffolk 126
Leeds Beckett 112
West Scotland 106
Greenwich 107
Anglia Ruskin 108
Cumbria 119
Sunderland 100
Bedfordshire 121
London Metropolitan 127
East London 123
Wrexham Glyndwr 125
University of the Highlands and Islands 128

For postgraduate students:

The Research Excellence Framework (first conducted in 2008 as the Research Assessment Exercise) is also an important indicator for the research quality of a university. This is important in assessing the quality of postgraduate courses at an institution.



Remember that the league tables are not a fair assessment of smaller, more specialized institutions which have more specialized and specific research.

• Always know where the data is coming from. Specialised institutions such as SOAS or Cranfield University may never fare well in the overall UK/world league tables, due to their specialist research and small sizes.

The Research Excellence Framework was conducted back in 2014. It has been 2 years since then!

• Know the criteria differences between the tables. The Guardian’s league table relies heavily on student experience, while The Times leans more towards figures and research assessment scores.

• Specific subject league tables are a better indicator of subject quality on the ground.

The National Student Survey (filled in by all final year students) is the primary indicator for student satisfaction. It is a measure of student opinion.


Ready to apply for university? Check out ApplicationUK’s comprehensive course search engine here!


More information:

There are two other national rankings for reference:

Complete University Guide

The Guardian

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