From education to employment


students stood around on campus

University of St Andrews is the number one university in the UK, according to The Times and The Sunday Times Good University Guide 2024. In topping the institutional table, St Andrews has beaten the University of Oxford and the University of Cambridge for the second time in the guide’s 30-year history of domestic UK university ranking. 

Its overall win is due to improved results in graduate prospects, its student-to-staff ratio (11.9 to one), and gaining first place nationally for both the proportion of students gaining first and 2:1 degrees as well as having the highest Ucas entry standards (208). 

University College London has been named The Times and The Sunday Times’ University of the Year 2024 having moved up to sixth place nationally. In the past year it has seen improved performance in many measures including Ucas entry, graduate prospects, and honours degrees awarded. It came fifth overall for research power in the latest Research Excellence Framework (REF 2021), with law, medicine and social sciences among its highest-scoring subject areas. 

Helen Davies, editor of The Times and The Sunday Times Good University Guide, said:

“We are here to champion the ambitious work of our first-class universities, and the aspirations of any student of any age who wants to keep on learning.” 

“Almost two centuries since its founding, in 1826, UCL continues to challenge its students, raises the bar for research and provokes global debate on everything from detecting cancers to legal action on behalf of those affected by climate change. The expansion of its curriculum, and its campus into east London, is visionary.” 

Doctor Michael Spence, president and provost of University College London said:

“Our high-achieving, curious students learn from and work alongside world-leading academics, getting directly involved in research that breaks boundaries and tackles global challenges. 

“Being named The Sunday Times University of the Year is a testament to the dynamic and diverse community of students and staff who make UCL such an extraordinary place.”

The Times and Sunday Times Good University 2024 key findings:

What you study and where you study matter more than ever when it comes to future earnings. New to the online guide is a searchable database of graduate salaries per university and per subject. The top degree is computer studies at Imperial College where the average salary within 15 months of graduating is £64,000, and in second place, business, management and marketing from Oxford where graduates can expect to take home £58,000. Whereas students who finish drama, dance and cinematics at the University of Central Lancashire will be earning an average salary of £18,000 within 18 months of leaving university.  

The curriculum is evolving fast. Applications to study computer science including AI, video games design and robotics were almost 10 per cent higher than last year, according to analysis of Ucas data, and 31 per cent higher than in 2019. There is a welcome rise in joint honours and  interdisciplinary work to collaborate on solving the world’s future problems from climate change to health. 

The cult of Oxbridge continues. The reputation of Oxford and Cambridge – never out of the top three in the past three decades – have seen a rising proportion from non-selective state schools, according to the latest data. Cambridge has 49.5 per cent, up from 40.1 per cent in 2018, and Oxford has 53.5% per cent, up from 39.4 per cent.  

The diversity index. Our social inclusion ranking reveals that many of the universities at the top of the academic league table – those with the highest entry standards, best job prospects and most competition for places – still find themselves at the bottom when it comes to social inclusion. The highly selective Russell Group institutions occupy 16 of the bottom 20 places, with Durham University at the bottom. 

Helen Davies, editor of The Times and The Sunday Times Good University Guide, said:

“The higher education landscape has never been tougher. It is more competitive to get a place at many of our top institutions; the cost of attending university has soared, leaving graduates with extraordinary debt; and in many cases campus life still bears the scars of the pandemic. Meanwhile lecturers are on strike and the marking crisis is a running scandal.  

“It means any prospective student, parent or carer needs to think hard about whether university is the right choice, and then where to study and what subject. It’s where this guide — our 30th edition — is here to help. Our online version has so much more on how the universities compare subject by subject, a guide on campus life, and what scholarships and bursaries may be on offer. 

 “We are here to champion the ambitious work of our first-class universities, and the aspirations of any student of any age who wants to keep on learning.”


National rank University Last year’s national rank Ucas entry points   Good honours   (% of firsts and 2:1s) Graduate prospects  (% in high-skilled  jobs or graduate-level study after 15 months) Continuation rate  (% of students projected to move on to year two) 
University of St Andrews 208 94.8 90.1 97.5 
University of Oxford 200 94.1 92.5 98.5 
University of Cambridge 206 92.8 93.4 99.2 
London School of Economics and Political Science 182 93.9 92 98 
Imperial College London 200 92.8 94.3 96.8 
University College London 179 92.4 89.1 96.6 
Durham University 183 91.9 89.5 97.3 
University of Bath 172 90.9 91.3 97.8 
University of Warwick 172 85.8 88.4 96.4 
10 Loughborough University 11 155 88.3 87.5 97.2 
11 University of Exeter 13 158 89.5 85.7 97.2 
12 University of Glasgow 14 206 88.2 83.8 95.6 
13 University of Edinburgh 10 191 91.9 84 96.8 
14 Lancaster University 12 148 86.1 82.7 96.4 
15 University of York 17 152 83.1 84.4 96.5 
16 University of Bristol 15 167 89.4 86.2 97.6 
17 University of Southampton 16 153 86.6 85.2 97 
18 University of Sheffield 20= 153 86.5 85.7 96.5 
19 University of Aberdeen 19 185 89.1 81.1 94.9 
20 University of Strathclyde 18 203 81.2 86.2 93.5 

Highest risers Buckingham (up 29 places); Bolton (up 18); Cardiff Metropolitan (up 15) 

Biggest fallers Birmingham City (down 16 places); Teeside (down 16); Leeds Arts (down 18); Greenwich (down 21) 

Full list of The Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2024 award winners: 

  • University of the Year 2024: University College London 
  • University of the Year 2024 runner up: University of Exeter  
  • University of the Year 2024 shortlisted: London School of Economics and Political Science, University of York, University of Liverpool and University of Buckingham 
  • Specialist University of the Year: Harper Adams University 
  • University of the Year for Graduate Employment: Imperial College London 
  • Scottish University of the Year: University of Glasgow  
  • Welsh University of the Year: Aberystwyth University  
  • Sports University of the Year: University of Nottingham 
  • University of the Year for Social Inclusion: Bath Spa University 
  • University of the Year for Social Inclusion runner up: Queen Mary, London 

The Times and The Sunday Times Good University Guide 2024 provides the definitive rankings for UK universities and the most comprehensive overview of higher education in Britain. It includes profiles on 134 universities, making use of the latest data.* 

A fully searchable website with 70 subject tables, full interactive tables and additional features goes online on The Times and The Sunday Times on Friday 15 September:

The guide provides prospective students and their families with the right information to make an informed choice about their higher education, evaluating everything from satisfaction with teaching quality and the student experience through to degree completion rates and graduate employment prospects. 

New to the guide this year is a ranking from People and Planet that assesses the environmental and ethical standards of each UK university, as well as guides on scholarships and bursaries available at each university and student wellbeing and sports facilities on campus. 

A 96-page supplement will be published with The Sunday Times on September 17.

*The Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2024 has used the  NSS 2022 data, inclusive of overall satisfaction for all UK universities. This is due to the late publication date of this year’s relaunched NSS and that 2023 data may still be subject to appeals. 

Related Articles