Times and Sunday Times 2023

Times and Sunday Times 2023

The Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2022 was published this morning and I am delighted to report that the University has retained its ranking in the top 20 and has moved up one place to 19th in the UK. This is the first time that the University has been ranked this highly for more than 20 years.

There has been a change to methodology this year with the removal of services and facilities spend, thereby reducing the number of metrics to eight. As in previous years, the elements derived from the National Student Survey 2022 (Teaching Quality and Student Experience) combined are weighted 1.5, as is Research Quality (now based on the REF 2021 results), with the other elements weighted 1.

As can be seen from the table below, the University has improved its rank on five of eight metrics, maintained its rank on one, and dropped in two areas.

YearTeaching quality (%)Student experience (%)Research quality (%)Entry standards (Ucas pts)Graduate prospects (%)Firsts /2:1s (%)Completion rate (%)Student-staff ratio
2023 Rank14963833134139
2022 Rank311243831144363
2023 Score79.478.638.718579.988.389.915.0
2022 Score77.576.029.918477.388.288.515.7
2023 QuartQ1Q1Q2Q1Q1Q1Q2Q2
2022 QuartQ1Q1Q2Q1Q1Q1Q2Q2


There have been significant improvements in ranking for Teaching Quality and Student:Staff ratio. The University has risen 17 places on Teaching Quality, which is derived from the results across the teaching, learning opportunities, assessment & feedback, and academic support sections of the NSS, ranking 14th in the UK. Our rank for Student Experience, drawn from those aspects of the NSS which cover organisation & management, learning resources, learning community, student voice and overall satisfaction, has improved by three places and we now rank 9th in the UK. In the past two years, the University has risen 70 places on teaching quality and 16 places on student experience, which is testimony to the effort of the whole University to ensure that our students have an outstanding education and student experience despite the challenges of the pandemic.

Our concerted efforts in recent years to build our revenue and thereby recruit more staff is now being reflected in a rise of 24 places for Student:Staff ratio, from 63rd to 39th place, which follows on from a rise of 11 places last year. Recruitment of more academic and professional services staff will continue as we seek to address workloads while delivering on the full range of commitments under Aberdeen 2040.

The University has seen a significant fall in rank for Research Quality and, with a drop of 20 places, now ranks 63rd in the UK. The ranking is based on performance at 4* and 3* level in the REF, with 4* weighted by a factor of 4, and 3* by a factor of 1. This is the same weighting used by the Scottish Funding Council in determining the amount of Research Excellence Grant the University receives.  Improving the quality of research, and in particular the proportion of our research that is 4*, will be a key focus for the University in the coming years.  

There has been only minor movement on the remaining metrics. Graduate Prospects, as measured by the Graduate Outcome Survey 2022, has fallen by two places to 33rd in the UK. Improving the employability of our students is another key priority, to ensure that it matches the quality of our students both in terms of their qualifications on entry and the quality of their degree classifications. We have seen only a small increase in our rank for completion rate so clearly have more to do on this. We have retained our rank of 8th in the UK for Entry Standards.

Subject performance

The University has been ranked in 29 subject areas compared to 34 last year, with 14 subject areas ranking within the top quartile in the UK. Nine subjects have been ranked Top 10 in the UK (down from 13 subjects last year): Anatomy & Physiology (1st in the UK), Medicine (6th), Anthropology (6th), Geology (6th), Chemical Engineering (8th), English (8th), Chemistry (9th), and Law and Sociology both ranking 10th.

While this ranking points to key areas that we need to focus on in the years ahead, as we start a new academic year we can all be proud of this excellent result overall. I want to thank all staff for their work to drive the success of the University and further enhance our reputation.

A detailed analysis of the Times and Sunday Times results is now available via the Planning webpages. We are expecting further ranking results in the coming weeks, with the Guardian Good University Guide due to be published on Saturday 24 September and the Times Higher Education World University Rankings on 12 October.

Best wishes,