This Scottish university is now officially the best in the UK, beating Oxford and Cambridge

The Sunday Times Good University Guide has spoken

Annie McNamee
Written by
Annie McNamee
Contributor, Time Out London and UK
St Andrews University, Scotland
Photograph: christopher babcock /

Oxford and Cambridge Universities have been the gold standard of education in the UK for almost eight centuries now, with each institution having produced countless writers, prime ministers, humanitarians and men in grey suits with bizarrely loud voices.

But that’s no longer the case! The Sunday Times has revealed that Oxbridge doesn’t top its coveted annual university rankings for 2023. 

Instead, Scotland’s University of St Andrews has claimed the number one spot. Universities across the UK were ranked over ten factors, including graduate prospects, overall student satisfaction, research quality, quality of facilities, and more. 

St Andrews has had an excellent reputation for a long time and has been well known in recent years as a favourite for royals. But it is only the second time it has topped the Sunday Times’ Good University Guide since its inception thirty years ago. According to the guide, improved graduate prospects and teacher-student ratios have secured the school its place at the top. 

The guide comes during a turbulent time for higher education across the country. The past several years have been severely disrupted by Covid and ongoing strikes, and recent changes from the government mean that students from the class of 2026 onwards will be paying back more student loan over a longer period of time.

Helen Davies, the Good University Guides editor, recognised this, saying, ‘The higher education landscape has never been tougher… 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.’ 

Oxford University was bumped down to second place, one down from last year. This was followed by Cambridge, with London School of Economics and Imperial College London closing out the top five. You can find the full guide here.

Did you see that this seaside destination has been voted best in the UK?

Plus: this Manchester museum is returning hundreds of objects to Aboriginal Australians.

Stay in the loop: sign up to our free Time Out UK newsletter for the latest UK news and the best stuff happening across the country.

You may also like
You may also like