Students jumping on pier holding number 1

Annual Review 2022

"...a tribute to the sustained hard work of our remarkable students and staff, and the quality of the research-led teaching which sets this university apart from so many others. " - Professor Dame Sally Mapstone FRSE

Introduction by the Principal

2022 was a year of transition for St Andrews, beginning, as it did for most, with the final measured steps out of the wearying restrictions of the Covid pandemic, but ending with a tangible sense of momentum, and the pursuit of new ideas and ambitions true to the spirit of our Homeric motto.

In a year punctuated by achievement and significant challenge, St Andrews was again named the top university in the UK, this time in The Guardian University Guide 2023, a tribute to the sustained hard work of our remarkable students and staff, and the quality of the research-led teaching which sets this university apart from so many others.

We launched a refreshed University Strategy 2022-2027, and its themes of World-leading, Diverse, Entrepreneurial, Sustainable, and Digital, underpinned by an abiding commitment to Social Responsibility, provide the canvas for this review.

The Research Excellence Framework (REF) – a detailed analysis of the research strengths of all UK universities published in May – found that St Andrews excelled in a number of key research areas, including Physics, Chemistry, Earth Sciences, Art History, Anthropology, and Modern Languages. More than 88% of our research across all St Andrews Schools was judged world-leading or internationally excellent.

In a diverse, international community like ours, events in other parts of the world can feel very close to home. We experience them acutely, and react instinctively, when our friends, colleagues, and neighbours are directly impacted. St Andrews students rallied for an end to the illegal war in Ukraine, hundreds forming a line on West Sands; they demonstrated for Women.Life.Freedom in Iran; they campaigned for a faster, fuller response to the climate crisis.

Like almost every one of the UK’s universities, and many of those overseas, we faced an acute squeeze on private sector student accommodation, but managed to find beds for every student who sought our help, and are redoubling our efforts in 2023 to provide additional beds and reassurance on this front. We met the global cost-of-living crisis with a series of creative measures including discounted food, travel, additional student support, and access to warm spaces.

As the year drew to a close, we announced plans to create a world-leading Business School by bringing together our Schools of Management, and Economics and Finance. The new Business School will have a permanent home at New College in St Andrews. In December, we appointed architects WilkinsonEyre to this flagship university development.

Throughout the year, we have enjoyed the continuing generous support and encouragement of our worldwide community of alumni and supporters. As our new Strategy says, great universities must constantly move forward. Momentum is everything. I hope this brief review offers not only a record of the year just past, but a sense of where St Andrews is going.

Professor Dame Sally Mapstone FRSE
Principal and Vice-Chancellor

Sally mapstone portrait

St Andrews at a glance


• 10,468 students
• 8,459 undergraduates
• 2,009 postgraduates
• 128 countries
• 96.5% of students enter employment or further study after graduation


• 2,995 staff
• 4 faculties
• 22 schools
• 30 units

Income up 8% to £313.7m

• Funding grants down £3.9m to £44.2m (due to a reduction in supplemental Covid-19 funding)
• Donations and endowments up £9.6m to £24.5m
• Research income up 22% to £53.3m
• Investment (for scholarships, bursaries and widening access) up £1.1m to £5m

2022 pier walk
Students taking part in the pier walk in traditional red undergraduate gowns


Timeline 2022

  • January 2022

    Our Development team once again hosted the very successful Global Burns Night, an online event allowing alumni, students, staff and friends from around the world to honour Scotland’s national Bard and celebrate with us.

  • February 2022

    The Wardlaw Musum hosted the fifteenth-century Hardyng Map, the first detailed map of Scotland, on loan from the British Library.

  • March 2022

    More than 1000 people from across St Andrews gathered on the West Sands to form a powerful line in the sand as a visible display of opposition to the war in Ukraine.

  • April 2022

    The world-leading Laidlaw Music Centre was officially opened with a launch for invited guests, donors, and members of the local community

    Dr Leyla Hussein OBE was installed as the University’s 54th Rector, the first black woman to hold the position.

  • May 2022

    The University hosted a ‘watershed’ international summit bringing together leading brain health and dementia researchers from across the globe with representatives of the pharmaceutical industry and other organisations to form a partnershiop that could see Scotland leading the world in finding a cure for neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s.

    Professor Sally Mapstone, Prinicipal and Vice-Chancellor, was elected as Convenor of Universities Scotland, the body that represents all 19 of Scotland’s Higher Education institutions.

  • June 2022

    In the Queen’s Birthday Honours List, Principal and Vice-Chancellor Professor Sally Mapstone was made a DBE, while Director of Sport and Exercise Stephen Stewart, mathematician Dr Isobel Falconer, and Student Services Assistant Director Claire Lavelle each received an MBE.

    In a bumper three weeks of summer graduation, the classes of 2020, 2021 and 2022 celebrated alongside honorands Scottish football legend Sir Kenny Dalglish; former National Security Council Director and Assistant to the President of the United States, Dr Fiona Hill; British diplomat and former HM Ambassador of the United Kingdom to the Russian Federation, Dame Anne Pringle; award-winning author Sebastian Faulks; and Mercury Music Prize nominee King Creosote.

  • July 2022

    Some of the world’s best-loved golfers were honoured in a special ceremony ahead of the 150th Open Championship in St Andrews. Jack Nicklaus was given freedom of the town while Sandy Lyle, Lee Trevino, Sir Bob Charles, José María Olazábal and Catriona Matthew all received honorary degrees from the University.

  • August 2022

    The Scotland Rowing Team lifted the much-coveted trophy at the first Home International Rowing Beach Sprints event, hosted by Scottish Rowing and the University of St Andrews. The dynamic new race format involves a combination of sprinting and agility on both land and water.

  • September 2022

    The University was named top university in the UK in The Guardian University Guide 2023, moving ahead of Oxford and Cambridge.

    In The Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2023, the University was ranked top university in Scotland and second in the UK, and also named Scottish University of the Year.

  • October 2022

    The University’s Entrepreneurship Centre at Eden Campus was officially launched by entrepreneur and business start-up strategy expert Hugh Chappell. The Centre provides start-up and spin-out opportunities, practical entrepreneurial training courses and events.

  • November 2022

    The SETI Post-Detection Hub was launched, acting as a coordinating centre for global expertise to prepare humanity in the event we find out we are not along in the cosmos. Bringing together diverse expertise across sciences and the humanities, the Hub will set out impact assessments and protocols to enable a responsible response to alien encounters.

  • December 2022

    The University announced plans to create a world-leading Business School by bringing together its highly ranked Schools of Economics and Finance, and Management, under one new structure, to eventually occupy a single site at the former Madras College.

    The Kaleidoscope Alumni Network was launched by our Development team – a pioneering project to celebrate the ethnic and cultural diversity of our alumni around the world.