School of History Research Excellence Framework results.

12 May 2022

Research at Scotland’s oldest university amongst the highest quality in the country.

Almost 90% of research carried out by the School of History at the University of St Andrews is world-leading or internationally excellent, according to the results of the Research Excellence Framework (REF 2021) published today (Thursday 12 May).

The REF – a detailed analysis of the research strengths of all UK universities – found that St Andrews excelled in a number of key research areas – including History.

Professor Bridget Heal, Head of the School of History said: “This is a fantastic result for the School with almost 90% of our REF 2021 outputs evaluated as either 4* world-leading or 3* internationally excellent. The School also received an outstanding environment score of 100% at 4* world-leading. These outstanding results reflects the School’s exceptional commitment to fostering a vibrant research culture of world-leading quality.”

REF found that the overall quality of research at St Andrews had increased by 5.7 % since the last assessment exercise in 2014.

St Andrews Principal and Vice-Chancellor Professor Sally Mapstone FRSE said: “The overall quality of our research has increased significantly since the last REF in 2014, we have cause to celebrate the achievements of several of our Schools whose research is rated amongst the best in the UK, and the fact that over 88% of the research we produce in this small corner of Fife has been held to be world-leading or internationally excellent is a remarkable achievement.”

Although REF itself explicitly does not rank universities according to research strengths, the metrics it produces are widely used in the higher education sector and in the media to benchmark research performance.

According to these figures, using the method of Grade Point Average (GPA), St Andrews was ranked 3rd in Scotland and 28th in the UK, one of six Scottish universities ranked amongst the top 50 research institutions in the UK.

Further information about some of our world-leading, research-based, public engagement projects can be found on the Research and Public Engagement pages of the School website.

University of St Andrews REF 2021 results are available on the main University website.

Full details of the Research Excellence Framework 2021