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St Andrews marks over a decade in top 100

Thursday 08 June 2017

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The University of St Andrews has marked over a decade as one of the world’s top 100 universities, according to the international league table the QS World Rankings, published today.

Scotland’s oldest university is ranked 92nd in the 2017/2018 guide to the world’s 959 top universities, the 11th year in succession that St Andrews has been ranked among the world’s leading higher education institutions.

The QS World University Ranking is the most extensive listing of its kind, taking into account a range of factors including academic reputation, research strengths, citations, reputation with graduate employers and international influence.

This year’s edition finds that the majority of UK institutions have seen a decline in performance. Of 76 universities ranked this year, 51 have recorded drops including the University of St Andrews (down 15 places), University of Aberdeen (down 17 places), University of Glasgow (down 2 places), and University of Edinburgh (down 5 places).

What this shows is that global Universities are becoming increasingly competitive in terms of developing their reputations and research. However, the University of St Andrews continues to demonstrate its strong international standing; with an increased ranking for the strength of its international faculty (from 12th to 10th in the UK), and a stable performance in terms of attracting international students (ranked 8th in the UK). 

Principal and Vice-Chancellor Professor Sally Mapstone said: “While it is concerning to see UK universities fall in the QS World Rankings, this is a clear reminder that the importance and reputation of higher education is growing around the world. The University of St Andrews is proud to be internationally Scottish, and it is very much on the world stage that we want to compete and engage.

“That is why I am particularly heartened to see our international faculty and students bolstering our position in these league tables. We will continue to do what we do best: welcome the brightest minds from around the world and provide them with a unique opportunity for change. It is remarkable that the people and ideas attracted to our square mile on the Fife coast are influencing discoveries and developments around the globe. The challenge remains ensuring that, across the UK higher education sector, we have the resources and support we need to continue to compete.”

Nick Hillman, Director of the Higher Education Policy Institute, said: “The competitiveness of UK universities has been affected by austerity. In particular, tuition fees have been frozen for five years and research funding has not grown as fast as in some other countries. So the latest QS Rankings should give policymakers pause for thought. The various political parties have offered very different higher education policies at today’s general election. Whoever wins will need to work hard if UK universities are to regain their previous position.”


Background information

Read the full QS World University Rankings.

The University of St Andrews saw its largest fall in rank position for Citations per Faculty and Employer Reputation. These two indicators were the only ones subject to methodology changes this year.

Domestic employers have been given an increased weighting, in relation to international employers. The negative impact of this change on St Andrews’ ranking suggests the University’s reputation is significantly higher with employers internationally.