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THE UK: Destination Guides

Guardian University Guide Rankings 2022

The Guardian University Guide Rankings and League Tables are a great tool for prospective students when evaluating potential universities. We analyse and break down the 2022 edition of the rankings.

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When evaluating potential study abroad destinations and institutions, one of the approaches you can use is comparing universities using rankings. The good news is that the Guardian University Guide Rankings for 2022 are out and allow you to evaluate the top-rated universities in the UK. The rankings include an overall score for universities on the league table and ratings for subjects. We take you through what this year’s rankings reveal and delve into the detail.


Top 10 universities in the UK 


It’s been a good year for the University of Oxford. Fresh off the back of securing the number one spot on the Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2022, the university secured the top ranking on the Guardian University Guide Rankings 2022. Oxford fought off age-old rivals the University of Cambridge, retaining the title from 2021.


The University of Cambridge improved its position in 2022, coming in the silver medal position after surprisingly occupying the number three position in 2021. A few universities saw their stock rise in 2022, including a two-place jump for the University of Warwick from 8th to 6th. University College London broke into the top 10, with a move from 14th to 9th. On the flipside, Lancaster University dropped out of the top 10 to 13th, and Loughborough University fell three places from 7th to 10th.

Let’s take a closer look at the top 10:


  1. The University of Oxford (=)
  2. University of Cambridge (+1)
  3. University of St Andrews (-1)
  4. London School of Economics and Political Science (+1)
  5. Durham University (-1)
  6. University of Warwick (+2)
  7. Imperial College London (+2)
  8. University of Bath (-2)
  9. University College London (+5)
  10. Loughborough University (-3)


What you will notice in the top 10 is that six of the top places went to universities from the Russell Group.


Read more about the top universities in the UK.


Which UK universities are in the top 20?


There was quite a bit of movement in the top 20 UK universities, between number 11 and 20 in 2022. The University of Bristol lost three places moving from 11th to 14th, while the University of Strathclyde also lost momentum falling from 15th to 18th. It wasn’t all bad news for Scottish universities. Both the University of Glasgow and the University of Edinburgh gained a place, moving to 11th and 12th respectively. The biggest winner for 2022 was the University of Southampton. The institution stormed into the top 20, gaining six places from 23rd to 17th. Universities in the top 20 are:


  1. University of Glasgow (+1)
  2. University of Edinburgh (+1)
  3. Lancaster University (-3)
  4. University of Bristol (-3)
  5. University of Exeter (+1)
  6. University of Leeds (+2)
  7. University of Southampton (+6)
  8. University of Strathclyde (-3)
  9. University of York (-2)
  10. The University of Aberdeen (=)


Discover the most popular undergraduate and postgraduate courses in the UK.


How are the rankings compiled?


The Guardian University Rankings are compiled using eight key metrics. These metrics are measured using data from the Higher Education Statistics Agency (Hesa) and the National Student Survey (NSS). An expert panel from UK universities then monitor and evaluate the data before compiling a comprehensive table. The metrics used to judge university performance are:


  • Satisfied with course
    • An overall course rating as given by final year students as part of the NSS.
  • Satisfied with teaching
    • Teaching quality rating as given by final year students as part of the NSS.
  • Satisfied with feedback
    • Student rating of the quality of assessment and feedback given by faculty.
  • Student to staff ratio
    • The number of students to teaching staff at the university.
  • Spend-per student/10
    • Rating out of 10 given for the amount spent on each student by the university.
  • Average entry tariff
    • UCAS scores that are required for entry and acceptance.
  • Value-added score/10
    • Comparison of degree results with entry qualifications to measure teaching quality.
  • Career after 15 months
    • Percentage of students who have found work or are studying further after graduating.
  • Continuation
    • Percentage of first-year students who continue to second year.


All the metrics are combined to produce an overall score out of 100.


Want to get a better understanding of how undergraduate degrees are graded in the UK?


What subjects are ranked?


The Guardian University Rankings don’t just rate the overall performance of universities. The tables also focus on which institutions offer the best degrees in various subjects. The rankings have 54 subject tables, each listing numerous course specialisations and options. You can also get more information on subjects, with the profiles detailing what you can expect from each. Some of the popular subject areas you can review are:



Remember that university rankings and league tables are one way of comparing universities. There are many other factors that you can consider when evaluating your study path such as location, student lifestyle and cost.


Are you looking to further your research? You can read more about the rankings of universities in the UK using the Complete University Guide League Tables 2022 and the QS World University Rankings 2022. You can also keep up to date with the latest international student news from the UK.


Study in the UK


'Study in the UK' eBook

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