St Andrews top in UK for student satisfaction

Photo: Sammi McKee

The University of St Andrews has one of the highest levels of student satisfaction in the UK, according to the National Student Survey.

St Andrews seized the joint top spot along with Bath and Keele, placing it well ahead of Oxford and Cambridge, which came joint sixth. The only other Scottish university to reach the top ten was the University of Glasgow, also in joint sixth position.

93 per cent of St Andrews students surveyed declared themselves “very satisfied” or “satisfied” with their overall university experience. In five departments – computer science, geography, biology, anthropology and divinity – 100 per cent of students reported satisfaction.

St Andrews has risen one place from last year, when it placed second.

The survey gathered the opinions of 265,000 final year undergraduate students from higher education institutes across the UK. They were asked a series of 20 questions.

St Andrews students who took part in the survey rated the University highly for course teaching, the organisation and management of the University, and academic support.

Professor Lorna Milne, vice-principal and proctor of the University, said: “If St Andrews students are among the most satisfied in the country, it’s really down to two things: our superb staff, who work very hard to provide the best education they possibly can; and the students themselves, who clearly appreciate being challenged to achieve excellent results. I’m delighted that they have rated their University so highly once again.”

St Andrews was rated number one in the UK in student satisfaction for anthropology, biology, computer science, human and social geography, African and Middle Eastern studies, and divinity.

History, international relations, French, management, maths, medicine and physics at St Andrews were all placed in the top ten.

Pat Mathewson, president of the Students’ Association, said: “These results stand as an ongoing testament to the sense of community we share here in St Andrews, and the extraordinary dedication of countless individuals towards enhancing the student experience. It is these tireless efforts that make us much more than an ancient seat of learning, but a home for our students.”


  1. This is disgusting. This is absolutely disgusting. You cannot poll on student satisfaction and only ask the people who are graduating. How are you meant to have an accurate result if you only ask the people who have made it? Why do you cheat your incoming students with these find of lists of ‘Best this’ and ‘Best that’ into thinking this University is perfect? It is far from it. Why don’t you try asking the multitude of students who were unable to acquire any disability help, or were forced to drop out due to poor handling of their academic needs by the university, or, yet lets say it, their outrageous tuition fees. Why don’t you try asking the rest of us how we feel about this bloody piece of shite University.

  2. There, there, it’s alright. You’ve forgotten, dearie, that 98% of St Andrews students complete their degrees; have a snickers.

  3. Even if minority and marginalised or otherwise underprivileged students’ expectations at St Andrews are disappointed, that does not invalidate its general rank for student satisfaction. This is also a factor in all democracies: the problem of minorities whose preferences are overridden by the majority is very real, but that does not make them rubbishy polities. That said, if impaired students are poorly catered for at St A’s, that is nothing for it to be proud of. On the same assumption, other students in that category might wish to find out which institutions have a strong record of adaptation to the particular needs of people like them. They are not necessarily those with the strongest records of academic distinction. (It would, by the way, be more helpful if the satisfaction rank or score in each faculty, discipline, subject and course were to be found and published.) However, to sneer condescendingly at a fellow student having a hard time is unattractive, emotionally immature, socially unpleasant and lacking in both humility and compassion.

  4. Moreover, if St A’s student satisfaction rank results from a survey of all and not just some final year undergraduates, is it entirely accurate to refer to that cohort as ‘those who are graduating’? Evidently most of them will do so, but even at that stage their graduating is still theoretically and in practice strictly contingent. Furthermore, while undergraduate life in most top flight UK universities can be congenial at times, it is also notoriously competitive. Whether that’s a virtue or a vice is debatable, but, even if it gives rise to regrettable cattiness among a few of the few, such as aggressive Annie, it is a fact of academic life. It may also be symptomatic of elite social group life more generally, in which case to have learnt that fact is, even when tinged with understandable bitterness, a useful experience. It’s also noteworthy that Former Student of August 2014 was fairly fluently articulate in their dissident critique of an arguably misleading report. May they flourish wherever they now are!


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