General information on ranking

Name of the ranking (in English) The Guardian University Guide
Name of the ranking (in original) The Guardian University Guide
Scope of the ranking general ranking, ranking by subject
Name of person in charge of ranking Matt Hiely-Rayner
Website of the ranking
First year of publication 1999
Most recent year of publication 2023
Date of last update 2023-05-07
Publication frequency annual
Ranking organization The Guardian
Methodology website

The ranking uses nine measures of performance, to put together a league table for 54 subjects. For those prospective undergraduates who do not know which subject they wish to study, the Guardian scores have been averaged for each institution across all subjects to generate an institution-level table.

The following metrics are considered for the SUBJECT RANKING: 

Entry standards – 15% of the total score of a department

This measure seeks to approximate the aptitude of fellow students who a prospective student can anticipate and reports the observed average grades of students joining the department. 

Student-staff ratio – 15% of the total score of a department

Expenditure per student – 5% of the total score of a department

The total expenditure in each subject area is divided by the volume of students taking the subject.

Continuation rate – 15% for non-medical departments/5% to those of medical subjects 

The percentage of first-year students continuing to second year.

Student satisfaction – 20% of the total score of a department 

The National Student Survey asks final year students for the extent to which they agree with 27 positive statements about their academic experience of the course and support that they received. Responses are on a 5-point Likert scale and two statistics are produced: a satisfaction rate and an average response. Three areas are considered: teaching quality (8% weighting), assessment procedures and the feedback students receive (8% weighting), and overall satisfaction of students with their courses (4% weighting).

Value Added – 15% of the total score of a department

This compares students’ degree results with their entry qualifications, to show how effectively they are taught.

Career prospects – 15% of the total score in all the non-medical subjects

This percentage of graduates who find graduate-level jobs, or are in further study at professional or HE level, within 15 months of graduation. It reflects how good the university is at employability.


The table ranks institutions according to their performance in the subject tables, but considers two other factors. First, the number of students in a department influences the extent to which that department’s total standardised score contributes to the institution’s overall score. And second, the number of institutions included in the subject table determines the extent to which a department can affect the institutional table. Institutions that appear in fewer than eight subject tables are not included in the main ranking of universities.

Rankings for every subject

The Guide has 66 subject tables, and a user can see which universities do well at teaching a particular subject area.

University profiles

Clicking on the name of a university in the tables takes user to its profile – he/she can read about what makes each institution special and get the info on fees, accommodation and bursaries, etc.

Additional information

  • Main target groups: students and parents, higher education institutions
  • Level of comparison: institutional: 121, subjects: 66
  • Major dimensions covered: employability, student satisfaction, teaching
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