Oxford and Cambridge have for the fist time failed to top the UK university ranking after St. Andrews was named the best university in the Good University Guide (GUG), compiled annually by the Times, the latest edition of which was published on Friday.
In a tight race to the top, the Scottish university managed to overtake its closest competitors, Oxford and Cambridge (Oxbridge in short), mostly due to its high scores for student satisfaction, the Times said.
St. Andrews has consistently placed in the top seven for the past years, and finally managed to take the lead due to its stellar response to the pandemic, according to the newspaper. In the two measurements derived from the National Student Survey (NSS) — teaching quality and student experience — the Scottish university managed to secure a huge lead over both Oxford and Cambridge.
It has also shown great results in a variety of other GUG measurements, ranking top ten by degree completion rates, the proportion of high-class degrees awarded, staffing levels and the average spend on services and facilities per student, the Times said.
This upset marked the first time that any other university than Oxbridge took the number one place in any UK university ranking, the Times noted. Cambridge dominated the previous eight editions of the Times’ Good University Guide as well, before falling to the third place in the 2021 rating.
“I hope the fact that the staff and students of a small Scottish institution have been able to break through the hitherto impenetrable Oxbridge ceiling will inspire others, and show that the status quo is only that if you allow it to be,” Sally Mapstone, the principal of St. Andrews, was quoted as saying by the Times.
St. Andrews was founded in 1413 and is the oldest university in Scotland.