The University of St Andrews has taken the top spot in a national league table, beating Oxford and Cambridge.
St Andrews has been ranked ahead of the elite Oxbridge institutions by The Times and The Sunday Times Good University Guide for only the second time in its 30-year history.
The rankings show Oxford fell from first to second place, while Cambridge remained in third place.
The Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2024 said St Andrews won due to improved results in graduate prospects and its student-to-staff ratio (11.9 to one).
The high proportion of students achieving first and 2:1 degrees, as well as Ucas’ high admissions standards, also contributed to the university reaching the top of the rankings.
University College London (UCL) won the guide’s University of the Year 2024 award, moving up to sixth place in the rankings this year.
The guide said its performance had improved in many respects over the past year – including graduate prospects and honorary degrees awarded.
Helen Davies, editor of The Times and The Sunday Times Good University Guide, said: “The higher education landscape has never been more difficult.
“It is more competitive to get into many of our top institutions; The cost of attending college has skyrocketed, leaving graduates with extraordinary amounts of debt. and in many cases, life on campus still bears the scars of the pandemic. The lecturers are now on strike and the grading crisis is an ongoing scandal.
“This means that all prospective students, parents and carers need to think carefully about whether university is the right choice and where and what subject they want to study.”
Commenting on UCL’s University of the Year award, she added: “Almost two centuries since its founding in 1826, UCL continues to challenge its students, raise the bar for research and provoke global debate on everything from detecting cancer to legal action on their behalf.” those affected by climate change.
“Expanding the curriculum and campus to east London is visionary.”
Michael Spence, President and Principal of UCL, said: “Our high-achieving, curious students learn from and work with world-leading academics. They engage directly in research that crosses borders and addresses global challenges.”
“Being named the Sunday Times University of the Year is testament to the dynamic and diverse community of students and staff that make UCL such an exceptional place.”
The rankings can be found at and full results will also be published in the 96-page guide on Sunday.