Best UK universities: 2023 Guardian rankings - best unis from St Andrews to Oxford and Cambridge

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For many students, the prospect of heading off to university is an exciting and pivotal moment in their lives. Choosing the right institution is a crucial decision, as it can significantly impact one's academic and personal growth.

As students prepare to head off to university in a few weeks, The Guardian has just published its annual University Guide, and St Andrews has further distanced itself from Oxford and Cambridge to solidify its position as the nation's top uni.

After knocking Oxford off the second spot in 2019, the Fife university topped the table for the first time in 2022, and has done so again this year, claiming the top spot in nine out of the individual subject rankings, more than ever before.

But what are the best Further Education institutions in the country according to the guide? Here's the all important Top 10.

University of St Andrews (Guardian score/100: 100)

Students from St Andrews University indulge in a tradition of covering themselves with foam to honour the 'academic family' (Photo: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)Students from St Andrews University indulge in a tradition of covering themselves with foam to honour the 'academic family' (Photo: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)
Students from St Andrews University indulge in a tradition of covering themselves with foam to honour the 'academic family' (Photo: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)

Founded in 1413, the University of St Andrews is the oldest university in Scotland and the third-oldest in the English-speaking world, and stands as a symbol of academic tradition and excellence.

Known for its small class sizes, which foster close student-faculty relationships and a strong sense of community, the university offers a wide range of programs, from the arts and sciences to medicine and theology.

It is particularly known for its strong emphasis on research and critical thinking, and with its picturesque campus and rich history, St Andrews provides students with an unforgettable academic experience.

University of Oxford (96.5)

Comprising 38 colleges, each with unique character and traditions, Oxford is synonymous with academic prestige and is known for its rigorous academic programs, world-renowned faculty and extensive libraries, including the iconic Bodleian Library.

The university offers a diverse range of courses, from the humanities and social sciences to the sciences and engineering, ensuring students have access to a comprehensive education.

Oxford's commitment to research and intellectual exploration makes it a powerhouse of knowledge and innovation.

University of Cambridge (94.8)

(Photo: Getty Images)(Photo: Getty Images)
(Photo: Getty Images)

Founded in 1209, the University of Cambridge, Oxford's perennial rival, is equally renowned for its prowess, and boasts a long history of academic excellence.

The institution has produced countless notable alumni, including Nobel laureates and eminent scholars like Sir Isaac Newton and Charles Darwin, and its commitment to cutting-edge research and innovation makes it a premier choice for aspiring intellectuals.

Cambridge's collegiate system encourages close interaction among students and faculty, fostering a vibrant academic community.

London School of Economics and Political Science (89.7)

Established in 1895, LSE is a top destination for students interested in the social sciences, economics, and political science, and the prestigious institution has a global reputation for its contributions to social science research and policy-making.

Situated in the heart of London, LSE provides students with unparalleled access to government institutions, international organisations and a diverse cultural scene, making it a powerhouse for students passionate about social sciences.

Imperial College London (82.2)

(Photo: Getty Images)(Photo: Getty Images)
(Photo: Getty Images)

Imperial College London is a leader in science, engineering, medicine, and business. Founded in 1907, it consistently ranks among the top universities globally, with a research-driven approach and state-of-the-art facilities.

Situated in the heart of London, the university offers students a dynamic learning environment, combining academic excellence with exposure to one of the world's most vibrant and cosmopolitan cities.

University of Bath (81.4)

Known for its strong emphasis on engineering, sciences and technology, the University of Bath is a top choice for students pursuing these fields, and the institution's strong industry connections also ensure students have ample opportunities for internships and real-world experience.

Established in 1966, it has rapidly grown into a hub for cutting-edge research and innovation, with a modern campus and a commitment to research excellence creating a vibrant atmosphere for academic achievement.

Durham University (81.2)

Durham University offers a blend of tradition and academic excellence, with a collegiate system that fosters a sense of community among students, and the stunning Durham Cathedral and Castle, both UNESCO World Heritage Sites, on its doorstep, adding to the unique ambience of the town.

Founded in 1832, Durham offers a wide array of programs and is known for its research contributions in various fields.

University College London (77.4)

(Photo: Getty Images)(Photo: Getty Images)
(Photo: Getty Images)

UCL is one of London's leading institutions, known for its comprehensive range of academic programs and cutting-edge research.

With a diverse student body hailing from over 150 countries, UCL offers a global perspective and a wealth of cultural experiences.

Its central location in London put students at the heart of one of the world's most dynamic cities.

University of Warwick (76.7)

The University of Warwick, located in the West Midlands, is celebrated for its interdisciplinary approach to education.

It boasts a strong reputation in both the sciences and humanities, making it an attractive choice for students with diverse academic interests.

The university's commitment to research and innovation is evident in its state-of-the-art facilities and collaborative opportunities.

Loughborough University (75.6)

Loughborough University is known for its strong focus on sports and engineering. With state-of-the-art sports facilities and a vibrant campus life, it is a top choice for students passionate about athletics and engineering disciplines.

Loughborough's commitment to innovation and research excellence sets it apart in these fields.

For The Guardian's full University Guide, head to

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