Good University Guide 2023

Canterbury Christ Church University

National rank

Firsts / 2:1s
Completion rate

Key stats

Teaching quality
Student experience
Research quality
Graduate prospects

Diamond jubilee celebrations in 2022 mark 60 years since Canterbury Christ Church (CCCU) began as a teacher training college. It opened its doors with 75 students and now has more than 11,500 undergraduates on a broad range of courses.

While most are based at the main Canterbury campus, the university also has outposts in Chatham and Broadstairs and a postgraduate centre in Tunbridge Wells. Courses in commercial music, digital media, photography and early childhood studies are based in the purpose-built campus at Broadstairs, while the Medway site has recently expanded at Chatham’s historic dockyard and specialises in education and health programmes.

The university has invested £150 million in its main campus, where the library won a design award in 2013. The £65 million Verena Holmes Building opened in 2021, named after a pioneering female engineer from Kent, housing courses in science, technology, health, engineering and medicine. Next to St Augustine’s Abbey, a World Heritage site a few minutes from Canterbury Cathedral, it has industry-standard facilities for research, experimentation and collaboration with businesses in the field alongside teaching and learning spaces. 

The university has set a goal of attracting 35 per cent female engineering students to turn around the traditional male domination in the subject, and 40 per cent from less-advantaged communities. CCCU has risen eight places to enter our top 50 for social inclusion (43=). It has a strong record for attracting students from underrepresented groups through a programme working with more than 50 schools and colleges in Kent and Medway to widen access to higher education.

The institution is in the top 20 for the proportion of students recruited from deprived areas (19.3 per cent) and for those who are the first in their family to go to university (56.7 per cent).Graduate prospects have improved -year-on-year to be just outside the top 50 (51st, up from 67th in 2021). Our analysis examined the numbers in highly skilled work or further study 15 months after finishing their degree.

A string of collaborative projects with other colleges and universities helped to drive up applications by a sharp 39 per cent by the end of March 2022, compared with the same point in the admissions cycle a year earlier. One such partnership is with Global Banking School (GBS), which introduced a BSc in business and tourism management in 2021, delivered at GBS campuses in Greenford, west London, Birmingham and Manchester and accredited by CCCU. 

In the latest Research Excellence Framework (REF 2021), more than twice as much of CCCU’s work was assed as world-leading than reached the top category in the previous national assessment in 2014. Overall, 61 per cent of its submission achieved the top two categories. 

Although the university’s dropout rate is improving, it is among the factors holding back CCCU’s ranking in our main league table. For student satisfaction, measured by our analysis of the latest National Student Survey, the university has climbed 13 places to reach 71= in terms of teaching quality. 

It has also edged up its score for satisfaction with the overall undergraduate experience, but still lies outside the top 100 (114th).The university has promised extra support as part of its commitment to help to reverse the damage caused by the pandemic to the student experience. Induction programmes are being introduced for each year of study.

Peer mentors and wellbeing advisers are part of a wide-ranging team offering support. The Safezone app alerts university security staff if a student needs urgent assistance.

At Discovery Park in Sandwich, the university has set up the Life Sciences Industry Liaison Lab with first-class facilities for science and research. The facility is also used by local businesses.

The Kent and Medway Medical School, a partnership with the University of Kent, opened in 2020 offering 100 places each year on its five-year undergraduate programmes. Foundation years are offered as a way in to a number of degree courses, allowing those without the necessary qualifications to take on a three-year programme after successfully completing that first step. 

The curriculum is gaining three new degrees — food science and nutrition, geography, and wildlife ecology and conservation science. The choice of degree apprenticeships is growing. At the last count there were 445 apprentices across ten degree programmes and one higher apprenticeship. Courses include chartered management, social work, occupational therapy and diagnostic radiography. By September 2023, when a course for enhanced clinical practitioners will begin, the university expects to have 700 student apprentices. 

More financial support is being put in place and the university expects a rising proportion of students to qualify for new awards. About 16 per cent of new students in 2021 received some sort of financial help, including grants of up to £600 per year of study for those from households with incomes under £25,000. 

Sports and choral scholarships are also available. A modern sports centre is close to the Canterbury campus and there are playing fields a mile away in the Kent countryside at Stodmarsh, and at Polo Farm Sports Club two miles away. 

The university works with local clubs to provide access to facilities. Canterbury Rugby Club allows free membership to students, and they can use Canterbury Golf Club and an athletics track at a local college. The Verena Holmes Building features high specification provision for sport and exercise science.

There is enough residential accommodation to guarantee a place for all foundation and first-year students who apply by the end of July. The cobbled streets of Canterbury are home to a large student population and there is a lively choice of entertainment in the city.  

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Category Score Rank
Ranking - 119 (119=)
Teaching quality 74.9 71st=
Student experience 66.9 114th
Research quality 26.1 100th
Ucas entry points 101 130th=
Graduate prospects 76.1 51st
Firsts and 2:1s 68.5 121st
Completion rate 79.5 104th=
Student-staff ratio 18.2 101st
World ranking - 1001= (1001=)

Vital statistics











Applications/places 11,010/8,490
Applications/places ratio 1.3:1
Overall offer rate 85.7%


Places in accommodation 1,214
Accommodation costs £118 - £190
Accommodation contact


UK/EU fees £9,250
Fees (placement year) £1,850
Fees (overseas year) £1,850
Fees (international) £14,500
Fees (international, medical) £46,600
Finance website
Graduate salaries £24,373


Social inclusion and student mix

Social Inclusion Ranking 43=
State schools (non-grammar) admissions 91.9%
Grammar school admissions 5.7%
Independent school admissions 2.3%
Ethnic minority students (all) 28%
Black achievement gap -37.5%
White working class males 6.7%
First generation students 56.7%
Low participation areas 19.3%
Working class dropout gap -3.3%
Mature 64%
EU students 2.4%
Other overseas students 0.7%

Student satisfaction with teaching quality

Art and design 95.7%
Geography and environmental science 90.3%
Politics 89%
English 87.7%
Sports science 86.9%
Biological sciences 85.6%
History 83.8%
Music 83.2%
Communication and media studies 82.8%
Psychology 82.5%
Theology and religious studies 81.9%
Hospitality, leisure, recreation and tourism 81.7%
Animal science 81.5%
Computer science 80.4%
Drama, dance and cinematics 79.4%
Creative writing 76.8%
Nursing 74%
Criminology 73.5%
Sociology 73.5%
Social work 72.1%
Accounting and finance 72%
Archaeology and forensic science 71.8%
Radiography 71.3%
Business, management and marketing 70.6%
Education 69.9%
Law 68.9%
Subjects allied to medicine 66.7%