Good University Guide 2023

Glasgow Caledonian University

National rank

Firsts / 2:1s
Completion rate

Key stats

Teaching quality
Student experience
Research quality
Graduate prospects
Glasgow Caledonian University

Contact details


Cowcaddens Road, Glasgow , G4 0BA,

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The Sir Alex Ferguson Library at Glasgow Caledonian University (GCU) now has a Relax and Renew zone where students and staff can take a break from their studies, or work in a contemplative space. There is literature available on self-care, hobbies and non-academic fiction. Focusing on welfare, GCU has also appointed a vice-principal for staff and student wellbeing. 

The Glasgow campus occupies a single site, where the centrepiece of a £32 million redevelopment is the Heart of the Campus building. The modern university’s reach extends further than its home city, however. GCU was the first Scottish university to open a base in London, where postgraduate fashion students are based in the hip enclave of Spitalfields.

Across the Atlantic in New York’s SoHo, GCU was the first foreign university to be granted a charter to award its own degrees in fashion and business. The institution has helped to set up the African Leadership College in Mauritius, where the first students embarked on GCU degrees in 2017. It also co-founded the Grameen Caledonian College of Nursing in Bangladesh, and has links with institutions across the world, including in Oman, China, India and South America.

With a stated mission to be a “university for the common good”, CGU has set out a vision to be a world leader in social innovation in its Strategy 2030 document and aims to drive sustainable economic and social development in line with the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals. The university is ranked 70th out of 1,406 institutions globally in the Times Higher Education’s Impact rankings 2022, and first in the UK for promoting gender equality. 

It is already setting an example in the UK for social inclusion and ranks fourth among Scotland’s 15 universities. In the latest social inclusion data, GCU records 96.4 per cent of its intake from non-selective state schools and is third in Scotland for its proportion of white working-class male students (8.4 per cent), the most underrepresented demographic in universities.  

Outreach initiatives target local communities and schools with a low progression rate to university, providing campus visits, skills training, careers guidance and taster days. Improving completion rates — with a projected dropout rate of 6.6 per cent, below the 7.9 per cent expected, based on the course and student profile — show that the university’s academic, social and financial support for those at risk of dropping out is bearing fruit. 

GCU is one of the largest providers of graduates to the NHS in Scotland and its facilities include a virtual hospital. It trains 90 per cent of the country’s eyecare specialists and is the only Scottish university offering optometry degrees. 

Nursing and allied health subjects produced some of GCUs best work in the latest Research Excellence Framework (REF 2021). GCU moves up 11 places in our research quality index to rank 66th. 

The School of Engineering and Built Environment teaches three-quarters of Scotland’s part-time construction students. The Glasgow School for Business and Society offers highly specialised degrees, having pioneered subjects such as entrepreneurial studies and risk management, with its first cohort of economic policy undergraduates welcomed in September 2021. A new degree in artificial intelligence and data sciences began in September 2022.  

GCU is Scotland’s leading provider of graduate apprenticeships (known as degree apprenticeships south of the border). So far there are nine programmes and GCU expects more than 750 apprentices to have enrolled by September 2023. Subject areas include civil engineering, cybersecurity and accountancy — a new addition from 2022. The university’s Mint (mentoring, internships, networking and talks) employment programme pairs students with GCU alumni, offers paid internships and industry talks. 

GCU’s graduate prospects remain in the top 40 according to our analysis tracking those in highly skilled work or further study 15 months after leaving university (39th).

Student satisfaction with the wider undergraduate experience has slipped 21 places to 57=, according to our analysis of the latest National Student Survey.Fashion courses are a flagship programme and GCU’s British School of Fashion has teamed up with companies including Marks & Spencer, which has a design studio at the London campus and funds scholarships. The university’s purpose-built studio in Glasgow, the Fashion Factory, has industry-standard machinery for designing and making clothing.  

Known for its friendliness and culture, Glasgow is Scotland’s largest city. GCU facilities include the Arc sports centre and 24-hour computer labs. There are only 654 residential places, with priority given to those aged under 19, international or disabled students. The historic West End’s redbrick flats are popular for off-campus student living.

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Category Score Rank
Ranking - 52 (60)
Teaching quality 75.1 69th=
Student experience 72.2 57th=
Research quality 38.5 66th
Ucas entry points 168 17th
Graduate prospects 78.6 39th
Firsts and 2:1s 82.5 37th
Completion rate 86.4 56th=
Student-staff ratio 22.9 124th
World ranking - 1001= (1001=)

Vital statistics











Applications/places 21,710/3,860
Applications/places ratio 5.6:1
Overall offer rate 51.8%


Places in accommodation 654
Accommodation costs £100 - £118
Accommodation contact


Scots/EU fees £0 - £1,820
Fees (placement year) £910 (RUK 4,625)
Fees (overseas year) Full fees
Fees (international) £13,000
Finance website
Graduate salaries £24,600


Sport points/rank 149.5, 88th
Sport website

Social inclusion and student mix

Social Inclusion Ranking 4
State schools (non-grammar) admissions 96.4%
Grammar school admissions 0.4%
Independent school admissions 3.1%
Ethnic minority students (all) 14.5%
Black achievement gap -36.8%
First generation students 43.1%
Deprived areas 23%
Mature students 41.2%
EU students 4.6%
Other overseas students 1.7%

Student satisfaction with teaching quality

Physiotherapy 90.5%
Radiography 85%
Food science 84.2%
Hospitality, leisure, recreation and tourism 83.1%
Sociology 82.2%
Art and design 81.9%
Accounting and finance 80.1%
Pharmacology and pharmacy 79.4%
Psychology 79.3%
Social work 78.7%
Subjects allied to medicine 77.9%
Law 77%
Business, management and marketing 75.5%
Archaeology and forensic science 74.8%
Biological sciences 73.4%
Communication and media studies 72.7%
Electrical and electronic engineering 72.1%
Computer science 72%
General engineering 71.2%
Nursing 69.9%
Civil engineering 68.8%
Mechanical engineering 68.8%
Building 66.2%