Good University Guide 2023

Goldsmiths, University of London

National rank

Firsts / 2:1s
Completion rate

Key stats

Teaching quality
Student experience
Research quality
Graduate prospects
Goldsmiths, University of London

Contact details


New Cross, London , SE14 6NW,

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Goldsmiths has some of London’s best facilities for the creative arts. Dedicated studio space is set aside for all design students and there are nine specialist research laboratories  — and even a university yarn shop. Media and communications students have access to digital video and audio editing hardware and software; music studios provide industry-standard equipment for students enrolled on a range of music degrees.

A member of the University of London for more than 120 years, Goldsmiths is based in New Cross, in the southeast of the capital, with all undergraduate teaching and support on one site. Building on its history, the themes of environmental and social justice run through the university’s latest initiatives. These include the Green New Deal, in which Goldsmiths is aiming to be carbon-neutral by 2025 and incorporating the climate change crisis into its research and curriculum.  

The Goldsmiths Centre for Contemporary Art is housed in the grade II listed former water tanks for the Laurie Grove public baths, while the university’s £2.9 million performance studios and 200-seat theatre are used by the public as well as students.  

In the QS World University Rankings by subject, published in 2022, Goldsmiths ranks 18th in the world for art and design and in the top 100 for the performing arts. Its international stature is further bolstered by the many famous creatives who have studied at Goldsmiths, from Mary Quant in the 1950s to numerous Turner prize winners, including Damien Hirst and the Oscar-winning director Sir Steve McQueen.

Another celebrated Goldsmiths alumnus is Bernardine Evaristo, whose novel Girl, Woman, Other shared the Booker prize in 2019; she graduated with a PhD in creative writing in 2013. The university’s Department of English and Creative Writing houses a dedicated Writers’ Centre and offers a sought-after undergraduate degree in English and creative writing, as well as postgraduate courses that have produced bestsellers. 

Goldsmiths’ degree portfolio extends beyond the creative arts, however, encompassing the humanities, management, law, social sciences and computing. The university is one of just 24 to be granted an Alan Turing Institute Network Development award, which is based on the quality of its research in the fields of data science, artificial intelligence and related fields. 

In the latest Research Excellence Framework (REF 2021), 79 per cent of work submitted by Goldsmiths was rated world-leading or internationally excellent, the top two categories. Anthropology; art, design and visual cultures; media, communications and cultural studies; social therapeutic and community studies; and sociology produced some of the best results. Goldsmiths is comfortably in the top half of universities in our analysis of research quality (49th) although it has fallen 13 places in a year against rising standards sector-wide. 

A new partnership with Algebra University College in Zagreb will allow students in Croatia to study design, computing and marketing courses in English and validated by Goldsmiths. 

Closer to home, the university is working with other local institutions in its home borough of Lewisham to build on the area’s appeal as a place to study, work and live. Under the Civic University Agreement, collaborative commitments include launching wellbeing clinics across the borough.

In the Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF) Goldsmiths managed only bronze, its accreditation dragged down by poor student satisfaction, a common problem in London, and low levels of graduate employment, often a challenge for arts-dominated institutions. The TEF panel acknowledged its high-quality resources and said students benefited by connecting with local communities.

Initiatives to prepare students for future employability include live briefs set by companies such as Kodak and Microsoft for those on design, computing and management degrees. Goldsmiths also has connections with Tate Modern, Universal Music, Home Office and the Lewisham Refugee Network, among others. 

Low rates of student satisfaction continue to beleaguer Goldsmiths, which trails our rankings derived from the National Student Survey (NSS) — on both satisfaction with teaching quality and the wider undergraduate experience — as it did in 2020. These outcomes continue to hold back Goldsmiths’ overall standing in our main academic table, where it has suffered a huge 47-place fall to 108th this year. Declining performance in several other measures have also compounded its position.  

Goldsmiths does better in our social inclusion index, once again ranking in the top 30 in England and Wales (26=). More than half of its students come from ethnic minority backgrounds and it has one of the 35 lowest black achievement gaps. A project to improve the experience of black, Asian and minority ethnic female professors has received government funding, with the aim of nurturing a future generation of professors. 

About 15 per cent of entrants receive one of Goldsmiths’ range of scholarships and bursaries. Schemes to widen access focus in particular on garnering applications from students from underrepresented groups within southeast London and further afield.  

The university has lost ground on undergraduate completion rates, however. The latest figures show that the 21.1 per cent dropout rate is more than nine percentage points higher than the expected level, based on the social and academic background of Goldsmiths students, and the subject mix.  

On campus there is a large college green along with tennis and netball courts for hire. Loring Sports Ground, half an hour away, is the home ground for men and women’s football, rugby and cricket. 

The university owns or endorses nearly 1,400 study bedrooms, most very local to the university and none further than a 30-minute commute. First-years are prioritised and international students who apply by the deadline are guaranteed a space.

Central London can be reached in ten minutes by train, while the area has hip enclaves such as Peckham, known for its artistic atmosphere and rooftop bars, while east London is easily accessible via the Overground train line.

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Category Score Rank
Ranking - 108 (61)
Teaching quality 63.8 130th
Student experience 54.7 130th
Research quality 45.5 49th
Ucas entry points 127 60th=
Graduate prospects 65.5 115th=
Firsts and 2:1s 83.6 32nd=
Completion rate 78.6 108th=
Student-staff ratio 13.9 21st=
World ranking - 511= (461=)

Vital statistics











Applications/places 10,820/2,085
Applications/places ratio 5.2:1
Overall offer rate 72%


Places in accommodation 1,395
Accommodation costs £157 - £336
Accommodation contact


UK/EU fees £9,250
Fees (placement year) £1,000 (Computing) 1,385 (Psychology)
Fees (overseas year) £1,385
Fees (international) £17,050 - £23,870
Finance website
Graduate salaries £24,000


Sport points/rank 19, 132nd
Sport website

Social inclusion and student mix

Social Inclusion Ranking 26=
State schools (non-grammar) admissions 87.7%
Grammar school admissions 3.3%
Independent school admissions 9%
Ethnic minority students (all) 51.5%
Black achievement gap -15%
White working class males 4.3%
First generation students 45.9%
Low participation areas 5%
Working class dropout gap 5.9%
Mature 28.4%
EU students 7.8%
Other overseas students 13.9%

Student satisfaction with teaching quality

Social work 82.6%
History 75.2%
Art and design 73.1%
English 72%
Economics 70.8%
History of art, architecture and design 67.6%
Computer science 64.6%
Politics 63.2%
Business, management and marketing 62.8%
Education 62.8%
Anthropology 58.2%
Music 57.7%
Criminology 56.5%
Sociology 56.5%
Psychology 50.8%
Communication and media studies 50.2%
Drama, dance and cinematics 49.5%