Good University Guide 2023

Kingston University

National rank

Firsts / 2:1s
Completion rate

Key stats

Teaching quality
Student experience
Research quality
Graduate prospects
Kingston University

Contact details


River House, 53-57 High Street , Kingston upon Thames, KT1 21LQ,

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Kingston boasts Britain’s best new building: the award-winning Town House at its Penrhyn Road campus. The £50 million centre won the 2021 Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) Stirling prize — the highest accolade in British architecture. Since opening in 2020, Town House has fast become a focal point, offering an auditorium and informal learning spaces as well as a studio theatre, dance studios and a library on the campus close to Kingston town centre.

At the nearby Knights Park campus, where the Kingston School of Art is based, the Mill Street Building has been transformed by a £29 million project to create more than 9,000 square metres of creative teaching, workshop and studio space.

A total of £118.7 million has been invested to enhance the student experience, including £55 million to upgrade halls of residence at the Seething Wells and Kingston Hill campuses. It is paying off, with satisfaction in the overall student experience rising 14 places to rank 59= in our analysis of the results of the latest National Student Survey.

Applications climbed by 20 per cent in the 2021 admissions round, while enrolments swelled by about 9 per cent year-on-year. Another 12 per cent increase in applications was evident in a snapshot of the 2022 cycle by the end of March. Courses in business and the social sciences, art and design, and science, engineering and computing have grown in popularity, according to the university.

Kingston’s creative courses are among its most successful. In our analysis of improvements in research performance in the latest Research Excellence Framework (REF 2021) the university rose 20 places to rank 71st.

Kingston fared less well in the government’s Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF) in 2017, earning bronze — the lowest rating. The TEF panel highlighted the university’s award-winning focus on black and other ethnic minority students. Kingston’s Elevate accelerator programme for UK-based black students was named the best initiative to widen participation in higher education in March at the National Undergraduate Employability Awards 2022.

Kingston’s student population is one of the country’s most diverse, with 65.1 per cent from ethnic minorities, and the programme seeks to equip black students with commercial awareness and skills, providing practical advice on job applications and how to start a business as well as inspiration from black entrepreneurs. The university has improved its graduate prospects in our rankings, by 28 places to 82=, in our analysis of the proportion in highly skilled work or further study after 15 months.

The TEF panel also noted that the course completion rate at Kingston was in line with the national average for the university’s courses and student profile. 

Degree apprenticeships are a relatively small but growing area: Kingston introduced a programme in social work in 2022, as well as three options in construction and courses in nursing, and environmental science. Kingston expects to have more than 600 student apprentices enrolled by September 2023. The curriculum has also gained an integrated master’s degree in chemistry with medicinal chemistry with intakes in 2022 and 2023.  

Kingston has four campuses: Penrhyn Road and Knights Park are near the town centre, with Kingston Hill a couple of miles away. The purpose-built Roehampton Vale, in a former aerospace factory a short bus ride away, is the base for engineering. Kingston is the UK’s largest provider of undergraduate aerospace education, with its own Learjet and flight simulator.

The Tolworth Court outdoor sports facilities are three miles from the main campus and the gym on the Penrhyn Road site offers student rates.

Kingston has spent more than £20 million extending and upgrading its student accommodation and all new entrants are guaranteed one of its 2,340 residential places. The suburban riverside location and its relative proximity to London’s bright lights are a big selling point.

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Category Score Rank
Ranking - 92 (101=)
Teaching quality 75.4 62nd=
Student experience 72.1 59th=
Research quality 34.6 71st
Ucas entry points 118 89th=
Graduate prospects 70.3 82nd=
Firsts and 2:1s 72.5 103rd=
Completion rate 82.5 90th
Student-staff ratio 17 76th=
World ranking - 601= (601=)

Vital statistics











Applications/places 25,795/5,040
Applications/places ratio 5.1:1
Overall offer rate 72.6%


Places in accommodation 2,340
Accommodation costs £115 - £220
Accommodation contact


UK/EU fees £6,000 (Foundation Early Years) - £9,250
Fees (placement year) £1,220
Fees (overseas year) £1,385
Fees (international) £14,300 - £16,500
Finance website
Graduate salaries £25,000


Sport points/rank 97.5, 95th
Sport website

Social inclusion and student mix

Social Inclusion Ranking 60
State schools (non-grammar) admissions 95.5%
Grammar school admissions 1.8%
Independent school admissions 2.7%
Ethnic minority students (all) 65.1%
Black achievement gap -18.6%
White working class males 3.1%
First generation students 51.5%
Low participation areas 5.4%
Working class dropout gap -2.4%
Mature 27.4%
EU students 3.5%
Other overseas students 8.7%

Student satisfaction with teaching quality

Sports science 86.6%
Geography and environmental science 83.2%
Creative writing 83%
Architecture 82.4%
Art and design 82.3%
English 82.2%
Social work 81.9%
Land and property management 81.6%
Accounting and finance 80.3%
Nursing 79.4%
Food science 79%
Psychology 76.1%
Communication and media studies 75.9%
Economics 75.7%
Civil engineering 75.6%
Drama, dance and cinematics 75.1%
Music 74.5%
Criminology 73.7%
Sociology 73.7%
Business, management and marketing 73.3%
Biological sciences 71.9%
Pharmacology and pharmacy 71.3%
Archaeology and forensic science 70.8%
Law 70.1%
Chemistry 69.9%
Computer science 69.4%
Education 67.6%
Building 63%
Aeronautical and manufacturing engineering 62.4%
Mechanical engineering 55.4%
Mathematics 50.8%