Good University Guide 2023

Loughborough University

National rank

Firsts / 2:1s
Completion rate

Key stats

Teaching quality
Student experience
Research quality
Graduate prospects
Loughborough University

Contact details


Epinal Way, Loughborough, LE11 3TU,

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Loughborough — renowned for its sporting success — proves once again that it has brains as well as brawn, ranking 11th in our academic table overall. Missing out on the top ten spot it held last year by the narrowest of margins is likely to rankle at an institution where competitive spirit abounds. That it has outdone 16 of the 24 Russell Group universities (Loughborough’s principal competitors for the most academically able students) in our league table may be some consolation. 

In the academic arena the university regularly tops our rankings for sports science and takes the top spot for sport-related subjects once again in the 2022 QS World University rankings. Academic excellence across subjects, coupled with sustained high levels of student satisfaction, has twice won Loughborough our University of the Year title. No university has been shortlisted for our main award more times in its 24-year history.

Students are contented with their overall undergraduate experience (5=) in our analysis of the latest National Student Survey. Although the university falls 40 places for student satisfaction with teaching quality, Loughborough remains in the upper half of universities in our comparison (58th) and is rated gold by the Teaching Excellence Framework for outstanding outcomes thanks to a culture of personalised learning and a comprehensive pastoral and academic tutorial programme. 

Scholarly developments are continuing. The university’s natural sciences bachelor’s and integrated master’s degree courses are accredited by the Society for Natural Sciences, in recognition of their interdisciplinary quality and opportunities for learning skills development.

It was Loughborough’s research within architecture and the built environment; communication and media studies; and sport and exercise sciences that produced some of the best results in the latest Research Excellence Framework (REF 2021). Overall, 91 per cent of the university’s work was rated world-leading or internationally excellent (the top two categories). Loughborough improved on its performance compared with the previous national assessment in 2014, submitting work from 900 staff, but slips four places to 34th in our research quality rankings against even bigger rises by other universities. 

Computer science also did well in REF 2021, and the subject is gaining a £1 million Lovelace system. 

Graduate employment is a consistent strong point. Loughborough is 12th in our analysis of the latest Graduate Outcomes survey, tracking the proportion in highly skilled work or postgraduate study 15 months after finishing their degree. Talent Match, Loughborough’s new internship programme, helps students and graduates to secure short-term, high-level work experience, ranging from 40-hour to four-week internships. All undergraduates are also offered a year-long industrial placement. For students wanting to start their own business, a Year in Enterprise placement is also available. 

The 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham prompted yet another “If Loughborough was a country…” medals table comparison. In this instance, athletes with a connection to the university (those who used its training facilities, current students or alumni) would have finished sixth in the overall medal table, ahead of South Africa, Jamaica and Nigeria. 

With 14 medals, including three golds, at the Tokyo Olympics in 2021, Loughborough would have ranked 23rd in the final medals table, ahead of Sweden, Switzerland and Belgium. At the Rio Olympics in 2016 it was 17th, with five gold medals in its total of 12.

The university is introducing a world-first Elite Athlete Management Qualification in partnership with the Wellbeing Science Institute in Australia. The course is designed to equip elite sport professionals with wellbeing knowledge and skills to match. Work has also begun on a £9 million eco-friendly expansion to SportPark, home to many of the country’s top sports governing bodies and national sports organisations, on the university’s Science and Enterprise Park. 

Our three-time Sports University of the Year, Loughborough is likely to be in the sights of any student serious about sport. It claims to have “arguably the best facilities in one square mile anywhere in the world” — and certainly has the best this side of the Atlantic. 

Investment of £60 million over the past 15 years means that the 440-acre campus on the edge of its small Leicestershire market town home has the resources to allow anyone already of national and international standard to flourish, while also uncovering raw talent and developing it.

Among a long list of medal winners to have made a splash in the 50m, eight-lane training pool (one of two British Swimming National Centres) is Adam Peaty, the triple Olympic champion and Commonwealth Games gold medallist. The triathlete Alex Yee, who won gold and silver in Tokyo, trained at the British Triathlon Performance Centre.

The indoor Seb Coe High Performance Athletics Centre and the Paula Radcliffe Athletics Track pay tribute to two world-class alumni. As well as outstanding practice areas, backroom facilities such as human performance laboratories, technical analysis suites, nutritional analysis and sports medicine services are second to none.

Loughborough’s all-round strength on and off the sports fields is no secret in Britain’s schools. In the past decade applications have soared by 58 per cent and enrolments have climbed 45 per cent, including a 5 per cent rise in 2021, year-on-year. Significantly stiffer entry requirements for a number of the university’s larger programmes triggered a 10 per cent decrease in applications by the end of March 2022 compared with the same point in the admissions cycle a year earlier, figures showed. A degree in fashion design and technology will be introduced in 2023.

A revised contextual offer scheme began in 2022, lowering the high asking rate on many courses for applicants whose social and educational background fit the criteria. It is expected to benefit more students than the previous scheme. But with a third of students drawn from selective state or independent schools, Loughborough remains just outside the top 100 for its intake from non-selective state schools (66.6 per cent). More than two thirds (67.7 per cent) of students come from families with a history of university education. The dropout rate compares well with other universities. In 21st place, it is below the university’s benchmark figure, taking account of the course profile and the background of the student intake. 

Most of student life takes place on campus and all first-years are guaranteed a space in halls of residence.

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Category Score Rank
Ranking - 11 (10)
Teaching quality 75.7 58th
Student experience 79.2 5th=
Research quality 52.5 34th
Ucas entry points 153 26th
Graduate prospects 85.4 12th
Firsts and 2:1s 85.8 21st
Completion rate 93.4 21st
Student-staff ratio 13.8 15th=
World ranking - 256= (231)

Vital statistics











Applications/places 34,255/4,980
Applications/places ratio 6.9:1
Overall offer rate 74.4%


Places in accommodation 6,208
Accommodation costs £100 - £182
Catered costs £143 - £200
Accommodation contact


UK/EU fees £9,250
Fees (placement year) £1,850 (20% of tuition)
Fees (overseas year) £1,385 (15% of tuition)
Fees (international) £22,000 - £27,250
Finance website
Graduate salaries £27,014


Sport points/rank 7999.1, 1st
Sport website

Social inclusion and student mix

Social Inclusion Ranking 103
State schools (non-grammar) admissions 66.6%
Grammar school admissions 14.2%
Independent school admissions 19.3%
Ethnic minority students (all) 24.8%
Black achievement gap -15.1%
White working class males 5.1%
First generation students 32.3%
Low participation areas 6.5%
Working class dropout gap -3.6%
Mature 1.8%
EU students 4.5%
Other overseas students 8.7%

Student satisfaction with teaching quality

Natural sciences 87.4%
Geography and environmental science 84.6%
Architecture 84.2%
Art and design 83.6%
Chemistry 81%
Biological sciences 80.2%
Computer science 79.9%
Business, management and marketing 79.7%
Mathematics 78.4%
Materials technology 78.3%
History 77.7%
Physics and astronomy 77.7%
Sports science 76.2%
English 76.1%
General engineering 75.8%
Economics 75.7%
Bioengineering and biomedical engineering 75.6%
Anatomy and physiology 75.3%
Chemical engineering 73.9%
Politics 73.7%
Psychology 73.6%
Accounting and finance 71.9%
Mechanical engineering 71.8%
Electrical and electronic engineering 71%
Communication and media studies 70.4%
Town and country planning and landscape 70.4%
Aeronautical and manufacturing engineering 69.9%
Criminology 68.1%
Sociology 68.1%
Civil engineering 67.6%
Building 51.3%