Good University Guide 2023

Newcastle University

National rank

Firsts / 2:1s
Completion rate

Key stats

Teaching quality
Student experience
Research quality
Graduate prospects

Newcastle is No 1 in the UK for sustainable development in the Times Higher Education Impact Rankings 2022. The university, which adopted a climate action plan in 2021, is eighth in the world for its progress towards the United Nations’ sustainable development goals. It promises investment of £15 million a year on projects to decarbonise heat and power to reach net zero emissions by 2030.   

Popular though these goals are among students, overall satisfaction has continued to decline according to the latest National Student Survey, published in summer 2022. Our analysis puts Newcastle towards the bottom of our table for satisfaction with teaching quality (123rd) and the wider undergraduate experience (116=). 

The university’s performance in other areas improved, however, moving it up nine places in our overall academic league table to 33=. Graduate prospects, which are weighted more heavily this year, were the biggest factor. The proportion of students in highly skilled jobs or further study 15 months after graduation was up almost six percentage points, placing Newcastle in the top 25 on this measure.

There has been no shortage of investment by Newcastle. The £4.6 million Farrell Centre marks the transformation of a 19th-century department store into a unique facility focusing on city life. It aims to be a new type of public institution — part research hub, part civic space, part gallery and museum — running exhibitions, public talks and debates, and organising workshops for schools and community groups.

The redevelopment of the Stephenson Building for engineering — due for completion in 2024 — is costing £110 million. As well as a variety of student spaces, the complex will include facilities for research hubs in digital manufacturing, biomedical engineering and sustainable propulsion. 

In 2020 the university opened the £350 million Newcastle Helix (formerly Science Central), an urban regeneration project with the city council and Legal & General Capital. Its Catalyst building houses two national innovation centres for ageing and data as well as the National Institute for Health Research Innovation Observatory. The Helix also hosts the Frederick Douglass Centre, named after the American anti-slavery campaigner, with a 750-seat auditorium and 200-seat lecture theatre for the university’s school of computing and business school.

Britain’s ageing population will be the focus of a new £500 million campus for research into dementia and frailty. The old General Hospital site, close to the city centre, will also offer housing for the elderly.

Newcastle’s improvements in the latest Research Excellence Framework (REF 2021) compared with the previous assessment in 2014 promise a 20 per cent increase in research funding. Ranking 26= in our analysis of research quality, a slight fall year-on-year against sector-wide success, Newcastle achieved the top category (world-leading) in 42 per cent of its submission to REF 2021, up from 31 per cent in 2014. The academic team involved in the assessment was 54 per cent larger. English language and literature produced the best results, with almost 80 per cent of the submission placed in the top category.

Newcastle also has a gold rating in the Teaching Excellence Framework. In our analysis of course completion rates it has an excellent record, finishing 13th. The university’s dropout rate is below the level expected in light of the background of its students and the courses offered.  

Like many Russell Group universities, however, Newcastle does less well in our social inclusion index (107th). About one third of its undergraduates are drawn from selective schools, mainly in the independent sector, leaving it outside the top 100 on this measure. Only one in 12 are drawn from areas with the lowest participation rates in higher education, despite its location in the northeast of England, which has the country’s lowest take-up of higher education overall. In 2021 almost a third of applicants qualified for a contextual offer, typically two grades below the norm for their course, as a result of educational disadvantage. 

The university is working with the Newcastle United Foundation on outreach, education and research programmes across the region, focusing on work placement and volunteering opportunities, and improving employability for a wider range of students. Students from low-income families and those with dependent children receive extra support, and 27.5 per cent of students with household incomes under £35,000 qualified for financial assistance in 2021. Newcastle has been designated a University of Sanctuary for its support for refugees, pledging up to £1 million for scholarships and support for academics and researchers in Ukraine and other war-torn regions.

About £30 million has been spent in recent years on new and refurbished sports facilities, including a Sport and Fitness Centre at the heart of the campus. The outdoor pitches are a little further away, as is the Newburn Water Sports Centre. But the university’s 63 sports clubs offer a broad range of opportunities for competition and there are 45 exercise and wellbeing classes every week.

The 4,500 residential places owned or endorsed by the university are enough to accommodate all full-time first-year undergraduates who want to live in. Places are allocated via a computer-generated number to ensure fairness. Private rents in Newcastle are relatively cheap and the nightlife on easy reach of the city centre campus has acquired legendary status. 

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Category Score Rank
Ranking - 33= (42)
Teaching quality 68.8 123rd
Student experience 66.7 116th=
Research quality 53.6 26th=
Ucas entry points 145 38th=
Graduate prospects 82.3 25th
Firsts and 2:1s 84.4 27th
Completion rate 94.5 13th
Student-staff ratio 14.7 33rd=
World ranking - 122 (134)

Vital statistics











Applications/places 32,400/6,255
Applications/places ratio 5.2:1
Overall offer rate 78%


Places in accommodation 4,554
Accommodation costs £96 - £179
Catered costs £136 - £182
Accommodation contact


UK/EU fees £9,250
Fees (placement year) £1,385
Fees (overseas year) £1,385
Fees (international) £20,400 - £25,200
Fees (international, medical) £36,000
Finance website
Graduate salaries £25,000


Sport points/rank 2782.5, 8th
Sport website

Social inclusion and student mix

Social Inclusion Ranking 107
State schools (non-grammar) admissions 66%
Grammar school admissions 10.6%
Independent school admissions 23.4%
Ethnic minority students (all) 13.5%
Black achievement gap -13.5%
White working class males 4.6%
First generation students 32.4%
Low participation areas 8.8%
Working class dropout gap -4.1%
Mature 5.3%
EU students 4.7%
Other overseas students 12.6%

Student satisfaction with teaching quality

Archaeology and forensic science 86.6%
Dentistry 85.4%
German 82.3%
Art and design 80.1%
Classics and ancient history 79.7%
English 79.1%
Food science 77.8%
Iberian languages 77.8%
Linguistics 77.7%
Creative writing 77.6%
Pharmacology and pharmacy 75.8%
Sports science 75.5%
Accounting and finance 73.1%
Drama, dance and cinematics 73.1%
Architecture 72.7%
Medicine 72.6%
French 72%
Psychology 72%
Animal science 71.3%
Agriculture and forestry 70.8%
Geography and environmental science 70.7%
Law 70.6%
Communication and media studies 70.4%
Geology 70.1%
Music 69.8%
Philosophy 68.2%
Computer science 66.9%
Biological sciences 66.8%
Town and country planning and landscape 66.8%
Chemical engineering 66.6%
Subjects allied to medicine 66.1%
Chemistry 65.8%
Politics 65.6%
History 63.3%
Economics 62.7%
Business, management and marketing 62.6%
Physics and astronomy 62.2%
Mechanical engineering 61.8%
Civil engineering 61.7%
Anatomy and physiology 61.2%
Mathematics 59.7%
Electrical and electronic engineering 59.6%
Criminology 59.4%
Sociology 59.4%