Good University Guide 2023

St Mary's University, Twickenham

National rank

Firsts / 2:1s
Completion rate

Key stats

Teaching quality
Student experience
Research quality
Graduate prospects
St Mary's University, Twickenham

Contact details


Waldegrave Road, Twickenham, TW1 4SX,

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St Mary’s University is on the cusp of the top 50 this year, after a 16-place rise in our league table. Its upward trajectory is powered by stellar rates of student satisfaction, our analysis of the latest National Student Survey shows. For students’ evaluation of teaching quality St Mary’s ranks fifth in the country, and for their feelings about the wider undergraduate experience it is seventh. The outcomes show consistency; the university was in the top ten for both measures in our previous edition too.

Clearly, St Mary’s “face-to-face plus” model of teaching delivery is going down well with students. Under the strategy teaching is predominantly in person, supported by online learning where it enhances the educational experience and adds flexibility for students. Lecture-capture technology can be supported in all the teaching spaces. Most assessments are in the form of online coursework assignments, and where exams are used some are taking place in exam halls while others are online, according to strict protocols. 

At the height of the pandemic, to ensure digital equality for students, the university provided wi-fi-enabled laptops, noise-cancelling headphones and 4G wi-fi dongles via a long-term equipment loan scheme. It now provides detailed guidance on what new students require pre-arrival, so they can purchase what they need in advance. 

The university has recently opened the Dolce Vita development, linking three existing buildings with a new open-plan social and study space. The renovation of existing buildings has added a new bar, private study rooms, four classrooms, meeting rooms and social seating areas. Founded in 1850 to train teachers for a growing number of poor Catholic children, St Mary’s is the largest of the UK’s three Catholic universities and these days admits students of all faiths or none. About a third of the 5,000-strong undergraduate community are enrolled on teacher-training programmes.

All undergraduate provision is based in Twickenham, where St Mary’s occupies an attractive 35-acre campus featuring gardens, parkland and the shimmering white gothic fantasy Strawberry Hill House near the River Thames — 30 minutes from central London. The university also has a community building in the centre of Twickenham, with theatre space, studio rooms and a large conservatory area with a café. The Exchange offers training courses for local residents and companies, as well as providing more teaching space for students.

St Mary’s was awarded silver in the Teaching Excellence Framework and assessors commended its high-quality resources and good staffing levels, which allowed personalised and small-group learning. Every student has an academic tutor tasked with answering their queries and helping to resolve any issues during their time at university. A team of learning and development lecturers provide further support, embedding skills workshops into courses covering topics such as referencing and exam revision. Students can apply for extensions to deadlines via an extenuating circumstances form. 

The latest data shows that such efforts are not entirely paying off, however. More than two in ten (22.6 per cent) of its students are projected to drop out — more than twice as many as the expected benchmark (10.5 per cent) based on the social and academic backgrounds of St Mary’s students and the university’s course profile.

The university has launched 11 new courses with a placement year in the areas of business management, communications, English, film, history, liberal arts and sports management. New degree courses in law with politics and law with sports business (offered as either an LLB or BA qualification) are also being introduced.

St Mary’s has a postgraduate facility in Edinburgh, at the Gillis Centre, where master’s programmes in theology and education are being delivered. Granted research degree awarding powers in 2021, the university plans to expand postdoctoral programmes across a number of specialisms, starting with two options in strength and conditioning in 2021. 

Industry collaborations include two courses run with the Chelsea Football Club Foundation. A partnership with the Royal Ballet in London’s Covent Garden provides strength and conditioning and sport science support to ballet dancers. As London Irish rugby club’s official educational partner, the university provides education opportunities to players and coaches as well as placements for students. With 69 per cent of graduates in high-skilled jobs or further study 15 months after finishing their degrees, St Mary’s ranks in the top 100 of our graduate prospects measure this year (94=). 

Sport is a well-established strength at St Mary’s: Sir Mo Farah, a former student, won a scholarship to its renowned Endurance Performance and Coaching Centre and trained at St Mary’s for ten years in the run-up to his gold medal-winning performance in the 5,000m and 10,000m events at the London 2012 Olympics.

Sport scholarships are awarded in gold, silver and bronze ratings, depending on the level of competition student athletes are engaged in: senior international, junior national or county/regional. Packages worth up to £2,000 include financial support with free gym membership, and access to the strength and conditioning suite and massage clinic. 

Academic scholarships include the Vice-Chancellor’s Excellence Scholarship of £3,000 per year of study, awarded to students who arrive with at least ABB at A-level or equivalent, and who come from households with incomes under £25,000.

Indoors sports facilities include a performance hall, studio, tennis centre, and fitness and conditioning suite at the main campus. Outdoors, there are two rugby pitches and the 2022-resurfaced Sir Mo Farah Athletics Track. The Teddington Lock campus is home to floodlit all-weather pitches.

All of St Mary’s 600-plus self-managed halls of residence are catered — a highly unusual feature among UK universities — and on campus. These factors are likely to contribute to the university’s buoyant rates of student satisfaction.

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Category Score Rank
Ranking - 51 (67)
Teaching quality 82.4 5th
Student experience 78.9 7th
Research quality 29.4 88th
Ucas entry points 109 117th=
Graduate prospects 68.8 94th=
Firsts and 2:1s 77 70th=
Completion rate 78.8 107th
Student-staff ratio 16 59th=

Vital statistics











Applications/places 5,620/1,180
Applications/places ratio 4.8:1
Overall offer rate 88%


Places in accommodation 650
Catered costs £170 - £255
Accommodation contact


UK/EU fees £9,250 - £11,100
Fees (placement year) £1,200
Fees (overseas year) Tuiton fees
Fees (international) £13,650 - £13,950
Finance website
Graduate salaries £24,000


Sport points/rank 655, 53rd
Sport website

Social inclusion and student mix

Social Inclusion Ranking 62
State schools (non-grammar) admissions 92.9%
Grammar school admissions 2.8%
Independent school admissions 4.3%
Ethnic minority students (all) 32.7%
Black achievement gap -15.5%
White working class males 6.4%
First generation students 45.6%
Low participation areas 5.4%
Working class dropout gap -4%
Mature 26.6%
EU students 3.8%
Other overseas students 11.7%

Student satisfaction with teaching quality

Education 91.4%
History 89%
Theology and religious studies 88.1%
Subjects allied to medicine 87.7%
Sports science 85.3%
Food science 83.4%
Creative writing 81.6%
Law 76.6%
English 75.5%
Psychology 74.9%
Business, management and marketing 74.8%
Drama, dance and cinematics 72.4%
Criminology 62.1%