Good University Guide 2023

University of Exeter

National rank

Firsts / 2:1s
Completion rate

Key stats

Teaching quality
Student experience
Research quality
Graduate prospects
University of Exeter

Contact details


Northcote House, The Queen's Drive, Exeter, EX4 4QJ,

View on map


Rising popularity has spurred significant growth at Exeter, runner-up for our University of the Year award. Applications rose 9 per cent year-on-year to nearly 41,700 in 2021 among prospective students seeking a Russell Group university experience in a beautiful part of the world. In the decade since 2011 enrolments have nearly doubled to reach 8,175. 

Most students are based at the main Streatham campus, an attractive hillside site with plenty of green space yet close to the city centre. About £20 million is being invested in campus improvements, mainly to upgrade engineering facilities in the Harrison Building, and 1,182 new student bedrooms have been added at East Park.  

Contentment has grown year-on-year within the student body, according to our analysis of the latest National Student Survey. Exeter has risen 35 places to reach the top 25 for student satisfaction with the undergraduate experience and 28 places to 66= for how students rate teaching quality.

Graduate prospects have soared into the top 20 (19=), up nine places from its performance in 2021 according to our analysis of how many students find highly skilled work or embark on further study within 15 months of finishing their degree course. Exeter has set out its ten-year plan in Strategy 2030, vowing to pour its energy into addressing the challenges of our time: climate change, healthcare provision and social justice. 

Exeter was rated gold in the Teaching Excellence Framework, attracting praise for “optimum” contact hours and class sizes and for involving business, industry and professional experts in its teaching. 

The university claims to have Britain’s five most influential climate scientists on staff and has more than 1,000 researchers in the fields of environment, data science and computing.  

Nearly half of Exeter’s extensive submission in the latest Research Excellence Framework (REF 2021) was assessed as world-leading and the university has maintained its 18th place in our research quality index. The university has conducted leading research on dementia, diabetes and the impact of the environment on human health and has made strong contributions to the arts, humanities and social sciences. Its submission to the REF excelled in sports sciences, theology, and hospitality, leisure and tourism, a growing focus for jobs in the region. 

A purpose-built Centre for Resilience Environment, Water and Waste is being built at Streatham, where researchers will investigate how to manage natural resources to cope with population growth and climate change. A new undergraduate degree in environmental humanities will be introduced in 2023 with options to study abroad or work placements in the UK or overseas.  

Less than two miles away from the main campus, St Luke’s campus houses the medical school, which also has a health education and research centre at the Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital and a smaller base in Truro, Cornwall. The Graduate School of Education and programmes in sport and health sciences are also based at St Luke’s.  

At Exeter’s Penryn campus in Cornwall, shared with Falmouth University, the Exchange Courtyard opened in 2020 as part of a £4.4 million project to create social and flexible learning spaces. Penryn also hosts the Renewable Energy Engineering Facility (Reef), which provides specialist teaching facilities. 

A relatively low proportion of recruits from non-selective state schools (53.6 per cent) keeps Exeter in the lower reaches of our social inclusion index. But the university is determined to focus on widening access to higher education, as well as supporting lifelong learning to adapt to the jobs of the future. 

Unlike many other Russell Group members, Exeter has embraced degree apprenticeships and at last count had 1,733 students following one of six undergraduate programmes  — which include civil engineering, diagnostic radiography and digital and technology solutions — and seven postgraduate courses. The university is a partner in the new Institute of Technology, which has a £3.2 million facility on the Streatham campus featuring artificial intelligence technology and a computer learning laboratory where people can learn while they work. 

One in six new entrants in 2021 received a contextual offer and the university expects that to rise after tweaking the eligibility criteria. All state school-educated applicants who live or go to school in the most deprived postcodes will qualify for a contextual offer, typically one A-level grade (or equivalent qualification) below the standard offer. A contextual offer to study medicine can be reduced to ABB at A-level. 

There is also a generous bursary and scholarship scheme. The Access to Exeter bursary is worth £2,100 in the first year and £1,550 in subsequent years of undergraduate study for those with household incomes below £16,000 per year, or £1,050 per year where income is below £25,000. Sports performance bursaries of up to £3,000 are awarded to student athletes who compete internationally in one of Exeter’s Athletics Union clubs. Other awards include the global excellence scholarship, which provides financial help to high-achieving international students.   

Exeter has introduced mandatory training for new students on equality, diversity and inclusion, and on sexual consent.  

Sports facilities at Exeter are some of the best in the country, boosted by recent investment of more than £12 million. The Sports Park on the main campus includes a 200-station gym, while Penryn makes use of one of the best locations in the UK for watersports. All first-years who apply in time are guaranteed a room. At the main Streatham campus there are 6,482 places and almost 20 per cent are catered. Another 831 rooms are available at Penryn, 10 per cent of them catered.  

Although the city has a sleepy side, sandy beaches are only 20 minutes away and Exeter offers live music and festivals aplenty.

show more


Category Score Rank
Ranking - 13 (21)
Teaching quality 75.3 66th=
Student experience 75.5 24th
Research quality 57.5 18th
Ucas entry points 157 23rd
Graduate prospects 83.8 19th=
Firsts and 2:1s 88.8 12th
Completion rate 94.9 11th
Student-staff ratio 15.8 54th=
World ranking - 163 (149=)

Vital statistics











Applications/places 41,695/8,175
Applications/places ratio 5.1:1
Overall offer rate 79.2%


Places in accommodation 7,313
Accommodation costs £116 - £193
Catered costs £159 - £285
Accommodation contact


UK/EU fees £9,250
Fees (placement year) £1,850 (20% of academic fee)
Fees (overseas year) £1,385 (15% of academic fee)
Fees (international) £19,500 - £25,000
Fees (international, medical) £38,500
Finance website
Graduate salaries £26,500


Sport points/rank 3721.5, 5th
Sport website

Social inclusion and student mix

Social Inclusion Ranking 108
State schools (non-grammar) admissions 53.6%
Grammar school admissions 11.9%
Independent school admissions 34.5%
Ethnic minority students (all) 10.6%
Black achievement gap -9.5%
White working class males 3.4%
First generation students 26.3%
Low participation areas 5.7%
Working class dropout gap -1.5%
Mature 6.7%
EU students 5.4%
Other overseas students 15.8%

Student satisfaction with teaching quality

General engineering 98.8%
Geology 85.9%
Natural sciences 85.3%
Archaeology and forensic science 83%
Theology and religious studies 82.4%
English 82.2%
Business, management and marketing 80.6%
Accounting and finance 80.2%
Communication and media studies 80.2%
Classics and ancient history 78.8%
Electrical and electronic engineering 78.1%
French 77.8%
German 77.8%
Iberian languages 77.8%
Italian 77.8%
Russian and eastern European languages 77.8%
History of art, architecture and design 77.6%
Drama, dance and cinematics 77.5%
Physics and astronomy 77.2%
Philosophy 76.8%
Middle Eastern and African studies 76.6%
Mechanical engineering 76.5%
Biological sciences 76.4%
Sports science 76.3%
History 75.7%
Anthropology 75.1%
Computer science 75%
Civil engineering 74.6%
Geography and environmental science 74.6%
Materials technology 74.6%
Subjects allied to medicine 74.4%
Politics 74.3%
Sociology 74.2%
Nursing 73.4%
Economics 72%
Mathematics 71.2%
Medicine 71.2%
Psychology 70.1%
Law 69.4%
Liberal arts 68.1%
Radiography 64.5%