Good University Guide 2023

University of Glasgow

National rank

Firsts / 2:1s
Completion rate

Key stats

Teaching quality
Student experience
Research quality
Graduate prospects

One of Scotland’s four ancient universities and founded in 1451, Glasgow was the first in Britain to have a school of engineering and the first in Scotland to have a computer. A pioneer still, Glasgow unveiled the largest project of a £1 billion, ten-year investment in its estate in June 2022. The Mazumdar-Shaw Advanced Research Centre (ARC) is the university’s new flagship research facility, the fruits of a £166.5 million investment on the Western campus. Designed to accommodate about 500 academics, postdoctoral researchers and PhD students, the ARC’s focus for research is across five main themes: creative economies and cultural transformation, digital chemistry, international development, quantum and nanotechnology, and technology touching life. The building’s ground floor is open to the wider university and the community. 

One of only two Russell Group universities in Scotland, Glasgow burnished its golden research reputation in the latest Research Excellence Framework (REF 2021). Excellence in food science, agriculture, medicine, classics, and mathematics helped to keep its 12th place in our research quality index. The university secured 73rd place in the 2022 QS World University rankings. 

Our Scottish University of the Year in 2021, Glasgow’s ambitious development plan is making space for a growing student community. The demand for places increased by 16 per cent in the 2021 admissions round, year-on-year. Enrolments edged up by just 2 per cent in the same cycle but are up by half in the past decade. 

Providing plenty of legroom for studying, the £90.6 million James McCune Smith learning hub opened in 2021. The building can accommodate more than 2,500 students and combines flexible study and social learning areas with interactive teaching spaces.

Glasgow’s imposing gothic revival buildings on the Gilmorehill campus are a landmark in the city’s fashionable West End, where the university has been based since 1871. Glasgow has its own museum — the Hunterian — at Gilmorehill, with collections of art, zoology and anatomy.

The spacious Garscube campus, four miles from Gilmorehill in the northwest of the city, hosts the veterinary school and outdoor sports pitches. Liberal arts and teaching courses are delivered in Dumfries, where more than £13 million has been spent on sporting and social facilities.

Glasgow scored highly with its students during the pandemic, compared with most other institutions, boosting its scores for student satisfaction with the wider undergraduate experience to 24th place in our analysis of the National Student Survey in 2021. A year on, however, Glasgow falls to 67= on that measure  and 92= for satisfaction with teaching quality. 

The university’s only graduate apprenticeship (known as degree apprenticeships south of the border) is a four-year programme in software engineering designed with local employers to create a talent pipeline of graduates with skills tailored to industry needs. The university is working on projects with more than 300 companies of partnerships worth at least £25 million, giving students the opportunity to learn from professionals. Glasgow’s Internship Hub works with more than 150 organisations locally and beyond to provide exclusive placements. Many students are kept on afterwards. Glasgow’s School of Culture and Creative Arts, Scotland’s leading centre for music research, offers opportunities for student placements within the city’s legendary music scene. 

Glasgow has improved its graduate prospects year-on-year to reach the top 30 for the proportion of those in highly skilled work or postgraduate study after 15 months (29th).  More than a quarter of undergraduates are from outside the UK and Glasgow has a branch campus in Singapore, working with the Singapore Institute of Technology, and a joint graduate school with Nankai University in northeastern China.

Four-year courses are the norm in Scotland but students from the rest of the UK will find their fourth-year tuition fees waived on the majority of degree courses. There are access bursaries of £1,000 to £3,000 per year of study for students from England, Wales and Northern Ireland from low-income households.

Social inclusion is a challenge for Glasgow, which has a relatively low proportion of students from non-selective state schools (78.3 per cent). However, it boasts the lowest black achievement gap in Scotland.

Glasgow tends to increase its contextual offers each year for eligible students who have completed an accredited pre-entry programme, have been in care, are refugees or seeking asylum or are estranged from their family. However, most Glasgow students (74 per cent) come from families with a history of university education.

One-to-one counselling appointments are available and a peer wellbeing support scheme is in place linking trained students with those seeking help for mild mental health issues. The university’s SafeZone app is at the ready for students who get lost, need to report an emergency or require first aid.

The university has more than 3,400 residential places, enough to guarantee accommodation for new undergraduates. Glasgow’s sports union supports more than 50 clubs and activities and there are purpose-built sports facilities on the Gilmorehill and Garscube campuses. The Stevenson Building on the Gilmorehill campus includes a 25m swimming pool, indoor cycle studio, squash courts and a strength and conditioning suite. At Garscube students have access to all-weather and grass pitches as well as a cricket oval and tennis courts. 

Scotland’s biggest metropolis has five universities and was crowned the world’s friendliest and most affordable city by Time Out in 2019. It was also the first in the UK to be named a Unesco City of Music.

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Category Score Rank
Ranking - 14 (12)
Teaching quality 73.3 92nd=
Student experience 71.7 67th=
Research quality 61.2 12th
Ucas entry points 203 3rd
Graduate prospects 81.4 29th
Firsts and 2:1s 86.1 20th
Completion rate 89.9 41st=
Student-staff ratio 13.7 12th=
World ranking - 81 (73)

Vital statistics











Applications/places 42,180/6,605
Applications/places ratio 6.4:1
Overall offer rate 56.3%


Places in accommodation 3,508
Accommodation costs £91 - £245
Catered costs £168 - £198
Accommodation contact


Scots/EU fees £0 - £1,820
Fees (placement year) £910
Fees (overseas year) £910
Fees (international) £20,400 - £23,950
Fees (international, medical) £52,000
Finance website
Graduate salaries £26,000


Sport points/rank 1570.3, 24th
Sport website

Social inclusion and student mix

Social Inclusion Ranking 13
State schools (non-grammar) admissions 78.3%
Grammar school admissions 5.5%
Independent school admissions 16.2%
Ethnic minority students (all) 12.3%
Black achievement gap -0.1%
First generation students 25.6%
Deprived areas 14.8%
Mature students 13.9%
EU students 9.3%
Other overseas students 12.1%

Student satisfaction with teaching quality

Nursing 90.7%
Dentistry 90.6%
Pharmacology and pharmacy 86.9%
Veterinary medicine 85.9%
Classics and ancient history 83.7%
Theology and religious studies 82.2%
Education 81.7%
Anatomy and physiology 80.7%
Animal science 80.4%
Sports science 80.2%
Geology 79.8%
Biological sciences 79.3%
Psychology 78.2%
English 76.7%
Sociology 75.5%
Medicine 74.4%
History of art, architecture and design 72.8%
Music 72.5%
Politics 72.5%
Law 72.2%
History 71.9%
Geography and environmental science 71.8%
Economics 71.5%
Drama, dance and cinematics 70.7%
French 70.5%
Mathematics 70.5%
Philosophy 70.2%
Iberian languages 70%
Accounting and finance 69.5%
Civil engineering 69.1%
Social policy 68.9%
Art and design 68.7%
Subjects allied to medicine 68.7%
Physics and astronomy 68.1%
Business, management and marketing 66.7%
German 65.7%
Russian and eastern European languages 64.7%
Computer science 64%
Chemistry 63.4%
Electrical and electronic engineering 61.4%
Mechanical engineering 61.2%
Aeronautical and manufacturing engineering 61%
Celtic studies 58.6%
Italian 58.6%