Good University Guide 2023

University of Hertfordshire

National rank

Firsts / 2:1s
Completion rate

Key stats

Teaching quality
Student experience
Research quality
Graduate prospects

Hertfordshire’s research performance has improved in the latest Research Excellence Framework (REF 2021), propelling the university 26 places up our research rankings to reach 60th place. The university submitted work by a team of 346 academic staff — up 58 per cent compared with the previous national assessment in 2014 — including more early-career researchers. The best results were in allied health subjects, followed by computer science and psychology. 

Among the fruits of the university’s investment in facilities is the £61 million science building on the College Lane campus, benefiting undergraduate teaching and learning as well as research. A multimillion facility for physics, engineering and computer science (Specs) is scheduled to open in 2024. This will give students access to hands-on learning resources, such as a robotics lab, advanced cybersecurity facilities, an electric vehicle centre, flight simulator and wind tunnel. An experiential learning zone in the Specs building will provide the base for projects to be taken from concept through to testing and operation.

College Lane, Hertfordshire’s original campus, is a 20-minute walk from the purpose-built £120 million De Havilland base and the two are linked by a free shuttle bus, footpaths and cycle lanes. The Hutton Hub has student services on the College Lane site, where there is also an art gallery and the Automotive Centre — home of engineering teaching. Many of its graduates have gone on to work in Formula One teams. 

When upgrading Hertfordshire to a gold award in 2018, the Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF) panel commended the strong emphasis on work-based learning, entrepreneurship and enterprise, with employability and transferable skills embedded in the curriculum. There had been high levels of investment in physical and digital resources, the panel noted, and courses benefited from “vocationally informed pedagogy supported by the university’s educational research network”.

Professional accreditations or approvals are often built into courses at Hertfordshire, and students leave with CV extras such as Microsoft qualifications or City & Guilds awards. Most courses offer work placements and the university’s careers team supports students for four years after graduation, helping them to find opportunities, prepare for interviews or start-up their own enterprise. The Flare Ignite ideas challenge gives entrepreneurial Herts students and alumni up to £3,500 prize money plus training to bring their winning ideas to life.

The chance to study at one of more than 170 universities around the world is promoted to students — for a term, a summer or a year. The Go Herts award, which attracted praise from the TEF panel for its links with degree programmes, gives students formal recognition for extracurricular activities.

The De Havilland campus houses Hatfield’s £12 million Enterprise Hub, which has space for students, staff and the business community along with a business incubator for start-ups and graduate entrepreneurs. The top floor’s teaching space is for students on courses including degree apprenticeships and MBAs. The Institute of Sport opened at De Havilland in 2021, bringing modern facilities for students and researchers in the School of Life and Medical Sciences.

The university has its own teaching observatory for hands-on learning in astronomy and astrophysics six miles from Hatfield. Bayfordbury Observatory, which was opened by Sir Patrick Moore after an upgrade in 2000, features some of the latest technology in the field, including seven large optical telescopes, four radio telescopes and a high-definition planetarium.

Rates of student satisfaction have been consistently sound at Hertfordshire in recent years. Our analysis of the latest National Student Survey (NSS) shows the university rising 13 places to rank 59th for satisfaction with teaching quality. Hertfordshire has slipped year-on-year from 56= to 66 for how students feel about the wider undergraduate experience. 

More than 700 higher and degree apprentices are enrolled on Hertfordshire’s 12 apprenticeship programmes. Fields include engineering (electronics and mechanical), nursing and sports management. A degree apprenticeship in enhanced clinical practice is to begin in September 2023. 

Demand for places at Hertfordshire is prone to fluctuate. Fewer new students started courses in 2021 than in any other year in the past decade, with numbers down 23 per cent year-on-year. Applications fell much less sharply in 2021, however, by about 5 per cent, but after six consecutive years of declines they reached their lowest level for ten years. Four new degrees launched in 2022, in business and human resource management; fashion communication; psychology in education; and data science.  

Few universities have more students drawn from ethnic minorities than Hertfordshire, where nearly six in ten are in that category, unusual outside a big city in southern England. Few can beat its recruitment from non-selective state schools (96.3 per cent). More than half of Hertfordshire’s students are the first in their family to go to university. Hertfordshire has links with schools across the county to encourage wider participation and the university runs outreach events such as GCSE booster workshops, student shadowing and summer schools. 

For new students from households with incomes of less than £25,000 and who come from areas with a low progression rate to university, Hertfordshire offers an undergraduate bursary worth £1,000 (paid in two £500 instalments in the first year of study only). 

The £15 million Hertfordshire Sports Village features a 110-station health and fitness centre, 25m pool, physiotherapy and sports injury clinic and a multipurpose sports hall.

With 4,600 study bedrooms across both campuses the university can guarantee a place for all first-years. Trains to King’s Cross take 25 minutes, though there is also plenty to do in the network of local Hertfordshire towns, including St Albans, Watford and Broxbourne, as well as Hatfield itself. The redevelopment of the Forum nightclub on the College Lane campus has created two socialising areas — an informal bar and a second-floor nightclub, each with 530-person capacities. A student wellbeing team offers counselling, mental health support and disability support.

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Category Score Rank
Ranking - 91 (96=)
Teaching quality 75.6 59th
Student experience 71.8 66th
Research quality 39.2 60th
Ucas entry points 106 126th=
Graduate prospects 72.4 69th
Firsts and 2:1s 70.6 112th=
Completion rate 83.4 81st=
Student-staff ratio 16.5 71st=
World ranking - 801= (801=)

Vital statistics











Applications/places 18,760/3,485
Applications/places ratio 5.4:1
Overall offer rate 67.8%


Places in accommodation 4,600
Accommodation costs £106 - £214
Accommodation contact


UK/EU fees £6,165 (Foundation) - £9,250
Fees (placement year) £0
Fees (overseas year) £1,385 (15% of academic fee)
Fees (international) £14,000 - £20,085
Finance website
Graduate salaries £24,907


Sport points/rank 697, 49th
Sport website

Social inclusion and student mix

Social Inclusion Ranking 45=
State schools (non-grammar) admissions 96.3%
Grammar school admissions 2.2%
Independent school admissions 1.5%
Ethnic minority students (all) 58.4%
Black achievement gap -16.4%
White working class males 3.6%
First generation students 51.7%
Low participation areas 7%
Working class dropout gap 1.7%
Mature 24.9%
EU students 4.4%
Other overseas students 12.5%

Student satisfaction with teaching quality

Economics 95.7%
History 87.6%
Physiotherapy 87.2%
Food science 86%
Philosophy 85.4%
Geography and environmental science 82.8%
English 82.3%
Linguistics 82.3%
Education 81%
Sports science 80.9%
Music 80.1%
Art and design 79.9%
Nursing 78.6%
Social work 77.6%
Business, management and marketing 77.3%
Subjects allied to medicine 75.5%
Accounting and finance 75.1%
Hospitality, leisure, recreation and tourism 75%
Law 74.9%
Biological sciences 74.4%
Radiography 74.3%
Physics and astronomy 73.9%
Electrical and electronic engineering 73.6%
Psychology 72.9%
Architecture 72.3%
Communication and media studies 72.2%
Mechanical engineering 72%
Civil engineering 70%
Information systems and management 69.4%
Aeronautical and manufacturing engineering 68.7%
Social policy 68.3%
Computer science 67.8%
Mathematics 67%
Pharmacology and pharmacy 66.6%
Drama, dance and cinematics 66.2%