Good University Guide 2023

University of Leeds

National rank

Firsts / 2:1s
Completion rate

Key stats

Teaching quality
Student experience
Research quality
Graduate prospects
University of Leeds

Contact details


Woodhouse Lane, Leeds, LS2 9JT,

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One of the most popular universities in the country, Leeds attracted more than 66,000 applicants last year: only Manchester, Edinburgh, University College London and King’s College London had more. Admissions reached a record high too, with nearly 9,000 new students starting courses. 

Impressive results in the latest Research Excellence Framework (REF 2021) may further boost the university’s appeal. Leeds advances seven places in our research quality index to reach the top 20. Ninety per cent of a hefty submission by Leeds academics across 28 subject areas achieved the top two categories (world-leading or internationally excellent), up from 80 per cent in the previous national assessment in 2014. Some of the best results were in creative writing, English, information and systems management, architecture, and law. The engineering disciplines, dentistry, economics, sports science, and town and country planning also scored highly. 

Based on a campus a ten-minute walk from the city centre, the university’s investment in its facilities continues. The Esther Simpson Building opened in 2022 as part of an expansion by the business and law schools. A new trading room, flexible teaching areas and behavioural laboratories are among its resources. The Faculty of Biological Sciences has received a significant refurbishment too, giving students access to the latest laboratories. 

These developments follow the recently opened Sir William Henry Bragg Building for engineering and physical sciences, with its facilities to engineer materials at atomic and molecular scales. The Laidlaw Library and the refurbished Edward Boyle Library are also among the campus’ modern resources, while a £17 million upgrade to the students’ union building, once famed for having the longest bar in the country, improved social spaces and performance venues. 

The biggest investment, £174 million over the next decade, is to put its Climate Plan into action — aiming to support climate change mitigation and adaptation locally and globally. Most of the budget, £150 million, is being put toward the university’s goal of achieving net-zero carbon emissions by 2030. The university, an “official observer” at the Cop26 summit in Glasgow in 2021, sent a delegation of more than 40 staff and students to represent it at United Nations and government events. 

Leeds secured gold in the Teaching Excellence Framework (T EF), impressing its panel with an emphasis on education inspired by “discovery, global and cultural insight, ethics and responsibility, and employability”. The assessors found that students take charge of their experiences with academic and co-curricular opportunities that can enhance their learning while preparing them for the world beyond university.

The university has risen six places in the QS World University Rankings to reach 86th place in the 2023 edition.

There are more than 500 undergraduate programmes, with students encouraged to take courses outside their main subject. The Leeds Curriculum promotes the broadening of intellectual horizons and requires undergraduates to produce a final-year research project. The university supports more than 1,000 students each year to complete work placements with organisations locally, nationally and globally. Leeds advertised more than 9,000 vacancies including 2,500 internships in 2021. 

For graduate prospects, Leeds has slipped slightly but remains in the top 30 in our analysis based on the numbers in highly skilled work or postgraduate study at a point 15 months after leaving university.

Leeds continues to channel its research expertise into tackling Covid-19. In 2022 it teamed up with the World Health Organisation on a global strategy to protect future generations against similar threats. The Leeds Cancer Research Centre opened in 2021, with state-of-the-art infrastructure in discovery biology, physical sciences, engineering, artificial intelligence and clinical research designed to accelerate the translation of new treatments and technologies to improve the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of cancer. 

The university’s Vulnerability and Policing Futures research centre has opened in partnership with the University of York, exploring how policing can prevent and reduce the risk of harm to the vulnerable. 

Leeds has had a digital education service since 2013. Its lecture-capture technology and multimedia management systems record lectures and virtual classroom sessions, supplementing the face-to-face experience. In-person teaching is the key focus, however, and there are no plans to deliver programmes on campus and online within the same cohort, the university points out. 

Even so, Leeds has crashed out of the top 100 for each of our two measures of student satisfaction, our analysis of the latest National Student Survey shows. For satisfaction with teaching quality, Leeds has plunged 40 places year-on-year to rank 122nd, while it is 116= for how students feel about the wider undergraduate experience, a fall of 49 places.

Two-thirds of Leeds students come from families with a history of university education and three in ten are drawn from independent or selective state secondary schools. This means that Leeds has one of the lower proportions of students from non-selective state comprehensive schools in the UK.

Among the university’s widening participation schemes are contextual offers of a two-grade reduction on published entry requirements, which benefited 26 per cent of entrants in 2022. To be eligible applicants must either come from deprived postcodes, have completed the university’s access scheme or taken a foundation year through the Lifelong Learning Centre. Leeds’ financial package of scholarships and bursaries is one of the biggest in UK higher education, benefiting 30 per cent of admissions. 

Those living in halls get free access to the Edge sports centre (discounted rates are offered university-wide), and its impressive fitness suite. The facility is complemented by the Brownlee Centre, the UK’s first purpose-built triathlon training base, housed at Sports Park Weetwood, three miles from the main city centre campus. The centre is named after Jonny and Alistair Brownlee, the Leeds alumni and Olympic medal-winning brothers. 

Although the university’s 98-acre site is close to the city centre, much of the accommodation is further out. There are 9,294 student bedrooms, enough for the university to guarantee accommodation to first-years, and international students for the duration of their studies. 

Support for students’ mental health is embedded through schools and faculties, the Lifelong Learning Centre and residential services. Same-day drop-in appointments are available remotely and the number of counselling staff has been increased. 

Friendly, multicultural and renowned for fun-packed social options, Leeds is one of the UK’s leading student cities.

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Category Score Rank
Ranking - 23 (15)
Teaching quality 69 122nd
Student experience 66.7 116th=
Research quality 57 20th
Ucas entry points 160 22nd
Graduate prospects 81.6 28th
Firsts and 2:1s 89 11th
Completion rate 94 16th
Student-staff ratio 13.8 15th=
World ranking - 86 (92)

Vital statistics











Applications/places 66,200/8,885
Applications/places ratio 7.5:1
Overall offer rate 64.5%


Places in accommodation 9,294
Accommodation costs £95 - £192
Catered costs £166 - £216
Accommodation contact


UK/EU fees £9,250
Fees (placement year) £1,385
Fees (overseas year) £1,385
Fees (international) £20,750 - £25,500
Fees (international, medical) £36,500
Finance website
Graduate salaries £25,000


Sport points/rank 1948.5, 13th
Sport website

Social inclusion and student mix

Social Inclusion Ranking 99
State schools (non-grammar) admissions 71.8%
Grammar school admissions 10.5%
Independent school admissions 17.7%
Ethnic minority students (all) 21.9%
Black achievement gap -15.1%
White working class males 3.9%
First generation students 33.8%
Low participation areas 8.9%
Working class dropout gap -3.1%
Mature 6.8%
EU students 4.2%
Other overseas students 14.1%

Student satisfaction with teaching quality

Civil engineering 81.3%
Town and country planning and landscape 79.2%
Accounting and finance 77.7%
Italian 77.3%
Pharmacology and pharmacy 77.3%
Music 77.2%
Classics and ancient history 77%
Bioengineering and biomedical engineering 76.4%
Radiography 76.1%
Liberal arts 75.9%
Linguistics 75.8%
German 75.5%
Education 75.3%
Chemical engineering 74.6%
History of art, architecture and design 74.5%
Geology 73.2%
Medicine 72.8%
Business, management and marketing 72.5%
Iberian languages 72.3%
Anatomy and physiology 72%
Sports science 72%
History 71.9%
Aeronautical and manufacturing engineering 71.7%
Biological sciences 71.4%
Sociology 71.1%
Natural sciences 70.8%
Creative writing 69.9%
Theology and religious studies 69.7%
Middle Eastern and African studies 69.6%
Politics 69.4%
Psychology 69.2%
Food science 69.1%
French 68.9%
Communication and media studies 68.7%
Mechanical engineering 68.7%
Electrical and electronic engineering 68.2%
Social policy 68.2%
Law 68.1%
East and South Asian studies 67.9%
Art and design 67.6%
Geography and environmental science 67.2%
English 67.1%
Criminology 66.2%
Dentistry 65.8%
Subjects allied to medicine 65.7%
Chemistry 65.6%
Economics 65.6%
Physics and astronomy 65.3%
Drama, dance and cinematics 64.6%
Philosophy 64.5%
Nursing 61.8%
Mathematics 59.3%
Computer science 53%