Good University Guide 2023

University of Northampton

National rank

Firsts / 2:1s
Completion rate

Key stats

Teaching quality
Student experience
Research quality
Graduate prospects
University of Northampton

Contact details


Waterside Campus, University Drive, Northampton , NN1 5PH,

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Northampton has rationalised its undergraduate curriculum, removing a number of the options for joint honours, but still recorded a 5 per cent rise in applications in a snapshot of the latest admissions round in March 2022. An 8 per cent increase in 2021 suggests that the university has turned the corner in terms of student popularity after four years of decline. Demand has been high for foundation years and for new degrees in sport and exercise psychology, health studies, forensic psychology and business management. Interest from international applicants has been high across the board.

Student satisfaction has rebounded, according to our analysis of outcomes in the latest National Student Survey, published in summer 2022. Northampton has returned to the top 100, up 17 places for satisfaction with teaching quality (84=), and up 19 for how students view the wider undergraduate experience (96th). 

It is a welcome sign that the university’s £330 million development of the Waterside Campus, which opened in 2018, is finally paying off. A few minutes’ walk from the town centre, the 58-acre campus has a four-storey Learning Hub, where most teaching takes place, as its centrepiece. Big lecture theatres have been replaced by classrooms for up to 40 people and smaller lecture spaces.

Overall, however, Northampton has dropped 17 places in our main academic league table and into the bottom ten. 

Northampton had adopted a system of “active blended learning” before the pandemic struck, combining face-to-face and online provision and making use of the new configuration of the campus, which was designed for a “flipped learning” model where students prepare in advance for their teaching sessions and interact more with their peers and staff. The system was able to accommodate more online learning during the pandemic and has returned to more face-to-face learning since.

The university was rated gold in the Teaching Excellence Framework before the new campus opened, not least for its focus on social enterprise. Every student has the opportunity to work in a social enterprise as part of their course, developing entrepreneurial skills to make them more employable.

The Northampton Employment Promise guarantees an internship of at least three months or a postgraduate course to any graduates who have not found full-time work within a year of graduating with at least a 2:2 degree or Higher National Diploma. The university also works closely with the Northamptonshire Growth Hub, assisting local businesses as well as providing opportunities for student placements and part-time jobs. In our analysis of graduate prospects, based on the proportion in highly skilled jobs or on postgraduate courses 15 months after leaving Northampton, the university ranks joint 84th.

Five new degrees are planned for 2023: in animation, artificial intelligence and data science, computer networks engineering, software engineering, and pharmacology. The university also expects some growth in the numbers taking its ten degree apprenticeship programmes, which include provision for nursing associates, non-destructive testing engineers and occupational therapists.

More student placements will be available for arts, science and technology and health students through the creation of the University Hospitals of Northamptonshire NHS Group, a new alliance with the University of Leicester and hospitals in Northampton and Kettering. 

The alliance will also open up research opportunities. The university increased the size of its submission to the latest Research Excellence Framework (REF 2021) but has fallen into the bottom ten on this measure in our table (123rd).

Northampton fares much better in our social inclusion index (33=), admitting almost all of its undergraduates from non-selective state schools and featuring in the top 30 for the proportion of mature students. Professor Anne-Marie Kilday, who took over as vice-chancellor in 2022 after moving from Oxford Brookes University, has identified equality, diversity and inclusion as her top priorities, making higher education “a catalyst for positive social impact”.

The university has a variety of schemes to encourage students from underrepresented groups into higher education, and awards a bursary of £400 in the second and third year of a degree to students with a household income of less than £25,000, with the choice of a laptop or accommodation discount in the first year. Northampton also co-sponsors a University Technical College at the nearby Silverstone motor-racing circuit.

Northampton is one of few universities in the UK to offer all students free access to sports facilities. The students’ union provides the necessary kit. The sports dome is used for teaching as well as recreation, and there is a pavilion, outdoor games areas and an artificial pitch. The Active Campus features a mile-long trim trail with 14 pieces of outdoor exercise equipment, table tennis tables, table football, and lawn games such as badminton or boules. Leisure facilities are shared with the local community.

All new full-time students who apply by late May are guaranteed a room in halls, either on or close to the campus. Those who arrive through Clearing are guaranteed a room in the Scholars Green halls, four miles away. The town centre has a number of popular bars including the Platform, a students’ union venue housing a nightclub, bar and café.

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Category Score Rank
Ranking - 125 (108=)
Teaching quality 74 84th=
Student experience 69.3 96th
Research quality 13.8 123rd
Ucas entry points 107 119th=
Graduate prospects 70.2 84th=
Firsts and 2:1s 69.6 117th
Completion rate 81.5 95th=
Student-staff ratio 17.7 89th=
World ranking - 1001= (1001=)

Vital statistics











Applications/places 13,940/3,170
Applications/places ratio 4.4:1
Overall offer rate 79.3%


Places in accommodation 2,344
Accommodation costs £79 - £155
Accommodation contact


UK/EU fees £9,250
Fees (placement year) £1,100
Fees (overseas year) £1,100
Fees (international) £14,000 - £16,900
Finance website
Graduate salaries £24,000


Social inclusion and student mix

Social Inclusion Ranking 33=
State schools (non-grammar) admissions 97.5%
Grammar school admissions 1.2%
Independent school admissions 1.3%
Ethnic minority students (all) 41.3%
Black achievement gap -21.6%
White working class males 4.4%
First generation students 51.8%
Low participation areas 16.7%
Working class dropout gap 0.3%
Mature 36.8%
EU students 3.2%
Other overseas students 6.9%

Student satisfaction with teaching quality

English 85.5%
Geography and environmental science 84.9%
Sports science 84.8%
Art and design 83.8%
Subjects allied to medicine 83.3%
History 83.2%
Economics 79.8%
Education 79.3%
Politics 77.1%
Computer science 74.8%
Business, management and marketing 74.4%
Accounting and finance 74.3%
General engineering 73.1%
Communication and media studies 72.2%
Hospitality, leisure, recreation and tourism 72.2%
Drama, dance and cinematics 71.7%
Social work 70.8%
Criminology 70.6%
Sociology 70.6%
Law 68.9%
Nursing 68.1%
Psychology 67.4%
Biological sciences 66.2%
Music 61.3%