Good University Guide 2023

University of Reading

National rank

Firsts / 2:1s
Completion rate

Key stats

Teaching quality
Student experience
Research quality
Graduate prospects
University of Reading

Contact details


Whiteknights, PO Box 217, Reading, RG6 6AH,

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A record 4,362 students are starting undergraduate degrees at the University of Reading this month, following the third successive rise in applications. Clearing had to be closed earlier than planned, such was the demand for places. Firm acceptances were up by an impressive 9 per cent. 

One welcome aspect of these successes is that while arts and humanities degrees continued to struggle (or even close) at other universities, they saw some of the strongest recruitment at Reading. Fine art, typography, humanities and archaeology, as well as computer sciences, all attracted sharp increases in applications. Six of the 13 new degrees beginning in 2022-23 combine modern languages with another subject.

A rise of four places overall on the back of a significant recovery in student satisfaction takes Reading back into the top 30 in our league table and may help the university to achieve its growth and sustainability goals by the time of its centenary in 2026. Up a gargantuan 49 places year-on-year to rank 31= for student satisfaction with the wider undergraduate experience, Reading also records a 36-place improvement for satisfaction with teaching quality, according to our analysis of the latest National Student Survey. 

Reading’s £200 million campus development programme, some of which is selected from projects put forward by the students’ union, must have helped. The students’ successful bids have included the refurbishment of study spaces across the campus, new running routes, more free charging points in lecture theatres and extra storage space for sports equipment. Larger developments have included the new £55 million Health and Life Sciences Building, which was completed last year and includes one of the largest teaching labs in the UK.

Previous developments included the £40 million refurbishment of the main campus library, increasing study space and improving key facilities. The 320-acre Whiteknights campus on the outskirts of Reading, which in 2022 won its 12th consecutive Green Flag award for the quality of its parkland, has been given traffic-free walking, cycling and running routes.

The university has a second campus in town and 2,000 acres of farmland are at nearby Sonning and Shinfield for its highly regarded agricultural degrees. The other main site houses its business school, formerly Henley Management College, which has an attractive position on the banks of the Thames. It offers postgraduate and executive programmes, while business undergraduates are taught on the Whiteknights campus.

Ranked in the top 230 universities in the QS World University Rankings, despite a 27-place decline in 2022, Reading draws about a quarter of its undergraduates from outside the UK. Its global engagement strategy includes a target for one student in three to have some experience of studying abroad by 2026, beginning with summer schools at the university’s branch campus in Malaysia, as well as at a longstanding partner institution in Nanjing, China. Other options for international study range from an additional year of study to single-term visits for modules that count towards a degree classification.

The student welfare team is integrated with an academic tutor system to address personal problems and enhance students’ professional development. There is also a wide range of scholarships and bursaries, including ten new Sanctuary Scholarships for Ukrainians, offering free tuition and a bursary of £5,000 a year.

All undergraduates are offered work placements, as well as career management skills modules that contribute five credits towards their degree classification. Second-year students have access to the award-winning RDGgrad programme over the summer vacation and into the autumn of their final year to prepare for graduate job applications. The activities include a mock assessment centre for 150 students and personal contact with careers consultants and successful alumni. In our analysis of graduate prospects, based on the Graduate Outcomes survey headcount of those in highly skilled work or further study 15 months after finishing a degree, Reading is 47th.

The Reading Experience and Development (RED) award certificates extracurricular activities that might be of interest to employers. Two new award programmes have been added this year, focusing on global activity and sustainability, aiding students’ personal development while helping to deliver the university’s strategy. Reading is one of the leading universities for the study of climate change and won the Queen’s Anniversary Prize for its research and teaching in the area in 2022. The university derives all its electricity from renewable sources and is committed to “genuine carbon neutrality” by 2030.

Reading’s grades improved in the 2021 Research Excellence Framework compared with the 2014 exercise, but it has still dropped ten places in our research table to 39= because increases were more substantial elsewhere. Archaeology, earth systems and environmental sciences, architecture and art and design were among the top performers.

Almost 5,000 residential places are either on or within easy walking distance of the Whiteknights campus, so all new entrants are guaranteed a hall place. The SportsPark, on the edge of the campus, has extensive indoor and outdoor facilities including dance and yoga studios, a soccer park, badminton, squash and indoor tennis courts. There are also boathouses on the Thames and a sailing and canoeing club nearby.

Almost £3 million was spent upgrading the student union’s popular 3sixty nightclub. Reading has plenty of nightlife and is within easy reach of London, although rents are high in the private sector.

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Category Score Rank
Ranking - 30= (34)
Teaching quality 75.1 69th=
Student experience 74.5 31st=
Research quality 51.1 39th=
Ucas entry points 124 70th=
Graduate prospects 77.4 47th
Firsts and 2:1s 83.6 32nd=
Completion rate 92.3 30th=
Student-staff ratio 16.6 73rd=
World ranking - 229 (202)

Vital statistics











Applications/places 20,920/4,185
Applications/places ratio 5:1
Overall offer rate 87.1%


Places in accommodation 4,982
Accommodation costs £138 - £281
Catered costs £140 - £211
Accommodation contact


UK/EU fees £9,250
Fees (placement year) £1,385 (15% of tuition)
Fees (overseas year) £1,385 (15% of tuition)
Fees (international) £20,300 - £24,500
Finance website
Graduate salaries £25,000


Sport points/rank 634, 55th
Sport website

Social inclusion and student mix

Social Inclusion Ranking 90
State schools (non-grammar) admissions 76.4%
Grammar school admissions 10.2%
Independent school admissions 13.4%
Ethnic minority students (all) 33.1%
Black achievement gap -9.3%
White working class males 3.3%
First generation students 35.9%
Low participation areas 6.9%
Working class dropout gap -1.3%
Mature 10.1%
EU students 6.5%
Other overseas students 13.8%

Student satisfaction with teaching quality

Archaeology and forensic science 87.4%
Food science 86.6%
Computer science 85.2%
Classics and ancient history 84.6%
Agriculture and forestry 84.5%
History 83%
Philosophy 83%
Education 81.9%
Art and design 81.3%
Bioengineering and biomedical engineering 81.2%
English 79.1%
Iberian languages 78.9%
Accounting and finance 78.5%
Geography and environmental science 77.6%
Business, management and marketing 77.4%
Biological sciences 75.8%
Politics 75.3%
Pharmacology and pharmacy 75%
Linguistics 74.9%
Mathematics 73.8%
Anatomy and physiology 72.5%
Economics 72.3%
Land and property management 71.6%
Architecture 71%
Subjects allied to medicine 71%
Building 68.9%
Chemistry 67.9%
Law 66.4%
Drama, dance and cinematics 66.3%
Psychology 64%