Good University Guide 2023

University of Southampton

National rank

Firsts / 2:1s
Completion rate

Key stats

Teaching quality
Student experience
Research quality
Graduate prospects
University of Southampton

Contact details


University Road, Highfield, Southampton , SO17 1BJ,

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Applications to study at Southampton are rising (up 16 per cent in 2022) as would-be undergraduates increasingly cotton on to its quality education. The research-intensive university, a founding member of the Russell Group, maintains its position in our elite top 20 this year, buoyed by high rates of student satisfaction with the wider experience and the eighth-best student-to-staff ratio in the UK — among other qualities. 

At the main Highfield campus, two miles from Southampton city centre, the Centenary Building features teaching and learning facilities have been designed to enhance the student experience. Independent study spaces come with views across the campus and the city, seminar rooms are bookable and private study pods are plentiful. 

Facilities for chemical engineering have benefited from a £5.3 million upgrade that opened to students at the start of the year, with specialist and design laboratories and an immersive virtual control room that simulates industrial facilities among resources. Research within chemistry has also benefited from a £1.1 million upgrade to crystallography equipment, bringing a new goniometer and high-powered focusing optics.

The Avenue campus houses most humanities departments and clinical medicine is based at Southampton General Hospital. Winchester School of Art and the National Oceanography Centre are among the university’s other sites. Overseas, the university has a campus in Malaysia — originally dedicated to engineering, it also offers business courses.

As well as providing modern teaching and learning facilities Southampton is leading from the front on issues of student welfare, having made consent training mandatory for all students. Many other institutions offer advice to undergraduates on issues including sexual consent but few have made such guidance a formal requirement. Active bystander training is also offered, while the “Welcome to Southampton” module supports academic transition for new students. An anti-spiking campaign run with local clubs included “stop tops” and drink testing kits.

The student-friendly initiatives are paying off. In our analysis of the latest National Student Survey outcomes Southampton is up eight places to rank joint 34th for students’ assessment of the wider undergraduate experience. Conversely, it has lost ground for their evaluation of teaching quality but remains in the upper half of UK universities on this measure.

Southampton holds a silver award in the Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF), whose assessors highlighted the support it provides all new undergraduates as they transition to university, as well as a strategic commitment to enhancing teaching quality. Investment in physical and digital resources, excellent student progression rates and effective employability initiatives also came in for praise by the TEF panel. 

The first neuroscience students began their courses this term, as did those on the chemistry and medicinal sciences course. From 2023 degrees in population sciences and a suite of biomedical engineering and medical engineering degrees will be offered. 

The university ranks 78th in the 2023 QS World University rankings and secured another strong performance in the 2021 Research Excellence Framework — an assessment conducted every six to seven years to evaluate the quality of research across UK universities. Engineering; allied health subjects; and computer science produced some of Southampton’s best results. Overall, about 90 per cent of its work was rated world-leading or internationally excellent. Southampton sits 14th in our research quality index, a seven-place drop in the face of rising research standards elsewhere. 

The National Infrastructure Laboratory houses the latest teaching and research facilities for geomechanics, heavy structures, solid mechanics and infrastructure engineering. The laboratory is located at the £140 million Boldrewood Innovation Campus, which is dedicated to marine engineering and engineering sciences and was developed jointly with Lloyd’s Register.

Most Southampton degrees offer a year in employment and undergraduates are encouraged to spend time studying abroad. The university does well in our measure of graduate prospects, with four in five graduates in high-skilled jobs or postgraduate study 15 months on from finishing their degrees.

Southampton is only just inside the top 100 in our social inclusion ranking, although this represents a more diverse intake than all but five other Russell Group universities. Just under a quarter of students are from ethnic minority backgrounds, according to the latest figures, and about seven in ten students went to non-selective state schools. Bursaries of £1,000 or £2,000 per academic year are based on UK students’ household incomes of less than £30,000 and awarded throughout their academic career. A number of merit-based scholarships are offered too. 

A ten-year investment in Southampton’s estate is launching with more than £40 million committed to new and improved sports facilities. Existing facilities include an indoor sports complex next to the students’ union and a 25m pool. There are numerous gyms at halls of residence, while the outdoor sports complex has multiple grass and synthetic pitches. Flying Formula is the university’s Sigma 38 yacht, available for taster sessions or bareboat charter.

The university guarantees accommodation for all new entrants who apply by the deadline. Its proximity to sandy beaches and the New Forest adds to Southampton’s kerb appeal, while the local nightlife has a lively reputation.

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Category Score Rank
Ranking - 16 (16)
Teaching quality 75.4 62nd=
Student experience 74.1 34th=
Research quality 60.1 14th
Ucas entry points 152 27th
Graduate prospects 80.7 31st
Firsts and 2:1s 87.2 18th
Completion rate 93.3 22nd
Student-staff ratio 12.6 8th
World ranking - 78 (77)

Vital statistics











Applications/places 37,580/5,315
Applications/places ratio 7.1:1
Overall offer rate 63.9%


Places in accommodation 6,428
Accommodation costs £121.03 - £192.01
Catered costs £159.25 - £214.41
Accommodation contact


UK/EU fees £9,250
Fees (placement year) £1,850 (20% of tuition)
Fees (overseas year) £1,385 (15% of tuition)
Fees (international) £20,340 - £28,902
Fees (international, medical) £26,352 - £51,648
Finance website
Graduate salaries £25,714


Sport points/rank 1474.5, 27th
Sport website

Social inclusion and student mix

Social Inclusion Ranking 96
State schools (non-grammar) admissions 72.1%
Grammar school admissions 14.8%
Independent school admissions 13%
Ethnic minority students (all) 24.2%
Black achievement gap -17.3%
White working class males 4.5%
First generation students 33.1%
Low participation areas 8.1%
Working class dropout gap -0.6%
Mature 9.6%
EU students 8.3%
Other overseas students 10.3%

Student satisfaction with teaching quality

Philosophy 89.1%
Iberian languages 88.1%
Education 87.5%
French 87.4%
Communication and media studies 86.5%
Chemistry 84.6%
Geography and environmental science 84.2%
Archaeology and forensic science 83.8%
English 83.3%
History 81.4%
Accounting and finance 80.7%
Computer science 80.5%
Music 80%
Physiotherapy 79.7%
Art and design 78.6%
Geology 77.9%
Economics 77%
Electrical and electronic engineering 76.2%
Mechanical engineering 76.2%
Biological sciences 75.9%
Civil engineering 75.3%
Mathematics 75%
Psychology 74.9%
Physics and astronomy 74.1%
Criminology 73.9%
Sociology 73.9%
Social policy 73.7%
Business, management and marketing 73.3%
Nursing 73.3%
Aeronautical and manufacturing engineering 72.8%
Politics 72%
Law 71.8%
Linguistics 67%
Medicine 64.1%
Subjects allied to medicine 59.6%