Good University Guide 2023

University of Stirling

National rank

Firsts / 2:1s
Completion rate

Key stats

Teaching quality
Student experience
Research quality
Graduate prospects
University of Stirling

Contact details


Stirling , FK9 4LA,

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The university at which Sir Andy Murray and his brother Jamie began to build their tennis careers has created a new £20 million sports complex. Stirling’s facilities now include fitness studios, a gym, a three-court sports hall and an indoor cycle studio plus strength and conditioning areas. The university already hosts the National Swimming Academy and National Tennis Centre. The new resources are intended to support its elite athletes as well as students more widely, staff and the community. The curriculum has also gained sporting breadth, with the first students of new degrees in sport development and coaching and in sport psychology starting courses this term.     

The new facilities befit a former winner of our Sports University of the Year award, a trophy lifted by Stirling in 2020 in recognition of its world-class facilities and excellence across sports performance, research and education.

Stirling’s 330-acre campus, centred on a loch beneath the Ochil hills, is arguably the UK’s most beautiful. The 1960s Pathfoot Building, an architectural masterpiece by John Richards, sits among modern buildings that include the £23 million Campus Central. A three-storey extension to the refurbished atrium at the heart of the campus the development has increased study and social spaces. It also houses the student services hub, the Macrobert Art Centre’s box office and the Institute for Advanced Studies. A pedestrianised and landscaped Queen’s Court has provided a tranquil setting in the middle of the action on campus. 

Such investment in the student experience should help to boost scores for Stirling in future National Student Surveys, after its 2022 outcomes that have triggered declines in our NSS-derived measures for teaching quality and the wider experience. But improved completion rates at Stirling and the 16th-highest entry standards in the UK have helped propel the university three places up into the top 40 of our main academic ranking. 

Stirling’s significant investment to innovate on teaching practice and learning infrastructure helped see it through the pandemic with less of a downturn in student satisfaction than felt at most other universities. Stirling has new software, a library of digital books and resources and has developed new platforms so students can interact with tutors and their student peers to complete coursework. Taking advantage of these developments Stirling is providing a “digital-ready and flexible learning experience”, it tells us, in which in-person teaching delivery is supported by aspects of online learning. 

The first institution in the UK to pioneer an academic year of two 15-week semesters, Stirling places ninth in our Scottish social inclusion ranking. It works with local schools in low-participation areas and has a joint degree programme with Forth Valley College, whose students can enter Stirling’s second or third year in programmes such as adult or mental health nursing.

A contextual approach to admissions assesses Ucas applications in conjunction with personal and educational circumstances, resulting in the university dropping a grade in offers to eligible students. Of 2021’s 2,227 entrants 100 received a contextual offer, a proportion which may change as sixth form exams have returned to pre-pandemic methods of assessment.  

A widening-participation officer is on hand to offer support during the admissions process and for those who gain a place, the university has a facility where students can borrow a laptop in the short term, free of charge. Improving completion rates show evidence that such supports are paying off, with significantly less students predicted to drop out of their degrees than the benchmark rate based on the social and educational mix. 

Stirling offers one graduate apprenticeship, in data science, and expects student apprentice numbers to reach around 80 by September 2023. Applications were up 7 per cent in 2021. 

Stirling’s proud research record was upheld in the new 2021 Research Excellence Framework (REF) assessment, in which almost 80 per cent of the work submitted was judged to be world-leading or internationally excellent (up from almost three-quarters in the previous 2014 REF). Against even bigger uplifts in research quality across UK universities the university slips eight places to rank 50th in our research index this year however. Some of the best results were in agriculture, veterinary and food science; geography and environmental science; and social work and social policy. 

Stirling’s Institute of Aquaculture was awarded the Queen’s Anniversary Prize in 2019 for its pioneering work in the world’s fastest-growing food production sector in a bid to tackle global hunger. The university is now targeting its research on the government’s “grand challenges” such as Scotland’s aim to reach net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2045.

Stirling has a global network for students, staff and alumni to share advice and seek mentorship, while the University of Stirling Innovation Park is a key hub for start-ups and established businesses, research collaboration and potential jobs. Academic faculties work alongside the university’s careers service to engage with employers and offer internships, academic placements and volunteering experiences to students. With almost three-quarters of graduates in high-skilled jobs or further study 15 months after their degrees Stirling ranks in the upper half of UK universities in our graduate prospects measure. 

As well as the new sports complex Scotland’s designated university for sporting excellence also has facilities including fitness studios, a gym, three-court sports hall, indoor cycling studio, strength and conditioning areas and a high-performance suite, which opened in 2020. 

There are also artificial pitches for hockey, football, rugby, Gaelic football, lacrosse and American football and an all-weather athletics track. The National Tennis Centre includes six indoor, two outdoor clay and two synthetic courts.

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Category Score Rank
Ranking - 38= (41)
Teaching quality 76.2 48th=
Student experience 72.8 50th=
Research quality 43.8 50th
Ucas entry points 169 16th
Graduate prospects 73.7 62nd=
Firsts and 2:1s 76.9 72nd
Completion rate 85.9 62nd
Student-staff ratio 18.6 104th
World ranking - 501= (471=)

Vital statistics











Applications/places 16,790/2,425
Applications/places ratio 6.9:1
Overall offer rate 57.9%


Places in accommodation 2,894
Accommodation costs £86.18 - £182.45
Accommodation contact


Scots/EU fees £0 - £1,820
Fees (placement year) Full fees
Fees (overseas year) Full fees
Fees (international) £15,900 - £18,800
Finance website
Graduate salaries £24,000


Sport points/rank 1,942, 14th
Sport website

Social inclusion and student mix

Social Inclusion Ranking 9
State schools (non-grammar) admissions 90.3%
Grammar school admissions 5%
Independent school admissions 4.7%
Ethnic minority students (all) 5.9%
Black achievement gap n/a
First generation students 38.5%
Deprived areas 13.4%
Mature students 30.4%
EU students 12.4%
Other overseas students 6.2%

Student satisfaction with teaching quality

Iberian languages 91.2%
Philosophy 85.3%
Communication and media studies 84.8%
English 84.7%
French 84.7%
Sports science 82.6%
History 81.5%
Psychology 81%
Mathematics 78.8%
Economics 78.1%
Politics 77.9%
Business, management and marketing 75.4%
Law 74.8%
Geography and environmental science 74.6%
Criminology 73.1%
Sociology 73.1%
Social policy 72.8%
Biological sciences 72.1%
Education 72.1%
Accounting and finance 71.2%
Nursing 70.2%
Computer science 64.9%