Good University Guide 2023

University of Surrey

National rank

Firsts / 2:1s
Completion rate

Key stats

Teaching quality
Student experience
Research quality
Graduate prospects
University of Surrey

Contact details


Guildford, GU2 7XH,

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Shortlisted for our 2022 University of the Year award, Surrey has been charging up our league table recently. The university ranked 39th only two years ago and has risen to 22nd this year.

Positive feedback from students is among the factors behind its ascent: Surrey was one of only two UK universities that avoided a decline in student satisfaction throughout the pandemic. In our latest guide it has improved its ranking on both measures derived from the National Student Survey. For satisfaction with the wider undergraduate experience, Surrey enters the top five (up four places) and for teaching quality it is in the top 20 (up 17 places).

Much-improved research quality, as demonstrated by excellent results in the latest Research Excellence Framework (REF 2021), has also contributed to Surrey’s ten-place rise up our main academic table. Surrey submitted work from more than 660 researchers, 41 per cent of which was assessed as world-leading, the top standard.

From beginnings in London in 1891 as Battersea Polytechnic Institute, the university was founded in its present form in Guildford in 1966. Surrey’s two campuses, Stag Hill and Manor Park, just over a mile away, are ten minutes’ walk from the centre of Guildford. The £36 million Surrey Sports Park is at Manor Park.

Among modern resources are Surrey’s £45 million School of Veterinary Medicine and the £14 million Kate Granger building, which opened in 2020 at Surrey Research Park, and houses the School of Health Sciences’ clinical simulation suites for training nurses, midwives, physicians' associates and paramedics. Specialist resources at the newly upgraded £5 million psychology facility include virtual and augmented reality suites, and soundproof neuropsychology laboratories.

Surrey has invested in improved facilities across its academic departments. From this term the Department of Music and Media has fresh equipment to enhance students’ learning – including audio and computer labs, a TV studio and a Dolby Atmos surround sound recording studio – as well as improved sound recording equipment.

A food innovation unit has been added to complement Surrey’s expertise in food science, nutrition and dietetics. Physics facilities have had a £2.7 million upgrade, with refurbished laboratories, and the School of Mechanical Engineering’s Design Centre has been modernised. For sport and exercise science the human and physiology laboratories at Stag Hill have been enhanced. A moot court is now available for law students, replicating a courtroom and providing virtual-technology experience.

Students can make the most of the university’s full range of resources now that teaching has returned to in-person delivery this year. Surrey is keeping the aspects of provision that worked best during the pandemic, such as lecture recordings and adapting spaces to suit social learning.

Rated gold in the Teaching Excellence Framework, Surrey gained a glowing reference from assessors for “innovative and personalised provision”, “high levels of teaching excellence” and an effective approach to the development of professional skills and employability”.

Professional training placements of up to 12 months are offered on most degree programmes. Taken in between the second and third years in the UK or overseas, the placements mean that many students spend four years at university.

Surrey has built a network of more than 2,300 national and international businesses where students can learn on the job, including Microsoft, Unilever, and Sky. The connections are paying off for its graduates: 84.4 per cent were in highly skilled jobs or postgraduate study 15 months after completing their degree, the latest Graduate Outcomes survey found. Surrey ranks 16th in our analysis of graduate prospects.

The first cohort of professional international hotel management students began courses this term at Surrey, which ranks 14th in the world for hospitality and leisure management in the QS World Rankings 2022. New for 2023 are degrees in environment and sustainability, and in criminology with forensic investigation. Applications are being taken for a new graduate entry medicine programme (Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery) with a start date of February 2024.

Surrey has moved ten places further up our social inclusion ranking this year to sit 81st. It is among the country’s more ethnically diverse institutions, with more than a third of students from black, Asian or minority ethnic backgrounds. Surrey’s black attainment gap is among the 21 narrowest nationally. About four in five students went to non-selective state schools (87th).

Under the Team Surrey banner there are more than 45 sports clubs for all abilities. Students can earn rewards for keeping active through the SurreyMoves+ app. Extensive facilities —  indoors and outdoors — are up to standard for elite athletes and teams including Harlequins rugby union, Surrey Storm netball and Guildford City swimming club.

Surrounded by green countryside, commuter-belt Guildford is known for being a safe and unintimidating town. First-years are guaranteed a place in halls of residence — as long as they apply by the deadline – and a network of wardens and peer supporters provide support around academic and non-academic issues. Warden talks are compulsory for all new starters, covering alcohol, drug taking and consent.

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Category Score Rank
Ranking - 22 (32)
Teaching quality 78.6 18th=
Student experience 79.2 5th=
Research quality 53.3 29th
Ucas entry points 138 46th
Graduate prospects 84.4 16th
Firsts and 2:1s 81.1 43rd=
Completion rate 90.4 38th=
Student-staff ratio 16 59th=
World ranking - 305 (272=)

Vital statistics











Applications/places 29,125/3,300
Applications/places ratio 8.8:1
Overall offer rate 64.5%


Places in accommodation 6,000
Accommodation costs £73 - £244
Accommodation contact


UK/EU fees £9,250
Fees (placement year) £1,850
Fees (overseas year) £1,385
Fees (international) £19,100 - £35,500
Finance website
Graduate salaries £26,400


Sport points/rank 966, 41st
Sport website

Social inclusion and student mix

Social Inclusion Ranking 81
State schools (non-grammar) admissions 79.9%
Grammar school admissions 10.6%
Independent school admissions 9.5%
Ethnic minority students (all) 37.1%
Black achievement gap -11%
White working class males 4%
First generation students 40.8%
Low participation areas 7.9%
Working class dropout gap -1.3%
Mature 16.9%
EU students 9.1%
Other overseas students 11.4%

Student satisfaction with teaching quality

Drama, dance and cinematics 88.9%
Food science 87.6%
French 87.3%
Music 85.7%
Iberian languages 85.5%
Politics 85.4%
Chemistry 85.1%
Criminology 84.9%
Sociology 84.9%
Veterinary medicine 83.3%
Sports science 81.4%
English 81%
Psychology 81%
Bioengineering and biomedical engineering 79.8%
Nursing 79.1%
Biological sciences 78.4%
Civil engineering 78.3%
Hospitality, leisure, recreation and tourism 78.2%
Animal science 77.9%
Mechanical engineering 77.6%
Electrical and electronic engineering 77.1%
Accounting and finance 76%
Aeronautical and manufacturing engineering 75.6%
Law 75.2%
Chemical engineering 75.1%
Physics and astronomy 75.1%
Subjects allied to medicine 74.8%
Business, management and marketing 74.6%
Computer science 73.4%
Economics 73.2%
Mathematics 72.1%