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Reputation and rankings

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Sunday Times 2021 rankings

We're ranked 15th in The Times and The Sunday Times Good University Guide 2021, with 1st place for Physiotherapy and 14 more subjects in the top 10.

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QS World University Rankings

We're in the top 100 in the QS World University Rankings 2021, based on indicators such as research excellence and employability.

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Teaching Excellence Framework

We've been awarded Silver in the Teaching Excellence and Student Outcomes Framework (TEF) for our quality teaching and learning.

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How have we established our global reputation for excellence?

Discover how we have built up our reputation and continue to strive for excellence in all our activities.

Our UK league table rankings

Our latest rankings in the three main UK university league tables are:

  • 15th in the The Times and The Sunday Times Good University Guide 2021; ranked 1st in the UK for physiotherapy, with a further 14 subjects in the top 10.
  • 17th in The Complete University Guide 2021, 1st for Physiotherapy with 14 additional subject areas in the top 10
  • 23rd in The Guardian University Guide 2021, with number one rankings for Civil Engineering and Electrical & Electronic Engineering and 6 of our subject areas in the top 10.

We are measured and ranked as a university on a range of criteria, including: entry standards, student satisfaction, staff to student ratio, expenditure on facilities and resources, research quality, and reputation among employers and academics from other institutions.

Our international league table rankings

  • 90th in the QS World University Rankings
  • Four subjects in the global top 50, according to QS World University Rankings by Subject 2020: Nursing (5); Statistics & Operational Research (37); Engineering - Mineral & Mining (40); Archaeology (44)
  • Also in the top 100 globally, according to QS World University Rankings by Subject 2020: Civil & Structural Engineering; Earth & Marine Sciences; Electrical & Electronic Engineering; Geography;  Mechanical, Aeronautical & Manufacturing Engineering; Medicine; Physics & Astronomy; and Psychology
  • 122nd in Times Higher Education (THE) World University Rankings 2020 and 15th among UK universities listed.
  • 11th in Times Higher Education's (THE) 'Golden Age' universities 2020 - the top 200 institutions founded as universities between 1945 and 1967. Southampton is second among the UK universities featured.

Our student satisfaction

The annual National Student Survey (NSS) gathers honest feedback from mainly final-year undergraduates about their time in UK higher education institutions.  
The new survey, published in July 2020, reveals that we have made a number of improvements across the board with the following specific highlights:

  • 84.7% of our students were satisfied with the overall quality of their course 
  • 84.5% of our students were satisfied with the teaching on their course 
  • 85.8% of our students were satisfied with the learning resources provided by the University 
  • 89.3% of our students agreed that staff were good at explaining things 
  • 87.7% of our students agreed that their course was intellectually stimulating 
  • 87.1% of our students were satisfied they’d been able to contact staff when needed 
  • 88.5% of our students were satisfied with their access to course-specific resources 
  • 87.8% of our students agreed that our library services had supported them well 
  • 86.9% of our students felt they had the right opportunities to provide feedback on their course

Our research and innovation excellence

  • We are a research-intensive university and a founding member of the Russell Group - an organisation of 24 top UK universities dedicated to maintaining the highest research and teaching standards.
  • Our research grant income grows year on year, and in 2016/17 we received £137m. Find out more about our research and our research and innovation services.
  • The value of APP research projects funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) currently stands at £231m, making us seventh in the UK for total value of EPSRC grants.
  • 8th in UK for 'research intensity', according to Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2014, which assessed the quality of research in UK higher education institutions.
  • 11th in the UK based on volume and quality of research, according to REF 2014.
  • Over 96 per cent of our research environment is world-leading and internationally excellent, according to REF 2014.
  • We are a founding partner of SETsquared, the university business incubator ranked number one in the world by UBI Global.
  • A government-sponsored Science and Innovation Audit revealed that the south of England is the backbone of the UK's digital economy, with the University at the heart of many of the highlighted initiatives.

Our honours and awards

  • The University is a three-times winner of the Queen's Anniversary Prize for Further and Higher Education, approved directly by The Queen and Parliament.
  • In May 2018 two of our world-leading experts in photonics were elected Fellows of the Royal Society for their outstanding contributions to science.
  • Timothy Leighton, Professor of Ultrasonics and Underwater Acoustics, became our first triple Academician in May 2018 when he was elected a Fellow of the Academy for Medical Sciences.
  • We hold two Regius Professorships, a rare honour bestowed by The Queen to recognise exceptional teaching and research. Leading web scientist Professor Dame Wendy Hall was appointed Chair of Regius Professor in Computer Science in 2017.
  • Three of our academics were awarded National Teaching Fellowships in 2017 for developing excellence throughout their careers.
  • Recent graduate Dr Kizanne James was announced as one of the 2017 winners of an international honour for her work promoting family planning and reproductive health.

Coming to Southampton really appealed to me because of the reputation for high-quality education and facilities here. I wasn’t disappointed - they are cutting-edge. There’s really nothing more I could ask for.

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Changing the world

Find out how we are working with industry, governments and other research institutions to create a global impact.

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Why choose Southampton?

From world-class facilities to exciting events, explore the many reasons you might want to make us your first choice.

*The Times and The Sunday Times Good University Guide 2021

**The University is a founding partner of SETSquared, ranked the number one university-based business incubator in the world by UBI Global

***Research Excellence Framework 2014

****QS World University Rankings 2021

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