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CUG University Rankings

The CUG (Complete University Guide) university rankings is an independent rankings provider for universities in the UK. CUG also provides course and expert advice for students who wish to find out more about studying in the country. 

The metrics that CUG uses to rank each institution include: Entry Standards, Student Satisfaction, Research Quality, Research Intensity, Graduate Prospects, Student-Staff Ratio, Academic Services Spend, Facilities Spend, and Degree Completion.  

For a start, the data used by CUG come from public sources, namely the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA), as well as from the National Student Survey and the 2014 Research Excellence Framework. 

The latter two are overseen by the funding councils for UK universities: Office for Students (OfS) for England, Scottish Funding Council (SFC) and Higher Education Funding Council for Wales (HEFCW). 

Measures used by CUG 

Entry Standards 

The average UCAS tariff score of new undergraduate students which is taken from HESA data for 2019-20. 

Student Satisfaction 

A measure of student views of the teaching quality at the university, with data extracted from the National Student Survey (NSS) - a survey of final-year undergraduate students in 2020.  

Research Quality 

A measure of the quality of the research undertaken in the university, with data coming from the 2014 Research Excellence Framework (REF) undertaken by the funding councils. 

Research Intensity 

A measure of the proportion of staff involved in research. Data is gathered from the 2014 Research Excellence Framework and HESA data from October 2013. This information and data are due to be updated in 2022. 

Graduate Prospects 

A measure of the success in employability or further study of graduates completing their first degree, with data taken from the 2017-18 HESA. 

Student-Staff Ratio 

A measure of the average staffing level in the university, calculated based on HESA data for 2019-2020. 

Academic Services Spend 

The expenditure per student on all academic services, with HESA data coming from 2016-17, 2017-18 and 2018-19. 

Facilities Spend 

The expenditure per student on staff and student facilities. HESA data was taken from periods 2016–17, 2017–18 and 2018–19[Text Wrapping Break] 

 Degree Completion 

A measure of the completion rate of first-degree undergraduates studying at the university. HESA performance indicators were gathered based on data for 2018–19 and 2019–20. 

CUG Top Universities in the UK 




University of Cambridge 


University of Oxford 


University of St Andrews 


London School of Economics and Political Science 


Imperial College London 


Loughborough University 


Durham University 


Lancaster University 


University of Bath 


UCL (University College London) 

If you’re ready to chase your goals, fill in your details and we’ll help you get to a top institution in the UK. Better yet, you can even apply for a post-study work visa (also known as the Graduate Immigration Route) without having reached the UK. 

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