The rankings differed from the Guardian University Guide 2022, in which Cambridge ranked second behind OxfordLouis Ashworth/VARSITY

The University of Cambridge has fallen to third place in The Times and The Sunday Times Good University Guide, behind St Andrews and Oxford. This marks the first time that a university other than Oxford and Cambridge has ranked top.

Cambridge occupied first place in the rankings for the previous eight editions of the Times and The Sunday Times Good University Guide, but the university has been denied the top position this year.

The editor of the Good University Guide, Alastair McCall said: “St Andrews’ achievement in topping our institutional table should not be underestimated. Never before has any university other than Cambridge and Oxford finished top of our - or any other - domestic ranking of universities”.

McCall stressed that the success of St Andrews is “no fluke”, stating that the institution has been “closing in on the Oxbridge duopoly for several years”. McCall cited the university’s “outstanding” student satisfaction levels, which have peaked during the pandemic disruption.


Mountain View

University of Cambridge ranks second in The Guardian University Guide 2022

The Principal and Vice-Chancellor of St Andrews, Professor Sally Mapstone, commented: “I am thrilled for our students, staff and alumni. They are the people who made this happen. As one community, we strive constantly for excellence, and have a strategy that hasn’t been afraid to believe St Andrews could challenge at the very top by combining the best teaching, world-leading research and an unswerving commitment to student satisfaction and achievement”.

She added: “Of course we’ll enjoy this remarkable result, and I expect there may be a little good-natured cross-border teasing among colleagues.

“I hope the fact that the staff and students of a small Scottish institution have been able to break through the hitherto impenetrable Oxbridge ceiling will inspire others, and show that the status quo is only that if you allow it to be.”

The Good University Guide provided no data on teaching quality or student experience for Cambridge, and it stated that the boycott of the National Student Survey (NSS) by Cambridge students has done the university “no favours” in the rankings, given that satisfaction levels are high at St Andrews. Cambridge students have been boycotting the NSS since 2017.

Cambridge was placed first for research quality and fifth for graduate prospects. However, it was ranked bottom (116th) for social inclusion for England and Wales.