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Rankings and reputation

Our reputation and rankings are based on a range of criteria, including entry standards, student satisfaction, staff and student ratio, expenditure on facilities and resources, research quality, and reputation among employers and academics from other institutions. We are also a founding member of the Russell Group, an organisation of 24 top UK universities committed to maintaining the highest research and teaching standards. Membership of the Russell Group is widely considered an indicator of quality university education. They attract the best academics working on the most innovative research projects, thanks to the greater funding, facilities, and support that they offer. 

UK league table rankings

  • 16th overall and 1st for Electronic and Electrical Engineering, and Physiotherapy - with a total of 13 of subject areas in the top 10 in The Guardian University Guide 2023

International league table rankings

  • Three subjects in the global top 50, according to QS World University Rankings by Subject 2021:  Nursing (9); Statistics & Operational Research (33); Geology (50)
  • Also in the top 100 globally, according to QS World University Rankings by Subject 2021: Archaeology, Civil & Structural Engineering; Earth & Marine Sciences; Electrical & Electronic Engineering (62nd out of 503); Geography; Geophysics; Mechanical, Aeronautical & Manufacturing Engineering (75th out of 500); Medicine (88th out of 650); Physics & Astronomy (66th out of 601); Psychology and Social Policy & Administration
  • 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. Learn more at timeshighereducation.com

Student satisfaction

The National Student Survey (NSS) gathers feedback from mainly final-year undergraduates about their time in UK universities. Highlights from the NSS 2020 results include:

  • 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 

Research and innovation excellence

We are a research-intensive university, with continued substantial growth in research funding and seventh in the UK for the total value of The Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) grants. We are also a founding partner of SETsquared, the university business incubator ranked number one in the world by UBI Global.

According to the Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2021:

  • 92 per cent of our research is world leading or internationally excellent, which assessed the quality of research in UK higher education institutions
  • we are in the top 10 per cent of UK universities and fourth in the Russell Group for impact demonstrating the real-world benefit of our research
  • over 97 per cent of our research environment is world-leading or internationally excellent

Honours and awards

Southampton is one of the first universities in the UK to be named an Academic Centre of Excellence in Cyber Security Education (ACE-CSE). The Gold Award complements the University's existing status as a Centre of Excellence for Cyber Security Research, which it first obtained in 2012.

  • 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.
  • The Royal Academy of Engineering (RAEng) has awarded the University of Southampton team behind PeRSo - Personal Respirator Southampton - a President’s Special Award for Pandemic Service for exceptional engineering achievements in tackling COVID-19 throughout the UK (August 2020).
  • We hold two Regius Professorships, a rare honour bestowed by The Queen to recognise exceptional teaching and research:
  • First-rate cyber security teaching at the University of Southampton has been recognised in December 2020 with a prestigious Gold Award in a new government programme from the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC).
Top 13 UK University

The complete university guide 2023

Global #1 business incubator

Ranked by UBI Global

No. 8 in UK for research intensity

Research Excellence Framework 2014

Global top 100 university

QS World University Rankings 2023

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