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As thousands of students and families prepare for UCAS application deadlines just after Christmas, new independent research released today reveals universities making up “areas of excellence” across the country.

The team behind the renowned Complete University Guide have crunched the data to shine a light on some of the universities blazing a trail in the UK, including those with some courses that rank amongst the best in the UK. The message could not be clearer - “you don’t have to go far to go far!”.

With the cost-of-living putting increasing pressure on students and families, the new “areas of excellence” data highlights some excellent courses across the UK that they might not have considered. 

The “areas of excellence” data reveals: (Wales examples used here)

  • Swansea University sitting proudly in the top 5% of all UK universities for Social Work  

  • Bangor University ranking in the top 10% to study music UK-wide

  • Aberystwyth’s growing reputation for top-class agriculture and forestry studies

  • South Wales University almost cracking the top 10% rankings for Complementary Medicine

  • Swansea University also ranking highly for Health Studies

Professor Amanda Chetwynd, Chair of the Complete University Guide Advisory Board, said: 

“The Complete University Guide is the gold standard for university rankings in the UK, and has helped countless students choose the university and the course that is right for them. While invaluable, the league tables do not tell the whole story, with some tremendous success stories lost beneath the headlines.

“Today’s research shows applicants the excellence that exists on their doorstep or closer to home. I am confident that the new “areas of excellence” will work alongside the annual league tables, showcasing hidden gems across the UK.”

The research also reveals other “hidden gems” across the UK, with Universities providing sector-leading courses that many students may be unaware of. These include:

  • City, University of London Communication & Media Studies 11%

  • Edge Hill Tourism, Transport, Travel & Heritage Studies 23%

  • Dundee Forensic Science 13%

  • Staffordshire Childhood & Youth Studies 48%

  • Hull Paramedic Science 13%

  • Ulster Pharmacology & Pharmacy 37%

  • Lincoln Social Work 56%

Simon Emmett, Chief Executive Officer of IDP Connect, said:

“The Complete University Guide’s mission has always been about helping students make the right decisions about their future. Today’s publication of the “areas of excellence” builds on this work, and reflects the changing landscape that students are entering university in and equips universities with key student research to use alongside their own data insights.

“The current challenges facing students and families, from cost-of-living to accommodation, have informed this new CUG research, acknowledging that there are factors impacting university applications that simply did not feature a decade ago. The research shows that it can pay to stay local, or to consider some world-class options in less well-known universities.

“This independently collated data has also enabled us to build new tools to help students and families choose the university that is right for them. Our new Uniselect tool takes the complexity out of researching university options and puts the student in the driving seat, allowing them to shape their future based on what is important to them. They get results which are clear, unbiased and based on what they want to know.”

CP - Image - People - Cicely Oliver
Cicely Oliver14 December 2022