Where do the eight universities in Wales stand in the latest UK Higher Education Rankings


Five of the eight universities in Wales have fallen in the UK ranking of top higher education institutions, two of which have fallen significantly. Cardiff University retained its crown of best in Wales, according to the Complete University Guide 2023, but slipped one place to 26th out of 130 in the UK.

Swansea University have fallen 13 places in the rankings to 42nd in the UK but remain second in Wales like last year. Cardiff and Swansea University are the only universities in Wales in the top 50 in the UK, according to the rankings.

Aberystwyth, Bangor and Wrexham Glyndwr all climbed the rankings, but the University of Wales Trinity Saint David University plunged 17 places to 120th in the UK. Cardiff Metropolitan University, named University of the Year 2021 by the Times Higher Education, fell nine places to 72nd in the CUG. The University of South Wales is down one place to 92nd. The rankings follow last week’s announcement that Seven of Wales’ eight universities have slipped in a research ranking based on rigorous assessments of 129 UK higher education institutions.

Wrexham Glyndwr have moved up one place but are bottom of the Wales table like last year and fourth from bottom for the whole of the UK in 127th place. Bangor moved up two places while Aberystwyth saw the biggest improvement moving up five places on the table.

1. Cardiff University (down one place to 26th in the UK)

2. Swansea University (down from 13th to 42nd in the UK)

3. University of Aberystwyth (up 5 to 53rd in the UK)

4. Bangor University (up to 63rd in the UK)

5. Cardiff Metropolitan University (down nine to 72nd in the UK)

6. University of South Wales (down one to 92nd in the UK)

7. University of Wales Trinity Saint David’s University (down from 17th to 120th in the UK)

8. Wrexham Glyndwr University (up to 127th in the UK)

Universities continued to be disrupted by Covid this academic year, with students continuing to work remotely upon their return in September. Life began to return to normal and larger conferences returned after the New Year while all Covid restrictions for universities in Wales were eased in May.

Initial application data for the 2022-23 academic year shows a 5% increase in the number of 18-year-olds in the UK applying to go to university this autumn. According to the Ucas applications service, the year-on-year increase is due to record high turnout rates for school leavers in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. Applications from international students have also increased. Some applicants may have chosen not to take a gap year thanks to changes in loan repayments from September 2023.

Students starting university courses in 2023-24 will have to start paying back their loans once they have earned more than £25,000, it has been announced. The threshold for new students starting courses will be set at £25,000 until 2026-27, while the current salary threshold for student loan repayment is £27,295.

Top ranked universities in the UK according to CUG

Oxford University is again at the top of the list, followed by Cambridge. The top five spots on the list remained the same as in 2022. They are:



3. London School of Economics

4. University of St Andrews

5. Imperial College London

Major advances include Norwich University of the Arts moving up 30 places and the University of Surrey moving up 17 places to clinch a place in the top 20. St. Andrews retained its place as the highest ranked university in the ‘Scotland.

The top five UK institutions for arts, theater and music:

1. Guildhall School of Music and Drama

2. Courtauld Institute of Art

3. Royal Conservatory of Scotland

4. Royal Central School of Speech and Drama

5. Royal College of Music


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