University of the Year 2017

The University of Leeds has been named University of the Year 2017 by The Times and The Sunday Times’ Good University Guide.

Chosen by a distinguished panel, the Guide showcases the excellent student experience at Leeds.

“The University of Leeds thoroughly deserves our University of the Year for prioritising students' needs first to last.” said Alastair McCall, Editor of The Good University Guide.

"Outstanding student satisfaction levels do not happen by accident and reflect the emphasis placed here on getting the student learning experience spot on."

He continued: "Heavy investment in campus facilities has gone hand in hand with a strong pastoral system of student support, the introduction of a final year research-based project as the centrepiece of students' academic activities, and the Leeds for Life scheme that helps prepare students for life after university.

"It is no wonder that Leeds' graduates are so sought after by employers."

“We are very proud to be University of the Year 2017 - a welcome recognition of our commitment to ensuring that students experience an outstanding education here at Leeds” said Professor Tom Ward, Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Student Education.

The award follows another year of exceptional student satisfaction levels, where Leeds secured 90% satisfaction in the recent 2016 National Student Survey (NSS).

The University also reaches an all-time high in the overall Sunday Times statistical rankings, which creates a league table of universities across the UK based on a broad range of measures.

Underpinning the University’s outstanding performance – which sees it rising to 13th place overall - are strong results in student experience, high entry standards, services and facilities, and graduate prospects.

Sir Alan Langlands, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Leeds, said: “The announcement comes at a significant point in the calendar, as we welcome 11,000 new colleagues and students to campus for the start of the academic year.

“I know that their energy, commitment and inspiration will be essential as they work with the existing University community to build on these strengths.

“We have been supported by unparalleled investments in our staff, research capability and campus, which makes Leeds a truly remarkable place when it comes to inspiring knowledge and creating opportunity.

“We are investing in future generations of independent, critical thinkers and cutting edge research of real impact and significance.

“We would also like to thank the city, which plays a vital role in making Leeds a top destination for students. Economically vibrant, compassionate and outward looking, this is an exceptional place to live and learn.”

Investing in knowledge and creating opportunity

Examples of recent investments include a multi-million pound project for the Student Union building, to help Leeds University Union remain one of the UK’s biggest and best unions.

The work includes transforming retail spaces, bars and café areas, as well as creating improved performance venues and facilities for societies.

Facilities on campus


The Edward Boyle Library is also being refurbished to create an IT-rich library, home to over 2,000 group and silent student spaces, teaching spaces and a new postgraduate study zone.

This complements the new state-of-the art undergraduate provision in the £26m Laidlaw Library, which officially opened in July 2015.

The investments form part of the University’s £520m campus development programme, supporting Leeds’ position as one of the UK’s top higher education institutions. 

Striving for success 

For the last two years, Leeds has been runner-up for The Times and Sunday Times’ University of the Year.

Alastair McCall, editor of The Sunday Times Good University Guide, added: "After two years as runner-up in our University of the Year award, Leeds made a compelling case to win the award outright this year at a time when it has never been ranked higher in our league table.

“There are systems and policies in place to ensure it should remain a popular destination with students for decades to come.”

Jack Palmer Union Affairs Officer at Leeds University Union said: "Congratulations to the University for receiving this award, everybody in LUU is delighted to see the University of Leeds get the recognition it deserves as a top institution.

"We are constantly working in Partnership with the University to ensure students love their time at Leeds.  A great university experience does not just end in the classroom, and we have worked tirelessly with the University to ensure students have a well-rounded experience, joining one of our 300+ clubs or societies, volunteering within the city, offering independent advice and support and enjoying co-curricular activities so they can get the most out of university. 

“We feel that this award also reflects the work of LUU in helping students love their time at Leeds, which is reflected in our 92% satisfaction rate in the National Student Survey.

"We look forward to working with the University of Leeds to maintain these high standards and meet rising expectations for quality of education, the cost of living in Leeds and the funding of student services.”

This new title follows an impressive year of accolades, with the University winning The Duke of York Award for University Entrepreneurship at the National Business Awards, being named Entrepreneurial University of the Year in the Times Higher Education Awards, and receiving the Guardian University Award 2016 for its support of enterprising students.

The University was also ranked in the top 20 UK universities in the Guardian University Guide 2017 league table. Read the profile here.

Most recently, Leeds secured a leading position in the QS World University Rankings 2016/17, once again being positioned in the top 100 best universities in the world.  

Further information

The Good University Guide will be published in The Sunday Times on Sunday 25 September, with further supplements and subject guides in the Times on Monday 26 and Tuesday 27 September.