The learning and teaching environment in which you study has perhaps the greatest influence on how effectively you study and how successful are the outcomes.

Lecture halls, libraries, internet access and a whole range of other support services that university students need are important, and the University of Glasgow provides all of these, but of critical importance is the quality of the university staff who research, study and teach around you. It is the learning and teaching and research environment that matters.


Periodically, the government charges the bodies who are responsible for managing the funding of teaching and research in universities to check how they are managing these activities. For learning and teaching, Enhancement-Led Institutional Reviews (ELIR) take place on a four-year cycle, backed up by annual reviews. The purpose of ELIR is to make a judgement on how the University manages the quality and standards of its academic provision and their enhancement with a focus on students' experiences of learning at the University. The University of Glasgow was selected to be the first major University to undergo an ELIR visit and this took place in 2004. The University was awarded Broad Confidence, the highest expression of satisfaction. The second ELIR visit took place in 2009 and the report was published in April 2010 and is publicly available from the Senate Office website. The University of Glasgow was again awarded the highest expression of satisfaction as follows: 'The findings of the ELIR indicate that there can be confidence in the University's current and likely future management of the academic standards of its awards, and the quality of the student learning experience it provides.' This is a positive judgement, indicating that the University has secure arrangements for managing academic standards and for assuring and enhancing the quality of the student experience.


For research the Research Assessment Exercise (RAE) takes place on a six-year cycle and is an important means of comparing across different universities to find which is 'best'. For the RAE, subject areas are rated by the RAE Committee on a 5-point scale. For those rated as very special, a 5* (pronounced 5-starred) is awarded. The group of subjects comprising the Social Sciences at the University of Glasgow compares most favourably with others in the UK in the RAE. In the most recent RAE, the Social Sciences collectively were ranked top of Scotland's other groups and in the top ten in the UK. Six of the subject areas were awarded the very highest ratings of 5 and 5*: all scored at least 4. It makes good sense to study with the help of top social scientists; it makes good sense for top social scientists to teach what they know. Indeed, it makes such good sense that it is a fundamental feature of the University of Glasgow's fabric as stated in its vision and mission statement. The Social Sciences at Glasgow teaching and research strengths derive from dedicated international staff who bring expertise from the best universities in the world. We are absolutely committed to its undergraduates benefiting from this world-based expertise.