Shropshire Star

Harper Adams University named Specialist University of the Year by The Times & Sunday Times

Harper Adams University has been awarded Specialist University of the Year 2024 by a national newspaper.

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Harper Adams

The Times and Sunday Times has today released its Good University Guide 2024, ranking the top universities across the country.

Harper Adams University has scooped up the Specialist University of the Year award for its focus on environmental sciences, food production, technology, animal health and wellbeing.

The University was also ranked sixth in the Midlands, missing out only to the University of Warwick – in first place – as well as Loughborough University; University of Birmingham; University of Nottingham and the University of Leicester. It was ranked 36th nationally.

Harper Adams vice-chancellor, Professor Ken Sloan, said: “We are delighted to have been named as the Inaugural Specialist University of the Year.

“It is wonderful to see specialist universities being recognised in this way. Specialist universities make a distinctive contribution to the national and international reputation of higher education in the United Kingdom.

“Students who choose to study with them do so because of their purpose, their focus, and their undistracted commitment to their disciplines.

"They also welcome the close and connected relationships they have with academic and professional services colleagues, as well as with their fellow students.

“I hope our students, employees, governors, alumni and partners are as proud as I am on hearing this announcement. A real testimony to how together, we make the difference.”

The University, based in Newport, has had a string of recent successes, as it took the top spot in the Career Prospects category at the WhatUni Student Choice Awards in April.

This marked the seventh time the University has taken the award since 2016, securing it every year except 2021, when awards were not made nationally due to the pandemic.

It was also recognised for the strength of its reputation with employers in the QS Quacquarelli Symonds World University Subject Rankings, where it was named as the best in the world for agriculture and forestry employer reputation for a second successive year.

In a funding announcement last December, the Office for Students recognised Harper Adams as a world-leading specialist university – one of only 16 universities and colleges to be granted the status, and the only one with an agricultural specialism.

Helen Davies, editor of The Times and The Sunday Times Good University Guide, added: “The higher education landscape has never been tougher.

"It is more competitive to get a place at many of our top institutions; the cost of attending university has soared, leaving graduates with extraordinary debt; and in many cases campus life still bears the scars of the pandemic.

"Meanwhile lecturers are on strike and the marking crisis is a running scandal.

“It means any prospective student, parent or carer needs to think hard about whether university is the right choice, and then where to study and what subject.

"It’s where this guide — our 30th edition — is here to help. Our online version has so much more on how the universities compare subject by subject, a guide on campus life, and what scholarships and bursaries may be on offer.

“We are here to champion the ambitious work of our first-class universities, and the aspirations of any student of any age who wants to keep on learning.”

To check out the full list or university rankings, visit