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See the results in full on our REF2014 website.

Humanities research rated world-leading and internationally excellent in latest national assessment

Over 75% of Humanities research at the University of Exeter has been rated as world-leading and internationally excellent in the first assessment of the research quality of UK universities since 2008, the Research Excellence Framework (REF 2014).

This strong performance for the College represents a consolidation across the board since the 2008 assessment, with particularly outstanding results for History and Theology and Religion, and some other areas improving their ranking dramatically.

Submissions to the REF were made in 36 Units of Assessment (UoA) and the quality of research was assessed using a 0-4* rating system.  Five of the College of Humanities’ seven UoAs achieved 30% or more at 4*. Many subjects had at least a third of their research ranked in the top category of 4*, marking it as world-leading.

History had a very strong result, with 43% of research graded at 4* - more than double the amount in 2008, and ranking it 8th amongst UK institutions.

Theology and Religion achieved a total of 83% of research in the highest brackets of either 3* or 4* in the category of research quality. This placed it at 2nd in the UK on that measure.  All of its impact rated at 4* or 3*.

English was ranked 4th in the UK for research power and it too had all of its impact graded at 3* or 4*. Modern Languages more than doubled its amount of 4* research over 2008, with the 2014 figure standing at 30%. Classics was rated 6th in the UK for research power and 30% of research was graded at 4*. This excellent 4* rating was also achieved by Drama. Archaeology meanwhile is now 3rd in the UK for world-leading and internationally excellent research. In terms of research environment, all seven units of assessment in the College were scored entirely at 4* or 3*, representing a truly international research environment across the board.

Professor Andrew Thorpe, Dean of Humanities said: “I am very impressed indeed with the outstanding performances of each discipline within the College.  This positive result is a credit to all the academics and professional service staff who have contributed to making Exeter Humanities one of the leading places in the world to research and study.” 

At an institutional level, 82% of Exeter’s research has been rated as world-leading or internationally excellent, which represents a huge rise from 56% in 2008 and places it first in the South West.

Three Units of Assessments are in the national top 5, eight in the national top 10 and more than three quarters of all Units of Assessments are in the top 20 for their discipline. When taking research graded at 4*and 3* together, Exeter is ranked 16th in the UK for 4* research - the very highest grade.

Story updated: 14 January 2015

Date: 17 December 2014

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