What is the Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF)?

The Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF) is a national exercise, introduced by the Government in England in 2017. The initial exercises took place between 2017 and 2019.

The framework was introduced by the Office for Students (OfS) in 2022 – 228 providers in England took part in the TEF exercise. Scottish and Welsh providers were invited to participate but opted out. 

The TEF assesses excellence in teaching, learning, and positive graduate outcomes at undergraduate level at universities and colleges. The main aim of the exercise is to encourage providers to deliver and improve upon its experience and outcomes for students. 

TEF ratings on the UCAS website

We are displaying the TEF ratings for participating providers on undergraduate course detail pages in our search tool. This means students can see what TEF rating a university or college received, which could play into their decision-making, helping them understand the quality of teaching, learning, experience, and graduate outcomes at different providers. (Postgraduate courses are not included.) 

TEF ratings form a part of the bigger picture when making decisions about where to apply– which also includes league tables, National Student Survey outcomes, UniBuddy, open days, and research on university and college websites, as well as the UCAS Hub

Help for your students choosing courses and unis

Your students will find our advice and tips on choosing the right courses and unis helpful:

Choosing between courses and unis

Choosing the right course

Why are TEF ratings important?

  • The TEF gives students an indicator of quality across different universities and colleges. The TEF rates each provider on how well it delivers for its particular mix of students and courses. This can help students understand what sort of experience and graduate outcomes they could expect. 
  • Students can use the TEF ratings to help them decide if a course, or university or college, is right for them and their goals.
  • The TEF ensures that universities and colleges are focused on delivering excellence in terms of teaching, learning, experience, and graduate outcomes for their students. In aspiring to meet higher TEF ratings, this will in turn mean the overall experience for students will also improve.

What do the TEF ratings mean?

Universities and colleges participating in the TEF exercise receive one overall rating, which is also made up of two ratings: one for student experience, and one for graduate outcomes.

The overall rating and the two underpinning aspect ratings can each be gold, silver or bronze.

A university or college receives a lower category of 'requires improvement' if it has not shown enough evidence of excellence above the TEF minimum quality requirements.

Those listed as ‘pending’ are still being assessed.

The student experience and outcomes are typically outstanding.
The student experience and outcomes are typically very high quality, and there may be some outstanding features.
The student experience and outcomes are typically high quality, and there are some very high-quality features.
Requires improvement
The provider was assessed in TEF and no rating was awarded. Improvement is required for a TEF rating.