The Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF)

Here we explain what the Teaching Excellence Framework is and how it might help you make the right choices on your application.

What is the Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF)?

The TEF assesses excellence in teaching, learning, and positive graduate outcomes at undergraduate level at universities and colleges.

It is run by the Office for Students, with 228 universities and colleges in England currently taking part. The TEF ratings are published in the UCAS search tool. Those listed as ‘pending’ are still being assessed. The ratings will last for four years.

Why are TEF ratings important?

  • You can see what TEF rating a university or college has in our search tool – this will give you a better idea of its teaching, learning, experience, and graduate outcomes. 
  • You can use the TEF ratings to help you decide if a course, or university or college, is right for you and your 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.
  • 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 choosing your courses and unis

Read our advice and tips on choosing the right courses and unis for you:

Choosing between courses and unis

Choosing the right course

What do the TEF ratings mean?

Universities and colleges taking part in the TEF receive one overall rating, made up of two ratings: one for student experience,and one for graduate outcomes.

There are three ratings: gold, silver and 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.

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.