Faculty of Arts

Research Excellence Framework 2014

Faculty of Arts results

In the Faculty of Arts more than 97 per cent of our research is of international quality according to REF, with 72 per cent graded as ‘world-leading’ or internationally excellent’. Five of the 11 units submitted were in the top ten by research power.

School and department reports


In a system that assesses quality of research in UK higher education institutions, the 2014 Research Excellence Framework (REF) panel graded 96% of research in the Department of Archaeology at The University of Nottingham of an international standard.

59% of research was 4* and 3* (including 90% of Impact and 75% of Research Environment). The department submitted all eligible researchers

The department's REF submission is placed 7th among the 19 solely Archaeology REF returns (8/27 if combined returns are also considered), according to the Times Higher's tables (2 Jan 2015) showing REF results by intensity-weighted GPA rank order.



Nottingham has been ranked equal 4th among Classics departments for world-leading (4*) research, according to the results of the REF2014 (Research Excellence Framework), the national assessment of UK university research - this ranks us equal 2nd among UK Classics departments outside Oxbridge.

All 14 departmental research and teaching staff were included in the assessment.

The department ranked highly on all three main criteria of assessment:

  • Outputs (i.e. our publications): 38.9% of our publications were ranked as ‘world-leading’ (the highest of any Classics department, ahead of Oxford and Cambridge!) and a further 33.3% as internationally excellent.
  • Impact outside the academic world: 40% of our external activities were ranked as world-leading and the remaining 60% as internationally excellent.
  • Research Environment: 30% was scored as world-leading and the further 60% as internationally excellent.

Further UK ranking methods produced equally impressive results:

  • 3rd by Intensity-weighted GPA (average of all results weighted according to the percentage of staff included in the assessment)
  • 5th by the medal ranking system, which uses the same method as the Olympic medal table,
  • 7th  by GPA (average of all results),
  • 9th  for research power, which takes into account the size of the department


The 2014 Research Excellence Framework (REF) evaluated ninety-eight percent of the Department of History’s submitted research publications as worthy of international recognition in terms of originality, significance and rigour. A remarkable one third of these were assessed as world-leading in quality.

History of Art

In the most recent REF (2014), History of Art at Nottingham had over a third (35.3%) of its publications rated in the highest category (4*), which is defined as "world leading” in terms of “originality, significance and rigour". This, and the quality of the research environment that it provides, has placed the department in the top 10 History of Art departments nationally.



The Department of Music has been ranked 7th out of 56 UK music departments in the Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2014. This periodic exercise assesses academic research from all UK universities, with separate scores (from 4* to 1*) assigned for publications, research impact and environment.

With 100% of staff submitted, the Department of Music achieved an overall grade point average (GPA) of 3.29. This places us 7th amongst all UK music departments. 49% of our publications were judged world-leading, with the remainder judged internationally excellent and internationally recognised. 100% of our impact and environment submissions were judged world-leading and internationally excellent.



In a system that assesses quality of research in UK higher education institutions, the 2014 Research Excellence Framework (REF) panel graded 69% of our research activity as being ‘world leading’, or ‘internationally excellent’, with the remainder all of a quality that is ‘recognised internationally'.

In the REF2014 assessment, 97% of research produced by the Department of Theology and Religious Studies was rated of international quality, with 30% of our submissions considered world-leading (4*) in terms of originality, significance and rigour.

This reflects the breadth and depth of research expertise across our department, with work from all research-active members of staff submitted for assessment. In the category of 'research power', we are now ranked 8th among Theology and Religious Studies departments in the country.



The School of English is delighted to have retained its place in the top 10 universities for research into English.

Its ranking of 9th by 'research power' is particularly pleasing, as it recognises the strength and depth of research excellence that exists right across the School, and over an exceptionally diverse range of subjects.


American and Canadian Studies

The Department of American and Canadian Studies was the highest ranked American Studies department in the country for research power and research impact in the Research Excellence Framework. 94% of their research activity was recognised as work of international standing, with 73% as world-leading or internationally excellent. 100% of it was assessed as world-leading or internationally excellent in terms of its impact, with 63% of the research impact judged as 4* world-leading.

Modern Languages and Linguistics

Bringing together the departments of French & Francophone Studies, German Studies, Russian & Slavonic Studies, and Spanish, Portuguese & Latin-American Studies, Modern Languages at Nottingham was ranked fifth nationally in the UK in terms of research power (a measure that combines the quality of research with the number of researchers included). 97% of our research was classed as having international quality; 100% of our research environment, and of the social and cultural impact of our research, was deemed to be of international quality, with 82.9% of research in Modern Languages graded as ‘world-leading’ or ‘internationally excellent’ in terms of its impact. This excellent outcome confirms the position of Nottingham as a leading centre of excellence in the UK for research in all its language areas.

Culture Film and Media

REF2014 confirmed the position of the Department of Culture, Film and Media amongst the foremost departments for cultural and media research, with 100% of published outputs and 100% of overall research activity recognised as work of international standing. 40% of research activity was judged to be 4* world-leading, and a further 43% recognised as 3* internationally excellent.


Key achievements for the University of Nottingham

REF divides academic research into 36 subject areas, or ‘Units of Assessment’ (UoAs). Nottingham submitted 32 returns in 29 units, underlining its status as a comprehensive university. 

In 16 of those units, the University features in the UK top ten by research power. 

The University increased the number of researchers submitted — 1,404 FTE (full-time equivalent staff) this year compared to 1,388 in 2008. Only five other universities in the country submitted more members of staff. 

On a measure of grade point average (GPA, between 0 and 4), The University of Nottingham scored 3.09 compared to the sector average of 3.01 and its previous score of 2.67. Nottingham had 20 units with GPA above 3.0. GPA is another strong indication of quality

REF 2014 website


Faculty of Arts

University of Nottingham
University Park
Nottingham, NG7 2RD

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telephone: +44 (0) 115 846 8502
email: helen.frost@nottingham.ac.uk