November 16, 2023 | University Partners

University of Bradford tops Social Mobility Index for third year running

The University of Bradford has been ranked first in England on the Social Mobility Index (SMI) for the third year running.

The SMI ranking, produced by the Higher Education Policy Institute, is a way of ranking universities based on the impact they have on people’s social mobility.

The University was ranked top in 2021, 2022 and again in 2023.


Vice-Chancellor Professor Shirley Congdon, pictured above, said: “I am delighted the University of Bradford has been ranked first nationally in the 2023 Social Mobility Index. This is testament to our core ambition to make a difference for our students, the city, and society in general.

“At Bradford, the principle of equality of opportunity is at the heart of who we are, what we do, how and why we do it. We take tremendous pride in placing inclusion front and centre in our mission, vision, and values. We are fiercely committed to widening access to higher education through our approach to recruitment and admissions.”

“Moreover, our graduate outcomes stand out not only because of the ‘designed-in’ approach the University takes to student employability, but because of the expertise and dedication of our Careers and Employability Service in supporting students throughout their journey.

“It is this whole-system approach that underpins our success in delivering social mobility for our students, a systems model to inclusion as a means of accelerating equality for all, making our diversity count, and enabling everyone to achieve their full potential.”

Nick Hillman, Director of the Higher Education Policy Institute (HEPI), pictured above in the main image, said: “The Social Mobility Index is now in its third year and it has rapidly become one of the most impactful things HEPI does. League tables are controversial and have pros and cons but they are not going to disappear, so it is illuminating to think about different methodologies and to measure things typically excluded.

“The fact that some relatively new and less prestigious institutions beat Oxbridge reminds us of the different contributions made by different institutions. Above all, the Index confirms our higher education sector has strength in breadth. We hear common complaints that there are too many universities and too many students, but this Index provides yet more evidence that higher education institutions of all types transform people’s lives.”

University of Bradford's approach

  • ‘Designed in’ approach: we provide curricular and extra-curricular opportunities for students to engage in meaningful career-focused learning that is subject-specific.
  • We work in partnership with more than 3,000 local, national, and international employers to offer real world career development education and support the ethos of achieving ‘more than a degree’.
  • Our ‘whole systems approach’ means we connect marketing, recruitment and admissions at the front end of the student journey and follow through with evidenced-led career support that builds pathways into high-skilled employment.
  • Our total commitment to inclusion is foundational in the sense that it can be traced as a golden seam that runs through all our strategies, policies, decision-making and values.