Overall ranking: Ranked 10th out of 126 for the third time running in the Complete University Guide for 2016.

History: Traces roots back to the school of art in 1855. In 1863 it spawned a school of science; in 1893 it became the Exeter Technical College; in 1922 it acquired the title University College of the South West of England; and in 1955 it became a university in its own right.

Address: Three campuses. Streatham caters for arts, science, social studies, law and engineering. Across the city is St Luke's, home to the graduate school of education, sport and health sciences, and the Peninsula College of Medicine and Dentistry. Carry on down the A30 to Cornwall to find the Cornwall Campus, Penryn, near Falmouth, which is shared with University College Falmouth, and opened in 2004.

Ambience: Mostly redbrick buildings set in a 250-acre garden estate one mile from the city centre. Beautiful beaches and Dartmoor close at hand. The university objects to the "green welly" tag that is often thrown at it and there has been a recent push to encourage more applications from students with less well-off backgrounds. Superior sports facilities and a gentle climate.

Who's the boss? Vice-chancellor and chief executive Professor Sir Steve Smith, a leading academic in the field of international politics.

Prospectus: Download it here.

UCAS code: E84

What you need to know

Easy to get into? Exeter don’t make offers in UCAS points but instead look at an applicant’s best three A-levels or equivalent. Typical offers range from A*AA plus an AS-level grade B to BBC.

Vital statistics: Competition for places is high, partly because of its sublime setting. There are 18,773 students. Almost three-quarters of undergraduates come from state schools and the proportion from lower socio-economic groups has been increasing steadily as a result of the university’s efforts to widen participation. Exeter is one of 24 Russell Group universities, dedicated to the highest levels of academic excellence.

Added value: A £270 million investment programme on Streatham Campus has recently been completed, including 2,600 new student accommodation places, a refurbishment of the School of Biosciences and a flagship forum. Degrees in clinical science, archaeology and forensic science, and civil and environmental engineering launched just three years ago. Exeter has a fantastic student media network: the fortnightly newspaper, TV station and student radio have all won student media awards.

Teaching: Place 7th out of 126 in the Complete University Guide this year.

Graduate prospects: Placed 17th with 79.5 per cent entering graduate level employment.

Any accommodation? Yes. Self-catering for a single standard rooms starts from £99.82 per week, single studio rooms start from £147.21,  while a single standard room in catered accommodation costs from £159.57 per week. All prices include bills.

Cheap to live there? Fairly. Private rents average around £90 per week, excluding bills.

Transport links: M5 on the doorstep and London just over two hours away by train.

Fees: The maximum fee of £9000 will be charged to all new home and EU undergraduate students starting in 2014. For overseas students, fees range between courses from £15,000 to £29,500.

Bursaries: There is a range of bursaries and fee waivers available - see the website.

The fun stuff

Nightlife: Popular student bars on campus include The Ram and nightclub The Lemmy, which has recently undergone a £1m refit. Over the last couple of years the 2,000 capacity Great Hall has seen concerts by Arctic Monkeys, Feeder, Funeral for a Friend, Bloc Party, The Fratellis, Seth Lakeman, The Enemy, James Morrison, The Kooks, Razorlight, Newton Faulkner, Keane and The Zutons.

Price of a pint: Your average pint is around £3.15

Sporting reputation: Great- currently ranked 6th in the BUCS league.

Notable societies: Exeter has a Disney society- say no more. Other fun offerings include the cocktail and Dr Who societies.

Glittering alumni: JK Rowling, author of Harry Potter; Radiohead's Thom Yorke; Felix Buxton from Basement Jaxx; Will Young, winner of Pop Idol; First Sea Lord Admiral Sir Jonathan Band; Peter Phillips, son of the Princess Royal.

Alternative prospectus: Visit The Student Room here to chat with current and prospective students and work out whether Exeter may be the university for you.