The guide said that strong results in the National Student Survey have helped Leeds to three successive rises in the league table to now stand at a high-point of 13th in national rankings.
It said that coupled with other strengths this had helped earn it the award of University of the Year.
The Times and The Sunday Times Good University Guide 2017 is published over three days from this weekend.
The university’s vice chancellor Sir Alan Langlands, said: “Leeds is an outstanding university which prides itself in offering the very best student experience.
“Guides and league tables can only provide a snapshot of what the University does, but this award is testament to a huge amount of hard work and commitment by students and staff, and positions us as one of the world’s best universities.
“We would also like to thank the city, which plays a vital role in making Leeds a top destination for students. Economically vibrant, compassionate and outward looking, this is an exceptional place to live and learn. I hope everyone will join us in being proud of our University of the Year.”
The guide said that big civic universities generally do well at attracting applicants, but find it difficult to match the satisfaction levels at the smaller campus institutions.
It added: “Leeds University is the exception to this rule: it remains among the four most popular universities in terms of applications, but few among its peer group can match its performance in the National Student Survey (NSS), where it ranks 34th in the UK for satisfaction with teaching quality and 12th in the UK for satisfaction with the wider student experience.”
The guide also highlights how Leeds has the largest study abroad programmes in the country, with nearly 200 options ranging from Spain to Singapore. There are more than 560 undergraduate programmes, with students encouraged to take courses outside their main subject.
It also says the “distinctive Leeds Curriculum requires undergraduates to undertake a research project in their final year, which is intended to be seen as the “pinnacle of their academic achievement” and is weighted accordingly.”
Alastair McCall, editor of The Sunday Times Good University Guide, said: “Leeds University thoroughly deserves our University of the Year for prioritising students’ needs first to last.
“Outstanding student satisfaction levels do not happen by accident and reflect the emphasis placed here on getting the student learning experience spot on. Heavy investment in campus facilities has gone hand in hand with a strong pastoral system of student support, the introduction of a final year research project as the centrepiece of students’ academic activities, and the LeedsForLife scheme that helps prepare students for life after university. It is no wonder that Leeds’ graduates are so sought after by employers.”
York University has the best score in the region for teaching excellence at 83.8 per cent It ranks in the UK top 15 for both student satisfaction with teaching quality and their wider student experience. With a major campus expansion and the addition of several new subject options now complete, student satisfaction with their wider student experience is also up this year, helping the university to maintain its mid-teens ranking in the overall league table, and ranking second in Yorkshire.