Rankings of universities in the (UK) United Kingdom

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The Guardian, The Independent, The Sunday Times and The Times are published annually the Rankings of universities in the United Kingdom, based on a range of criteria, including entry standards, student satisfaction, staff/student ratio, academic services and facilities expenditure per student, research quality, proportion of Firsts and 2:1s, completion rates and student destinations.

Rankings

The following rankings of British universities are produced annually:


The Complete University Guide

The Complete University Guide is an independently published ranking produced in association with The Independent from 2008 to 2011. It was formerly known as The Good University Guide and was published for the first time in The Daily Telegraph in 2007. The ranking is compiled by Mayfield University Consultants, which previously compiled university rankings for The Times.

The ranking uses nine criteria. A statistical technique called the Z-transformation is applied to the results of each. The nine Z-scores are then weighted (by 1.5 for student satisfaction and research assessment, and 1.0 for the rest) and summed to give a total score for each university. Finally, these total scores are transformed to a scale where the top score is set at 1,000, with the remainder being a proportion of the top score. The nine criteria are:

  • Academic services spend - the expenditure per student on all academic services (data source: Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA))
  • Completion - a measure of the completion rate of students (data source: HESA)
  • Entry standards - the average UCAS tariff score of new students under the age of 21 (data source: HESA)
  • Facilities spend - the expenditure per student on staff and student facilities (data source: HESA)
  • Good honours - the proportion of firsts and upper seconds (data source: HESA)
  • Graduate prospects - a measure of the employability of graduates (data source: HESA)
  • Research assessment/quality - a measure of the average quality of research (data source: 2008 Research Assessment Exercise)
  • Student satisfaction - a measure of the view of students on the teaching quality (data source: the National Student Survey)
  • Student:staff ratio - a measure of the average staffing level (data source: HESA)

The most recent league table (2012) ranked the top 30 British universities as follows:

RANK (1-10) UNIVERSITY RANK (11-20) UNIVERSITY RANK (21-30) UNIVERSITY
1 University of Cambridge 11 University of Bristol 21 University of Glasgow
2 University of Oxford 12 University of York 22 University of Birmingham
3 Imperial College London 13 University of Edinburgh 23 University of Leicester
4 London School of Economics 14 University of Southampton 24 Newcastle University
5 Durham University 15 University of Exeter 25 Aston University
6 University of St Andrews 16 King's College London 26 University of Sheffield
7 University College London 17 University of Nottingham 27 University of East Anglia
8 University of Warwick 18 SOAS 28 University of Surrey
9 University of Lancaster =19 Loughborough University 29 University of Manchester
10 University of Bath =19 University of Sussex 30 University of Liverpool


The Guardian

The Guardian's ranking uses eight different criteria, each weighted between 5 and 17 per cent. Unlike other annual rankings of British universities, the criteria do not include a measure of research output. A "value-added" factor is included which compares students' degree results with their entry qualifications: "Based upon a sophisticated indexing methodology that tracks students from enrolment to graduation, qualifications upon entry are compared with the award that a student receives at the end of their studies”. The eight criteria are:

  • Entry score (17%)
  • Feedback - as rated by graduates of the course (5%)
  • Job prospects (17%) (data source: Destination of Leavers from Higher Education)
  • Overall quality - final-year students opinions about the overall quality of their course (data source: the National Student Survey)
  • Spending per student (17%)
  • Staff/student ratio (17%)
  • Teaching quality - as rated by graduates of the course (10%) (data source: the National Student Survey)
  • Value added (17%)

The most recent league table (2012) ranked the top 30 British universities as follows:

RANK (1-10) UNIVERSITY RANK (11-20) UNIVERSITY RANK (21-30) UNIVERSITY
1 University of Cambridge =11 University of Exeter 21 University of Glasgow
2 University of Oxford =11 University of Sussex 22 City University London
3 University of St Andrews 13 SOAS 23 University of Kent
4 London School of Economics 14 University of Bath 24 University of Birmingham
5 University College London 15 University of York 25 University of Bristol
6 University of Warwick 16 University of Edinburgh 26 University of Dundee
7 University of Lancaster 17 University of Leicester 27 Heriot-Watt University
8 Durham University 18 University of East Anglia 28 University of Southampton
9 Loughborough University =19 University of Nottingham 29 University of Strathclyde
10 Imperial College London =19 University of Surrey 30 King's College London


The Sunday Times

The Sunday Times university league table ranks institutions using eight criteria:

  • Student satisfaction (+50 to -55 points) - The results of national student surveys (NSS) are scored taking a theoretical minimum and maximum score of 50% and 90% respectively (data source: the National Student Survey)
  • Teaching excellence (250) - Excellence is defined as: subjects scoring at least 22/24 points, those ranked excellent, or those undertaken more recently in which there is confidence in academic standards and in which teaching and learning, student progression and learning resources have all been ranked commendable (data source: Quality Assurance Agency; Scottish Higher Education Funding Council; Higher Education Funding Council for Wales)
  • Heads’/peer assessments (100) - Heads are asked to identify the highest-quality undergraduate provision (data source: The Sunday Times heads’ survey and peer assessment)
  • Research quality (200) - Based upon the most recent Research Assessment Exercise (data source: Higher Education Funding Council for England (Hefce))
  • A-level/Higher points (250) - Nationally audited data for the susbsequent academic year are used for league table calculations (data source: Higher Education Statistics Agency)
  • Unemployment (100) - The number of students assume to be unemployed six months after graduation is calculated as a percentage of the total number of known destinations (data source: HESA, Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education)
  • Firsts/2:1s awarded (100) - The percentage of students who graduate with firsts or 2:1 degrees. Unclassified degrees are excluded (data source: HESA)
  • Dropout rate (+57 to -74 points) - The number of students who drop out before completing their courses is compared with the number expected to do so (the benchmark figure shown in brackets) (data source: Hefce, Performance Indicators in Higher Education.

The most recent league table (2012) ranked the top 30 British universities as follows:

RANK (1-10) UNIVERSITY RANK (11-20) UNIVERSITY RANK (21-30) UNIVERSITY
1 University of Cambridge 11 Loughborough University 21 University of Surrey
2 University of Oxford 12 Newcastle University 22 University of Southampton
3 Durham University 13 University of Sheffield 23 Queen Mary, University of London
4 London School of Economics 14 Imperial College London 24 University of Leeds
5 University of Bath =15 University of Nottingham 25 University of Birmingham
6 University of St Andrews =15 University of York 26 Cardiff University
7 University College London 17 King's College London 27 University of Edinburgh
8 University of Warwick 18 Lancaster University 28 University of Leicester
9 University of Exeter 19 University of Sussex 29 University of East Anglia
10 University of Bristol 20 University of Glasgow 30 University of Reading


The Times

The Times university rankings take into account eight criteria. The Student Satisfaction and Research criteria are weighted by 1.5 and then each of the eight criteria scores are multiplied by 10 in order to give each university a final score out of 1,000. The criteria are:

  • Completion - Percentage of students who manage to complete their degree
  • Entry Standards - Average UCAS tariff score (data source: Higher Education Statistics Agency)
  • Facilities spending - Average expenditure per student on sports, careers services, health and counselling
  • Good Honours - Percentage of students graduating with a first or 2.1
  • Graduate prospects – Percentage of UK graduates in graduate employment or further study (data source: HESA's survey of Destination of Leavers from Higher Education (DLHE))
  • Library and Computing spending - Average expenditure per student (data source: Higher Education Statistics Agency)
  • Research (data source: 2008 Research Assessment Exercise)
  • Student Satisfaction (data source: 2005 National Student Survey)
  • Student-staff ratio (data source: Higher Education Statistics Agency)

The most recent league table (2012) ranked the top 30 British universities as follows:

RANK (1-10) UNIVERSITY RANK (11-20) UNIVERSITY RANK (21-30) UNIVERSITY
1 University of Oxford 11 University of York 21 University of Buckingham
2 University of Cambridge 12 University of Bath 22 University of Glasgow
3 London School of Economics 13 University of Bristol 23 SOAS
4 Imperial College London 14 University of Sussex 24 King's College London
5 University College London 15 University of Edinburgh 25 Newcastle University
6 Durham University 16 University of Nottingham 26 University of Birmingham
6 University of St Andrews 17 University of Sheffield 27 University of East Anglia
8 University of Warwick 17 University of Leicester 28 Royal Holloway, University of London
9 University of Lancaster 19 University of Southampton 29 University of Surrey
10 University of Exeter 20 Loughborough University 30 University of Leeds



The Complete University Guide  rank UK universities by assessing their performance in nine qualities factors