2013 Academic Ranking of World Universities: Top 20 and UK placings

2013 ARWU University World Rankings: Top 20 and UK placings

A level results day is an interesting time to publish a world ranking but who are we to criticise.

Anyway, don’t get too excited as it is unlikely the bookies will be losing their shirts on this one. Here is the top 20 in full. It is almost identical to last year’s with only one new entrant at number 20.

1 Harvard University
2 Stanford University
3 University of California, Berkeley
4 Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)
5 University of Cambridge
6 California Institute of Technology
7 Princeton University
8 Columbia University
9 University of Chicago
10 University of Oxford
11 Yale University
12 University of California, Los Angeles
13 Cornell University
14 University of California, San Diego
15 University of Pennsylvania
16 University of Washington
17 The Johns Hopkins University
18 University of California, San Francisco
19 University of Wisconsin – Madison
20 Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich

The full rankings have been published and are now available at the ARWU website

As last year (and the year before that and the year before that) there are really no surprises and almost no movement in the top 20 with Harvard retaining the number 1 spot for the seventh successive year and everyone else just about unchanged too. Probably for the best.

In terms of the UK placings, again very little change with only spme slight upward movement for a few institutions.

University of Cambridge 5
University of Oxford 10
University College London 21
The Imperial College of Science, Technology and Medicine 24
The University of Manchester 41
The University of Edinburgh 51
University of Bristol 64
King’s College London 67
University of Nottingham 83

Let’s hope there will be a tad more excitement with the other league tables from QS and THE later in the year.

Guardian League Table 2014: One or two changes

New Guardian League Table for 2014

Top 20 of the full list (available here) is as follows (last year’s position in brackets):

1 (1) Cambridge
2 (2) Oxford
3 (3) LSE
4 (4) St Andrews
5 (6) UCL
6 (7) Durham
7 (9) Bath
8 (12) Surrey
9 (13) Imperial
10 (5) Warwick
11 (7) Lancaster
12 (10) Exeter
13 (19) Leicester
14 (11) Loughborough
15 (30) Birmingham
16 (17) York
17 (24) UEA
18 (20) Heriot-Watt
19 (15) Edinburgh
20 (22) Kent

The full story on the extraordinary news that Cambridge has held on to top slot for the second year running can be found here. The top 20 is largely unchanged although Birmingham, UEA and Kent are all new entries.

A couple of other comments in the piece are worth noting if only because of the dramatic and bizarre consequences of the methodology on some institutions’ placings:

Lower down the table but still remarkable is the rise of Northampton, which climbs 39 places to 47 (from 86), largely thanks to improved job prospects and the entry standards of its students. And Portsmouth jumps from 78 to 48 this year. The main contributory factor here is a sharp increase in the number of students achieving a first or a 2:1.

It’s less good news at Sussex, which falls from 27th to 50th place as graduates find it hard to secure a job, particularly in philosophy and anthropology. But it’s not all bad news – on the back of extremely high student satisfaction and entry standards, Sussex has climbed to the top of the table for social work.

The biggest fall of all is by Cardiff Met, from 66th to 105th place. This is because of a sharp fall in student satisfaction. The ratios of expenditure and staffing per student also deteriorated.

2014 Complete University Guide League Table

It’s spring and it’s time for the first league table of the season.

The Complete University Guide and league table for 2014 is now out. The details can be found on the Guide website together with lots of other analysis (including by subject, region and mission group)  and information on careers, fees etc.

The main table uses nine indicators: Student Satisfaction, Research Assessment, Entry Standards, Student:Staff Ratio; Spending on Academic Services; Spending on Student Facilities; Good Honours degrees achieved; Graduate Prospects and Completion. The Subject tables are based on four: Student Satisfaction, Research Assessment; Entry Standards and Graduate Prospects. The results tend to be fairly consistent year on year and there is not huge volatility in this table.

 Rank 2014  Rank 2013
1 (1) Cambridge
2 (3) Oxford
3 (2) LSE
4 (4) Imperial
5 (5) Durham
6 (6) St Andrews
7 (8) UCL
8 (6) Warwick
9 (10) Bath
10 (13) Exeter
11 (9) Lancaster
12 (12) York
13 (22) Surrey
14 (14) Loughborough
15 (11) Bristol
16 (20) Leicester
17 (23) Birmingham
18 (16) Edinburgh
19 (18) King’s
20 (27) UEA
20 (15) Southampton

So, little movement in the top 10 apart from the slight rejig to ensure Oxbridge dominance in the first two places. Glasgow and Nottingham slip out of the top 20 to be replaced by UEA, Birmingham and this year’s start performer at 13, the University of Surrey.

The Imperfect University: Graduation – a bit London 2012?

Graduations: A bit like the Olympics but then some

Graduation is one of the most significant events in the university calendar. It is a slightly bizarre and rather ritualistic event. Everyone (well, nearly everyone) dresses up, in gowns and/or posh frocks or newly acquired suits.

I have attended two of my own and over 150 others at different institutions. Whilst I was a bit grumpy about attending the one for my undergraduate degree (I decided I was doing it just for my parents), pretty chipper about the second (after nearly 10 years’ hard graft on my PhD I genuinely felt I’d earned it) and having skipped the one for the Diploma in Management Studies in between I do really rather like them now.

A US commencement

Whilst there is something to be said for the total experience of the US style commencement, I do think the UK model is hard to beat in its mixture of pomp, flummery and joy. And it is quite a bizarre event when you think about it, with few parallels in public life; whilst weddings, funerals, christenings and knightings come close they all involve smaller numbers of people whereas in graduations hundreds of people are the centre of attention, albeit only for a few moments each. Graduation days are just about the only days in the university calendar when everybody is happy or at least the smallest number of people are gloomy.

The closest parallel I think is with the atmosphere around the London 2012 Olympics and Paralympics where the experience in all of the venues and on Olympic Park was one of uniform near rapture from volunteers, staff, participants (most of them) and audience alike. OK the various garish sportswear combinations aren’t quite as formal as gowns, hoods and mortar boards but the analogy broadly holds good I think.

London 2012 crowd

Organising graduation ceremonies is one of most thankless tasks in the administrator’s panoply of duties. I’ve often thought it is a bit of a short straw in that many aspects of your work are extremely visible (and permanently on record, available on DVD for a very reasonable price), you are dependent on lots of other people doing what you expect of them and there are just dozens of things which can go wrong and over which you have little or no influence. Senior staff, whatever their role in the event, will always delight in passing on some helpful bits of advice about where things went wrong or could have been improved.

Rituals are interesting. Shaking of hands and bowing in different combinations are pretty much commonplace. My recollection of graduating at Edinburgh was that you leaned forward and were hit on head by a large piece of velvet claimed to be a piece of John Knox’s breeches:

According to University legend, the graduation cap (the Geneva Bonnet) was made using material from the breeches of John Knox.

I’m sure it was orange when I graduated but it looks a bit different in the photo. It also now strikes me as rather unlikely that the said item would have lasted for 400 years of head bashing (and it would be generally rather unhygienic too). It also seems a distinctly odd thing to decide would be a good way to signify graduation.

Things are even odder at Cambridge where, naturally, things are also all done in Latin:

The Praelector presenting the graduand holds the candidate by his or her right hand and says:
“Dignissima domina, Domina Procancellaria et tota Academia praesento vobis hunc virum (hanc mulierem) quem (quam) scio tam moribus quam doctrina esse idoneum (idoneam) ad gradum assequendum (name of degree); idque tibi fide mea praesto totique Academiae.”
“Most worthy Vice-Chancellor and the whole University, I present to you this man (this woman) whom I know to be suitable as much by character as by learning to proceed to the degree of (name of degree); for which I pledge my faith to you and to the whole University.”
The graduand’s name is called and they step forward and kneel. Clasping the graduand’s hands, the Vice-Chancellor says:
“Auctoritate mihi commissa admitto te ad gradum (name of degree), in nomine Patris et Filii et Spiritus Sancti.”
“By the authority committed to me, I admit you to the degree of (name of degree) in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.”

Similarly at Oxford:

If you are attending a degree ceremony to confer your MA (or DD, DCL, DM or MCh), you will be required to kneel in front of the VC, who touches each person on the head with a Testament, admitting them ‘In the name of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost’.

It’s slightly less elaborate at Nottingham although there is lots of bowing. Indeed students, regardless of instruction, never seem to know whether they are bowing to the Chancellor, the Vice-Chancellor, the crest behind the stage, the platform party or the mace. They will bow to just about anyone.

As with most universities we do have a heavy and finely crafted mace. One day someone might explain why. We also have Marshals of various kinds and levels of seniority and an Esquire Bedell (who looks after the mace). All of these people, despite their strange titles, are key to making the event happen and to ensure that students actually make it to the front, across the stage and back to their seats without mishap.

Gowns can be pretty hot and some of more ceremonial officers’ robes even more so: Nottingham’s chancellor has a train and plenty of very heavy gold trim. The best gown ever saw was I think from a Spanish university. Bright orange with a very chic pillbox hat it looked as if it had been unchanged for 500 years. The 60s were a boom time for gown designers with the new universities at that time looking for a contemporary take on the traditional style (I am told); UEA gowns were designed by Cecil Beaton who clearly had fun with the hoods. There was another spate of gown design excitement in 1992 when all the new universities launched and then began adopting their own appropriately differentiated livery. Gown companies, of which there are only a handful in the UK, have really got this market literally and metaphorically sewn up.

Beyond the gowns there can be some interesting dress issues for graduands and, despite the very sound advice issued to all about the inadvisability of trying out stilettoes for the first time many people do. Despite lots of inappropriate footwear – from flip flops to biker boots – people rarely fall over or off the stage. I do know I’m getting old though because of my irritation at the number of graduands who think casual wear is appropriate for such a ceremony. Attempts to legislate have so far failed.

On graduands
It’s pretty easy to have all your lazy prejudices confirmed about the kind of students following different kinds of courses. For example, you can be pretty sure that at least several archaeology graduands will have long hair and beards. It is inevitable that many art history and psychology students are tall and blonde. Physiotherapy students have the firmest handshakes. Names, particularly but not always of international students, are quite tricky and sexing the graduand can also occasionally be problematic and embarrassing for the Dean if called incorrectly. On the plus side, British graduands often have amusing middle names which no-one has ever heard attributed to them before.

Platform party
These things I have learned:

  • Some members of the platform party seem to find it challenging to stay awake for an hour on a stage. Even when you are clapping a lot (or pretending to clap because you have sore hands from excessive clapping in the previous ceremony).
  • Drinking at lunchtime is generally not conducive to effective working, including at graduation. Just because you only have to walk and clap doesn’t mean you can drink with impunity.
  • Sleeping on stage is still frowned upon.
  • You have to behave. Furtive blackberry use is going to be noticed. Even so, lots of parents and friends of graduands will have lots of pictures of people in funny dress doing odd things on stage.
  • Every university has some really oddly titled courses and we all appear, judging by the small number of graduands on some programmes, to have many more uneconomic courses than we thought. These are not things to raise with members of faculty during the procession.

Honorary graduates
I’ve written before about these and a previous post noted the two broad categories for the recipients of honorary degrees. Although there are a few borderlines, by and large I think it’s still the case that you can divide the worthy holders of honoraries into serious or celebrities. Another post on last year’s round of awards noted the wide range of celebrities who have collected honoraries, from Donald Sinden to Pam St Clement. An even earlier piece noted the success of some individuals in accumulating large numbers of honorary awards (although Kermit has still only got the one degree as far as I can tell). It’s all good fun although can get messy if you decide, as Edinburgh did in the case of Robert Mugabe, that the recipient is not perhaps as worthy as he once was and ask for your degree back.

Recipients of honorary degrees, or in the US where famous individuals are invited there just for this purpose, normally deliver an address to inspire and uplift the new graduates. There are thousands of US commencement speeches on you tube and many lists of the best including this rather good one.

One recent and very good one from the University of Nottingham is an address by author Jon McGregor who advises graduates to “get lost”:

Forward not back

Graduation is still a major rite of passage. It remains one of the most wonderful events in the university calendar and, for all concerned it is generally a positive and forward looking event. Everyone is thinking about future work or study or other plans but also with fond reflection of their time at university. There is an over-riding sense of optimism even in the most difficult economic circumstances. It’s a bit like having the Olympics in your patch every year.

2012/13 QS World University Rankings

Latest QS world league table is out

A preview of the 2012/13 QS World University Rankings from John O’Leary, makes clear the impact that the league tables have. Not just on institutions but also on governments:

The rankings, which will be published on September 11, are intended primarily to guide international students, their parents and advisors in their choice of university. This year, there will be 700 institutions to compare on six different measures, with additional faculty-specific rankings to illustrate particular strengths.

But QS rankings are also used by governments from Denmark and Germany to Saudi Arabia, Thailand and Japan to evaluate the standing of their own and other countries’ universities. Positions are used in funding allocations, promotional material and even immigration decisions.

The German and Japanese governments have both used QS ranking positions as one of their performance measures in research budgeting. Thailand is one of a growing number of countries to use the rankings to shortlist the universities chosen for additional funding to help them compete internationally.

In the UK, the Browne Report on student fees used QS rankings to illustrate the high standing of the country’s universities. A Government-funded advertising campaign coinciding with the Olympic Games in London to promote the UK as a tourist or business destination also quoted the rankings.

Full details of the rankings can be found at the QS website. A summary of the world top 10 follows where we find a swap at the top as MIT replaces Cambridge at No 1 and four UK universities remain in the top 10:

Global top ten

2012 2011 Institution
3 Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)
1 University of Cambridge
2 Harvard University
7 UCL (University College London)
5 University of Oxford
6 Imperial College London
4 Yale University
8 University of Chicago
13 Princeton University
10  12 California Institute of Technology (Caltech)


The UK also has 18 universities in the top 100:

Top UK universities

1 University of Cambridge GB
7 UCL (University College London) GB
5 University of Oxford GB
6 Imperial College London GB
21  20 University of Edinburgh GB
26  27 King’s College London (KCL) GB
28  30 University of Bristol GB
32  29 The University of Manchester GB
54  59 University of Glasgow GB
58  50 The University of Warwick GB
66  72 The University of Sheffield GB
69  64 London School of Economics and Political Science GB
72  74 The University of Nottingham GB
73  75 University of Southampton GB
77  67 University of Birmingham GB
92  95 Durham University GB
93  97 University of St Andrews GB
94   93 University of Leeds GB


Just a bit of fun – it’s the table of tables

Table of Tables

Back in June Times Higher Education published its annual table of tables. Essentially it’s a bit of a cheat in that it simply uses the results of the three domestic league tables to derive a score (the Sunday Times table, which isn’t published until August or September, is ignored). As Peter Snow used to say when projecting general election results from one by-election, it’s just a bit of fun.

The University of Cambridge has secured the top spot ahead of the University of Oxford in Times Higher Education‘s fifth annual “Table of Tables”.

Based on the combined results of the UK’s university league tables, Cambridge kept its number one status after ousting its varsity rival from pole position for the first time last year.

Cambridge sealed its triumph over its old foe after it was judged the UK’s top university by The Complete University Guide and in rankings published by The Guardian. Oxford took first place in the Good University Guide, published by The Times.

Methodologically, it is exceptionally dubious. Averaging a bunch of already dodgy data combinations doesn’t eliminate their flaws. All good fun though, I’m sure you agree.

Rank 2012 Rank 2011 Institution Complete University Guide rank Guardian rank Times/ Good University Guide rank Total score
1 1 Cambridge 1 1 2 89
2 2 Oxford 3 2 1 87
3 3 London School of Economics 2 3 3 85
4 4 St Andrews =6 4 6 77
5 7 Durham 5 =7 5 76
6 8 Warwick =6 5 8 74
=7 =5 Imperial College London 4 13 4 72
=7 =5 University College London 8 6 7 72
=9 =10 Bath 10 9 9 65
=9 9 Lancaster 9 =7 12 65
11 =10 Exeter 13 10 10 60
12 16 Bristol 11 18 11 53
13 15 Loughborough 14 11 16 52
14 12 York 12 17 13 51
15 =13 Edinburgh 16 15 14 48
16 21 Glasgow 17 14 15 47
17 20 Southampton 15 =22 =18 38
18 19 Leicester 20 19 17 37
19 26 Surrey 22 12 26 33
20 17 Nottingham 19 26 20 28

Just a bit of fun.

2012 Shanghai Jiao Tong World Rankings: Top 20 and UK placings

2012 Shanghai Jiao Tong World Rankings: Top 20 and UK placings

Keep calm. Top 20 follows:

1 Harvard University
2 Stanford University
3 Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)
4 University of California, Berkeley
5 University of Cambridge
6 California Institute of Technology
7 Princeton University
8 Columbia University
9 University of Chicago
10 University of Oxford
11 Yale University
12 University of California, Los Angeles
13 Cornell University
14 University of Pennsylvania
15 University of California, San Diego
16 University of Washington
17 The Johns Hopkins University
18 University of California, San Francisco
19 University of Wisconsin – Madison
20 The University of Tokyo

The rankings have been published and are or will shortly be available at the ARWU website

As last year though there are no surprises and absolutely no movement in the top 20 with Harvard retaining the number 1 spot for the sixth successive year and everyone else unchanged too. They are going to have to think about changing to doing this every five years instead of annually.

In terms of the UK placings, again very little change:

5 University of Cambridge United Kingdom 1
10 University of Oxford United Kingdom 2
21 University College London United Kingdom 3
24 The Imperial College of Science, Technology and Medicine United Kingdom 4
40 The University of Manchester United Kingdom 5
51 The University of Edinburgh United Kingdom 6
68 King’s College London United Kingdom 7
70 University of Bristol United Kingdom 8
86 University of Nottingham United Kingdom 9

Only change is that Sheffield slips out of the Top 100.

Let’s hope there will be more excitement with the Times Higher and QS tables.

A new world ranking of universities

What we’ve all been waiting for…

Yes, it’s another new world ranking. This time from the previously  unheard of Center for World University Rankings (CWUR) from Saudi Arabia. The website offers little information about the organisation but we do know that the US has the lion’s share of the top 100 places:

The distribution of top 100 institutions among countries is as follows: USA (58), England (7), France (5), Japan (5), Israel (4), Switzerland (4), Canada (3), Germany (3), Australia (2), Netherlands (2), Denmark (1), Finland (1), Italy (1), Norway (1), Scotland (1), South Korea (1), and Sweden (1).

The detailed methodology is also available on the CWUR website. Anyway, the Top 10 is as follows:

Top 10

  1. Harvard
  2. MIT
  3. Stanford
  4. Cambridge
  5. Caltech
  6. Princeton
  7. Oxford
  8. Yale
  9. Columbia
  10. Berkeley

And the UK placings in the Top 100 are:

4 Cambridge

7 Oxford

28 Imperial

31 UCL

60 Edinburgh

76 Manchester

97 Nottingham

98 Bristol

So, overall not that dissimilar from the SJTU Academic Ranking of World Universities or the QS table. Will it gain a niche in the rankings market? Time will tell but at first sight it doesn’t seem to be sufficiently distinctive to attract a major profile.

Guardian League Table 2013: Ups and downs

New Guardian League Table for 2013

Top 20 of the full list (available here) is as follows (last year’s position in brackets):

1 (1) Cambridge
2 (2) Oxford
3 (4) LSE
4 (3) St Andrews
5 (6) Warwick
6 (5) UCL
7 (8) Durham
7 (7) Lancaster
9 (14) Bath
10 (11) Exeter
11 (9) Loughborough
12 (19) Surrey
13 (10) Imperial
14 (21) Glasgow
15 (16) Edinburgh
16 (na) Buckingham
17 (15) York
18 (25) Bristol
19 (17) Leicester
20 (27) Heriot Watt

The full story on the (not terribly surprising) news that Cambridge has held on to top slot for the second year running can be found here. A couple of comments in the piece are worth noting:

Most of the shifts in this year’s league table are due to changing levels of student satisfaction. Sussex dropped to 27th place from 11th after students in English and geography became significantly less happy with their departments. Stirling dropped from 44th to 67th after value-added scores in business and law declined.

Aberystwyth fell in six subjects, with declines in all performance measures. It drops from 50th place to 81st.

Among the climbers is Brunel, up from 82nd to 44th, taking the top spot for social work. Chester went from 80th to 52nd, with student satisfaction results driving improved ratings in biosciences, history, law and psychology. The career prospects of its biosciences graduates also improved. Coventry rose from 63rd to 46th, with student survey results a major factor.

Overall, there is plenty of swapping of places inside the top 10 and some more dramatic movements inside and beyond the top 20. Given the emphasis placed on NSS scores this is perhaps not much of a shock. But the high level of volatility in the table does keep things fresh every year. Irritating that University of Nottingham slips out of the top 20 though.

Student Olympians

A different kind of league table

Universities Week this year had a distinct Olympics focus:

30 April 2012: To mark the start of Universities Week 2012 (30 April – 7 May), a new report launched today reveals the statistics behind Team GB for the last twenty years. Detailed analysis of UK Olympic athletes shows that Team GB Olympic medallists are nearly twice as likely to have gone to university as the UK population as a whole, with 61 per cent of medallists having been university-educated, compared to 31 per cent of the population as a whole.

The report, Olympic and Paralympic Games: The impact of universities, highlights that university-goers from the combined Team GB competitors since Barcelona 1992 to Beijing 2008 have won 65 per cent of the nation’s gold medals, 66 per cent silver medals and 49 per cent of the bronze medals. At the last Olympic Games in Beijing in 2008, 64 per cent of Team GB’s medallists had been to university, compared to 66 per cent at the previous Games in Athens.

Excellent linkage between university attendance and Olympic success. Which also gives us a new league table: a ranking of universities by number of Olympic medals won. No surprises about who is in first place:

Place University and medals
1-2 Joint:   University of Cambridge and University of Oxford with 15 medals each
3                 Loughborough University with 11 medals
4-5              Joint: Oxford Brookes University and University of Edinburgh both with nine medals each
6                 University of Bath with 7 medals
7                 University of Nottingham with 6 medals
8-9             Joint: University of Reading and University of Southampton with 5 medals
10              University of Exeter with 4 medals

Let’s hope for more this summer.

2013 Complete University Guide League Table

Yes, it’s the first league table of the season

The Complete University Guide and league table is now out. The details can be found on the Guide websitetogether with lots of other analysis (including by subject, region and mission group)  and information on careers, fees etc. The main table uses nine indicators: Student Satisfaction, Research Assessment, Entry Standards, Student:Staff Ratio; Spending on Academic Services; Spending on Student Facilities; Good Honours degrees achieved; Graduate Prospects and Completion. The Subject tables are based on four: Student Satisfaction, Research Assessment; Entry Standards and Graduate Prospects.

 Rank 2012  Rank 2013
1 (1) Cambridge
2 (4) LSE
3 (2) Oxford
4 (3) Imperial
5 (5) Durham
6 (6) St Andrews
6 (8) Warwick
8 (7) UCL
9 (9) Lancaster
10 (10) Bath
11 (11) Bristol
12 (12) York
13 (15) Exeter
14 (19) Loughborough
15 (14) Southampton
16 (13) Edinburgh
17 (21) Glasgow
18 (16) King’s
19 (17) Nottingham
20 (23) Leicester

So, little movement in the top 15 apart from the slightly surprising news that LSE has usurped Oxford to climb to second place in the table. Oxford has dropped from first place in 2011 and this change will undoubtedly grab the headlines for the table. Glasgow and Leicester join the top 20 but Sussex and SOAS drop out.

A Key University Ranking

It’s the University Challenge top 10

University Ranking Watch has published a distinctive table: the universities which have won the most University Challenge series. Leaving aside the detail that Oxford and Cambridge enjoy the special privilege of multiple entries, via the Colleges, it’s an interesting list:

Surprisingly, they've never won

1. Oxford      39 points

2. Cambridge      21

3. Manchester      8

4=. Imperial College London      5

4=. Open University       5

6=. Durham      4

6=. Sussex      4

8=. St. Andrews      3

8=. Birkbeck, University of London      3

10=. Bradford      2

10=. Dundee      2

10=. Keele 2

10=. Leicester      2

10=. Belfast      2

10=. Warwick      2

(Note that it’s two points for a win and one for being runner up.)
One day, the University of Nottingham will be there I hope.

Another university league table variation

A league table of universties’ social media ‘visibility’

Econsultancy have published a league table of Russell Group universities’ social media profiles or their ‘visibility’:

The visibility score we use here is based on the total number of links a web domain has scored on the six social sites, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, Delicious and StumbleUpon, while accounting for different weightings we give to links on individual social sites.

The content linked to includes

news page stories about new research studies and initiatives are quite common. While heavily shared links included software simulations, web cam images, jokes and podcasts.

The league table is as follows:

Social visibility of Russell Group universities

University of Cambridge. Visibility score: 462,823

University of Oxford: 442,758

London School of Economics: 286,859

Newcastle University: 186,184

University College London: 176,202

University of Warwick: 169,462

University of Manchester: 143,186

University of Edinburgh: 131,053

Queens University Belfast: 118,137

University of Glasgow: 72,211

University of Bristol: 70,656

University of Nottingham: 64,381

University of Leeds: 63,802

Imperial College London: 47,321

Cardiff University: 46,053

University of Southampton: 44,106

King’s College London: 31,762

University of Liverpool: 20,444

University of Birmingham: 15,873

University of Sheffield: 9,912

It’s a bit crude but nevertheless fascinating. And it is quite striking how big the gap is between Oxbridge and the lower half of the table. Many of us have a lot to do to catch up.

Not one of the most cited league tables

But a diverting ranking nevertheless…

I first picked up on this one over four years ago in a rather dismissive post. It’s an exciting league table which aims to reflect the contributions of universities to educating the world’s top chief executives. Produced by the Ecole des Mines de Paris, or MINES ParisTech as they seem to prefer these days, it sets out to be an “INTERNATIONAL PROFESSIONAL RANKING OF HIGHER EDUCATION INSTITUTIONS”.

The latest edition of the MINES ParisTech league table is based on the achievement of graduates in the highest roles in the top companies and the methodology is pretty straightforward:

The academic career for qualification in higher education of “top executives” (subsequently referred to as CEOs) has been redefined and, for each person in question, a point has been awarded to each of the various institutions which contributed to their higher education.

(Note that where the individual studied at more than one institution, the point has been divided up amongst the contributors.)

The points awarded to each institution for all of the 500 CEOs are then added up, so as to classify the range of institutions having contributed to the graduate training of one or several CEOs of the 500 companies listed by Fortune Global 500. In 2010, the 500 companies of Fortune Global 500 were run by 508 people (eight companies had two leaders). We were able to obtain information on the higher education career of 487 of the 508 CEOs. For the other 21 (i.e. 4.1% of the total number), it was not possible to reconstitute any aspect of their academic career. For five CEOs, the assessment was only partial. Lastly, 13 CEOs had not pursued any higher education studies.

All clear and uncontroversial I would have thought

Sadly, MINES ParisTech itself falls just outside the top 20.

1 Harvard University

2 Tokyo University

3 Keio University

4 HEC (France)

5 Kyoto University

5 University of Oxford

7 Ecole Polytechnique

8 Waseda University

9 ENA (France)

10 Seoul National University

11 University of Pennsylvania

12 Columbia University

13 Stanford University

13 Tohoku University

13 University of Nottingham

16 Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)

17 Institute for Study of Politics – Paris

18 University St Gallen

19 University Sao Paulo

19 Northwestern University

The other UK showings are Cambridge at 30 and Sheffield, Manchester and Glasgow at 38. Over 100 universities are tied in 92nd place with 1 point each which does kind of undermine the lower end of the table somewhat. Good showing for Japanese universities though with four places in the top 10

QS World University Rankings 2011 – UK Results

QS World University Rankings 2011 – Results for UK universities

The UK presence in the QS top 100 for 2011 is largely unchanged although there is some jockeying for position in the top 10 where Cambridge is ranked first for a second consecutive year ahead of Harvard, MIT and Yale and Oxford moves up to fifth ahead of Imperial, while UCL drops from fourth to seventh. UK institutions do tend to do rather well in this table though, probably because of the significant score derived from a reputational survey (where age counts for a lot). There are 37 UK universities in the top 300, second only to the US. Despite Cambridge’s table-topping performance, US institutions continue to dominate, taking 20 of the top 50 places and accounting for 70 of the top 300.

Six indicators are used in the ranking:
40% Academic reputation from a global survey
10% Employer reputation from a global survey
20% Citations per faculty from SciVerse Scopus
20% Faculty student Ratio
5% Proportion of international students
5% Proportion of international staff

2011 ranking of UK universities (2010 in brackets)

1  (1 )University of Cambridge

5  (6) University of Oxford

6  (7) Imperial College London

7  (4)  UCL

20  (22)  University of Edinburgh

27  (21) King’s College London (KCL)

29  (30) The University of Manchester

30  (27) University of Bristol

50  (53)  The University of Warwick

59 (77)  University of Glasgow

64 (80) LSE

67 (59) University of Birmingham

72 (69) The University of Sheffield

74 (73) The University of Nottingham

75 (81) University of Southampton

93 (85) University of Leeds

95 (92) Durham University

96 (88) University of York

97 (95) University of St Andrews

Full details at QS World University Rankings Results website.