2008 Sunday Times UK University Rankings

Sunday Times League Table published

The final UK league table of the season is now out, courtesy of the Sunday Times. Not too many surprises here:

1. Cambridge
2. Oxford
3. Imperial
4. LSE
5. St Andrews
6. UCL
7. Warwick
8. Durham
9. York
10. Bath
11. Loughborough
12. Southampton
13. Nottingham
14. Exeter
15. Edinburgh
16. Bristol
17. King’s College London
18. Leicester
19. Sheffield
20. Lancaster

One of the distinctive features of this table is the surveys undertaken involving small numbers of head teachers and, this year, academic staff:

More than 2,000 heads of department and admissions tutors across 30 subject areas were contacted for our peer assessment exercise. They were asked to grade from one (poor) to five (excellent) undergraduate provision in their specialist area in fellow institutions. In all, 219 responded.

Not a great response rate and perhaps not too surprising then that:

The final results show a remarkable correlation with our main league table. The top five institutions for peer review all feature within the top six of our overall league table.

Meanwhile in the paper’s other survey:

In our parallel survey of head teachers, questionnaires were sent to the state and independent senior schools that feature in our Parent Power guide of the top academic schools. They were asked to cite universities they felt provided high-quality undergraduate provision. These 1,000-plus schools are putting large numbers of students into the university system every year and we asked their heads to base their judgments on direct experience and feedback from former pupils. More than 1,000 opinions were expressed across 29 subject areas.

Still looks like a pretty limited response given that each head could express, we assume, up to 30 opinions. Again, it would be expected that these results are similar to the main table. We don’t get the details but do know that Oxford is top of both surveys.