Times and Sunday Times 2015 University League Table Top Placings

The Times and Sunday Times League Table 2015

A quick look at the top 25 in the all new Times/Sunday Times Good University Guide ranking for 2015. Full details can be found on the Sunday Times website (£). (Last year’s position in brackets.)

1= (1) Cambridge
1= (2) Oxford
3 (4) St Andrews
4 (5) Imperial
5 (3) LSE
6 (6) Durham
7 (8) Exeterrankings
8 (10) Warwick
9 (9) UCL
10 (7) Bath
11 (12=) Surrey
12 (12=) Lancaster
13 (21) Loughborough
14 (17) UEA
15 (16) Birmingham
16 (11) York
17 (29) Leeds
18 (20) Southampton
19 (15) Bristol
20 (14) Leicester
21 (18) Sheffield
22= (23) Nottingham
22= (18) Newcastle
22= (22) Edinburgh
25 (32) Sussex

This may be the first time there has been a tie for first place and it would, of course, be Oxford and Cambridge inseparable at the top of the table.

Warwick is the ‘University of the Year’.

Full details of the table including subject rankings were published in the Sunday Times on 21 September.

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Times and Sunday Times 2014 University League Table Top 20 Placings

The Times and Sunday Times League Table 2014

A quick look at the top 20 in the all new combined Times/Sunday Times Good University Guide ranking for 2014. Full details can be found on the Sunday Times website (£).

1 Cambridge
2 Oxford
3 LSE
4 St Andrews
5 Imperial
6 Durhamrankings
7 Bath
8 Exeter
9 UCL
10 Warwick
11 York
12= Lancaster
12= Surrey
14 Leicester
15 Bristol
16 Birmingham
17 UEA
18= Newcastle
18= Sheffield
20 Southampton

(University of Nottingham appears just outside the top 20 in 23rd place)
Birmingham is the ‘University of the Year’.

Full details of the table were published on 22 September. The methodology for the new combined table is summarised as follows:

The information regarding research quality was sourced from the 2008 Research Assessment Exercise, a peer review exercise to evaluate the quality of research in UK higher education institutions undertaken by the UK higher education funding bodies.
Entry standards, student-staff ratios, services and facilities spend, completion rates, Firsts and 2:1s and graduate prospects data were supplied by the Higher Education Statistics Agency (Hesa) which provides a system of data collection, analysis, and dissemination in relation to higher education in the whole of the United Kingdom. The original sources of data for these measures are data returns made by the universities themselves to Hesa.
The provision of the data by the above sources does not necessarily imply agreement with the data transformation and construction of the table. Universities were provided with sets of their own Hesa data, which form the basis of the table, in advance of publication and were offered the opportunity to check the information. Some universities supplied replacement corrected data.
In building the table, scores for student satisfaction and research quality were weighted by 1.5; all other indicators were weighted by 1. The indicators were combined using a z-score transformation and the totals were transformed to a scale with 1000 for the top score. For entry standards, student-staff ratios, First and 2:1s and graduate prospects the score was adjusted for subject mix.
So, looks a bit more like the Times than the old Sunday Times methodology.

The Imperfect University: Truly Transnational

There is something close to a genuinely international university
TIU

Last year Andrew Stewart Coats, commenting on his appointment and the interesting plans for the new partnership between Warwick and Monash Universities, asserted that in higher education:

there has been little or no globalization in how we organize ourselves; no global entity runs viable universities in multiple countries and no truly transnational offering for students and academics exists

He also noted what he described as the “outposts” of universities in China, South East Asia and the Middle East and questioned whether this could “in itself create a truly global university?”

As a member of a global university, with three truly international campuses, I have to disagree. I drafted this piece late last year at the University of Nottingham’s Malaysia Campus (UNMC), home to some 4,500 students and over 450 staff, located at the edge of Kuala Lumpur in a breathtakingly beautiful setting. After meetings with a range of senior staff and bumping into our UK-based Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Internationalisation who was visiting the campus prior to taking over as Provost I then headed off to the University of Nottingham Ningbo China (UNNC) campus (5,000 students, over 400 staff). As anyone who has visited either campus will attest, these are no outposts. Both campuses are larger than a good number of UK HE institutions and are already, despite their relative youth (UNMC became the first overseas campus of any UK university some 12 years ago and UNNC was founded in 2004), they are already punching significantly above their weight in both research and teaching in their host countries.

Campus at University of Nottingham Ningbo China

Campus at University of Nottingham Ningbo China

OBHE, in its most recent report, identifies some 200 or so branch campuses around the world with another 37 at least in the pipeline.

However, very few of these are of the scale, breadth or depth of the Nottingham developments and many are the outposts Coats describes with teaching delivered in rented office accommodation by staff who fly in for a few weeks before flying back home again.

Nottingham actually has three international campuses at present; as well as those in China and Malaysia there is the original campus in the UK which is also strikingly international with over 9,000 international students from 150+ countries. The international ethos is embraced in all that we do and is strongly articulated in the University’s mission:

At the University of Nottingham we are committed to providing a truly international education, inspiring our students, producing world-leading research and benefiting the communities around our campuses in the UK, China and Malaysia. Our purpose is to improve life for individuals and societies worldwide. By bold innovation and excellence in all that we do, we make both knowledge and discoveries matter.

Our academic staff on all campuses are international in composition (25% are international) and outlook too. One in five of our undergraduates undertakes international mobility. 17% of published research outputs are internationally co-authored and 37% of our research funding is obtained internationally. We have strategic partnerships with other leading universities in over 25 countries and one of the largest scholarship programmes for students from the developing world.

University of Nottingham Malaysia Campus

University of Nottingham Malaysia Campus


When universities make claims about their global outlook and deep internationalization there is a tendency for the rhetoric significantly to oustrip the reality. Nottingham is, I think, a bit different. The evidence for the range and depth of the internationalization is pretty much everywhere and is now part of the fabric, culture and practice across the University.

Internationalisation both drives and supports our teaching and research mission, provides wider benefits for staff and students as well as facilitating access to a broad international talent pool. Internationalisation at Nottingham has many facets: it means an extraordinarily diverse staff and student body, outstanding campuses, significant staff and student mobility, a distinctive curriculum, unique international research activity (including, for example, field scale tropical crop trials as part of the Crops for the Future initiative which would simply impossible in the UK) and partnerships as well as the new collaborative Knowledge Without Borders Network which seeks to learn from and build upon all of these developments.

Can Nottingham claim to be a genuinely international institution? I think so. At the very least we are, as the Sunday Times observed, “the closest Britain has to a truly global university”. It is not enough simply to have outstandingly successful and growing international campuses or to host visits from the British and Malaysian Prime Ministers or the then Chinese Premier (as happened at UNMC and UNNC respectively last year) it has to permeate the institution from top to bottom. In short, it is all about delivery and Nottingham has delivered and continues to deliver real international higher education. This is the experience at our global institution. It’s not perfect and there is still a long way to go to develop fully the potential of all three of our international campuses in Malaysia, China and the UK but I think it is real, meaningful, deep and sustained internationalisation. I wish Warwick and Monash well in their collaboration; I am sure we would be delighted to welcome Professor Coats to any of our campuses to see our truly transnational offering and experience a real global University.

The Times, Sunday Times, Guardian and Complete University Guide League Tables 2012-13

The four 2012-13 UK University League Tables

A previous post offered the first three UK university league tables of 2012-13 and this one now updates this to include the final one from this year from the Sunday Times.  All of the tables have previously been summarised here. As a handy reference guide, here they are:

The Complete University Guide 2013

The 2013 Guardian League Table

The Times 2013 University League Table

The Sunday Times 2012-13

A full house of all your UK university league table needs. Don’t forget to handle with enormous care though.

Sunday Times 2013 University League Table Top 20

Sunday Times League Table 2013

This is just the Top 20 rather than the full table (which is now available (paid access) on the Sunday Times website). There are some big changes with Heriot Watt and Birmingham Universities both enjoying big leaps.

(Note that this is the table published in 2012. The 2014 table, published in 2013, can be found here.)

The top 20 is below:

(last year’s position in brackets)

1 (1) University of Cambridge
2 (2) University of Oxford
3 (5) University of Bath
4 (3) Durham University
5 (6) University of St Andrews
6 (4) LSE
7 (9) University of Exeter
8 (14) Imperial
9 (31) Heriot Watt
10 (8) Warwick
11 (10) Bristol
12 (11) Loughborough
13= (7) UCL
13= (25) Birmingham
15 (15=) University of York
16 (18) Lancaster
17 (12) Newcastle
18 (13) Sheffield
19= (26) Cardiff
19=(20) University of Glasgow

(University of Nottingham slips down from 15= to 22nd place)
It’s not entirely clear why there are such dramatic leaps in and out of the Top 20 but it does raise some questions about the methodology here. The impact of one year changes to National Student Survey scores and employment rates, both of which can be exaggerated by the scaling used here, would seem to be at the heart of this.

On the plus side you can plat with the tables to create your own until you get the outcome you wish.

Exeter is the ‘University of the Year’.

The Times, Guardian and Complete University Guide League Tables 2012-13

The three most recent UK University League Tables

Given that searches for UK university league tables are among the most frequent reasons for visitors to the blog, particularly during Clearing, it seemed that another summary might come in useful. Three major league tables have been published during 2012 so far (Sunday Times is due next month) and all have previously been summarised here. As a handy reference guide, here they are:

The Complete University Guide 2013

The 2013 Guardian League Table

The Times 2013 University League Table

All your UK university league table needs in one location. Do handle with care though.

The Times, Sunday Times, Guardian and Complete University Guide League Tables 2011-12

The four most recent UK University League Tables

Given that searches for UK university league tables are among the most frequent reasons for visitors to the blog, it seemed that another summary might come in useful. Four major league tables were published during 2011 for those considering 2012 entry and all have previously been summarised here. As a handy reference guide, here they all are:

Sunday Times 2012 League Table

The Times 2012 League Table

The Guardian 2012 League Table

The Complete University Guide 2012 League Table

All your UK university league table needs in one location. Don’t take them too seriously though.

The four UK University League Tables of 2011

UK University League Tables 2011/12

Given the huge amount of traffic (OK, huge for me) to the site over the past week or so on UK league tables, I thought a summary might come in useful. Four league tables have been published during the current year for those considering 2012 entry and all have previously been summarised (top 20s at least) here. As a handy reference guide, here they all are:

Sunday Times 2012 League Table

The Times 2012 League Table

The Guardian 2012 League Table

The Complete University Guide 2012 League Table

All your league table needs in one handy location. Do handle with care though.

Sunday Times 2012 University League Table

Sunday Times League Table 2012

The full table has now been published and is available (paid access) on the Sunday Times website. Some interesting changes inside the top 20, largely I suspect down to changes in the way NSS data has been used. Birmingham, Southampton and Edinburgh drop out of top 20.

(last year’s position in brackets)

1 (2) University of Cambridge
2 (1) University of Oxford
3 (6) Durham University
4 (5) LSE
5 (9) University of Bath
6 (7) University of St Andrews
7 (4) University College London
8 (8) University of Warwick
9 (17) University of Exeter
10 (11) University of Bristol
11 (16) Loughborough University
12 (20) Newcastle University
13 (15) University of Sheffield
14 (3) Imperial College London
15= (12) University of Nottingham
15= (13) University of York
17 (10) King’s College London
18 (21=) Lancaster
19 (21=) Sussex
20 (26=) University of Glasgow

Bath is University of the Year.

The criteria used are broadly similar to previous years although the selective approach to use of NSS data seems a bit odd:

Student satisfaction
The academics’ verdicts
Research quality
Ucas tariff points
Graduate-level jobs
Graduate unemployment
Firsts/2:1s awarded
Student/staff ratio
Dropout rate

The effect of these NSS changes has been rather severe on some institutions – Imperial has dropped from 3rd to 14th, Edinburgh from 14th to 27th and Manchester from 25th to 37th.

There is lots of interesting stuff on the website, including interactive subject tables and separate rankings by indicator.

Following the money: paying out for AAB

“Universities cut fees for top students”

According to The Sunday Times that is. However, the headline doesn quite match the story which is a bit more complicated than that. The BBC presents it a little differently as “Universities to offer A grade students cash”.

All of this seems to be sparked by comments from Steve Smith as he hands over the Presidency of UUK but presumably the details are buried in institutions’ access agreements. The Sunday Times notes:

Kent and Essex universities are among the first to offer special deals. They will give £2,000 scholarships to any recruit for 2012 who gains three As in their A-levels, regardless of their family income.

Kent’s scholarship will be available for every year of the degree course, although the Essex version is a one-off for the first year.

Goldsmiths College will waive its £9,000 annual fees for the brightest 10 students it admits from its south London borough.

Essex and Goldsmiths are both members of the 1994 Group of research-based universities, conventionally seen as an elite grouping. At Essex, however, only 8% of 2009 entrants gained at least two As and a B, while at Goldsmiths the figure was 16%. At Durham, by contrast, another 1994 Group member, the figure was 85%.

Other institutions that have already decided on new deals for 2012 include De Montfort University in Leicester, which will give £1,000 a year to any student with AAB or above.

West London is offering 45 scholarships to students who score at least AA B at A-level, paying 50% of first-year tuition fees, which will average £7,498. South Bank in London will waive its £8,450-a-year fees for up to 85 highly qualified students.

It is possible to envisage this turning into a crazed bidding war with AAB students being offered ever more lucrative details to sign up with one university or another (and is this what was really envisaged in the White Paper?). More likely though is that most students will continue to focus on the courses and institutions which most closely meet their needs. Some may chase the money but most surely will base their decisions on other criteria. Or perhaps we are entering the mercenary period for university admissions?

New university ‘to rival Oxbridge’

Exciting news – it’s fantasy uni time

The Telegraph and Sunday Times both carry this most interesting of stories about the establishment of the ‘New College of the Humanities’. The Guardian also has the story but includes reactions from those expressing some consternation at the proposition as well as the key piece of information that the degrees will be awarded by the University of London.

The Telegraph reports that the College will charge £18,000 a year and that for this princely sum students will enjoy a range of benefits:

”Our priorities at the College will be excellent teaching quality, excellent ratios of teachers to students, and a strongly supportive and responsive learning environment.

”Our students will be challenged to develop as skilled, informed and reflective thinkers, and will receive an education to match that aspiration.”

The college claims to offer a ”new model of higher education for the humanities in the UK” and will prepare undergraduates for degrees in Law, Economics and humanities subjects including History, Philosophy and English literature.

Students will also take three ”intellectual skills” modules in science literacy, logic and critical thinking and applied ethics.

Practical professional skills to prepare them for the world of work including financial literacy, teamwork, presentation and strategy will also be taught.

And the staff will largely be star academics (Grayling, Ferguson, Dawkins, Pinker to name just the back four), motivated it seems by the desire to bring more high quality education to the UK HE sector and to improve society.

College chiefs say students will receive a ”best in class education”, with one-to-one tutorials, more than 12 contact hours a week and a 10/1 student to teacher ratio.

Prof Grayling said that budget cuts and dwindling resources are likely to limit both quantity and quality of teaching in the UK, leaving the fabric of society poorer as a result.

But there are a few questions here:

  • Will anyone sign up at these prices?
  • Will students be eligible for any public financial support?
  • Who are the “College chiefs” quoted above?
  • What does the logo look like?
  • Will a ‘BA Hons (London) DNC’ award be embraced by employers?
  • Did they test out the model using Virtual-U (it really does exist) before launching?
  • And, most importantly, who is doing all the administration here? Or are they dividing it up amongst themselves?

Whichever way you look at it, it’s certainly a different approach to the challenges facing UK higher education. And it does create an entirely new game – fantasy uni league – where you too can put together your own team of top academics to deliver an Oxbridge-rivalling student experience (but perhaps best to do the dry run using Virtual-U beforehand).

Sunday Times 2011 University League Table

Sunday Times League Table 2011

No radical changes here with the top four places remaining the same. LSE improves somewhat and York drops out of the top 10 but otherwise there isn’t a great deal of movement in the top 20 (although some welcome upward steps for the University of Nottingham):

(last year’s position in brackets)

1 (1) University of Oxford
2 (2) University of Cambridge
3 (3) Imperial College London
4 (4) University College London
5 (9) LSE
6 (7) Durham University
7 (5) University of St Andrews
8 (6) University of Warwick
9 (11) University of Bath
10 (13) King’s College London
11 (10) University of Bristol
12 (14) University of Nottingham
13 (8) University of York
14 (15=) University of Edinburgh
15 (18) University of Sheffield
16 (15=) Loughborough University
17 (17) University of Exeter
18= (20=) University of Birmingham
18= (12) University of Southampton
20 (24=) Newcastle University

Full details are available in the online Sunday Times Guide (subscription required). Lots of information here about the individual indicators and subject rankings too. There is also the DIY option – you can play about with weightings to influence the outcome yourself. You have to work quite hard to change the results significantly though.

Table of table of tables

Table of tables

A composite university league table derived from the four domestic league tables has been prepared by THE.

It is presented as a real labour-saving device:

With so many national newspaper league tables, it can be difficult to keep track of the results.

Certainly can, but luckily

a source has amalgamated the available data for Times Higher Education to produce the definitive table of tables. It combines rankings produced by The Independent, The Guardian, The Times and The Sunday Times.

The results are…

1 Oxford
2 Cambridge
3 Imperial
4 StAndrews
5 Warwick
6 UCL
7 LSEmast_blank
8 Durham
9 York
10 Bath
11 Edinburgh
12= Exeter
12= Loughborough
14 Southampton
15 Bristol
16 King’s College
17= Lancaster
17= Leicester
19 Nottingham
20 Glasgow

So, no huge surprises there. Wisely though, THE “acknowledges the methodological limitations”. Bit of an understatement that.

Sunday Times League Table

Sunday Times League Table is now out

The 2010 Sunday Times Good University Guide. Change at the top but not really “a year of upheaval” as billed:

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

University of Oxford

The University of Oxford is on something of a winning streak. After a second successive victory over Cambridge in the boat race this year, the university has now knocked its light-blue rival off the top of The Sunday Times university league table for the first time.

This feat, after 11 years in second place, earns Oxford The Sunday Times University of the Year award. It edged narrowly ahead of its principal British rival in a year of upheaval in our league table, prompted by the first research assessments in seven years and the move to measuring teaching quality primarily by levels of student satisfaction expressed through the annual national student survey (NSS).

Not really a huge change to the table since last year apart from the diversion of a bit of a boat race going on at the top. Although new NSS scores and 2008 RAE do figure they don’t seem to have made a big difference. The numbers involved in the survey of Heads and peers, which results in one indicator, aren’t obviously identified.

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.