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.

Giving league tables a bad name

This kind of thing really shouldn’t be given any airtime

Yes, sad to say it is the ‘University Drinking League’. Fortunately it does not deserve to be taken at all seriously given that it is simply self-reported consumption by students.

Being the responsible folks that we are we would never stoop to making lazy generalisations, so you can decide whether or not you’re surprised to find Queen’s University Belfast sitting top of the pile – with each student drinking a headache-inducing 27.3 units per week.

The uni in second place – Heriot-Watt – also came second in this year’s University Sex League, suggesting that its students have found more than a couple of ways to keep out the cold during the harsh Scottish winter.

The top three is rounded off with Bath Spa (who came in 4th place in the 2011 drinking league), whilst at the other end of the table we find Wolverhampton, Glasgow and Robert Gorden Uni propping things up – with the latter having an average of just 11 units per student per week.

Average units drunk per student per week
1 Queen’s University Belfast 27.3
2 Heriot-Watt University 26.3
3 Bath Spa University 26.3
4 University of Hull 26.1
5 Sheffield Hallam University 24.5
6 University of Strathclyde 24.3
7 University of Wales Institute, Cardiff 23.9
8 Nottingham Trent University 23.8
9 University College London 23.1
10 University of Manchester 22.7
11 Swansea University 22.7
12 University of Aberdeen 22.5
13 University of Leeds 22.3
14 University of Edinburgh 22.1
15 Manchester Metropolitan University 21.6
16 Bangor University 21.5
17 University of Liverpool 20.8
18 University of Glamorgan 20.7
19 University of Plymouth 20.6
20 University of York 20.5

And as if that wasn’t bad enough, from the same source we have the ‘University Sex League 2012 where self-reporting is likely to be even less reliable than with alcohol consumption:

After the University of Glamorgan topped the list last year, the Welsh domination of the bedroom continues as Bangor University find themselves in pole position with 8.31 sexual partners per student. Llongyfarchiadau! (That’s Welsh for ‘congrats’, by the way.)

The former table-toppers have slipped to 15th, whilst their neighbours Aberystwyth Uni find themselves in the top five for the second consecutive year.

At the other end of the spectrum it would seem that The Only Way is No-Sex, with The University of Essex propping up the rest of the table with just 1.15 sexual partners per student.

 

 

Rank University Average number of sexual partners since starting uni*
1 Bangor University 8.31
2 Heriot-Watt University 5.8
3 University of Plymouth 5.75
4 Liverpool John Moores University 5.48
5 Aberystwyth University 5.34
6 Manchester Metropolitan University 5.31
7 Brunel University 5.22
8 Aston University 5.19
9 Sheffield Hallam University 4.89
10 Teesside University 4.86
11 University of Wolverhampton 4.86
12 Swansea University 4.75
13 Newcastle University 4.72
14 Edge Hill University 4.7
15 University of Glamorgan 4.67
16 University of Huddersfield 4.66
17 University of Cambridge 4.62
18 University of Exeter 4.59
19 University of Portsmouth 4.53
20 University of Wales Institute, Cardiff 4.52

No doubt the Guardian, Times, THE and QS will be reconsidering their criteria with some urgency…

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.

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: 2013 University League Table

2013 University Rankings published by The Times

The new Times league table is out and has been published here. There is though very little to get excited about in the Top 20 with hardly any movement and only one new entry (Glasgow) and one drop out (Sheffield). University of Nottingham drops four places to where it was in 2011 but remains in the Top 20 (just).

Last year’s position in brackets:

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

The full table can be found in The Times Good University Guide or you can buy the book.  Also on the website you can find the subject tables.

Pride & Prejudices: Problems with National & International League Tables

Presentation from AUA Conference 2012

Thank you to all who attended this session on 3 April 2012

As promised, here is the presentation:

 

 

As mentioned at the presentation, this will be the last time I deliver this session at AUA conference. I’ve done it too many times but the main reason is that my co-presenter, Tony Rich, is no longer able to join me. Tony is seriously unwell and I would encourage everyone  to sponsor Jonathan Nicholls, Registrary at Cambridge University, who is running the London Marathon to raise funds for Bristol University’s cancer research fund.

See Jonathan’s Just Giving page for details.

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.

Freshers’ week: just a drunken scam?

An interesting view on freshers’ week

Libby Purves, writing in The Times, argues that freshers’ week is not quite what it seems and has to stop. The new fees regime, she suggests, may put an end to this “ghastly scam”.

These festivals are now in progress or revving up at most British universities; a weird, patronising blend of nannying and temptation, peer pressure and naked marketing. In the past 20 years they have grown into a mini industry aimed with increasing skill and cynicism at teenagers far from home, often for the first time, with unaccustomed money in their pockets.

Of course a “soft” launch to university has its uses. There have always been a few days when new students could find their way around, meet tutors and get passes and information. Without the academic pressure of full term it was a gently social time too. You would probably go to a ramshackle “freshers fair” where clubs and societies set out their stalls; with luck you’d have teamed up over Nescafé with someone from your corridor and giggled together about the hard-sell of stall holders pushing karate, Communism or the Christian Union (I joined the Anarchists’ Society, but gave up because they couldn’t organise meetings. Two quid down the drain).

Pretty much routine observations from someone recalling their own experience but then there are some really interesting comments on attempts to rein in some of the wilder excesses, to respond to the OTT bravado and tackle the “faint bullying tone” from older students. Recognition too that not everyone is the same:

Thus, a good proportion of ambitious, earnest, financially anxious 18-year-olds dislike it, but are made to feel inadequate and boring for doing so. They’d prefer something simpler; quiet, unpressured sociability and useful information. They have worked out that university is not a holiday camp. Foreign students are baffled: most European universities don’t have any such Saturnalia at the start of term. Perceptive spirits may also notice that the expansion of freshers week is fuelled not only by the enthusiasm of existing students, but by hard-nosed commercial exploitation.

A similar line was taken last year in a Guardian article by Patrick Collinson:

But freshers’ fairs have come a long way from the commercial innocence of earlier years. They offer Britain’s businesses “the perfect opportunity for you to enlighten students to your products and services”, according to BAM Student Marketing. “Get face to face with your potential customers … student spending habits have not been developed at this stage, which is why the freshers’ fairs provide excellent potential for forming new customer relationships,” it adds. BAM even provides the websites for scores of student unions (from Aston to York St John) through which it aims to offer “high traffic … to our clients”. Typical clients include insurance, ticketing and travel companies.

 

It is very difficult to argue for a more sober, academically focused transition to university life without looking like a dull, out of touch killjoy. But it’s not entirely fair to suggest it is the fault of “timid” universities for failing to tackle this. There is a real need to address the freshers’ week excess and to ensure a stronger academic and pastoral focus to this induction period. There are a lot of different interests at play here though, not just the external nightclubs and travel companies. Persuading the students’ union, student societies and academic staff that timetabled classes (if not teaching proper) should start as soon as new students arrive is a tall order. But something does need to happen, for all of the reasons Ms Purves suggests and then some. Training students to get used to the feeling of studying with a hangover and to being the target of those looking to form new customer relationships is hardly the ideal induction into university life.

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.

The Times: 2012 University League Table

2012 University Rankings published by The Times

The new Times league table is out and there are some interesting changes. Some shuffling in the middle of the table and a couple of high climbers and a drop out.

Last year’s position in brackets:

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

Perhaps the most interesting points here:

  • Lancaster, after a meteoric rise, seems to have consolidated its position in the top 10
  • Sussex has risen 21 places in two years to enter the top 20
  • Buckingham, appearing here for the first time, sits just outside the top group at 21
  • King’s College was 12th two years ago but has now dropped to 24th
  • Nottingham continues to make steady progress (particularly pleased about that)

The full table can be found in The Times Good University Guide or you can buy the book. Both will cost you. Also on the website you can find the Subject Tables (again you will need to subscribe for access).

Pride and Prejudices: Problems with National and International League Tables

Presentation from AUA Conference 2011

Thank you to all who attended this session on 19 April 2011

As promised, here is the presentation:

Tuition fees: Minister warns universities

More than just sabre-rattling?

The BBC reports on a warning from the Universities Minister concerning fee setting plans. Speaking at the Dearing Conference at the University of Nottingham on 17 February he warned that, because the government had assumed that the average fee would be £7,500, if most universities charged higher than this the additional cost of student finance would have to be met from elsewhere in the HE budget. Thus, higher fees will result in more cuts:

David Willetts has warned that there will be more cuts to higher education if too many universities opt to charge maximum tuition fees. The government wants most universities to pitch their fees lower – because it faces costs from supporting students’ loans. The universities minister said savings would “reluctantly” have to be found.

The government has said it wants the top fee to be charged only in “exceptional circumstances” but as independent bodies, universities are free to charge fees they want. Imperial College, London has become the first to opt to charge the top rate and Oxford and Cambridge appear to be moving that way.

The government says if too many universities charge higher fees, the costs to it will be too high.

The key point here is the independence of universities. Without further legislation on fees the government is not able to dictate what universities will charge. So, the exhortations to pitch low and the assertion that £9,000 will be exceptional represent helpful advice from the Minister but it will be up to universities to decide. And, if we have the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Central Lancashire, as reported in The Times (£), saying that his institution probably needs to charge around £8,000 in order to survive, then we will soon see whether this means that even more cuts will be on the way for higher education or if this was just sabre-rattling.

Providing information that helps students with HE choices

New consultation on providing information that helps students make the right higher education choices

HEFCE has launched a consultation on information for prospective students:

Schools, colleges, universities, student unions and a wide range of other bodies are being asked to comment on the information that higher education (HE) providers publish to help prospective students choose the course and institution that are best for them.

They are invited to respond to a consultation being conducted by HEFCE, Universities UK and GuildHE. The consultation mainly concerns a proposed Key Information Set (KIS) which all publicly funded HE providers in England and Northern Ireland would be required to publish for each course on their web-sites.

The press release continues:

The consultation is informed by the results of research commissioned by HEFCE, and undertaken by Oakleigh Consulting and Staffordshire University, which identified the information current and prospective students identified as ‘very useful’. This mostly relates to costs, satisfaction and employability. Information about the fees for each course will also be included.

The intention is that information will be presented in a standardised format on each university and college web-site, looking similar for all courses at all institutions, thus making the information potentially more useful, comparable and accessible. Discussions are also taking place about how the information can be linked to the UCAS web-site.

But do prospective students really need more information? And is this kind of standardised set of data really going to help inform decisions. Or will most students turn to other sources such as The Times League Table rather than this sort of information. Guess we’ll find out.

Preparing for university: “we call this a washing machine”

Some new students need ‘life skills’ it seems

According to the Times “pampered pupils” are receiving lessons in life skills to enable them to cope at university:

Increasing numbers of privileged students are arriving at university unable to use a washing machine, cook a simple meal or look after themselves, according to head teachers and academics. Teenagers have become so used to someone else picking up after them at home or in boarding school that they lack the basic skills needed to survive when they start their degree. One boarding school is so concerned that pupils will not be able to cope at university that it is sending sixth-formers to live in self-contained cabins.

Unlike boarders at other schools, sixth-formers at Abbotsholme in Staffordshire, where fees are £25,000 a year, do their own washing, ironing, cleaning and cooking. Steve Fairclough, the headmaster, said it helped to prepare them for the realities of university. “Independent schools, if they are not careful, can institutionalise kids and give them a silver spoon so they expect things to be done for them,” he said. “These cabins give them a bit of independence.”

This sounds like a major problem and one which has yet to be adequately addressed by many student services centres. It is time something was done.