Oxford has once again secured its place at the top of The Times Good University Guide league table. For the 11th successive year Oxford heads the table, with Cambridge coming second and the London School of Economics in third.
Cambridge has the highest entry standards of any British university and notably higher than those for Oxford. It also has a better completion rate and its graduates have better employment prospects.
But Oxford kept its top slot thanks to a significantly higher proportion of its undergraduates achieving good honours degrees, either a 1st or 2:1, spending on student facilities, lower staff to student ratios and a higher satisfaction rate among undergraduates.
Cambridge is top of half of the 62 subject tables in The Times Good University Guide. It continues to dominate in science and engineering while Oxford, which leads in 14 subject tables, makes the running in the arts and social sciences. A dozen other universities lead in at least one subject, with Warwick and Loughborough each topping three of the tables.
St Andrews is still Scotland’s top university and Glasgow has risen nine places to breathe down the neck of its ancient rival Edinburgh. Coventry registers the biggest rise, moving up 21 places. However, one of the most prominent fallers is Buckingham, Britain’s only private university, which drops from 21st last year to 41st after an expansion in undergraduate numbers hit its staff: student ratio.
Greg Hurst, education editor of The Times said: “Higher tuition fees, the recession and an exceptionally tough graduate jobs market mean that the stakes are higher than ever for the next group of applicants preparing to apply to university.
“While universities are being required to publish more information such as contact hours for each course, prospective students and their families will want to make careful use of the mass of detail in The Times Good University Guide to see how universities and courses compare on admissions standards, research, student satisfaction, spending on facilities, staff-student ratios, degree achievements and completion rates, and graduate prospects.”
Top 20 universities (figures in brackets indicate position last year):
1. Oxford (1)
2. Cambridge (2)
3. London School of Economics (3)
4. Imperial College of Science, Technology and Medicine (4)
5. Durham (6=)
6. St Andrews’s (6=)
7. University College London (5)
8. Warwick (8)
9. Bath (12)
10. Exeter (10)
11. Bristol (13)
12. Lancaster (9)
13. York (11)
14. Edinburgh (15)
15. Glasgow (22)
16. Loughborough (20)
17. Leicester (17=)
18=. Southampton (19)
18= Sussex (14)
20. Nottingham (16)