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Students UK > Student University Guide > University Guide > University league table rankings
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University league table rankings

With over 330 universities in the UK, choosing one isn't an easy option. University league tables rank universities and courses, and many of them also offer useful profiles of universities and student life.

Guardian League Table | Times Online League Tables

So what are League tables based on?

How is it possible that a university can be rated in 5th place in one league table and then a lowly 30th in another? The answer is that all league tables use a range of different indicators.

The main indicators taken into account are listed below:

  • Entry Standards/Qualifications - The average number of UCAS points held by first-year students
  • Teaching Quality Assessment - The marks received in teaching assessments by individual departments
  • Research Assessment - The research rating received by each department (more relevant to postgraduate study)
  • Teaching - The marks received in teaching assessments by individual departments
  • Research -The research rating received by each department
  • Student/Staff Ratio - On average the number of staff in relation to the number of students
  • Degree Classifications - 1sts & 2nds as a percentage of classified degrees
  • Graduate destinations - The percentage of graduates entering full-time employment (may also include universities targeted by graduate recruiters)
  • Drop Out Rate: The percentage of students failing to complete courses
  • Spend Per Student - Library and computer spending, facilities spending
  • Value Added Score - Whether students with lower grades on entry to university go on to get good degrees.
  • Inclusiveness - How well an institution, at subject level, attracts students from under-represented group

Dos and Don'ts

  • Don't just use the tables. League tables alone will not guarantee that you select the best university for you.

Jimmy Leach, editor of the Guardian University Guide reports:

"To get the full picture, go to open days, talk to students and teachers, read prospectuses."

Examples of league tables

Guardian League Table | Link

Table of top-ranking institutions. Subject-by-subject rating. Tables are for undergraduates doing full-time degrees at universities and HE colleges. The following data is used:

  • Teaching Quality Assessment (TQA)
  • Entry Qualification
  • Spend per Student
  • Student:Staff Ratio (SSR)
  • Value Added Score
  • Student Destinations (employment scores)
  • Inclusiveness

This data is then weighted to build up a final score to show how the Guardian ranks the student experience for each university. Note that research funding is not included as the ranking is aimed at undergraduates.

The online version of the Guardian tables give you the chance to pick the indicators that mean the most to you and alter the tables accordingly.

The Times Good University Guide | Link

The Times league table uses the following data:

  • Entry Standards
  • Student:Staff Ratio
  • Teaching Assessment
  • Research Assessment
  • Library & Computer Spending
  • Facilities Spending
  • Firsts, Upper Seconds
  • Completion
  • Graduate Destinations