First-class arts and humanities students help Trinity to top place in Cambridge league table

Trinity College, Cambridge University's biggest college, has swept back to the top of a league table for undergraduate degree results.

With about 600 undergraduates, it has achieved a record score this summer for the percentage of Cambridge undergraduates being awarded firsts – 37.2 per cent.

It puts Trinity on top of the Tompkins table, compiled exclusively for The Independent, for the second time in three years after a decade's absence from the top spot.

Professor Grae Worster, senior tutor at Trinity, paid tribute to "excellent results" in the arts and humanities. "Trinity's traditional strengths in science and mathematics are widely recognised but this outcome owes as much to excellent results in the arts and humanities," he said.

Cambridge's bursary scheme also ensured the college was able to take the most academically gifted students, whatever their background.

Peter Tompkins, an alumnus of Trinity and the actuary who compiles the annual tables, said the 37.2 per cent figure for firsts was the highest he could recall for any college in the 30 years of the tables.

Trinity, founded by Henry VIII in 1546, includes amongst its former students six prime ministers, members of the Royal Family – including the Prince of Wales – plus the philosophers Francis Bacon and Bertrand Russell, the scientist Sir Isaac Newton, and poet Alfred, Lord Tennyson.

It replaces Emmanuel College at the top of the table. Emmanuel, now in second place, was last year recorded as having a higher percentage of state school students than the Cambridge average.

Two colleges have experienced fluctuating fortune this year, with Jesus College rising from 16th to 8th place in the rankings and Peterhouse College sliding from seventh place last year to 18th today.

Peterhouse is the university's oldest and smallest college – founded towards the end of the 13th century.

The bottom college in the table is Lucy Cavendish, which specialises in taking mature women students. All of its undergraduates are over the age of 21.

Click HERE to read the full Tompkins Table