Trinity College tops Cambridge league table


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The Independent Online

Trinity College Cambridge has come top of the university's league table for undergraduate degree results for the second year running.

The college, which has about 600 undergraduates and is the university's largest, put in a record performance with 37.9 per cent obtaining a first.

Its success story is revealed in the annual Tompkins Table, produced exclusively for The Independent by Peter Tompkins, himself a former Trinity alumnus who has been compiling it for 30 years.

One of the reasons behind its success is its decision not just to play to its traditional strengths in science and mathematics but focus on the arts and humanities as well.

"Of course, we are delighted with this result," said Professor Grae Worster, the college's senior tutor. "We are pleased to see excellent results across the range of subjects. Trinity benefits from having a diverse student population, drawn from every corner of the UK and around the world."

For the past few years, Trinity has been battling with Emmanuel College for the top place in the table. Emmanuel came second in this year's table with 33.3 per cent of its students registering a first.

Trinity, which was established in 1546, boasts the highest number of Nobel prizewinners of any Cambridge college in the 20th century – with 31 of the 75 gained by Cambridge alumni. Former graduates include Prince Charles, who gained a 2:2 in 1970. The college only admitted its first female students in 1976.

Its lowest position in the Tompkins Table has been eighth, but this year is the third time it has finished first. Corpus Christi college was the best improver, rising fron 12th in 2011 to third this year. King's College also showed a significant rise from 20th to 13th.

Corpus Christi normally ranks in the middle of the table with an average position of 12th or 13th. It is the smallest college at Cambridge in terms of undergraduate intake.

However, it boasts an impressive array of fomer alumni, including the current headmaster of Eton Tony Little and the novelist Christopher Isherwood.

Clare College suffered the steepest fall, from fourth to 11th, followed by Magdalene which dropped six places to 15th.

Top 10: First degrees

1 Trinity 37.9%

2 Emmanuel 33.3%

3 Corpus Christi 32.4%

4 Churchill 28.6%

5 St Catharine's 28.3%

6 Pembroke 27.7%

7 King's 27.5%

8 Christ's 26.9%

9 Clare 26.8%

10 Selwyn 26.1%


The picture accompanying this article was changed on 11/07/2012 after it had previously showed King's Chapel in error.