Specialist universities come out best in student satisfaction league table

Bath University comes out top among major institutions

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The Independent Online

Small is beautiful, according to the latest rankings of universities by their students published today.

The annual poll of students - the National Student Survey - reveals that the vast majority of undergraduates (85 per cent) are satisfied with their university.

The poll of 304,000 final year students across the UK found that a number of smaller specialist institutions had the highest rankings for satisfaction - The Institute of Education at the University of London (97 per cent), Medway School of Pharmacy (also 97 per cent) and Brighton and Sussex Medical School (95 per cent).

Of the main institutions, Bath University had the happiest students - with 94 per cent saying they were satisfied with the quality of their degrees.  Students put the university’s high rating partly down to the idyllic surroundings in which they were studying.

The worst performer was Ravensbourne, a specialist design and communication college in the university sector, with a satisfaction rate of 64 per cent.

The annual poll found that the average satisfaction rate across the whole country continued to be high, matching last year’s 86 per cent.

Just seven per cent said they were unsatisfied with their course, while a further seven per cent said they were neither satisfied nor dissatisfied.

Sir Alan Langlands, chief executive of the Higher education Funding Council for England, which published the results, said: "These strong results continue to demonstrate the high quality student experience provided by universities and colleges in the UK.

"However, institutions must continue to enhance what they offer and respond effectively to the diverse needs of their students.”

Toni Pearce, president of the National Union of Students (NUS), said: "It's encouraging to see that the student experience is continuing to improve and that more students than ever have responded to the National Student Survey.

“The score for assessment is at its highest level ever and we're pleased that the work of institutions and students' unions in this area is showing positive results.”

Universities Minister David Willetts said it was “very encouraging” that student satisfaction is continuing to rise.

The English universities with student satisfaction rates of 90% or higher were:

Institute of Education (97%)

Medway School of Pharmacy (97%)

Brighton and Sussex Medical School (95%)

University of Bath (94%)

University of Buckingham (93%)

University of East Anglia (93%)

University of Essex (93%)

Keele University (93%)

University of Cambridge (92%)

Open University (92%)

University of Surrey (92%)

University of Exeter (91%)

Newman University (91%)

University of Oxford (91%)

Royal Northern College of Music (91%)

University of St Mark & St John (91%)

University of East Anglia (90%)

Coventry University (90%)

University of Durham (90%)

University of Hull (90%)

University of Kent (90%)

Lancaster University (90%)

University of Newcastle-on-Tyne (90%)

University of Sheffield (90%)

* Overall satisfaction by registered students, according to the NSS data