UK best universities 2018 revealed

Students considering which university to apply to next year can expect better graduate job prospects and improvements to student facilities, experts claim

Rachael Pells
Education Correspondent
Wednesday 26 April 2017 11:23 BST
Experts praised Cambridge University's research intensity, highlighting that nearly all staff at the institution are involved in research projects
Experts praised Cambridge University's research intensity, highlighting that nearly all staff at the institution are involved in research projects (Getty)

Cambridge University has been named the best in the UK for student satisfaction and employment prospects, beating its Oxford counterpart.

The Complete University Guide 2018 shows an improving picture for students looking to apply for courses next year.

Experts devising the annual league table said there was evidence of a more positive graduate employment forecast and increased spending by universities on student facilities and services.

Cambridge holds on to first place for the seventh year in a row, with Oxford University in second place for the fourth.

Authors behind the rankings noted the institution as having the highest entry standards of all universities, and a top score for "research intensity" showing that nearly all staff are active in research.

The findings echo those of a separate, global league table published in November which named Cambridge University as one of the best institutions in the world for graduate employability.

Although the universities comprising the top ten remain the same as last year, the order in which they are ranked has changed.

RankUniversity NameEntry StandardsStudent SatisfactionOverall Score
3rdSt Andrews5254.38962
4thLondon School of Economics5373.75952
5thImperial College London5523.99925
7thUniversity College London5013.97909

This year St Andrews jumped to third place for the first time out of 129 UK institutions, and University College London has climbed three places to seventh.

Loughborough has fallen three places to tenth, while the London School of Economics (fourth) and Imperial College London (fifth) have both fallen by one place.

Professor Sally Mapstone, principal of St Andrews University, said: “This all-time high is a great endorsement of what St Andrews stands for.

”Our values are those of a small, Scottish and highly international university. We are outward looking, inclusive and focused on excellence.

She added: “That Scottish universities have done so well in three of the key measures here is notable.

”Brexit and its consequences notwithstanding, Scottish universities will strive to continue to outperform and we look for meaningful support to enable us to do so.“

Two new institutions join the rankings for 2018 – Birkbek, University of London, enteres in 115th place and the University of Suffolk enters in 129th.

The most dramatic improvement according to the league table criteria comes from the University of West London, which has climbed 26 places to 80th for 2018.

Taking into consideration student satisfaction alone, St Andrews comes third one again, beaten to the top by Liverpool Hope in second place and the University of Buckingham in first.

Imperial College London remains top in terms of research quality, and St George’s, University of London, is ranked in first place for graduate prospects.

Responding to the new tables, Sir Anthony Seldon, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Buckingham, said: “Our enviable staff to student ratio, which is among the best, and continually leading the way in graduate employability means that our students rank their experience at Buckingham very highly.

"Our students recognise the fact that they are taught by leading academics who care for them and know how to teach; it helps build the uniquely friendly learning community which is the secret of the Buckingham success story.”

Dr Bernard Kingston, Chairman of The Complete University Guide, said: “This year there is a considerable degree of stability at the upper end of the league table, as in the past.

“This stability, while it may not attract the headlines, demonstrates that the rankings fulfil our principal objective – to provide credible and freely accessible information for individuals seeking a university place.”

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