Top 10 UK universities 2016/17

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By in Extra Guides. Updated May 2016.

The UK’s top 100(ish) university rankings table has just been released. We take a closer look at the top ten!
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Each year The Guardian publishes a university league table that uses in-depth aggregated stats on student satisfaction across a number of key areas. The league table is produced with the goal of helping prospective students decide which unis to apply for.

We’ve taken a closer look at the top ten unis (out of 127) that the UK has to offer for the upcoming year of study, according to the Guardian’s stats.

Interested to know more about these university cities have to offer? Check out our extensive list of student city guides to help you make your decision!

What the uni ranking is based on

The guardian judges it’s ranking according to the following criteria:

  • How much the university spends per student each year
  • The student-staff ratio
  • Graduate career prospects
  • Entry grades needed for applicants to secure a place there
  • A ‘value-added score’ – which basically compares students’ entry qualifications with their final degree results
  • Final-year students’ satisfaction with their course

And here are the results!

Top 10 universities in the UK

  1. The University of Cambridge

    Cambridge UniversityFounded in 1209, the University of Cambridge is the second oldest University in the UK. As you probably already know, Cambridge boasts a whole slog of well-known alumni, such as Sir Ian McKellen, Hugh Laurie, Stephen Fry, Monty Python’s John Cleese and Eric Idle, but to name a few.

    Cambridge consistently occupies one of the top two spots on league tables for UK universities, and they recently announced that they’ll be providing grants to disadvantaged students in place of the maintenance grant that the government have chosen to scrap – so we think they’ve earned their number one spot this year!

    The Guardian also gave the university an overall score of 100/100 this year, so you can’t get much more impressive than that (well, you literally can’t actually, can you).

  2. The University of Oxford

    Oxford UniversityOxford University is the oldest university in the English-speaking world. The exact date of establishment is unknown, but there’s evidence of teaching as far back as 1096. Again, this university has educated many well-known people including Rupert Murdoch, Michael Palin and Richard Curtis.

    Alongside Cambridge it consistently achieves one of the top two spots in UK university league tables, and Times Higher Education recently ranked Oxford the number one university in Europe.

    The guardian gave it an overall 95/100 this year, but it’s also worth noting that Oxford ranked higher than Cambridge in student satisfaction (course and teaching).

  3. The University of St Andrews

    University Of St. AndrewsSt. Andrews is the oldest university in Scotland, and was founded between 1410 and 1413.  As you’ll be well aware, the university’s alumni includes the likes of Prince William and Kate Middleton.

    St. Andrews consistently ranks as one of the best universities in the UK and often achieves a very high position on the league tables.

    For such high quality of teaching, the tables shows that it’s a little bit easier to be accepted to study at St. Andrews than it would be to get into Cambridge or Oxford, but their degree results are of a similar standard.

  4. The University of Surrey

    surrey uniThe University of Surrey is located in Guildford, and gained university status in 1966. The university conducts extensive research on small satellites with its Surrey Space Centre.

    Robert Earl, the founder of Planet Hollywood; Alec Issigonis, inventor of the Mini, and Jeremy Kyle (we’ll let that one slide!) all attended the university.

    Surrey achieved a whopping 92% in course and teaching satisfaction, which is considerably higher than all three universities that ranked above them!

    However, confusingly, Surrey were also recently included in the top ten worst universities at resolving student complaints. Hmmmmm.

  5. Loughborough University

    loughborough1Loughborough University is the real underdog in this years rankings, as the institution leapfrogged an impressive seven places this year into the top five (previously 11th).

    It’s worth pointing out that although we’ve popped Loughborough in at 5th place here, they actually ranked joint 4th place with Surrey.

    The university, which is best known for its specialisations in athletics (it was also Team GB’s HQ during the London Olympics) has shot up in the rankings apparently thanks to its great Engineering department, as well as Fashion and Textiles.

  6. The University of Durham

    University Of DurhamThe University of Durham was founded in 1832 and was the first university to open in England for more than 600 years.  It is consistently one of the highest ranked universities in the UK and has the second highest proportion of privately educated students in the country.

    Roger Moore attended Durham but didn’t graduate because of being drafted in for National Service. The university has around 15,529 full-time students.

    One notable aspect of Durham’s stats is that their spend per student is considerably lower than all other universities in the top 10.

  7. Imperial College London

    Imperial College LondonImperial College was founded in 1907 initially as part of the University of London, but became fully independent in 2007. Imperial specialises in science, engineering, business and medicine.

    ICL has around 13,410 students and among its alumni are H.G Wells and Brian May (from Queen) who studied Astrophysics at the university!

    The staff to student ratio is really low at Imperial College, which would in theory imply that the quality of experience at the university should be high.

    ICL alumni also have the highest career prospects in the entire top ten table, meaning you’re more employable graduating from here than you would be from Oxford or Cambridge!

  8. University of Lancaster

    LancasterLancaster in the North West of England is one of the UK’s ‘new’ universities which were established in the 1960s. Lancaster has a great reputation, and has sat comfortably in the top ten ranking over the last few years.

    A member on the N8 Group of research universities in the UK, Lancaster are a forward-thinking university who has recently announced they’ll be investing £1 million in green technology!

  9. The University of Warwick

    University Of WarwickWarwick University was founded in 1965 and is located on the outskirts of Coventry (not Warwick, as you’d be inclined to assume).

    Entrance to the university is pretty competitive with around nine applicants per place, but The Guardian‘s table indicates that grade entry requirements don’t reflect this too heavily.

    Warwick has around 18,900 full-time students. It’s famous alumni include Stephen Merchant from the Office and Sting!

  10. The University of Bath

    bath universityThe University of Bath was established in 1966, although its roots can be traced back 100 years prior to this. It has over 15,000 students with just over two thirds being undergraduates.

    The Guardian’s table indicates that spend per student is lower than any other university in the top ten, but career prospects are impressively high.

    Former winner of the Apprentice, Tom Pellereau attended the university of Beth, as did Katy Livingstone, one of Britain’s most successful pentathletes, and the CEO of Sainsburys.

Want to check out the table for yourself? You can view it in full here.

Do you feel your uni course is good value for money? Let us know your thoughts by taking part in our annual student money survey here.

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