Oxford continues its reign at the top of league tables

Cambridge rules the subject rankings but still loses ground to its rival. John Gill reports

June 19, 2008
THE TIMES TOP TEN
RANKUNIVERSITY
1Oxford
2Cambridge
3Imperial College London
4London School of Economics
5St Andrews
6Warwick
7University College London
8Durham
9York
10Bristol
THE GUARDIAN TOP TEN
RANKUNIVERSITY
1Oxford
2Cambridge
3London School of Economics
4Warwick
5St Andrews
6Imperial College London
7University College London
8Soas
9Edinburgh
10Loughborough
THE INDEPENDENT TOP TEN
RANKUNIVERSITY
1Oxford
2Cambridge
3London School of Economics
4Imperial College London
5Warwick
6Durham
7St Andrews
8University College London
9Soas
10Lancaster
THE TABLE OF TABLES
RANKUNIVERSITY
1Oxford
2Cambridge
3London School of Economics
4Imperial College London
5Warwick
6St Andrews
7University College London
8Durham
9York
10Loughborough

The University of Oxford has topped its third league table of the year, beating the University of Cambridge into second place yet again.

Oxford is ranked first in The Times Good University Guide, published this week - the seventh year in a row that Oxford has been ranked first by the newspaper. Its lead over Cambridge increased slightly this year.

The table puts Imperial College London third, at odds with The Guardian and The Independent rankings, which both favoured the London School of Economics for third place.

The Times's top ten is completed by the LSE, the University of St Andrews, the University of Warwick, University College London, Durham University, the University of York and the University of Bristol. The Times newspaper is no longer formally linked with Times Higher Education, which was sold by News International, owner of The Times, in 2005.

Although the five top-ranked institutions have not changed since last year, UCL has fallen one place, swapping places with Warwick, while Durham has risen a place, Bristol has fallen two and York has ousted King's College London from the top ten.

Although Oxford appears to have pulled away from Cambridge since last year, it is Cambridge that dominates The Times's rankings for individual subjects. Of the 61 subjects on which universities are rated, Cambridge comes first in 37, while Oxford leads in only four.

According to The Times, Cambridge has the better record on research, entry standards and graduate destinations, but Oxford's lead in staffing levels, higher spending and a higher proportion of students awarded at least an upper-second-class degree has ensured that it pips its rival to the post.

Lower down the table, St Andrews remains the top university in Scotland and Cardiff is the leader in Wales.

Among new universities The Robert Gordon University in Aberdeen is the best placed, at 54; one place below is Oxford Brookes, the top new university in England. The biggest climbers include York, up from 16 to nine, Leicester, from 21 to 14, and Lancaster, from to 19 - all members of the 1994 Group.

Among those falling fastest are Aston, from 15 to 28, and Bolton, from 93 to 111. The lowest ranked universities are London South Bank, followed by Thames Valley.

John O'Leary, the guide's editor, said the table highlighted the quality of "previously underestimated" universities such as York and Bath.

He added: "Courses that are perceived to offer a clear career path are seeing a significant rise in applications, while some traditional academic subjects are struggling."

john.gill@tsleducation.com

See www.timesonline.co.uk

With the UK's third university league table of the year out, Times Higher Education has compiled a 'table of tables' based on the different rankings. The top 30 institutions were given points corresponding to their position in each table (30 for the top place, 29 for second and so on). The total scores determined overall position. We make no claims for statistical rigour.

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