THE ‘Table of Tables’ 2016: University of Cambridge top for fifth year running

The combined results of the three main UK university league tables also include a post-92 institution for the first time

October 15, 2015
Peterhouse, University of Cambridge
Peterhouse, University of Cambridge

The University of Cambridge has topped the Times Higher Education “Table of Tables” for a fifth consecutive year.

The top three in the table, which is based on the combined results of the UK’s three main domestic university rankings, is completed by the universities of Oxford and St Andrews, which are also unmoved compared with last year.

Imperial College London remains in fourth place, but the London School of Economics, which shared this position last year, has dropped to eighth.

There is more volatility in the rest of the top 10, with Durham University climbing one place to fifth, and the University of Warwick rising two places to sixth.

The University of Surrey is up two places also, to seventh, while the University of Exeter stays put at number nine. The University of Bath, which was seventh last year, falls to 10th.

Cambridge secured maximum points this year after topping The Complete University Guide, the rankings published by The Guardian, and the combined Times and Sunday TimesGood University Guide.

The 2016 table shows that the University of Sussex has had an impressive recovery in the eyes of national newspapers, re-entering in 19th position after last appearing in the top 30 in 2012.

Coventry University is a new entry this year and is the first post-92 institution to appear in the table, securing 23rd place on the back of a strong performance in The Guardian’s ranking.

King’s College London is another returning institution, scraping into 29th place after missing the 2015 table.

The biggest climber in this year’s table is the University of Kent, which has moved up four places to 20th. Two other institutions rose by three places: the University of Southampton, up to 14th, and the University of Leeds, which took 18th place just a year after re-entering the table.

At the other end of the scale, the University of Leicester was the biggest faller, slipping 12 places to 30th. The University of Nottingham dropped four places to joint 24th, while University College London’s joint 12th place was a fall of three places from last year.

Three institutions dropped out of the top 30 this year: Cardiff University, Aston University and Soas, University of London.

The University of Manchester just missed out on re-entering the Table of Tables, where it last appeared in 2013. There was no room for the University of Reading either, even though it picked up points in The Complete University Guide and The Guardian rankings.

View the results of the Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2015-2016

Times Higher Education Table of Tables 2016: top 30 results

 Times Higher Education Table of Tables 2016: top 30 results


Each year since 2008, Times Higher Education has compiled a “Table of Tables” to offer a snapshot of how universities are viewed by national newspapers. It is calculated by giving the 30 top-ranked institutions in league tables compiled by The Good University Guide (published by The Times and The Sunday Times), The Guardian and The Complete University Guide points corresponding to their position (30 for first place, 29 for second and so on). The total scores determined the positions. We make no claims for statistical rigour and acknowledge the methodological limitations.


Print headline: Cambridge: all-round star

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Reader's comments (2)

Kudos Lancaster. So much for the Russell Group....
Oh please. Anyone who would choose Lancaster, Loughborough, UEA or Kent over Sheffield, Nottingham, Bristol, Glasgow or Newcastle deserves exactly the kind of education they will get at the former. The first four are all fine universities, but they cannot hold a candle to the latter. Both employers and post-graduate programmes realize this all too well. These rankings were, are and will always remain a complete fantasy, especially considering how much weight they give the ridiculousness that is the NSS. It is hilarious that THE, not content with its own specious system, is now promoting the "table of tables." Perhaps, if there was some attempt to coordinate it with the QS and the ARWU, it would have some modicum of validity, but right now, it's clickbait, nothing more. Then again, the REF is only slightly less ridiculous, and that boondoggle is costing UK taxpayers millions of pounds. Saints preserve us from the absurdity of the proposed TEF and the expense, numbers-juking and management bludgeoning of staff that would accompany it.