Friday, 3 August 2007

The "UK Good University Guide" August 2007

A new "ranking" of "UK Universities" has just been launched with its own website. It also includes a subject breakdown as well as allowing the student to customise the ranking to give a higher weighting (or not weighting at all) to certain aspects.

"The Good University Guide"

This is a good improvement on existing rankings.

The categories that Universities are ranked by are:

1. Student satisfaction - A measure of the view of students of the teaching quality.

2. Research Assessment - A measure of the average quality of research undertaken.

3. Entry Standards - The average UCAS tariff score of new students under 21.

4. Staff-Student ratio - A measure of the average staffing level in the university.

5. Academic Services Spending - The expenditure per student on all academic services.

6. Facilities Spending - The expenditure per student on staff and student facilities.

7. Good Honours - The % of graduates achieving a first or upper 2nd honours degree.

8. Graduate Prospects - A measure of the employability of a university’s graduates.

9. Completion - A measure of the completion rate of those studying at the university.

Personally, I believe that one should customise the ranking and consider most importantly the entry standards (3) and Research Assessment (2). See HERE for more detailed descriptions.

There are numerous problems with the data - two many high scoring Universities supplied their own data. Not good enough. Secondly, the weights applied to give the default table are inappropriate in my opinion.

The Website has other strengths. It gives a review of each city, has a section for overseas students which gives a large number of statistics that I may blog on at a later date. e.g. Table 3 - where do overseas students study. I do NOT believe the numbers in this table however but that argument can wait for another day.

So what about Economics? Here is the top 20 UK Universities using the default weightings. Full listing HERE.

Rank Institution RAE Tariff Destinations Overall
1 LSE 5* A 508 88 100.0
2 Cambridge 5 B 538 92 98.4
3 UCL 5* A 477 86 98.3
4 Warwick 5* B 483 86 96.7
5 Oxford 5 B 538 76 93.8
6 Nottingham 5 A 481 78 93.7
7 Bath 5 B 452 78 91.1
8 Bristol 4 A 449 80 90.7
9 Durham 4 B 473 80 90.3
10 York 5 A 463 66 89.5
11 Southampton 5 A 428 68 88.8
12 St Andrews 4 B 458 76 88.6
13 Edinburgh 4 B 468 74 88.4
14 Exeter 5 B 407 70 87.0
15 Royal Holloway 4 B 369 80 86.3
16 Lancaster 5* B 374 64 86.2
=17 Birmingham 4 B 419 72 85.9
=17 Leeds 5 C 415 74 85.9
19 SOAS 4 B 365 78 85.6
20 Cardiff 5 B 382 68 85.5

I would say that this is a fair approximation but still contains a number of errors. There is the issue of whether "Economics" units within Business Schools should be treated in the same way as stand a lone department. The RAE scores for some of these departments are simply misleading as they did NOT go in as part of the ECONOMICS RAE but may have gone in with Business or development studies thus artificially inflating certain Universities.

There is also the issue that different departments are more suitable for undergraduate than postgraduate where research is far more important.

I will post more on this later but this new site is useful but must be seen in conjunction with other rankings that are listed in the sidebar.

The following posts may be of interest:
Econphd Ranking of "Economics departments"

Ten Reasons Why You Should Study in Britain

Studying "Economics in the UK": General Links

Which UK University to study in? "Academic Ranking of World Universities"

Studying in the UK: Cost of Accommodation

World University Rankings: Rankings and text

"UK University Ranking": large city effect

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