Monday, 5 March 2007

"UK University Ranking": large city effect

In this post we return to the issue of UK University rankings. This time we will look at the correlation between a University's position in the World Ranking, the size of the host city and the size of the Chinese community.

Why is a University ranking important? The blog is primarily concerned with information for overseas students wanting to pick a University to study economics.

However, there are some underlying economics related to the human capital literature. Any student, especially one who wants to study Economics or an MBA, should be looking to maximise their lifetime earnings.

If a student is from China in particular, when the graduate returns to China and has a number of job interviews lined up (after investing a large amount of their own or their parents money in getting a UK education) they want their qualifications and University to have an impact. Both Economics and Business are respectable degrees although Economics is perceived as a "harder" science but may be less use to those wanting to take over the family firm a few years down the line.

One important element will be if the interviewer has heard of the City and University of study. The UK cities that are the most internationally well known include London, Manchester, Birmingham, Sheffield, Glasgow and Liverpool.

These cities are also the most likely to have large Chinese communities and where the student may feel the most comfortable.

So which are the 10 largest cities in the UK?

Town Population

1 London 7,172,091
2 Birmingham 970,892
3 Glasgow 629,501
4 Liverpool 469,017
5 Leeds 443,247
6 Sheffield 439,866
7 Edinburgh 430,082
8 Bristol 420,556
9 Manchester 394,269
10 Leicester 330,574


If we now compare those results with the top UK Universities according to the Shanghai Jiao Tong University top 500 University list and the Newsweek top 100 Global Universities ranking (more below) we see a strong correlation.

World Ranking University

2. University of Cambridge
10. University of Oxford
23. Imperial College London
26. University College London
50. University of Manchester
52. University of Edinburgh
62. University of Bristol
69. University of Sheffield
79. University of Nottingham
83. Kings College London
90. University of Birmingham

Only Nottingham, Bristol and of course Oxford and Cambridge are top 100 Universities but not in the top 10 cities by size.

Which cities have large Chinese populations:

1. Birmingham,
2. Brighton,
3. Cambridge,
4. Edinburgh,
5. Liverpool,
6. London,
7. Manchester,
8. Milton Keynes,
9. Sheffield


Again, there is a high correlation between the Universities with large populations, with large Chinese populations and being a top 10 UK University.

The Universities in all 3 groups are:


All of these Universities are included in our list of MSc Economics courses in the sidebar.

Other posts that may be of interest:

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

MSc Economics: Google listings and sponsored advertising

Studying "Economics in the UK": General Links

"MSc Economics": How much does it cost?


Anonymous said...

This is an interesting correlation. However, many of these cities have more than one University. For example, manchester also has Salford and Manchester Metropolitan, while Birmingham also has three, Birmingham, Aston and Central England. So all these should be high up in the list of top universities. But they don't seem to be. So it does not seem to just be a large city effect or just down to the Chinese population. You need to correlate all the Universities in these cities, not just those that you name. It would be interesting to see what happens when you do this.

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