Durham University Ranking

Durham University logo

Durham University Ranking

The following rankings of British universities are produced annually:

The Complete University Guide

The Complete University Guide is compiled by Mayfield University Consultants (which had previously compiled university rankings for The Times).It was published for the first time in The Daily Telegraph in 2007, when it was known as The Good University Guide, and was produced in association with The Independent from 2008 to 2011.

The ranking uses ten criteria, with a statistical technique called the Z-transformation applied to the results of each. The ten Z-scores are then weighted (by 1.5 for student satisfaction, 0.5 for research intensity, academic services spend and facilities spend, and 1.0 for the rest) and summed to give a total score for each university. These total scores are then transformed to a scale where the top score is set at 1,000, with the remainder being a proportion of the top score. The ten criteria are:

  • “Academic services spend” – the expenditure per student on all academic services (data source: Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA));
  • “Degree completion” – a measure of the completion rate of students (data source: HESA);
  • “Entry standards” – the average UCAS tariff score of new students under the age of 21 (data source: HESA);
  • “Facilities spend” – the expenditure per student on staff and student facilities (data source: HESA);
  • “Good honours” – the proportion of firsts and upper seconds (data source: HESA);
  • “Graduate prospects” – a measure of the employability of graduates (data source: HESA);
  • “Research assessment” – a measure of the average quality of research (data source: 2014 Research Excellence Framework (REF));
  • Research intensity – a measure of the fraction of staff who are research-active (data sources: HESA & REF);
  • “Student satisfaction” – a measure of the view of students on the teaching quality (data source: the National Student Survey); and
  • “Student:staff ratio” – a measure of the average staffing level (data source: HESA).

The most recent league table (2018) ranked the top 50 (out of 129) British universities as follows:

Rank (1-10)UniversityRank (11-20)UniversityRank (21-30)UniversityRank (31-40)UniversityRank (41-50)University
1University of Cambridge11University of Bath21King’s College London31University of Sheffield41University of Liverpool
2University of Oxford12University of East Anglia22University of Manchester32University of Essex42City University
3University of St Andrews13University of Surrey=23University of Edinburgh33QMUL43Coventry University
4London School of Economics=14University of Exeter=23Newcastle University34Royal Holloway=44Swansea University
5Imperial College London=14University of Leeds25University of Kent35QUB=44University of Strathclyde
6Durham University16University of Birmingham=26University of Southampton=36University of Glasgow46Harper Adams University
7University College London17University of Bristol=26University of Reading=36Cardiff University47Brunel University
8University of Warwick18University of Nottingham28Heriot-Watt University38SOAS48Keele University
9Lancaster University19University of Sussex29University of Dundee39Stirling University49Aston University
10Loughborough University20University of York30University of Leicester40University of Aberdeen50University of Lincoln

The Guardian

The Guardian’s ranking uses eight different criteria, each weighted between 5 and 17 per cent. Unlike other annual rankings of British universities, the criteria do not include a measure of research output. A “value-added” factor is included which compares students’ degree results with their entry qualifications, described by the newspaper as being “[b]ased upon a sophisticated indexing methodology that tracks students from enrolment to graduation, qualifications upon entry are compared with the award that a student receives at the end of their studies”.[1] Tables are drawn up for subjects, with the overall ranking being based on an average across the subjects rather than on institutional level statistics. The eight criteria are:

  • “Entry score” (17%);
  • “Feedback” – as rated by graduates of the course (5%);
  • “Job prospects” (17%) (data source: Destination of Leavers from Higher Education);
  • “Overall quality” – final-year students opinions about the overall quality of their course (data source: the National Student Survey);
  • “Spending per student” (17%);
  • “Staff/student ratio” (17%);
  • “Teaching quality” – as rated by graduates of the course (10%) (data source: the National Student Survey); and
  • “Value added” (17%).

The most recent league table (2018) ranked the top 50 (out of 121) British universities as follows:

Rank (1-10)UniversityRank (11-20)UniversityRank (21-30)UniversityRank (31-40)UniversityRank (41-50)University
1University of Cambridge=10University of Surrey21University for the Creative Arts=30Newcastle University=40Royal Holloway
2University of Oxford12Coventry University22University of Kent=32University of Falmouth42University of Cardiff
3University of St Andrews13University of Exeter23University of Glasgow=32City University43University of Leicester
4Durham University14University of Leeds24University of Dundee34Nottingham Trent University44QMUL
5University of Bath=15London School of Economics25SOAS35University of Southampton45Swansea University
=6Imperial College London=15University of Birmingham26Heriot-Watt University36University of Keele46University of Aberdeen
=6Loughborough University17University of York27University of Bristol37University of Portsmouth47University of Lincoln
8University of Warwick18University of East Anglia28University of Manchester38Queen’s University, Belfast=48University of Essex
9Lancaster University19University of Nottingham29University of Reading39King’s College London=48Northumbria University
=10University College London20University of Sussex=30University of Edinburgh=40University of Sheffield50Oxford Brookes University

The Times/The Sunday Times

The Times/The Sunday Times university league table, known as the Good University Guide, is published in both electronic and print format and ranks institutions using the following eight criteria:

  • “Student satisfaction (+50 to -55 points)” – the results of national student surveys are scored taking a theoretical minimum and maximum score of 50% and 90% respectively (data source: the National Student Survey);
  • “Teaching excellence (250)” – defined as: subjects scoring at least 22/24 points, those ranked excellent, or those undertaken more recently in which there is confidence in academic standards and in which teaching and learning, student progression and learning resources have all been ranked commendable (data source: Quality Assurance Agency; Scottish Higher Education Funding Council; Higher Education Funding Council for Wales);
  • “Heads’/peer assessments (100)” – school heads are asked to identify the highest-quality undergraduate provision (data source: The Sunday Times heads’ survey and peer assessment);
  • “Research quality (200)” – based upon the most recent Research Assessment Exercise (data source: Higher Education Funding Council for England (Hefce));
  • “A-level/Higher points (250)” – nationally audited data for the subsequent academic year are used for league table calculations (data source: HESA);
  • “Unemployment (100)” – the number of students assume to be unemployed six months after graduation is calculated as a percentage of the total number of known desbefore completing their courses is compared with the number expected to do so (the benchmark figure shown in brackets) (data source: Hefce, Performance Indicators in Higher Education).

Other criteria considered are:

  • “Completion” – the percentage of students who manage to complete their degree;
  • “Entry standards” – the average UCAS tariff score (data source: HESA);
  • “Facilities spending” – the average expenditure per student on sports, careers services, health and counselling;
  • “Good honours” – the percentage of students graduating with a first or 2.1;
  • “Graduate prospects” – the percentage of UK graduates in graduate employment or further study (data source: HESA’s survey of Destination of Leavers from Higher Education (DLHE));
  • “Library and computing spending” – the average expenditure on library and computer services per student (data source: HESA);
  • “Research” (data source: 2008 Research Assessment Exercise);
  • “Student satisfaction” (data source: National Student Survey); and
  • “Student-staff ratio” (data source: HESA).

Summary of National Rankings

The following universities rank in the top 10 in at least one of the 2017/18 national rankings; the table is ordered according to the Times Higher Education Table of Tables (2017):

UniversityTHE Table of Tables (2017)Complete (2018)Guardian (2018)#a
University of Cambridge111
University of Oxford222
University of St Andrews333
Imperial College London4=56=
Durham University4=64
Loughborough University6106=
London School of Economics7415
University of Warwick888
Lancaster University999
University of Surrey101310=
University College London11710=
University of Exeter12=1413
University of Bath12=115

a Number of times the university is ranked within the top 10 of one of the three national rankings.
b The university is ranked within the top 5 of all three national rankings.
c The university is ranked within the top 3 of all three national rankings.

Disparity with global rankings

It has been commented by The Sunday Times that a number of universities which regularly feature in the top ten of British university league tables, such as St Andrews and LSE (in the case of LSE 3rd to 13th nationally whilst only 327th in the US News & World Report Rankings / 35th in the QS Rankings / 23rd in the THE Rankings), “inhabit surprisingly low ranks in the worldwide tables”, whilst other universities such as Manchester and KCL “that failed to do well in the domestic rankings have shone much brighter on the international stage”.[18] The considerable disparity in rankings has been attributed to the different methodology and purpose of global university rankings such as the Academic Ranking of World Universities, QS World University Rankings and Times Higher Education World University Rankings. International university rankings primarily use criteria such as academic and employer surveys, the number of citations per faculty, the proportion of international staff and students and faculty and alumni prize winners. When size is taken into account, LSE ranks second in the world out of all small to medium-sized specialist institutions (after ENS Paris) and St Andrews ranks second in the world out of all small to medium-sized fully comprehensive universities (after Brown University) using metrics from the QS Intelligence Unit in 2015. The national rankings, on the other hand, give most weighting to the undergraduate student experience, taking account of teaching quality and learning resources, together with the quality of a university’s intake, employment prospects, research quality and dropout rates.