For the seventh consecutive year, Oxford University has been ranked Britain’s top university in the latest edition of The Times Good University Guide.
Vice-Chancellor John Hood, said, “For Oxford to have retained top position…is a testament to the hard work and intellectual ability of our scholars, students and support staff...”
Oxford, in fact, stretched its lead marginally over its closest rival, Cambridge, helped by higher spending on student facilities, staffing levels and a larger proportion of students awarded at least a 2:1 degree.
But Cambridge has a better record on research, entry standards and graduate destinations, enabling it to dominate the guide’s 61 subject tables, which for the first time include student satisfaction scores.
Among the generation of new universities, Robert Gordon University, Aberdeen, is best placed at 54th. Oxford Brookes is the top new university in England, one place lower. The divide between the old universities and the new, created after 1992 when polytechnics were given university status, is more pronounced now than the early years of the guide.
John O’Leary, who has been the guide’s editor since inception in 1993, said, “Growing student numbers and fierce competition between all types of universities in all aspects of higher education have meant the older universities have had to raise their game to stay ahead.” He said that the guide would be an invaluable tool for those applying to go to university in 2009. “Oxford and Cambridge dominate the main league tables. But one of the strengths of this guide has been to highlight the quality of previously underestimated institutions and to celebrate the achievements of centres of excellence, wherever they may be... courses that are perceived to offer a clear career path are becoming increasingly popular, while some traditional academic subjects are struggling.”