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Imperial down to sixth in Guardian rankings

May 13 2008 19:39
Andrew Holland
The Guardian University Guide 2009 has shoved Imperial down the rankings, placing it behind St Andrews and LSE - falling out of the top four for the first time in years.
Going down...

The Guardian University Guide 2009 has moved Imperial down to sixth in the overall university league tables. We are now not only lagging behind Oxford and Cambridge, but apparently also LSE, Warwick and St. Andrews. The rankings, which take into account many factors such as spending, staff to student ratio, student satisfaction and employment prospects, leave Imperial floundering just above UCL and SOAS. Last year, Imperial was ranked fourth by the Guardian, and it is the first time in recent memory that Imperial has fallen out of the top four.

Individual subjects were badly hit, with Chemical Engineering down to fourth, Mathematics down to seventh and medicine down to sixth. Civil Engineering and Electronic Engineering topped their individual charts, with Engineering overall coming in joint first with Cambridge. An interesting point is that a former polytechnic, Teeside, came first in Mechanical Engineering, ahead of Imperial (2nd) and other more prestigious universities.

However, the Guardian have not done as much research as they should. The "good libraries" mentioned in the guide to Imperial are a mystery to anybody who has been into one of the greenhouses with books on campus recently.

The Guardian tables, like many others, use the discredited National Student Survey to gauge student satisfaction.

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Discussion about “Imperial down to sixth in Guardian rankings”

The comments below are unmoderated submissions by Live! readers. The Editor accepts no liability for their content, nor for any offence caused by them. Any complaints should be directed to the Editor.
May 13 2008 20:12

So in the Times we are 5th in the world, the Independent we are 3rd in the UK and Guardian 6th in the UK.

It seems there is something for everyone, whether your happy or annoyed at Imperial.

May 13 2008 20:22

Universities should only be ranked on one aspect: Graduate prospects. If a university is good its graduates will find a good job or PhD. According to the Guardian League Table we are joint 1st with Cambridge for "Career Prospects".

If we are going to include other measurements we might as well look at the Virgin Alternative League Tables where Imperial will never do well!

May 13 2008 21:11

I'm clearly missing something - we are within the top four (+ two top spots) for every engineering discipline, second in chemistry, computing and physics and not doing badly in the other subjects (except maths - but thats another story). So how come we finish 6th when ~75% of our course are top 3...?

May 13 2008 21:19 the observer ranked oxford above cambridge while they ranked cambridge number one in over half the subjects, the remaining top spots were not dominated by oxford. Not really much rhyme or reason to the tables.

value added?

so if a lot of students enter a university with poor A-levels and get good honours then the university's value added gets bumped up. The Guardian say they use a "sophisticated methodology" and assess it on a "like-for-like basis".

So universities with very high value added scores either give good honours to any old joker, are very good at teaching, or a combination of both. How the hell can you rank Portsmouth above Warwick, Durham and Imperial for maths, based almost entirely on the fact that one stands a better chance of good honours there? nuts, in fact, bats**t insane.

Also, maths is given 10 for student spend for mathematics. as a mathematics student, I don't know what they spend that money on. printing problem sheets? installing revolving doors in huxley?

May 13 2008 23:22

this league table is completely a load of bollocks.

bath are on page 3 for maths... and they're a pretty decent university as are bristol who are also way off 'the top'!

May 13 2008 23:33

I thought the maths department spent its money teaching engineers...

On another note: Read the small print + looked at the numbers and still I fail to understand these results...

Not to worry - they'll all change again next year when the newspapers develop "a new improved methodology"

8. The B   
May 13 2008 23:53

I'm looking at the league table for Chemical Engineering right now, and from what I can see, the "superior" Manchester university has only outscored Imperial on % Job Prospects (cough); we trump them on everything else - they are still ranked above us?

Likewise Cambridge; in fact they don't have scores for % Satisfied with teaching, % Satisfied with Assessment, Student:staff ratio, Job Prospects, and they are ranked top of the charts?

What on earth were these guys smoking before compiling all this?

May 14 2008 10:06

Job prospects - does that include people going into further education? If not, that part of the rankings is a bit of a waste.

Although it is easy to say that the Guardian's rankings are flawed, they still form part of the basis for choosing a university. It is not nice to see Imperial down in the doldrums.

May 14 2008 10:10

The Guardian rankings have had a flawed methodology for a number of years.

11. Chris   
May 14 2008 16:24

The "methodology" they use seems to indicate that more popular subjects (i.e film and media) are "worth" more than many of the courses Imperial offers - hence universities offering these "popular courses" are likely to score higher in the overall rankings. Madness and frankly quite wrong...

12. Hack   
May 13 2009 20:20

This year's Guardian guide is even more gash. 5% is based on feedback scores in NSS. Bollocks.

May 13 2009 23:02

Down to 8th? F**k me, that's bad!!!

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