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.