Today saw the release of the much-awaited Good University Guide 2005,,716,00.html from the Times. This annual ranking of the top 99 UK universities places Oxford at the top of the pile (1000), with Cambridge a close second (957). Imperial finished an impressive third (951) retaining its position from last year. The top trio were the only universities to score more than 900 points on the scaled ranking system, with Imperial maintaining pressure on the Oxbridge pair.
Of the other London institutions included in the top 20, LSE finished 4th (878), UCL 6th (853), Royal Holloway 15th (829), King’s 16th (811), while SOAS were ranked a disappointing 19th (798) a big drop on their usual performance.
The table from the Times used nine measures to determine university performance ranging from teaching and research assessment through to facilities spending and graduate destinations. Imperial scored well in all of the categories apart from the one headed “First and Upper Seconds”. In this column Imperial fell short of Oxford and Cambridge by an average of 15.7%, a massive difference that had a large bearing on the overall results presented in the table. This result reinforces comments made by Sir Richard Sykes that were aired on Channel 4 over the weekend.
On the “30 minutes” programme Sir Richard admitted that top universities were under pressure to award ever increasing numbers of top degrees to increase their position in University League Tables. These comments would appear to be borne out in this case as an increased total in the “First and Upper Seconds” column would certainly have seen Imperial jump into second place above Cambridge, something that Imperial has not done since 2000.
The Times will be running their Good University Guide all week with the focus moving onto individual departments and research areas. Of the individual subjects ranked today the RSM subjects of Geology (93.7) and Materials (98.1) both finished 3rd respectively, while Imperial Agriculture & Forestry (86.8) course rated a disappointing 8th in its section. Engineering, Science and Medical departments will be rated later this week.