Universities climb world rankings, but here’s how they score against the best

Imperial College, London's highest ranking university

Imperial College, London’s highest ranking university

London has 7 universities in the top 200 in the world and 4 of them are in the top 30. The annual rankings by Times Higher Education showed an improved performance this year with Imperial College going up a place to 8th and UCL breaking into the top 20 at 14th.

The LSE climbed 9 places to 23 and the improvement was even greater for Kings College, rising from 40 to 27th. Queen Mary broke into the top 100 at 98 and St George’s held on at 196th. The only London institution in the top 200 to fall back was Royal Holloway down to 129 from 118 last year.

The rankings are drawn up using 13 performance indicators split into 5 areas: teaching, research, citations, international outlook and industry income. The detailed scoring in each category and some of the statistics about each university show where London institutions are doing well and where they are not able to compete with the best in the country, currently ranked by Times Higher Education as Oxford, and the best in the world, the California Institute of Technology (Caltech).

In the category of teaching the judges examined data from a reputation survey and looked at the staff to student ratios at each institution.

While the score for teaching at Imperial is close to Oxford, and not that far behind at UCL, after that the gap opens up between the UK’s best and London’s other top 30 universities. Caltech has a clear lead.

University rankings teaching

UCL is London’s best perfomer in the research criteria, judged on reputation and income. None can compete with Oxford, not even Caltech.

University rankings research

There’s better news for Imperial when it comes to the influence of the research. It scores highly for citations for published work, as do all London’s top 4.

Perhaps it is not surprising that universities in London, a leading global city, should do well in the international outlook area. Imperial out-performs Oxford and UCL matches it. All 4 trounce Caltech in this category.

University rankings internat

But the area where London’s universities lag behind is in winning industry income. Involvement in innovation, invention and consulting projects is, according to the judges, becoming a core mission for academic institutions.

There’s a big gap here between the Oxford and London’s best but Caltech, home of the NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, is clear winner. For once, it seems, the answer really is rocket science.

Source data

See also

Universities marked down by their own students

London leads in places for poorer students







Universities marked down by their own students

hStudents in London rate their universities as bottom of the league in rankings based on their own satisfaction and experience.

In a national survey involving 15,000 students at 113 institutions London universities were in the bottom 6 places, and 15 of the last 20 in the rankings were in London.

Students were asked to look at 21 criteria which included quality of teaching, facilities, community atmosphere and extracurricular actives. London universities scored below average in all criteria and fared particularly badly for sports facilities, societies and social life.

East London University copyBottom of the list is the University of East London.  UEL is based on 3 sites, 2 in Stratford and 1 in Docklands, and has 19,000 students.  It was established as a university in 1992.  Just above UEL are 2 other newer universities, London Metropolitan University and the University of West London. Only the Royal Veterinary College (25) and UCL (28) made it into the top 50.  Imperial is at number 54.

Institution Ranking (out of 113) Score (out of 100)
University of Westminster 108 65.4
City University 109 64.8
University of the Arts 110 64.5
University of West London 111 62.3
London Metropolitan 112 60.7
University of East London 113 59

Bath University came top with a score of 83 out of a possible 100.  Loughborough, Sheffield, Oxford and Cambridge made up the rest of the top 5.

Campus universities generally did well in the survey but this does not fully explain the poor showing in London as Sheffield, Leeds and Newcastle, all city based, are in the top 10.

While the newer London institutions have done badly in this survey they scored highly in a separate study for awarding places to students from disadvantaged families, as reported here by Urbs.

The Student Experience Survey 2015 was carried out by YouthSight on behalf of Times Higher Education.

Source data