Oxford top British university: Times Guide

June 19th, 2008 - 7:20 pm ICT by IANS  


London, June 19 (IANS) Oxford tops the chart of best British universities, marginally bettering Cambridge, thanks to better spending on students’ facilities, according to a guide published Thursday. Nearly 20,000 Indian students join British universities every year. Cambridge, however, has the better record on research, entry standards and graduate destinations, enabling it to dominate the guide’s 61 subject tables, according to the Times Good University Guide published Thursday.

Oxford, Cambridge and London maintain their “golden triangle” status as the top three. Only St Andrews, the top university in Scotland, approaches them this year, ranking five in the table. Cardiff is easily the leader in Wales, though ranking at number 29 in the guide.

India is the second biggest education customer next only to China. More than 50,000 Chinese students come each year to this country.

At present several British universities are holding admission sessions in New Delhi, attracting students for the 2008-2009 fall session.

The Russell Group research-intensive universities command top positions this year, confirming the dominance of Britain’s older, more traditional institutions. The universities in this group include Birmingham, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Warwick, Glasgow, Liverpool, Nottingham and Sheffield. Cambridge, Oxford and London School of Economics also fall in this group. The Russell Group is an association of 20 research-intensive universities, formed in 1994.

The Times quotes John O’Leary, editor of the guide since it began in 1993: “Growing student numbers and fierce competition between all types of university in all aspects of higher education have meant the older universities have had to raise their game to stay ahead.”

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, O’leary says. The highlight of this year’s Times Guide is that courses that are “perceived to offer a clear career path are becoming increasingly popular, while some traditional academic subjects are struggling”.

The Times Guide calculates points on the basis of the following criteria: Student satisfaction, research quality, student to staff ratio, services and facilities spend, entry standards, course completion figures and graduate prospects.

Here is a cursory glance of the top three university rankings for subjects generally favoured by Indian students:

Economics: Cambridge, London School of Economics, Oxford

English: Durham, University College of London, Oxford

Electrical and electronic engineering: Cambridge, Southampton, Imperial College

Business Studies: Cambridge, Oxford, London School of Economics

Computer Science: Cambridge, Oxford, Imperial College

Accounting and Finance: Warwick, London School of Economics, Exeter

Communication and Media Studies: Sheffield, Loughborough, Cardiff

Medicine: Cambridge, Oxford, Edinburgh.

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