The Guardian’s 2012 University Guide league table makes Cambridge the number 1 UK university knocking Oxford off the top spot it has held since 2006.

Image by: Laura Martell

Scotland’s first university, St Andrews is ranked the third best UK university with the London School of Economics climbing four places to take fourth.

The guide is put together by ranking universities according to how much they spend on each student; the ratio of students to staff, their graduate’s career prospects, plus a “value-added score” that compares first-years academic results with and their final degree award.  Before finalising the university rankings the guide also includes data provided by the annual National Student Survey which asks students how content full-time undergraduates are with their courses. 

With 2012 being the first that students face higher tuition fees the university league table is likely to be scrutinised more than ever before.   Naturally, students will be comparing university ranking with the size of their tuition fees before deciding which university to attend.  Unsurprisingly, those institutions at the top of the university league table will charge students £9000.00 per annum, but according to research undertaken by the  Guardian newspaper, the low ranking universities are “almost as likely”  to charge the maximum tuition fees allowed by the government.

London Metropolitan University, which came bottom of the Guardian tables, plans to charge between £4,500 and £9,000 each year for its degree courses with Liverpool John Moores, Manchester Metropolitan and the University of East London (which all rank in the bottom 20) planning to charge students maximum annual fees for some of their courses. 

Not all ranked universities intend to sting students, however and “the first university that proposes to charge less than £9,000 for all of its courses is the University of Sunderland, which is ranked 48th. There are a total of 120 institutions in the tables: 38 in the top half intend to charge £9,000 for at least some of their courses, while 18 in the bottom half propose to do the same.” The Guardian said.

More about the 2012 Guardian University Guide