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Are there any truly 'bad' universities in the UK? Watch

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    im so academic really is an utter imbecile. Even for a child.
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    ya greenwich
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    I read the first few pages and saw quite a few people saying Derby. I don't know about other subjects, but on the UniStats site, Derby is in the top ten in the UK for student satisfaction on the Marketing course, and at the open day the university itself was fairly small, but it looked pretty good inside, especially the Atrium, and the lecture threatres plus accommodation was good.
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    The University of Slough is pretty sh****ty
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    (Original post by Jonty99)
    I think he's just saying a Cambridge maths degree is harder than a Greenwich one. Seems pretty reasonable to me, it isn't exactly a terrible insult to Greenwich.
    But they are not comparing like with like. The only way of proving this statement is correct is by doing a module by module comparison of each course and what is contained in the course.

    The reality is that an Oxbridge degree is rated by the QA as the same level as a degree from any other university. So in that case a degree is a degree.

    The public perception is that because the admission standards are higher then the degrees are higher standard as well. Which can't be true, or the QA would state so in their qualification framework, and so far as I am aware they don't.
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    Edge hill University and Cumbria are the worst by far apart from Edge hills teaching course!
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    (Original post by puddlejumper)
    But they are not comparing like with like. The only way of proving this statement is correct is by doing a module by module comparison of each course and what is contained in the course.

    The reality is that an Oxbridge degree is rated by the QA as the same level as a degree from any other university. So in that case a degree is a degree.

    The public perception is that because the admission standards are higher then the degrees are higher standard as well. Which can't be true, or the QA would state so in their qualification framework, and so far as I am aware they don't.
    There has been a report on one of the Cambridge courses (I think for maths) that openly says a 2.i would have most likely been a 1st at another uni. I don't have the source but it definitely exists, and has done the rounds on this forum. You're also forgetting that Cambridge maths uses the Tripos system which means that you're marked against your peers, so even if you got 80% in your exams, if everyone else got 90% you'd be getting a third or a fail.

    But I'd also challenge the idea that the content in each university is the same - in my experience this is definitely not the case, and my department prides itself in the fact our 2nd years cover 4th year material at good, well thought of unis. This isn't to say we're better than other unis (and in fact I'd argue it's a bad thing sometimes), just we're implicitly taught different things. There are standards to meet yes, but universities can and will go beyond this. If every course had no scope to deviate from the standards then all universities would be the same.
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    (Original post by TheSownRose)
    I never said barrister. We don't all want to be the top of our game, some people would be perfectly happy just being a high street solicitor.

    Also, who said anything about a 3rd? People at Hertfordshire can get a 2.1, you know...
    Surely the whole point of education is doing the best you can, i.e wanting to be top of your game? Especially if it is an investment into the future?
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    (Original post by Peel)
    There has been a report on one of the Cambridge courses (I think for maths) that openly says a 2.i would have most likely been a 1st at another uni. I don't have the source but it definitely exists, and has done the rounds on this forum. You're also forgetting that Cambridge maths uses the Tripos system which means that you're marked against your peers, so even if you got 80% in your exams, if everyone else got 90% you'd be getting a third or a fail.

    But I'd also challenge the idea that the content in each university is the same - in my experience this is definitely not the case, and my department prides itself in the fact our 2nd years cover 4th year material at good, well thought of unis. This isn't to say we're better than other unis (and in fact I'd argue it's a bad thing sometimes), just we're implicitly taught different things. There are standards to meet yes, but universities can and will go beyond this. If every course had no scope to deviate from the standards then all universities would be the same.
    My point was that you can't compare courses simply because they are not alike. Some contain stuff and others contain other stuff. It's like comparing apples and pears. They are not the same and can't be compared except on trivial grounds such as colour and shape.

    So with the Maths degree - at Cambridge they may cover triangles but Bog-standard covers squares or circles. You can't then say that one is superior to the other because they are not even covering the same information.

    As for the report that you mentioned, surely there is a case for Cambridge students who received a 2:1 to say to Cambridge give me my first? After all, this report says that at another university it would have been a first so why not here? They could blight someone's career by giving them an undeserved 2:1 when they should have had a first. I see that as being unfair rather than something praiseworthy.
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    (Original post by ish90an)
    Surely the whole point of education is doing the best you can, i.e wanting to be top of your game? Especially if it is an investment into the future?
    So education only counts if you get As?

    I guess those who don't get As might as well simply drown themselves as they are obviously not worthy of life. There is far more to life than education and one day, when you grow up a bit, you may begin to recognise that fact.

    I understand that for many on this forum education is all they know, and the only way that they have to compare themselves against other people, but there is a non-academic world out there in which you will find yourselves one day.

    Perhaps now is the time when you start to recognise how trivial educational achievement is compared with other areas of life.
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    I thought my uni was really bad, turned out they have some of the best specalist medical degrees in the country and the same can be said about the acting course- they're getting rid of the acting course, budget cuts.

    And the only Uni to give a master in International Health Care in the world- not sure what it is but i guess its a good thing.
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    (Original post by puddlejumper)
    My point was that you can't compare courses simply because they are not alike. Some contain stuff and others contain other stuff. It's like comparing apples and pears. They are not the same and can't be compared except on trivial grounds such as colour and shape.

    So with the Maths degree - at Cambridge they may cover triangles but Bog-standard covers squares or circles. You can't then say that one is superior to the other because they are not even covering the same information.

    As for the report that you mentioned, surely there is a case for Cambridge students who received a 2:1 to say to Cambridge give me my first? After all, this report says that at another university it would have been a first so why not here? They could blight someone's career by giving them an undeserved 2:1 when they should have had a first. I see that as being unfair rather than something praiseworthy.
    Sorry, should have been clearer - I was rather targetting the last part of your post and suggesting reasons why a Cambridge degree / other top uni degree might be valued more.

    Frankly, I absolutely agree with you - it's very difficult to compare degrees meaningfully even within degree subjects, let alone across subjects. Realistically, if presented with a graduate from say UCL with a 2.1 and someone from say Hertfordshire with a 1st, the only thing you could comfortably derive from this is that the Hertfordshire grad is better at taking Hertfordshire exams, than the UCL grad is at taking UCL exams. The question is really whether a Hertfordshire exam is as hard as a UCL exam, and I think this is how people are saying some universities are superior. This is also where entry standards may become important as they're a loose reflection of a students capability. Consider this: if uni A has much higher entry requirements than uni B, we can say the students at uni A are likely to be more capable than those found at uni B (on average). If both universities push their students just as hard - that is to say, students at both unis find their course equally hard relative to their own standards - then students at both unis will now have increased their capability by some factor X, but if students at uni A are more capable than uni B when starting university, AX > BX therefore uni A produces more capable graduates / has a higher difficulty. On TSR people probably would then take the debatable step of saying if a degree is more difficult then it's more superior. NB. These aren't necessarily my own views, I'm just putting forward reasoning why TSR users might believe so

    Regarding the Cambridge 2.1 thing, I think they probably do it because they want to keep their 1sts as selective as possible and reduce grade inflation, and you're right it is a pain in the arse - especially if you were getting a 2.2, deserved a 2.1 and were barred from graduate schemes.
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    (Original post by puddlejumper)
    So education only counts if you get As?

    I guess those who don't get As might as well simply drown themselves as they are obviously not worthy of life. There is far more to life than education and one day, when you grow up a bit, you may begin to recognise that fact.

    I understand that for many on this forum education is all they know, and the only way that they have to compare themselves against other people, but there is a non-academic world out there in which you will find yourselves one day.

    Perhaps now is the time when you start to recognise how trivial educational achievement is compared with other areas of life.
    I meant more in terms of ambition really. Is it really a good thing to say "I only want a B" when you could just as well go all the way and get a better return on the investment you have put in in terms of both money and effort? Its not about education achievement per se, but more about aiming for the top in anything you do instead of just settling.
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    (Original post by ish90an)
    I meant more in terms of ambition really. Is it really a good thing to say "I only want a B" when you could just as well go all the way and get a better return on the investment you have put in in terms of both money and effort? Its not about education achievement per se, but more about aiming for the top in anything you do instead of just settling.
    You can't be the top in everything you do or it leaves you no time to enjoy any of it. I could have followed my original plan and gone to LSE, worked in the city and become an investment banker or some such job ... but I'd rather do a pleasant job that I enjoy and that will allow me to also enjoy the others thing I want in life, such as a family.
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    (Original post by TheSownRose)
    You can't be the top in everything you do or it leaves you no time to enjoy any of it. I could have followed my original plan and gone to LSE, worked in the city and become an investment banker or some such job ... but I'd rather do a pleasant job that I enjoy and that will allow me to also enjoy the others thing I want in life, such as a family.
    But you've(or your parents who paid tax) made an investment(time and money wise) into your A-levels so surely you should try do as well as possible. Fair enough you don't like a highly stressful job like IB but even in a more "pleasant" job you would strive to be the best in that particular field, just like in your A-levels and your chosen stream of study at university you would aim for As instead of being content with Bs.
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    (Original post by ish90an)
    But you've(or your parents who paid tax) made an investment(time and money wise) into your A-levels so surely you should try do as well as possible. Fair enough you don't like a highly stressful job like IB but even in a more "pleasant" job you would strive to be the best in that particular field, just like in your A-levels and your chosen stream of study at university you would aim for As instead of being content with Bs.
    To be perfectly honest, I'd be happier to just be a good optometrist that patients like and are happy to come and see, than to be a world-renowned optometrist. That would just be completely not what I want at all. I want a quiet life.

    I want to do well at uni, but I know from my minor breakdown in my GCSEs (obsessed with getting the best grades, which my school were pushing me for - all A*'s in thirteen subjects, no one can do that and remain sane), that it's not worth the cost in health to push myself until I'm physically ill over it ... so as long as I do well, I'm not going to obsess over being the best.
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    There are no bad universities only bad courses.

    Just because a uni is supposedly the 'best' in the country doesn't mean they themselves add any value to the students they take in. Simply taking in the best students and them doing well isn't a reflection of the university but on the students. I know this personally to be true. Having attended one of the 'best' universities in the country, and experienced truly awful teaching (with a couple notable exceptions). I also have a few friends who also attend these top institutions and for their courses (mostly science courses), they've experienced the same thing. That is average teaching is the norm, with few exceptional and a significant proportion of poor teaching.
    I've also experienced teaching at an ex-polytechnic, which was on average at a higher standard. Perhaps this is just true of the sciences, but in general, I think if you have a university that takes on exceptional students, and they get the same grades as a university which takes on 'average students' then the former university isn't doing as good a job as the latter.

    I also found it interesting going through the stats, on unistats after one of the posters in this thread posted the link (http://unistats.direct.gov.uk/ )

    Here are some of the results I found:


    For Chemistry:

    At Oxford average Ucas points at entry were 540 equivalent to AAAAa

    Firsts class: 39%
    Upper Second class (2.1): 48%
    Total of 2.1 and above: 87%

    At Imperial average Ucas points at entry was 480 equivalent to over AAAa

    Firsts class: 27%
    Upper Second class (2.1): 45%
    Total of 2.1 and above: 72%

    At University College London average Ucas points at entry were 430 equivalent to Over AAAa

    Firsts class: 28%
    Upper Second class (2.1): 45%
    Total of 2.1 and above: 73%

    At Warwick average Ucas points at entry was 420 equivalent to exactly AAAa

    Firsts class: 23%
    Upper Second class (2.1): 40%
    Total of 2.1 and above: 63%

    At Bristol average Ucas points at entry was 450 equivalent to over AAAa

    Firsts class: 19%
    Upper Second class (2.1): 39%
    Total of 2.1 and above: 58%

    I've chosen the above institutions because they are the universities that both I and my friends have personally experienced.
    -------------------

    Now take note of the following:

    At Hull average Ucas points at entry was 250 equivalent to CCC

    Firsts class: 34%
    Upper Second class (2.1): 33%
    Total of 2.1 and above: 67%

    At Manchester Metropolitan average Ucas points at entry was 200 equivalent to CDD

    Firsts class: 30%
    Upper Second class (2.1): 35%
    Total of 2.1 and above: 65%

    --------------
    (NB I mean no disrespect to any of the institutions listed)

    So according to these statistics, students who arrive at Hull and at Manchester Met chemistry course both have significantly worse A Level results than those who arrive at Bristol and Warwick. Yet by the end of the degree course, a comparable number from both universities achieve a 2.1 and above. Which would show that in this discpline, both Man met and Hull's departments are very good.

    -----------------

    Now lets compare Sussex (A university who's science department I know for a fact is top notch) and Southampton with the above:

    At Sussex average Ucas points at entry was 410 equivalent to over AABa:

    Firsts class: 35%
    Upper Second class (2.1): 45%
    Total of 2.1 and above: 80%


    At Southampton average Ucas points at entry was 400 equivalent to exactly AABa:

    Firsts class: 31%
    Upper Second class (2.1): 53%
    Total of 2.1 and above: 84%

    -----------


    So by comparing say Bristol with Southampton both students come in with relatively similar A Levels though Bristol's students Ucas points is 50 points higher than Southampton students. (400 southamton vs 450 Bristol) Yet by the end of the course, 58 % of Bristol students have a 2.1 and above vs 84% at Southamton. That is 26% more students in Southamton have a 2.1 or more than their bristol counter parts despite getting similar grades at A Level. For Sussex (80%) that is 22% more.This would suggest that Southampton and Sussex add significantly more value to their students than Bristol in the discipline of chemistry. The point is that different universities have their strengths and their weaknesses. I've gone on about Bristol chem, but Bristol Psychology has more 2.1 and First than any other course bar Oxfords, and the same is true for Bristol Biochemistry/molecular genetics.

    It would therefore seem a bad decision to say that a whole university is bad. For even the newest of universities have areas where they're a strong relative to other universities. Also some courses at certain universities simply attract the best students, despite having average teaching, something I've experienced first hand.
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    (Original post by Complex Simplicity)
    There are no bad universities only bad courses.

    Just because a uni is supposedly the 'best' in the country doesn't mean they themselves add any value to the students they take in. Simply taking in the best students and them doing well isn't a reflection of the university but on the students. I know this personally to be true. Having attended one of the 'best' universities in the country, and experienced truly awful teaching (with a couple notable exceptions). I also have a few friends who also attend these top institutions and for their courses (mostly science courses), they've experienced the same thing. That is average teaching is the norm, with few exceptional and a significant proportion of poor teaching.
    I've also experienced teaching at an ex-polytechnic, which was on average at a higher standard. Perhaps this is just true of the sciences, but in general, I think if you have a university that takes on exceptional students, and they get the same grades as a university which takes on 'average students' then the former university isn't doing as good a job as the latter.

    I also found it interesting going through the stats, on unistats after one of the posters in this thread posted the link (http://unistats.direct.gov.uk/ )

    Here are some of the results I found:


    For Chemistry:

    At Oxford average Ucas points at entry were 540 equivalent to AAAAa

    Firsts class: 39%
    Upper Second class (2.1): 48%
    Total of 2.1 and above: 87%

    At Imperial average Ucas points at entry was 480 equivalent to over AAAa

    Firsts class: 27%
    Upper Second class (2.1): 45%
    Total of 2.1 and above: 72%

    At University College London average Ucas points at entry were 430 equivalent to Over AAAa

    Firsts class: 28%
    Upper Second class (2.1): 45%
    Total of 2.1 and above: 73%

    At Warwick average Ucas points at entry was 420 equivalent to exactly AAAa

    Firsts class: 23%
    Upper Second class (2.1): 40%
    Total of 2.1 and above: 63%

    At Bristol average Ucas points at entry was 450 equivalent to over AAAa

    Firsts class: 19%
    Upper Second class (2.1): 39%
    Total of 2.1 and above: 58%

    I've chosen the above institutions because they are the universities that both I and my friends have personally experienced.
    -------------------

    Now take note of the following:

    At Hull average Ucas points at entry was 250 equivalent to CCC

    Firsts class: 34%
    Upper Second class (2.1): 33%
    Total of 2.1 and above: 67%

    At Manchester Metropolitan average Ucas points at entry was 200 equivalent to CDD

    Firsts class: 30%
    Upper Second class (2.1): 35%
    Total of 2.1 and above: 65%

    --------------
    (NB I mean no disrespect to any of the institutions listed)

    So according to these statistics, students who arrive at Hull and at Manchester Met chemistry course both have significantly worse A Level results than those who arrive at Bristol and Warwick. Yet by the end of the degree course, a comparable number from both universities achieve a 2.1 and above. Which would show that in this discpline, both Man met and Hull's departments are very good.

    -----------------

    Now lets compare Sussex (A university who's science department I know for a fact is top notch) and Southampton with the above:

    At Sussex average Ucas points at entry was 410 equivalent to over AABa:

    Firsts class: 35%
    Upper Second class (2.1): 45%
    Total of 2.1 and above: 80%


    At Southampton average Ucas points at entry was 400 equivalent to exactly AABa:

    Firsts class: 31%
    Upper Second class (2.1): 53%
    Total of 2.1 and above: 84%

    -----------


    So by comparing say Bristol with Southampton both students come in with relatively similar A Levels though Bristol's students Ucas points is 50 points higher than Southampton students. (400 southamton vs 450 Bristol) Yet by the end of the course, 58 % of Bristol students have a 2.1 and above vs 84% at Southamton. That is 26% more students in Southamton have a 2.1 or more than their bristol counter parts despite getting similar grades at A Level. For Sussex (80%) that is 22% more.This would suggest that Southampton and Sussex add significantly more value to their students than Bristol in the discipline of chemistry. The point is that different universities have their strengths and their weaknesses. I've gone on about Bristol chem, but Bristol Psychology has more 2.1 and First than any other course bar Oxfords, and the same is true for Bristol Biochemistry/molecular genetics.

    It would therefore seem a bad decision to say that a whole university is bad. For even the newest of universities have areas where they're a strong relative to other universities. Also some courses at certain universities simply attract the best students, despite having average teaching, something I've experienced first hand.
    Your entire analysis rests on the presumption that the criteria to get a 2.1 is standardized across universities, it isn't. Some university exams are harder and require a deeper understanding for the same high mark, others cover far more detailed course content than others.
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    (Original post by ish90an)
    Your entire analysis rests on the presumption that the criteria to get a 2.1 is standardized across universities, it isn't. Some university exams are harder and require a deeper understanding for the same high mark, others cover far more detailed course content than others.
    This. The point at the end might be valid, that different universities are good for different subjects and no one uni is useless. I'd agree with that. However, the statistics are struggling to be anything but irrelevant.
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    any university that has to advertise itself on student forums
 
 
 
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