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The Times & Sunday Times "Good University Guide" Official University Rankings 2017 Watch

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    (Original post by *Stefan*)
    To me, the 'quality of the course' characterises the engagement the university can offer with regards to learning outcomes. That is, the academic stimulation a course offers, along with actual personal progress and development. Timetables and superficial knowledge like what makes a 2.1 or a first are, in my opinion, inconsequential when we take the purpose of a degree into account, i.e. to nurture the individual.
    Given that students for the most part experience only a single course at a particular level and academics will have detailed knowledge of current course composition at perhaps four or five universities, your definition is essentially unmeasurable and becomes at best purely anecdotal and at worst traditional.

    If you take Oxford for example. It is well known that by the 1970s the content of its arts courses had fallen well behind those being developed at the "plate glass" universities and there were substantial moves for curriculum reform. Greek and Latin literature were added to its classics course; much more economic and social history was added to its history course and the linguistic barriers to entry were removed.

    You would find that much harder to do today because the way in which the tutorial systems have evolved apart at Oxbridge and other universities means that the Oxford tutorial system can now be waved as a banner in answer to any comments about the quality of an Oxford arts course..
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    (Original post by Magic Streets)
    Not in any of the World rankings, or in REF by research power. Loughborough may be a goodish university at undergraduate level, but for academic research it is so far behind the Russell Group universities. It will never be seen as an elite university.
    The research power ranking has an incredibly strong correlation with number of full time equivalent research staff.For example LSE is 28th, and is ranked 32nd by FTE research staff. Warwick is 15th by research power and 15th by staff. The top 5 by research power are in the same order by staff numbers. KCL is 6th and Nottingham 7th by research power but are in reverse order by headcount.

    Loughborough is 25th by research power and 26th by staff.

    Saying that Loughborough will never rise amounts to nothing more than a prediction that Loughborough will not get bigger in proportion to other universities.
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    (Original post by PQ)
    "Never"?

    That's a confident claim.

    Is this based on horoscopes, tealeaves or a crystal ball reading of the future?
    Where will the money come from to compete with the likes of Manchester, Leeds and Nottingham?
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    (Original post by Magic Streets)
    Where will the money come from to compete with the likes of Manchester, Leeds and Nottingham?
    The only thing guaranteed to happen in the future is change.

    All sorts of things have influenced the HE sector in the past. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england...shire-37165019
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    (Original post by *Stefan*)
    I think I've seen it all now - St Andrews above Imperial and LSE, Sussex above Bristol and Edinburgh... And much more.

    I wonder if the publishers actually evaluate the reputation of their tables before publishing all that (especially the Guardian).

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    St Andrews and Imperial are universities that have very little overlap with each other. St Andrews is a smaller undergraduate focused arts focused university while Imperial is a science and technology research focused university. St Andrews is in a small town while Imperial is in London.

    I don't see why St Andrews being ranked over Imperial says anything about Imperial. For the subjects Imperial does it is very likely still one of the best.
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    (Original post by Okorange)
    St Andrews and Imperial are universities that have very little overlap with each other. St Andrews is a smaller undergraduate focused arts focused university while Imperial is a science and technology research focused university. St Andrews is in a small town while Imperial is in London.

    I don't see why St Andrews being ranked over Imperial says anything about Imperial. For the subjects Imperial does it is very likely still one of the best.
    There may have been a time when all universities chased the UK league tables (1994-2005ish), and the tables provided some useful data as to where universities were compared to each other. Today, in 2016, that is certainly not the case. It is a farce to see Edinburgh ranked in at 37th in a UK league table, and in the top 20 of a major World ranking. If some 17 year olds really start to believe these UK league tables as a yardstick for the prestige and reputation of universities, then this will be a tragic mistake.

    On a slightly different note, St Andrews is not the 3rd best university in the UK, even if this Times Good University Guide ranking places it as such. There is no possible objective way to quantify prestige or reputation, but the one measure which all universities look at very seriously is REF (both the overall REF score AND REF by research power).
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    (Original post by Magic Streets)
    but the one measure which all universities look at very seriously is REF (both the overall REF score AND REF by research power).
    As I have posted above ref by research power is a virtual synonym for number of researchers.

    https://static.standard.co.uk/s3fs-p...ertlindsay.jpg
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    (Original post by nulli tertius)
    As I have posted above ref by research power is a virtual synonym for number of researchers.

    https://static.standard.co.uk/s3fs-p...ertlindsay.jpg
    Research power is what determines who gets the most pot of money from the £2 billion research funding provided by the government.
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    (Original post by Magic Streets)
    Research power is what determines who gets the most pot of money from the £2 billion research funding provided by the government.
    A big pot split between 1000 members of staff isn't as great as a medium sized pot split between 50 members of staff.
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    (Original post by Magic Streets)
    There may have been a time when all universities chased the UK league tables (1994-2005ish), and the tables provided some useful data as to where universities were compared to each other. Today, in 2016, that is certainly not the case. It is a farce to see Edinburgh ranked in at 37th in a UK league table, and in the top 20 of a major World ranking. If some 17 year olds really start to believe these UK league tables as a yardstick for the prestige and reputation of universities, then this will be a tragic mistake.

    On a slightly different note, St Andrews is not the 3rd best university in the UK, even if this Times Good University Guide ranking places it as such. There is no possible objective way to quantify prestige or reputation, but the one measure which all universities look at very seriously is REF (both the overall REF score AND REF by research power).
    Honestly, both league tables and world rankings are a farce. What really matters is what university you would enjoy spending 3-4 years at. What university will provide you with the opportunities you want and not every university does that.

    St Andrews is not going to win any accolades for research power, when it has only 2000 postgrads and even fewer faculty and even fewer in the research heavy faculties (medicine, life sciences, engineering)

    However what it does provide is a different student experience from that of a large comprehensive university, and students really need to look at that rather than trying to determine which rankings are the best.

    What I can tell you though is that if a university is ranked highly in the world rankings, it is very likely to have a wider breadth of research and sometimes not always more world leading research. These universities are more appropriate for those interested in post-graduate research or those undergrads who are interested in research.

    If a university has a high student satisfaction and often ranked highly on UK league tables, it very likely has great teaching, a solid administration and students will likely be happier overall.

    In general though if you want to end up at a highly competitive job, go to a program and uni which has a track record of success in sending students to a career you want. If you are interested in research but don't have a specific area locked down, go to a big research uni. If you aren't sure, just pick a uni that is well regarded in general and is a place you want to spend 3-4 years at.

    Its up to you what you want, everyone will want something different out of uni.
 
 
 
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