Hey there! Sign in to join this conversationNew here? Join for free
    • Thread Starter
    Offline

    0
    ReputationRep:
    So I thought it would be interesting to attempt to predict the landscape of the top 10 universities in 10 or 20 years' time, based on current trends and trajectories.

    Obviously this is all conjecture, but try to give reasons and evidence rather than just stubbornly supporting your alma mater.

    Do you think Oxbridge's dominance will continue? Or will more specialist institutions like Imperial or LSE bring the standard of their limited number of courses up to the standard of LSE's Economics course: basically, an education you can't turn down. Or will the more radical and dynamic places like Warwick supersede the older, more traditional universities?
    Offline

    1
    ReputationRep:
    Hello.

    This is a very interesting topic. I do not have much knowledge on all the universities, but I would write what I think would be the outcome.

    Let me start with this quote that I heard, "To be able to know where you are going, you must understand where you are from." This would relate mainly to the old institutions such as Oxford, Cambridge, Edinburgh and University of London.

    Here is what I think would be the list of Top Ten universities in 20 years
    1. Cambridge / Oxford
    3. University College London
    4. University of Durham
    5. Imperial College London
    6. University of Manchester
    7. London School of Economics and Political Science
    7. University of Warwick
    9. University of Southampton
    10. University of Surrey

    My choices were based on the amount of development that is being done, the influence of the present Alumni and the quality of research being done.

    First of all, for Oxbridge; the amount of research being done at these universities is quite staggering. The Collegiate nature of the universities also help them to stay at the top. This is because they would continue receiving funding from both the Alumni (who have nostalgic feelings towards their college) and the Government (who have links to either university during undergrad or post-grad studies). Unless Oxbridge disintegrates into smaller universities, I think that they would still remain at the top. You already know the facts about Oxbridge, so I would not be adding more facts.

    UCL would come in third due to the same reasons that I provided about Oxbridge. The only issue would be that Oxbridge exists.

    University of Durham would be fourth. I think that they would still be prestigious and they may become influential. I read that the Durham management have started focusing on key current issues such as Sustainability and Climate Change. They boast to have one of the key Sustainability centers in the country, with lots of grants behind it.

    Imperial reputation is simply phenomenal. I think that they would be in the top ten because of the quality of research that comes from there. They are also links between the College and other key partners such as MIT which would help them in the future.

    Manchester would come after Imperial because of the expansion that is currently taking place. Engineering at Manchester is getting bigger and there is funds to get even bigger. A key discovery (the Graphene) was made at Manchester and this could revolutionize the electronics industry. There is even a EURO1B (http://goo.gl/DCcii) investment by the EU on this discovery and quite a big chunk is coming to Manchester.

    LSE would still retain its top ten status because of the quality of this courses. LSE is still regarded as the Economics hub of the country. I think that the only university that would compete with it is Warwick.

    Warwick is coming up fast. Even Warwick graduates have the top jobs now. Warwick receive a Regius Professorship from the Queen (http://goo.gl/KYi5r)

    University of Southampton would be a force. Southampton also got Regius Professorship (http://goo.gl/xQ4EH)

    The University of Surrey is the "odd-duck". Surrey recently receive a prestigious Regius Professorship from the Queen (http://goo.gl/g3VlM). This ex-Poly just secured a multi-million Euro research deal for Communications (5G - http://goo.gl/zjZRK) development. The university has also started making developments to expand and it has the space to do so. Do you know that applications to Surrey increased by 30%? (http://goo.gl/NGXBv) I think that the university would become a force in the next 10 years.

    Please note that this Regius Professorships are given to universities that are reputable and have been identified to grow significantly.

    It can be argued that other universities are making similar investments, but if you think about it, you would realize that the investments in these universities are outstanding. For example, with a 1B Euro investment in Manchester, there would be research done and the best candidates would be attracted to the university. This would, in turn, increase the quality of research and bring in even more funding.

    In summary, I think that the Old institutions would retain some spots; but the new and "radical" schools would intensively compete.

    These are my choices, but I may be wrong.

    What are yours? I am interested to know.
    Offline

    1
    ReputationRep:
    I think Oxbridge will stay on top. 20 years isn't such a long time.

    Imperial/LSE will still be seen as very good universities in their specific specialisation. I don't think they will get the "glamour" of a general university though, simply because they are too specialist.

    I hope Warwick will go up (), but it becomes more volatile after Oxbridge. I think KCL will keep going down in the rankings, they are getting ever less prestigious. Warwick is becoming more and more known internationally, who knows... Edinburgh is being watered down I think. I reckon Durham will also go up/stay the same (like Warwick), although I don't know much about it. UCL will probably stay the same, it will be seen as the best general London uni to go to.
    Offline

    16
    ReputationRep:
    I think Imperial is about as high as it will go - it's already very prestigious, and almost at the top, but not having a humanities department I think will stop it ever directly competing with Oxford and Cambridge. I may be wrong though, with an ever more technology focussed society.

    Likewise, Bath is very good but its lack of humanities limits it. However, they are talking about merging with Bath Spa, which I think could make a fantastic university. People don't like the fact that Bath Spa is an ex-poly, but it actually has a very good English department, not to mention a beautiful campus. Not sure Bath will break into the top 10, but there is a lot of potential there.
    Offline

    0
    ReputationRep:
    I think although Universities such as Oxbridge and LSE have reached their peak in terms of education and prestige, there will be a further rise by Warwick and some of the 'slightly lower-tier' universities.

    Although I think the overall standard of teaching from other universities such as Brunel, Bournemouth, Teeside etc. will rise due to better academics etc. and so there will be less of a gap between the 'prestigous' universities and those that are 'less prestigous'.
    Offline

    1
    ReputationRep:
    Mexing, good analysis, but I don't think the University of Manchester will be that high. Its student population is too high, which means that it will take many students which are below average, decreasing its prestige in the eye of the public.

    While Durham is an excellent university, I don't think it has much of an international "push" yet. I reckon it will be up there, but not 4th place.
    Offline

    20
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by MEXING)
    The University of Surrey is the "odd-duck". Surrey recently receive a prestigious Regius Professorship from the Queen (http://goo.gl/g3VlM). This ex-Poly just secured a multi-million Euro research deal for Communications (5G - http://goo.gl/zjZRK) development.
    it's not an ex poly, It's a 60s uni... Same category as warwick.
    Offline

    0
    ReputationRep:
    oxbridge will obviously top it
    science wise ucl and imperial are likely to be on top, maybe southampton rising up with their solid engineering department
    as for economics, whilst lse is world renowned and prestigious, i can see warwick giving it a good run for its money
    durham will be up there, maybe bath may be up there, its definitely better than a fair few russell group unis
    who knows, depends where the money goes, and what students go for
    Offline

    1
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by Joinedup)
    it's not an ex poly, It's a 60s uni... Same category as warwick.
    It is an ex-Poly. I agree that it got its University charter during the same time with Warwick. However, unlike Warwick, Surrey started as a Poly called Battersea Polytechnic. (http://goo.gl/FOyLk) I have a friend that graduated from it.
    Offline

    1
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by crunchychips)
    Mexing, good analysis, but I don't think the University of Manchester will be that high. Its student population is too high, which means that it will take many students which are below average, decreasing its prestige in the eye of the public.

    While Durham is an excellent university, I don't think it has much of an international "push" yet. I reckon it will be up there, but not 4th place.

    This may be true, but Manchester is smaller (in terms of student numbers) than Oxbridge and we know their reputation. I think that Manchester is increasingly becoming aware of their reputation and they would soon begin to select the best kids. The recent entry grades for Chem Eng are AAA/A*AA unlike ABB/AAB of some years ago. I think that Manchester would be very competitive to get in within the next decade or so.

    For Durham, I agree that it may not be as high as 4th place. However, if Durham works on its international image, then it would be very high up. It is the same with Nottingham that opened campuses in Asia and their international rankings skyrocketed.
    Offline

    20
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by MEXING)
    It is an ex-Poly. I agree that it got its University charter during the same time with Warwick. However, unlike Warwick, Surrey started as a Poly called Battersea Polytechnic. (http://goo.gl/FOyLk) I have a friend that graduated from it.
    it was called 'battersea polytechnic institute' which wasn't a member of the category of institutions called polytechnics prior to 92, it was just a quirky name for a particular C19th college of technology.
    polytechnics as a category of institution came later and only the unis born of those in 1992 are rightly termed ex polytechnic.
    Offline

    1
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by Joinedup)
    it was called 'battersea polytechnic institute' which wasn't a member of the category of institutions called polytechnics prior to 92, it was just a quirky name for a particular C19th college of technology.
    polytechnics as a category of institution came later and only the unis born of those in 1992 are rightly termed ex polytechnic.
    That is very interesting. I take the term "ex-Poly" back. I assumed that it was classed under Polys. Thanks for clarifying that point. I still think that Surrey would become a strong competitor in the next decade.
    Offline

    14
    ReputationRep:
    Can't see why it'll change much, tbh.

    The old, elite universities will be a little older and still elite, so naturally they (Durham, Oxford, Cambridge, Edinburgh) aren't going anywhere.

    Places like Imperial and LSE that are specialist institutions will still be the best in their fields, so still there.

    UCL will still be just as good, so that'll still be there.

    Can't see Warwick going anywhere either.

    The rest have very little between them.
    Offline

    0
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by crunchychips)
    I think Oxbridge will stay on top. 20 years isn't such a long time.

    Imperial/LSE will still be seen as very good universities in their specific specialisation. I don't think they will get the "glamour" of a general university though, simply because they are too specialist.

    I hope Warwick will go up (), but it becomes more volatile after Oxbridge. I think KCL will keep going down in the rankings, they are getting ever less prestigious. Warwick is becoming more and more known internationally, who knows... Edinburgh is being watered down I think. I reckon Durham will also go up/stay the same (like Warwick), although I don't know much about it. UCL will probably stay the same, it will be seen as the best general London uni to go to.
    Oh god, here we go again... Why don't we wait for the rest of the crew to come from the other Warwick thread :catfight:

    I think the area of most interest will be how the post 1950s universities do and whether they are able to shake some of the stigmas attached to being an old poly.

    I genuinely think that some of them have the potential to keep moving up, especially those like Oxford Brookes.

    In all honesty, I do not see much changing. Unless there is an unexpected merger or perhaps even a collapse of a university, the top will keep getting better and richer, as they tend to get more funding and donations and the lower/newer ranked universities will continue to improve as they are grow.
    Offline

    1
    ReputationRep:
    In terms of Scotland, there's a lot of changes going on right now which could have a great effect - Bell College and Ayr College being incorporated into University of Paisley to become UWS; Telford, Stevenson and Jewel&Esk becoming Edinburgh College seeking a uni charter; a multitude of colleges becoming University of the Highlands and Islands; and some other merges.

    The depreciation of further education and the entry of these institutions into the higher education sector will surely put pressure on the bottom-to-mid level unis and make them further develop their curricula.
    Offline

    18
    ReputationRep:
    It's all conjecture but the question you need to ask yourselves here is "what changes can be anticipated in the HE weather and which universities are best positioned to benefit by these (or to minimise any disbenefit attaching)?"

    Someone said earlier that Bath might be limited by its lack of humanities. But I'm afraid I cannot anticipate any likely change that is going to see that become a disadvantage. Much more likely, although from my perspective unwanted, will be a circumstance in which rising fees prompt ever more students to opt for degrees with an obvious applicability to work. In that situation, Bath would be well placed to pick these up (is among the best regarded of the universities offering sandwich courses and so forth) while it would be other universities that were having to manage the scaling back of student numbers in History and Cultural Studies, areas in which they have sunk-costs and which are important for their wider reputations. What do we do if Philosophy is the department which consistently does best in the research exercises but we now have too few students to provide teaching loads for our 18 strong faculty?
    Offline

    21
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by Hankylord)
    So I thought it would be interesting to attempt to predict the landscape of the top 10 universities in 10 or 20 years' time, based on current trends and trajectories.
    The principal current trends and trajectories are these as I see it:-

    1 The government wishes to see elite universities grow

    2 The government is very keen on vocational training in universities

    3 The majority of students (perhaps not on TSR) are inclining towards vocational courses

    4 The "hard" sciences are struggling despite a lot of government support

    5 Languages are struggling

    6 Oxbridge undergraduate education costs far more than fees and funding provide

    7 Oxbridge growth in the last 40 years has been almost entirely in post-graduate provision

    8 The availability of on-line courses will increase

    My suggestions are these:-

    A There will be franchising of courses or indeed of entire universities. There can't be any sensible reason why you can do a University of Nottingham degree in Malaysia but not in Huddersfield. These will be heavily reliant on lectures delivered electronically. That will be the future of a number of lower ranked universities, to be the branch campuses of world class universities given steroids by government policy.

    B There will be a concentration on technical and vocational subjects in the remaining lower ranked universities which will tend to try and carve out distinctive niches for particular subjects and industries. Essentially this will be a market-led return to the past.

    C There will be mergers. Some research universities, particularly in the south will be seen as too small to play on the international stage (and once the "students" studying above kebab shops and the expectation of a post study work visa have been squeezed out of the system,Britain is going to turn itself into a giant campus for foreign students). Reading, Brunel, Surrey, Sussex, Kent, UEA, Essex, Cranfield and possibly Southampton and Bath will need to do at least one merger to stay in the game.

    D Oxbridge won't be able to put their heads in the sand much longer. Over the centuries they have tended only to react when faced with compulsory reform. Either they are going to have to abandon undergraduate teaching entirely or they are going to have to grow it. The least worst scenario for them is to find the money to create new undergraduate colleges on the existing model. Oxford hasn't created a conventional undergraduate college since St Peter's (St Catz and St Anne's grew out of societies for non-collegiate students) and Cambridge since Churchill. Other options are to abandon undergraduate teaching entirely but the danger is that they largely cease to be part of the British educational system or for each to create a single undergraduate college on the Gypsy Hill and East Road campuses with the "historic" colleges only having postgraduate members.

    E The government will abandon the policy that Student Finance will be available regardless of course. For many subjects there will be a fixed number of student loans available. This will target provision at sciences and languages and other subjects perceived as important.
    Offline

    17
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by nulli tertius)
    x
    Agree with all of this. I think we're also going to see a lot of compromises with universities happy to receive funding from a variety of dodgy sources. Several centres for Middle Eastern studies have already been castigated for being remarkably silent about the Arab Spring or events in Iran due to where their funding is coming from. We've all heard about LSE and their involvement with the Gadaffi's. This will become ever more prevalent, especially wrt postgraduate funding.
    Offline

    2
    ReputationRep:
    I can't see the top couple of universities changing, they're well established institutes with very long histories and I can't see 2 decades making much of a difference. The interesting changes I think will happen from places 5-20, and lower down the league table. There are a few universities, either with a quickly changing reputation or relatively newly formed, which are climbing the league tables very fast, so maybe in a longer time frame they may be poised to enter the top 20 or top 10.
    Offline

    1
    ReputationRep:
    I agree with many points that have been raised. I think that the Old institutions would still be top regardless of the educational climate. I also think that the top schools have been able to withstand local and international issues.

    I think that Oxbridge, UCL and Durham would have to be hit hard by serious Governmental reforms or boycott to lose their rankings. However, this is unlikely to happen because the top Government officials graduated from this universities. Oxford has produced more Prime Ministers (in recent history) than any other university.
 
 
 
  • See more of what you like on The Student Room

    You can personalise what you see on TSR. Tell us a little about yourself to get started.

  • Poll
    Have you ever participated in a Secret Santa?
    Useful resources
    Uni match

    Applying to uni?

    Our tool will help you find the perfect course

    Articles:

    Debate and current affairs guidelinesDebate and current affairs wiki

    Quick link:

    Educational debate unanswered threads

    Groups associated with this forum:

    View associated groups
  • See more of what you like on The Student Room

    You can personalise what you see on TSR. Tell us a little about yourself to get started.

  • The Student Room, Get Revising and Marked by Teachers are trading names of The Student Room Group Ltd.

    Register Number: 04666380 (England and Wales), VAT No. 806 8067 22 Registered Office: International House, Queens Road, Brighton, BN1 3XE

    Quick reply
    Reputation gems: You get these gems as you gain rep from other members for making good contributions and giving helpful advice.