Loughborough and Strathclyde, why such low world ranks?

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merigrey
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So lately I've been researching about lots of different unis because I'm about to apply for an MSc in Physics. As an international student, all I have is world rankings and whatnot. So these two unis are quite low ranked, and yet in UK they seem to be well liked and considered as good unis. I see people even trying to decide between Glasgow vs Strathclyde, which as an outsider looks crazy to me considering the huge difference between their ranks! So my question is, why are these unis low ranked if they're so good? Or what makes them good in the eyes of Brits?
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threeportdrift
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(Original post by merigrey)
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Glasgow is low down the highest league of UK Universities, Strathclyde is middle ranking at best. Given their position in the UK, there's no surprise that Glasgow isn't anywhere impressive and Strathclyde isn't anywhere. Most people in the UK wouldn't even know Strathclyde has a Uni.
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Doones
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(Original post by merigrey)
So lately I've been researching about lots of different unis because I'm about to apply for an MSc in Physics. As an international student, all I have is world rankings and whatnot. So these two unis are quite low ranked, and yet in UK they seem to be well liked and considered as good unis. I see people even trying to decide between Glasgow vs Strathclyde, which as an outsider looks crazy to me considering the huge difference between their ranks! So my question is, why are these unis low ranked if they're so good? Or what makes them good in the eyes of Brits?
Quite simply different rankings use different methodologies. Check the criteria in the methodology to see if the factors are important to you.

That said both Strathclyde and Loughborough are well regarded for Engineering. I'm not sure they would be equally well regarded for Physics. .
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artful_lounger
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It depends on the subject and level being studied at.

Strathclyde has an exceptional track record in undergraduate engineering, placing it's students in top engineering firms regularly; although "general" league table rankings don't usually reflect this, given engineering (well, broadly STEM but mainly engineering) is it's specialty it's maybe not unsurprising (similarly for Heriot-Watt). Loughborough is actually somewhat similar, having a very good undergraduate engineering programme with a lot of links to industry. It also has a lot of strength in sports science and (maybe only some?) in the creative arts - I think the former has a research presence there as well).

That said, while at undergraduate level they're probably decent enough choices for physics, I'm not really aware of them from a research perspective (which is what would probably be more relevant for an MSc, assuming you plan to continue to a PhD). For a masters in physics, you'd probably be looking at the top being Imperial/Oxford/Cambridge/Edinburgh (in no particular order, and including the MASt Mathematics/Part III Maths at Cambridge) generally, then more widely after that Brisol/UCL/Glasgow/Manchester/Birmingham/KCL (again in no particular order, although NB I'm not sure if all/any of these offer a taught masters).

Other places might be relevant for particular areas of research (Surrey has some focus on radiation physics for example as I recall), and both Strathclyde and Louhgborough may well fall into this category (L'boro for example might well have some presence in e.g. biomechanics related to it's sports science research, and Strathclyde might have some stuff in applied physics relating to engineering areas like materials/fluids/environment type stuff; this is speculation though).

Global university rankings tend to be a little skewed in perspective because in essence the top ~200 are "top 1-5 universities in each of 20-30 countries). That doesn't mean others are bad per se...also they often focus a little more on "house names" and so some universities are less well known internationally which are quite strong domestically.
Last edited by artful_lounger; 2 years ago
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merigrey
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(Original post by threeportdrift)
Glasgow is low down the highest league of UK Universities, Strathclyde is middle ranking at best. Given their position in the UK, there's no surprise that Glasgow isn't anywhere impressive and Strathclyde isn't anywhere. Most people in the UK wouldn't even know Strathclyde has a Uni.
I've never seen Glasgow being low anywhere, which list is that?
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Doones
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(Original post by merigrey)
So lately I've been researching about lots of different unis because I'm about to apply for an MSc in Physics. As an international student, all I have is world rankings and whatnot. So these two unis are quite low ranked, and yet in UK they seem to be well liked and considered as good unis. I see people even trying to decide between Glasgow vs Strathclyde, which as an outsider looks crazy to me considering the huge difference between their ranks! So my question is, why are these unis low ranked if they're so good? Or what makes them good in the eyes of Brits?
If you are interested in the research strengths of UK universities look at REF2014. It's getting a little out of date now but is still somewhat relevant:

Strathclyde: https://results.ref.ac.uk/(S(mfr0skt...ubmission/1116

L'boro:
https://results.ref.ac.uk/(S(mfr0skt...Submission/334

Overall: (scroll down to section 9 for Physics)
https://www.timeshighereducation.com.../sub-14-01.pdf

Strathclyde does very well.
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Doones
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(Original post by ltsmith)
because they aren't research powerhouses. international ranks are almost about academia and research reputation
See my post above. Strathclyde is overall #1 for Physics...
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Helloworld_95
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Strathclyde does a lot less international outreach and marketing than Glasgow or other brand name universities, and doesn't have the city name advantage.

It's also a relatively new university, and while other Plate Glass era universities have done well like Bath and Warwick, they didn't have to compete with another top uni in the same town/city like Strathclyde does.
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angelinahx
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strathclyde has a university?
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LeapingLucy
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I'm just guessing here - I don't know on what basis or with what evidence you're making your statements.

Scottish students can go to Strathclyde for free - so obviously, they will favour it above slightly better universities in England that they'd have to pay £27,000 to attend. This may skew perceptions about its relative ranking within the UK.

Also, as the number of places for Scottish students at Scottish unis is capped, certain very qualified Scottish students may not get into the top Scottish unis like Edinburgh and St. Andrews, so will go for places like Glasgow and Strathclyde. So these universities, while not the best ranked, still get very high calibre Scottish students.
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