The Student Room Group
Chemistry Research, Durham University
Durham University
Durham
Visit website

This discussion is no longer active so you won't be able to reply.Check out other Related discussions

Durham vs Bath

Hi guys. I am struggling with deciding my choices. I have received a conditional offer form both bath and durham for bsc econ. I would like to know which is more prestigious than one another. And any other advices are welcome. Thank you

Scroll to see replies

Durham for sure! :smile: whatever u choose tho u will have an amazing time
Chemistry Research, Durham University
Durham University
Durham
Visit website
Original post by Hi Jim
Hi guys. I am struggling with deciding my choices. I have received a conditional offer form both bath and durham for bsc econ. I would like to know which is more prestigious than one another. And any other advices are welcome. Thank you

Hiya

Imo you should look into the modules both of the courses offer and the social scene because prestige can be a subjective topic and really only matters to some extent. You ultimately would want to go to a university where you feel welcomed and belonged as well. So look at the modules and see which ones appeal more to you. The graduate prospects are also essential so try to look for what events the department conducts to connect you to employers. At Durham, you can undertake a placement year between your second and third years which gives you access to practical work in a field of your choice and you earn money as well.

Durham's collegiate system was personally an attractive factor for me because you always have a community to belong to. Living in college and attending events is a great way of socialising and you don't have to wait for your course to start to actually begin making friends. I would also suggest talking to a current Econ student at Durham and finding out their experience. If you go to LinkedIn and search terms like "Durham Economics" or something similar, you should be able to find many currents students and connect with them :smile:

-Himieka (Official DU Rep)
Durham is a Top 11 university in the UK. It can be realistically argued to lie in the 8th to 11th position. I would personally put it at 8th.

Bath is a Top 20 university in the UK. It can be realistically argued to lie in the 13th to 19th position. I would personally put it at 17th.

So definitely Durham > Bath.
Original post by Hi Jim
Hi guys. I am struggling with deciding my choices. I have received a conditional offer form both bath and durham for bsc econ. I would like to know which is more prestigious than one another. And any other advices are welcome. Thank you

Bath is a great uni (I've got mates that go there) and it's probably better socially, but academically and especially for econ Durham edges Bath.
I'd worry less about prestige and more about which is a better fit for you. In terms of location and composition (the collegiate system in durham for instance) they are quite different and then there's any differences between the two courses offered. Have you been to either? Do you know about the courses offered in any detail?

While Durham is more *prestigious* it is not so much more so than Bath that I think that should be the deciding factor for you.
Bath and go for the year in industry -
Original post by Hi Jim
Hi guys. I am struggling with deciding my choices. I have received a conditional offer form both bath and durham for bsc econ. I would like to know which is more prestigious than one another. And any other advices are welcome. Thank you
Original post by RoyalBeams
Durham is a Top 11 university in the UK. It can be realistically argued to lie in the 8th to 11th position. I would personally put it at 8th.

Bath is a Top 20 university in the UK. It can be realistically argued to lie in the 13th to 19th position. I would personally put it at 17th.

So definitely Durham > Bath.

@RoyalBeams I agree that Durham is superior to Bath.

However, I'd argue that Bath is a top 10-12 university in regards to prestige. In last year's academic cycle, Bath was tied 7th with Warwick, in England, for average entry standards (170 UCAS points) - beaten only by Oxbridge, Imperial, LSE, UCL & Durham. It also had a lower offer rate than Warwick: 62.7% vs 65.1%.

Moreover, Bath's graduate prospects are some of the best in the country - generally seen as top 5/6. The sporting facilities are excellent and the city itself is regarded as one of the most beautiful in the UK.

I'll grant that it's research excellence is lacking relative to many large Russell Group institutions, but I don't think this is all that relevant to notions of prestige. For example, Queen Mary is a research powerhouse in areas such as Computer Science, yet I need not comment on its reputation.

Of course, there is also the notability of alumni to take into account. Bath may not compete with the likes of Birmingham in this area, but it does have big hitters with former executives/chairs of some of the world's largest companies & government organisations.
(edited 1 year ago)
Original post by Toblerone_bear
@RoyalBeams I agree that Durham is superior to Bath.

However, I'd argue that Bath is a top 10-12 university in regards to prestige. In last year's academic cycle, Bath was tied 7th with Warwick, in England, for average entry standards (170 UCAS points) - beaten only by Oxbridge, Imperial, LSE, UCL & Durham. It also had a lower offer rate than Warwick: 62.7% vs 65.1%.

Moreover, Bath's graduate prospects are some of the best in the country - generally seen as top 5/6. The sporting facilities are excellent and the city itself is regarded as one of the most beautiful in the UK.

I'll grant that it's research excellence is lacking relative to many large Russell Group institutions, but I don't think this is all that relevant to notions of prestige. For example, Queen Mary is a research powerhouse in areas such as Computer Science, yet I need not comment on its reputation.

Of course, there is also the notability of alumni to take into account. Bath may not compete with the likes of Birmingham in this area, but it does have big hitters with former executives/chairs of some of the world's largest companies & government organisations.

Prestige in education is a factor of:
- Brand power (How much people know it, "Wow" factor and rankings; global superior)
- Selectivity (Quality of applicants, Entry standards, Offer rates and Yield)
- History (Alumni quality & Impact of its research on society in history)
- Graduate prospects (Types of jobs and salary levels)
- Quality of Academic Staff (Mostly reseach quality)
- Financial muscle (Budget relative to fields covered & size, Research grant/contracts & Endowment)

I would give slightly higher weightings in descending order.


For Bath:
- Brand power (How much people know it, "Wow" factor and rankings; global superior) ..........Using judgement, I would say between 13th to 20th
- Selectivity (Quality of applicants, Entry standards, Offer rates and Yield) ..............If I mix all 4 together and use judgement, it would be 13th to 16th
- History (Alumni quality & Impact of its research on society in history) .............. Plate Glass University and no great history of research; Not in Top 20
- Graduate prospects (Types of jobs and salary levels) ......................I would put it around 6th to 10th
- Quality of Academic Staff (Mostly research quality) ............................Current research quality is around 20th to 25th
- Financial muscle (Budget relative to fields covered & size, Research grant/contracts & Endowment) ...................Not in Top 25


For Warwick:
- Brand power (How much people know it, "Wow" factor and rankings; global superior) ..........Using judgement, I would say between 8th to 12th
- Selectivity (Quality of applicants, Entry standards, Offer rates and Yield) ..............If I mix all 4 together and use judgement, it would be 13th to 16th
- History (Alumni quality & Impact of its research on society in history) .............. Plate Glass University and no great history of research; Not in Top 20
- Graduate prospects (Types of jobs and salary levels) ......................I would put it around 6th to 10th
- Quality of Academic Staff (Mostly research quality) ............................Current research quality is around 9th to 13th
- Financial muscle (Budget relative to fields covered & size, Research grant/contracts & Endowment) ...................Probably around 15th to 20th

Based on all these, I think I would put Bath more in the 17th to 22nd range in prestige amongst UK universities; While I would put Warwick at 9th to 12th.
(edited 1 year ago)
Original post by RoyalBeams
Prestige in education is a factor of:
- Brand power (How much people know it, "Wow" factor and rankings; global superior)
- Selectivity (Quality of applicants, Entry standards, Offer rates and Yield)
- History (Alumni quality & Impact of its research on society in history)
- Graduate prospects (Types of jobs and salary levels)
- Quality of Academic Staff (Mostly reseach quality)
- Financial muscle (Budget relative to fields covered & size, Research grant/contracts & Endowment)

I would give slightly higher weightings in descending order.


For Bath:
- Brand power (How much people know it, "Wow" factor and rankings; global superior) ..........Using judgement, I would say between 13th to 20th
- Selectivity (Quality of applicants, Entry standards, Offer rates and Yield) ..............If I mix all 4 together and use judgement, it would be 13th to 16th
- History (Alumni quality & Impact of its research on society in history) .............. Plate Glass University and no great history of research; Not in Top 20
- Graduate prospects (Types of jobs and salary levels) ......................I would put it around 6th to 10th
- Quality of Academic Staff (Mostly research quality) ............................Current research quality is around 20th to 25th
- Financial muscle (Budget relative to fields covered & size, Research grant/contracts & Endowment) ...................Not in Top 25


For Warwick:
- Brand power (How much people know it, "Wow" factor and rankings; global superior) ..........Using judgement, I would say between 8th to 12th
- Selectivity (Quality of applicants, Entry standards, Offer rates and Yield) ..............If I mix all 4 together and use judgement, it would be 13th to 16th
- History (Alumni quality & Impact of its research on society in history) .............. Plate Glass University and no great history of research; Not in Top 20
- Graduate prospects (Types of jobs and salary levels) ......................I would put it around 6th to 10th
- Quality of Academic Staff (Mostly research quality) ............................Current research quality is around 9th to 13th
- Financial muscle (Budget relative to fields covered & size, Research grant/contracts & Endowment) ...................Probably around 15th to 20th

Based on all these, I think I would put Bath more in the 17th to 22nd range in prestige amongst UK universities; While I would put Warwick at 9th to 12th.

Interesting assessment. My weightings for the factors you've outlined are likely quite different. The fact you've shifted the lower bound of Bath's prestige up four places, in the space of just five months, suggests your formulation is somewhat unscientific.

Out of curiosity, what do you think are the top 20 universities in the UK?
Original post by Toblerone_bear
Interesting assessment. My weightings for the factors you've outlined are likely quite different. The fact you've shifted the lower bound of Bath's prestige up four places, in the space of just five months, suggests your formulation is somewhat unscientific.

Out of curiosity, what do you think are the top 20 universities in the UK?


It definitely is not scientific, otherwise I would not be using ranges.

Secondly, it is a league table, things move in league tables based on new/recent outcomes (or information).

Top 20
1. Oxford (can be realistically argued 1st or 2nd)
2. Cambridge (can be realistically argued 1st or 2nd)
3. LSE (can be realistically argued 3rd to 4th)
4. Imperial (can be realistically argued 3rd to 5th)
5. UCL (can be realistically argued 3rd to 5th)
6. Edinburgh (can be realistically argued 6th to 7th)
7. KCL (can be realistically argued 6th to 7th)
8. Bristol (can be realistically argued 8th to 11th)
9. Durham (can be realistically argued 8th to 11th)
10. St Andrews (can be realistically argued 8th to 11th)
11. Warwick (can be realistically argued 9th to 12th)
12. Manchester (can be realistically argued 10th to 12th)
13. Nothingham (can be realistically argued 13th to 17th)
14. Glasgow (can be realistically argued 13th to 18th)
15. Birmingham (can be realistically argued 13th to 19th)
16. Leeds (can be realistically argued 13th to 19th)
17. Exeter (can be realistically argued 15th to 19th)
18. Bath (can be realistically argued 17th to 22nd)
19. York (can be realistically argued 17th to 22nd)
20. {Tough} Southampton/Sheffield/Cardiff/QML/Lancaster/SOAS (all can be realistically argued 18th to 26th)

As you go further down, it obviously starts dovetailing. I would prefer one uses bands after the Top 12.

When I was thinking Bath was 13th to 19th months ago, I was mentally putting it in the "Nottingham-to-York" band range; but obviously thought it was lower down the band, hence why I said 17th then.

After that inchoate assessment, I am certain it is at that lower end of the band. The top Big City universities in that band will be superior in the assessment. Exeter and York are its real peers.
(edited 1 year ago)
Original post by RoyalBeams
It definitely is not scientific, otherwise I would not be using ranges.

Secondly, it is a league table, things move in league tables based on new/recent outcomes (or information).

Top 20
1. Oxford (can be realistically argued 1st or 2nd)
2. Cambridge (can be realistically argued 1st or 2nd)
3. LSE (can be realistically argued 3rd to 4th)
4. Imperial (can be realistically argued 3rd to 5th)
5. UCL (can be realistically argued 3rd to 5th)
6. Edinburgh (can be realistically argued 6th to 7th)
7. KCL (can be realistically argued 6th to 7th)
8. Bristol (can be realistically argued 8th to 11th)
9. Durham (can be realistically argued 8th to 11th)
10. St Andrews (can be realistically argued 8th to 11th)
11. Warwick (can be realistically argued 9th to 12th)
12. Manchester (can be realistically argued 10th to 12th)
13. Nothingham (can be realistically argued 13th to 17th)
14. Glasgow (can be realistically argued 13th to 18th)
15. Birmingham (can be realistically argued 13th to 19th)
16. Leeds (can be realistically argued 13th to 19th)
17. Exeter (can be realistically argued 15th to 19th)
18. Bath (can be realistically argued 17th to 22nd)
19. York (can be realistically argued 17th to 22nd)
20. {Tough} Southampton/Sheffield/Cardiff/QML/Lancaster/SOAS (all can be realistically argued 18th to 26th)

As you go further down, it obviously starts dovetailing. I would prefer one uses bands after the Top 12.

When I was thinking Bath was 13th to 19th months ago, I was mentally putting it in the "Nottingham-to-York" band range; but obviously thought it was lower down the band, hence why I said 17th then.

After that inchoate assessment, I am certain it is at that lower end of the band. The top Big City universities in that band will be superior in the assessment. Exeter and York are its real peers.

I think you're conflating the size of a Russell Group university, in terms of campus size & student body, with prestige. Larger universities located in big cities, such as Birmingham, Leeds or Sheffield will naturally receive more government funding in the form of research grants. Many professors are also drawn to live in these cities, for the same reasons most young professionals are. As such, their performance in the REF will be superior.

A university's research performance has little relevance to undergraduate students. The course material is already well-established, so any notion of a trickle down effect is tenuous.

Prestige mostly boils down to how hard it is to get in somewhere & how rigorous the course is. This is what top employers care about, and this is why Bath does so well in this regard. Elite firms want as much intellectual horsepower as they can get their hands on. Alongside this, there are more subtle indicators of prestige, such as the aesthetics of the campus & proportion of students from independent schools. Successful parents from London generally push their kids to go to Exeter over Birmingham so they can meet a certain crop of people - whether we like it or not.

Your placement of Birmingham above Bath is mistaken in my view. Birmingham is known to be quite lenient with handing out offers. The city itself also carries the lovely reputation of being one of the worst in the country.
(edited 1 year ago)
Original post by Toblerone_bear
I think you're conflating the size of a Russell Group university, in terms of campus size & student body, with prestige. Larger universities located in big cities, such as Birmingham, Leeds or Sheffield will naturally receive more government funding in the form of research grants. Many professors are also drawn to live in these cities, for the same reasons most young professionals are. As such, their performance in the REF will be superior.

A university's research performance has little relevance to undergraduate students. The course material is already well-established, so any notion of a trickle down effect is tenuous.

Prestige mostly boils down to how hard it is to get in somewhere & how rigorous the course is. This is what top employers care about, and this is why Bath does so well in this regard. Elite firms want as much intellectual horsepower as they can get their hands on. Alongside this, there are more subtle indicators of prestige, such as the aesthetics of the campus & proportion of students from independent schools. Successful parents from London generally push their kids to go to Exeter over Birmingham so they can meet a certain crop of people - whether we like it or not.

Your placement of Birmingham above Bath is mistaken in my view. Birmingham is known to be quite lenient with handing out offers. The city itself also carries the lovely reputation of being one of the worst in the country.


No, I am not conflating prestige with size, otherwise, LSE and Imperial would not be in my Top 4 and St Andrews in my Top 10. I have given the methodology I used and I highlighted size was considered.

And as a matter of fact, I don't even think the term "prestige" can be extended beyond the Top 11 or Top 12 universities.

Beyond these, I regard all the other universities as just "Top" universities.

As for selectivity, selectivity is about many people wanting something and giving it to only a few, only about 9 universities are actually selective in he UK. They are the only ones with consistently below 60% offer rates. They are Oxford, Cambridge, LSE, Imperial, UCL, KCL, Manchester (on some rare occassion, slightly above 60%) and adding St Andrews and Edinburgh, even though they have advantage of Scottish students being automatically forced to apply to them (but even before the change in Scottish fees laws, they had low offer rates, unlike Glasgow).

All the other universities in the Top 12, such as Durham, Warwick and Bristol have as high as 80% offer rates (i.e. every 4 out of 5 applicants get an offer). That is not selective and some mid-ranked unis like Essex, Goldsmiths and many ex-polys like Greenwich, Middlesex have less offer rates than they do. Many unis not special have offer rates of 60s to 70s percent.

60% and below is what is really rare in the UK. Only about 9 universities consistently fall blow this and no ex-poly has offer rates at that level or below.

Baths offer rate is consistently about 74%. Exeter is usually 79% to as high as 90% (i.e. every 9 out of 10 applicants get an offer). Birmingham is about 65% to 73% and its is from a much larger applicant pool. So Birminham gives less offers to a larger pool of applicants.

As for research having little relevance to undergrads, I disagree.

When a university is good at research, its staff are winning awards, the news is carrying stories about breakthrough research they are carrying out, their staff are the experts the media go to interview on top issues happening and the most successful companies are choosing to fund research in their institutions, they become subconciously front-of-brain in people's minds as prestigious. These helps students be perceived as attending a prestigious university.

That said, I put less weighting on current research than historical research because most people will know more about the latter. Both are a downside for Bath due to its age and not being deep into research.

As for percentage of students from independent schools and succesful parents. I already factored that into Selectivity (Quality of applicants).

Admittedly, the Top 12 along with Exeter, York and Bath are were the kids [of the most successful parents] that attended the leading independent schools are likely to select and go to. But Exeter, York and Bath tend to usually be 5th choices for majority of these kids.
(edited 1 year ago)
Original post by Toblerone_bear
I think you're conflating the size of a Russell Group university, in terms of campus size & student body, with prestige. Larger universities located in big cities, such as Birmingham, Leeds or Sheffield will naturally receive more government funding in the form of research grants. Many professors are also drawn to live in these cities, for the same reasons most young professionals are. As such, their performance in the REF will be superior.

A university's research performance has little relevance to undergraduate students. The course material is already well-established, so any notion of a trickle down effect is tenuous.

Prestige mostly boils down to how hard it is to get in somewhere & how rigorous the course is. This is what top employers care about, and this is why Bath does so well in this regard. Elite firms want as much intellectual horsepower as they can get their hands on. Alongside this, there are more subtle indicators of prestige, such as the aesthetics of the campus & proportion of students from independent schools. Successful parents from London generally push their kids to go to Exeter over Birmingham so they can meet a certain crop of people - whether we like it or not.

Your placement of Birmingham above Bath is mistaken in my view. Birmingham is known to be quite lenient with handing out offers. The city itself also carries the lovely reputation of being one of the worst in the country.



And looking at another factor of selectivity, Yield, one will see that many of the universities with low offer rates also have the highest yield.

So they are offering few places to the people that are applying to them than other universities are offering; and these people are more eager to take up the places offered than people are eager to take up places offered at other universities.

As a matter of fact, only Manchester is not in the Top bracket. SOAS and Durham are. They move up!

QML almost make the 30% high mark.

Yield in 2021
1. Oxford 97%
2. Cambridge 89.8%
3. LSE 48.2%
4. Imperial 46.3%
5. SOAS 33.5%
6. St Andrews 33.2%
7. UCL 32.7%
8. KCL 32.0%
9. Durham 31.2%
10. Edinburgh 30.1%
11. QML 29.7%

QUB 26.3%
Newcastle 25.8%
Glasgow 25.2%
Cardiff 24.5%
Warwick 24.4%
Exeter 24.2%
York 23.8%
Birmingham 22.8%
Bath 22.5%
Bristol 22.1%
Nottingham 22.1%
Southampton 22.0%
Lancaster 22.0%
Royal Holloway 22.0%
Liverpool 21.3%
Leeds 21.1%
Manchester 20.4%
Sheffield 20.4%
Loughborough 19.2%


So Bath is in the 20s percentages range, and is in roughly the same bracket as Exeter, York and Birmingham.

I didn't rank below the Top 11 because I cannot guarantee that some ex-polys I did not check don't have higher yields than some universities with 20s percentages. I just know over 30% is what is rare and exceptional.

Scottish universities will have artificial higher yields because of the fee-less offer to Scottish attendees of Scottish universities. So I expect some of their mediocre universities having very good yields too. But I would bet St Andrews, Edinburgh and Glasgow are the most selective.
(edited 1 year ago)
Original post by RoyalBeams
No, I am not conflating prestige with size, otherwise, LSE and Imperial would not be in my Top 4 and St Andrews in my Top 10. I have given the methodology I used and I highlighted size was considered.

And as a matter of fact, I don't even think the term "prestige" can be extended beyond the Top 11 or Top 12 universities.

Beyond these, I regard all the other universities as just "Top" universities.

As for selectivity, selectivity is about many people wanting something and giving it to only a few, only about 9 universities are actually selective in he UK. They are the only ones with consistently below 60% offer rates. They are Oxford, Cambridge, LSE, Imperial, UCL, KCL, Manchester (on some rare occassion, slightly above 60%) and adding St Andrews and Edinburgh, even though they have advantage of Scottish students being automatically forced to apply to them (but even before the change in Scottish fees laws, they had low offer rates, unlike Glasgow).

All the other universities in the Top 12, such as Durham, Warwick and Bristol have as high as 80% offer rates (i.e. every 4 out of 5 applicants get an offer). That is not selective and some mid-ranked unis like Essex, Goldsmiths and many ex-polys like Greenwich, Middlesex have less offer rates than they do. Many unis not special have offer rates of 60s to 70s percent.

60% and below is what is really rare in the UK. Only about 9 universities consistently fall blow this and no ex-poly has offer rates at that level or below.

Baths offer rate is consistently about 74%. Exeter is usually 79% to as high as 90% (i.e. every 9 out of 10 applicants get an offer). Birmingham is about 65% to 73% and its is from a much larger applicant pool. So Birminham gives less offers to a larger pool of applicants.

As for research having little relevance to undergrads, I disagree.

When a university is good at research, its staff are winning awards, the news is carrying stories about breakthrough research they are carrying out, their staff are the experts the media go to interview on top issues happening and the most successful companies are choosing to fund research in their institutions, they become subconciously front-of-brain in people's minds as prestigious. These helps students be perceived as attending a prestigious university.

That said, I put less weighting on current research than historical research because most people will know more about the latter. Both are a downside for Bath due to its age and not being deep into research.

As for percentage of students from independent schools and succesful parents. I already factored that into Selectivity (Quality of applicants).

Admittedly, the Top 12 along with Exeter, York and Bath are were the kids [of the most successful parents] that attended the leading independent schools are likely to select and go to. But Exeter, York and Bath tend to usually be 5th choices for majority of these kids.


Offer rates can be a misleading determinant of prestige. For example, in the last academic cycle, Queen Mary had an ever-so-slightly lower offer rate than Bristol. Other than Queen Mary's location, this is because far more students are able to attain the requisite predicted grades from their teachers! The university is then forced to reject many of these mediocre students, due to limited capacity. In terms of assessing selectivity, entry standards carry far more weight. I've already mentioned that Bath's entry standards are the 7th highest in England - the university possesses some of the brightest students in the country & this is reflected in their graduate prospects.

For example, last year, you needed AAA to study Mechanical Engineering at Manchester & A*AA to study the same course at Bath. Moreover, the former offers an integrated foundation year that demands only BBC (if you possess three relevant subjects). I personally know someone who gained entry into that program. Does that seem prestigious to you?

I take your point on research. Although, as you said, historical research carries a lot more weight. Even so, there are too many factors in research performance that are extraneous to prestige. As previously mentioned, the main ones are the city and size of the university. Imperial, LSE & St Andrews, all specialist institutions, are exceptions to this rule.

You mention Bath's age, but are you aware that its roots go back to the Merchant Venturers' Technical College - an organisation that provided Bristol's engineering faculty until 1949. Bath is hardly a "fifth choice" as you say. I'm aware of several people who accepted an offer there over KCL. I can't fault their decision either, especially after KCL's scandal in May where the admissions team were too incompetent to even formally reject many applicants.
(edited 1 year ago)
Original post by Toblerone_bear
Offer rates can be a misleading determinant of prestige. For example, in the last academic cycle, Queen Mary had an ever-so-slightly lower offer rate than Bristol. Other than Queen Mary's location, this is because far more students are able to attain the requisite predicted grades from their teachers! The university is then forced to reject many of these mediocre students, due to limited capacity. In terms of assessing selectivity, entry standards carry far more weight. I've already mentioned that Bath's entry standards are the 7th highest in England - the university possesses some of the brightest students in the country & this is reflected in their graduate prospects.

For example, last year, you needed AAA to study Mechanical Engineering at Manchester & A*AA to study the same course at Bath. Moreover, the former offers an integrated foundation year that demands only BBC (if you possess three relevant subjects). I personally know someone who gained entry into that program. Does that seem prestigious to you?

I take your point on research. Although, as you said, historical research carries a lot more weight. Even so, there are too many factors in research performance that are extraneous to prestige. As previously mentioned, the main ones are the city and size of the university. Imperial, LSE & St Andrews, all specialist institutions, are exceptions to this rule.

You mention Bath's age, but are you aware that its roots go back to the Merchant Venturers' Technical College - an organisation that provided Bristol's engineering faculty until 1949. Bath is hardly a "fifth choice" as you say. I'm aware of several people who accepted an offer there over KCL. I can't fault their decision either, especially after KCL's scandal in May where the admissions team were too incompetent to even formally reject many applicants.

Almost all institutions have roots decades back before their higher institution status; the point remains they were not a high institution then, so that argument is irrelevant and does not change the age argument.

I don't think city and size of universities play an impact in how good a university is in research. The fact is that top universities tend to be built in cities and make the locations they are in more prominent due to their success. So the argument is actually the other way round: "Research performance of an educational institution play a major factor in increasing the size of the institution and making its located city more prominent".

The towns of Oxford and Cambridge would have been irrelevant towns if not for the prestige and research powers of the universities in them.

And all countries in the world would have many of their Top 5% of universities in their major cities (i.e. Administrative capital, Commercial capital and Regional capitals). Same applies to the UK; that is just how it iis built.

A typical extremely top student will have:
1st choice: Oxford/Cambridge | 2nd choice: LSE/Imperial/UCL | 3rd choice: UCL/Durham/Edinburgh/KCL/St Andrews/Bristol/Warwick | 4th choice: Durham/Edinburgh/KCL/St Andrews/Bristol/Warwick/Manchester | 5th choice: Bristol/Warwick/Manchester/Nottingham/Glasgow/Exeter/Bath/York/SOAS/Birmingham/Leeds/And any shocker choice (like Oxford Brookes and UWE)

A typical extremely top student that wants to study Maths will probably go:
1st choice: Cambridge | 2nd choice: Imperial | 3rd choice: Warwick | 4th choice: Bristol | 5th choice: Bath

A typical extremely top student that wants to study Law will probably go:
1st choice: Oxford | 2nd choice: LSE | 3rd choice: UCL | 4th choice: KCL | 5th choice: Warwick

UCL and Durham are very popular 3rd choices for independent school students. And Exeter, Bath and York are very popular 5th choices for such students. That means UCL would have more Oxbridge applicants apply to it than LSE and Imperial, but in most cases, it is really a popular 3rd choice; while Imperial and LSE tend to be second when these students apply to them.

https://www.theguardian.com/news/datablog/interactive/2014/jul/24/interactive-which-universities-think-equals

So if you don't think offer rates are reliable for prestige, what factors do you think would be good to use to assess prestige and would not be possibly misleading?
(edited 1 year ago)
Original post by RoyalBeams
Almost all institutions have roots decades back before their higher institution status; the point remains they were not a high institution then, so that argument is irrelevant and does not change the age argument.

I don't think city and size of universities play an impact in how good a university is in research. The fact is that top universities tend to be built in cities and make the locations they are in more prominent due to their success. So the argument is actually the other way round: "Research performance of an educational institution play a major factor in increasing the size of the institution and making its located city more prominent".

The towns of Oxford and Cambridge would have been irrelevant towns if not for the prestige and research powers of the universities in them.

And all countries in the world would have many of their Top 1% of universities in their major cities (i.e. Administrative capital, Commercial capital and Regional capitals). Same applies to the UK; that is just how it iis built.

A typical extremely top student will have:
1st choice: Oxford/Cambridge | 2nd choice: LSE/Imperial/UCL | 3rd choice: UCL/Durham/Edinburgh/KCL/St Andrews/Bristol/Warwick | 4th choice: Durham/Edinburgh/KCL/St Andrews/Bristol/Warwick/Manchester | 5th choice: Bristol/Warwick/Manchester/Nottingham/Glasgow/Exeter/Bath/York/SOAS/Birmingham/Leeds/And any shocker choice (like Oxford Brookes and UWE)

A typical extremely top student that wants to study Maths will probably go:
1st choice: Cambridge | 2nd choice: Imperial | 3rd choice: Warwick | 4th choice: Bristol | 5th choice: Bath

A typical extremely top student that wants to study Law will probably go:
1st choice: Oxford | 2nd choice: LSE | 3rd choice: UCL | 4th choice: KCL | 5th choice: Warwick

UCL and Durham are very popular 3rd choices for independent school students. And Exeter, Bath and York are very popular 5th choices for such students. That means UCL would have more Oxbridge applicants apply to it than LSE and Imperial, but in most cases, it is really a popular 3rd choice; while Imperial and LSE tend to be second when these students apply to them.

https://www.theguardian.com/news/datablog/interactive/2014/jul/24/interactive-which-universities-think-equals

So if you don't think offer rates are reliable for prestige, what factors do you think would be good to use to assess prestige and would not be possibly misleading?


It is both. A university that is producing good research is more likely to receive investment from the government if it is located in a prominent city, relative to one that is not. This is partly due to stronger industry ties between the university & top local firms.

Furthermore, international students are attracted to the UK’s largest cities as these are the most well known. In turn, the Russell Group university in that respective city benefits from more international fees, allowing them to expand their department & spend more on research. It’s a feedback loop.

In regards to the choice profile of a typical AAA (and beyond) student, a hefty proportion from London have no desire to stay in London and would rather not trek up north to an ex-industrial city - Durham, St Andrews & Edinburgh do not fit this mould. Having Bath as a "fifth" choice wouldn't make sense given how high the entry requirements are. It often serves as an insurance for Oxbridge applicants who don't want to stay in London but don't want to move too far either, whilst also seeking a campus experience.

The article you shared is very interesting. In my view, entry standards, across the board, must be the most important element in determining prestige. At the end of the day, only Oxbridge & Imperial require interviews (outside of Medicine) and admissions tests. Personal statements are subject to a lot of external support that typically benefits privileged students, which is why they may soon be binned. If we keep meritocracy in mind, A Level grades are far more important than any personal statement or reference.

Whilst universities like Manchester & Birmingham are certainly excellent, and perhaps even provide a superior education to Bath, they cannot be more prestigious by virtue of being easier to get into. Yes, Queen Mary might have a historically lower offer rate than Bath, but it's still a lot easier to gain entry there with BBB. This is to say that offer rates don't tell us much.
(edited 1 month ago)
Original post by Toblerone_bear
It is both. A university that is producing good research is more likely to receive investment from the government if it is located in a prominent city, relative to one that is not. This is partly due to stronger industry ties between the university & top local firms.

Furthermore, international students are attracted to the UK’s largest cities as these are the most well known. In turn, the Russell Group university in that respective city benefits from more international fees, allowing them to expand their department & spend more on research. It’s a feedback loop.


Well, you just highlighted factors/reasons that lead to universities being well-known and having high prestige.

If the government and top local firms see an institution as the brains of the nation, they are getting better funding (no 6 factor in my analysis) and international students choose to study at these universities, to go back to their homeland for top jobs, then these universities would generally be more prestigious than universities without such a profile.

Reasons "things are the way they are" are not supposed to be excuses of "not true".

In regards to the choice profile of a typical AAA (and beyond) student, a hefty proportion from London have no desire to stay in London and would rather not trek up north to an ex-industrial city - Durham, St Andrews & Edinburgh do not fit this mould. Having Bath as a "fifth" choice wouldn't make sense given how high the entry requirements are. It often serves as an insurance for Oxbridge applicants who don't want to stay in London but don't want to move too far either, whilst also seeking a campus experience - this is assuming they were rejected by Warwick.


I don't agree with your argument.

There is no evidence "a hefty proportion from London have no desire to stay in London and would rather not trek up north to an ex-industrial city".

The top students mostly try to go to the most prestigious universities they can get into. Year after yeah.

As for Bath having high entry requirements, if one looks at it:

- It is 13th overall.
- But if someone is fair and remove all the artificially inflated high entries of Scottish universities (leaving only St Andrews and Edinburgh), it will be 9th overall.

Now, to be further objective, there are other universities with similarly high entry requirements, which also have bigger student body and also have courses like Nursing, Paramedics, Social work, Education, Art etc. that don't tend to need high entry standards to gain admission and don't attract elite students but yet these universties have to offer (some are important government-linked and government determine intake numbers e.g. Nursing, Paramedic & Education), hence these factors both do dilute their entry standards. If the students on these courses grades are extracted from their average, and a like for like is done, Bath might not be in the Top 10 for high entry requirements.

Manchester 163 (intake 5760)
Bristol 167 (intake 5065)
Warwick 173 (intake 3420)
KCL 163 (intake 3405)
UCL 179 (intake 3095)
Bath 177 (intake 2835)

Bath has the lowest intake amongst those with similar entry requirements.

[The more bums you need to fill, the more entry standards will likely be diluted.]

UCL: Education (Forms about 5% of its intake and only requires ABB)
KCL: Nursing (Forms about 12% of its intake and only requires BBB)
Manchester: Nursing (Forms about 5% of its intake and only requires BBC)

I don't know the figures for Bath's Education. No breakdown. But this obviosly would affect KCL's entry requirements significantly.

[These are low requirement courses that they have to offer and government determines intake numbers; these dilute their entry standards]

Another thing affecting entry requirements is that universities focused on STEM courses tend to require higher grades than those that focus on FLAME, which themselves require higher grades than universities with much of their courses being Humanities & Arts. This is why Cambrigde always has higher entry standards than Oxford.

Bath is 50% STEM intake and if you add FLAME, it moves to almost 70%. Only Warwick (~69%) and Bristol (~65%) is that high on STEM + FLAME. UCL is just 54% and KCL is 50% STEM + FLAME.

[So it is STEM > FLAME> Humanities & Arts]

So you see that entry requirements might also be misleading?

Prestige is really a mix of factors.


The article you shared is very interesting. In my view, entry standards, across the board, must be the most important element in determining prestige. At the end of the day, only Oxbridge & Imperial require interviews (outside of Medicine) and admissions tests. Personal statements are subject to a lot of external support that typically benefits privileged students, which is why they may soon be binned. If we keep meritocracy in mind, A Level grades are far more important than any personal statement or reference.


Independent school education also benefits privileged students, that cannot be binned.


Whilst universities like Manchester & Birmingham are certainly excellent, and perhaps even provide a superior education to Bath, they cannot be more prestigious by virtue of being easier to get into. Yes, Queen Mary might have a historically lower offer rate than Bath, but it's still a lot easier to gain entry there with BBB. This is to say that offer rates don't tell us much.


I would actually argue that Bath provides a superior education to them, because the smaller that class the better the teaching normally.

Only counter is the quality of the teachers.

And I would not put QML above Bath (if you look at my Top 20)
Original post by Hi Jim
Hi guys. I am struggling with deciding my choices. I have received a conditional offer form both bath and durham for bsc econ. I would like to know which is more prestigious than one another. And any other advices are welcome. Thank you


Hi,

Congratulations on your offers to study economics and hopefully you are excited to go to university next year! In terms of prestige this is very subjective, however I will give some information about studying at the University to hopefully give you an idea about being a student here!

- University of Bath was named the University of the Year by The Times and The Sunday Times Good University Guide 2023

- It is a mid-size campus university with a bustling atmosphere where you are always bumping into your friends and socializing!

- 86% for overall student satisfaction in the National Student Survey 2022. This means we're ranked 1st in England and 3rd in the UK when comparing institutions listed in the Guardian University Guide.

- We have brilliant sports facilities, which majority are free to use for all students. There are lots of opportunities to play sport recreationally as well as competitively.

In terms of studying economics at Bath, there is lots more information at https://www.bath.ac.uk/departments/department-of-economics/

At the end of the day, the most important thing about choosing a university is making sure that you are going to enjoy studying and living there. It is a good idea to visit both universities and think about which would suit your lifestyle, personality and budget best!

Sophia (2nd Year Modern Languages)
I don't agree with your argument.

There is no evidence "a hefty proportion from London have no desire to stay in London and would rather not trek up north to an ex-industrial city".

The top students mostly try to go to the most prestigious universities they can get into. Year after yeah.


Did you take a look at the Reddit thread I linked? It's considered a rite of passage to move away from home for university in the UK. It's only reasonable to assume that many of the top students from London will follow suit - BAME students are often less likely to however, due to cultural pressure to stay at home. This is partly why the ethnic minority percentage in London's Russell Group universities is so high.

If we look at the set of students who are white British, from London or the home counties, went to independent schools and perform well, we can identify a unique choice profile. The typical student from this set is obviously encouraged to make an Oxbridge application. They are less inclined to make an application to Manchester, Leeds, Birmingham and maybe even Nottingham. Why? Because such families generally look unfavourably upon those cities deeming them as "rough".

In which case, for the aforementioned set, this leaves us with St Andrews, Edinburgh & Durham for the most prestigious choices, outside of the Golden Triangle, that also happen to be many miles away. Many people unequivocally, top students or not, do not want to move that far away from home - it comes down to personality type. Consequently, the insurance choice for these perhaps less adventurous students often ends up being Bristol, Warwick or Bath. Those who are eager for a proper campus experience will lean towards the latter two. It's neither here nor there, but Exeter also serves as an ideal insurance for good students (not top) with entry requirements that hover around AAB.

I've painted you an archetype here. One that I am familiar with through informal conversation & my own observations.

You raise a good point in regards to non-STEM courses diluting entry standards for large institutions like UCL & KCL, although I'm not quite sure what you mean by FLAME. I'd be curious to extract these grades from the average as you say, and generate a more like-for-like comparison. Here's some stats on Bath's Mechanical Engineering department.
(edited 1 month ago)