The Complete University Guide (CUG), was first published in 2007 and became part of the Hotcourses group in 2015. CUG recently released the 2021 University League Tables. The latest ranking includes 130 universities in the UK and 70 colleges.
Rankings of the CUG are compiled using statistics from NSS and HESA. NSS (The National Student Survey) gathers students‘ opinions on the quality of their courses, provides data that supports universities and colleges to improve the student experience – Higher Education Funding Council for England and Scottland Higher Funding Education Council. The Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA) collects data from all publicly funded higher education institutions in the UK as well as a small number of private providers, including student data information, staff data information, and financial records.
Statistical sources of CUG
The 2021 Complete University Guide rankings are complied from three major sources: NSS, 2021 REF and HESA.
√ NSS (The National Student Survey)：gathers students‘ opinions on the quality of their courses, provides data that supports universities and colleges to improve the student experience – Higher Education Funding Council for England and Scottland Higher Funding Education Council.
√ 2021 REF (Research Excellence Framework)：research impact evaluation of British higher education institutions, also the underlying source towards CUG rankings.
√ HESA (The Higher Education Statistics Agency)：collects data from all publicly funded higher education institutions, including entry standards, student satisfaction, research quality, student-staff ratio, and etc.
Cambridge and Oxford ranked 1st and 2nd
Cambridge and Oxford are ranked 1st and 2nd respectively. LSE, IC and UCL are ranked in the top 10. Loughborough University has moved up two positions from last year and is expected to rank into the top 5. Two key factors contributing to the institution’s ranking this year are its low staff-to-student ratio and high academic services spending.
At 11th place is the University of Warwick, however, scores have decreased significantly from the previous year. Manchester University remains in the top 20 at 17th place but has moved down two positions from 2020. King’s College London and the University of London have moved into the top 20, moving up five positions from the year before.
Queen’s University Belfast has been the biggest increment, jumping from 37th to 27th this year, with a high score in student satisfaction. Imperial College London has the highest ranking in terms of graduate prospects, receiving a score of 94. Imperial College London specializes in medical and healthcare subjects with a low student-to-staff ratio and a high academic services spending. However, its other scores remain low.
Understanding the rankings of CUG
➤ Entry Standards: 10%
Entry requirements, the difficulty of admission (unlimited)
➤ Student Satisfaction: 15%
A guide on student satisfaction based on the quality of teaching they receive. (up to a score of 5)
➤ Research Quality: 10%
The measure of the quality of research undertaken in the university. (up to a score of 4)
➤ Research Intensity: 5%
The proportion of staff involved in high-quality research. (up to a score of 1)
➤ Student–Staff Ratio:10%
Average staff levels at the university. (unlimited)
➤ Academic Services Spend:5%
How much the university spends on supporting services such as library & IT. (unlimited)
➤ Facilities Spend:5%
How much the university spends on support services, such as career services, health and counseling. (unlimited)
➤ Good Honours:10%
Percentage of graduates receiving an upper-class honors degree. (up to a score of 100)
➤ Graduate Prospects: 10%
Guide to the success of graduates based on completion of their courses (up to a score of 100)
➤ Overall Score: 100%
Total score. (up to 100)
Source：BBC, The Telegraph, Complete University Guide
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