How To Use The Guardian University Guide 2022 | University guide
Welcome to the Guardian University Guide 2022. With the worst of the pandemic hopefully behind us, the future is starting to look a little more certain, and that’s good news for your after-school plans. This guide is here to help you understand them.
Unlike other rankings, Guardian rankings focus on the things that matter most to students, like good education and job prospects, rather than basing them on academic research.
We rank universities according to eight different scores, which make up a total of 100. These include what students say about their teaching, feedback, and the course itself in the annual national student survey. This year, we have combined the results of the 2021 and 2020 surveys to reflect the universities’ response to the pandemic and their performance in a normal year.
We also look at class size through the student-to-staff ratio and how much universities spend on teaching per student, as well as students’ grades at A-level and whether their academic performance is improving at university (the score value added), and what is the likelihood of them continuing their course. There is also data on the number of students who get a graduate job 15 months after leaving university. Any blank space means data is missing, so we focus on the other metrics instead.
On this site you will find our general ranking of UK universities. But you’ll also want to think about which universities are best for teaching the course you’re passionate about – so check out our subject tables. Keep in mind that rankings change every year and some universities may benefit from temporary measures such as funding increases. This year, some may have slipped down the table because of their response to the pandemic.
You might feel intimidated deciding where to spend the next three years of your life, which is why we’ve asked the experts for their best advice, along with plenty of information on how to get the most out of your college experience.
This is perhaps more important than ever after 18 months of disruption in your life and education. This guide is designed to help you find the exciting, rewarding and memorable college experience you deserve. Good luck.
What’s in the Guide?
A general ranking of universities in the United Kingdom
We have ranked universities based on their Guardian score. You can see how they fared for each of the factors that we think are important. We believe that the universities at the top of the table offer the best education and the best experience for students.
The higher the university is in the general ranking, the more difficult it will be to enter. Column nine tells you the typical Ucas score of a person studying the subject that interests you.
Not all universities are included in the overall table. Some specialized institutions teach very few subjects, so we cannot classify them as more general universities, but they will always appear in the subject tables.
There are some gaps in the columns, where data is missing. When data is missing, the Guardian score was calculated based on previous performance for that metric and the remaining metrics. To be listed, a university cannot miss more than 40% of its data.
Rankings for each subject
The guide also contains 54 subject tables, so you can see which universities are doing well in teaching your field. In each area there are several course options. For example, you might be interested in an illustration course. Illustration falls within the realm of design and craftsmanship. So you can go to the design and craft board, search for universities that are doing well, click on the plus sign next to the university name, and search for illustration courses. Or you can put “illustration” directly in the course search at the top of the tables and see what happens.
You might need to know a little more about the subjects offered by universities, as there will be a lot of things that you haven’t encountered in school. Take a look at the subject profiles, all of which have been put together with the help of the academics who teach them, and detail how you will be taught and what work you might get.
Clicking on the name of a university in the tables will take you to its profile – you can read what makes each institution special and get the information you need on fees, accommodation, and scholarships. You will see how many students are male / female and where they are from.
Legend of table titles
1. Guardian Ranking for this year.
2. Guardian Ranking for last year.
3. Name of the university.
4. The Guardian Score, out of 100, is a rating of excellence based on a combination of all other factors.
5. Course satisfaction: the grade for the overall quality of the course, given by the final year students in the last NSS.
6. Quality of teaching: the grade for the quality of teaching of the course, awarded by final year students of the NSS.
7. Feedback: the grade for the quality of feedback and evaluation, awarded by final year students of the SNRS.
8. Staff-to-student ratio: the number of students per member of the teaching staff.
9. Expenditure per student: money spent for each student, excluding academic staff costs, given by a score out of 10.
10. Average entry price: Ucas scores typical of young entrants (under 21) in the department.
11. Value-added score: it compares the results of the students with their entry qualifications, to show the efficiency with which they are taught. It is given as a score out of 10.
12. Career after 15 months: Percentage of graduates who find university-level employment or pursue professional-level or higher studies within 15 months of graduation. This reflects how good the university is in terms of employability.
13. Pursuit rate: the percentage of first year students who go on to second year.
A few points on the methodology
In some universities there are so few students studying a particular subject that we cannot include them in the statistics. Courses with a small number of students are listed at the end of each table, but are not ranked. This should not be taken as a comment on their quality.
In compiling our tables we have been advised by a group of experts made up of professionals from UK universities. The group meets regularly to follow the evolution of topics and the way in which data is collected, and makes sure to produce the best possible guide.
The tables were compiled for the Guardian by Intelligent Metrix, an independent consulting firm specializing in performance measurement in higher education. Rankings are based on official data collected by the Higher Education Statistics Agency (Hesa) and the NSS.
If you want to know more about the methodology used to compile the tables, read the full explanation of Intelligent Metrix.
And if you’re the type of person who likes to play around with raw data, check out spreadsheets – they have all the numbers you might want to calculate.