The survey ranks institutions by analysing a range of other surveys and data including surveys on living costs, employment and salary on graduation, and student satisfaction. The following universities made the top ten.
Climbing from second place last year, Loughborough University comes top by scoring highly in several categories. Nine out of ten students are satisfied with their course – higher than the national average of 86 per cent – and students at the university rate their social life as one of the best in Britain.
University of Bath
Improving four places on last year, Bath University ranks second for quality of student life. It actually scores highest overall for satisfaction, with 93 per cent of students satisfied with their course. Furthermore, over 94 per cent of students find employment or another course after graduating, and students report high levels of satisfaction with their social life. Bath’s most popular programmes include Architecture, Psychology, Business Administration and Mechanical Engineering. All undergraduate subjects offer a sandwich option as part of a four- or five-year degree, with students able to spend a year abroad studying, or do a paid placement for a year.
While the University of Sheffield came out top for the best social life in the Times Higher Education (THE) Student Experience Survey, Durham University also scored highly in this category – despite slipping from top spot overall in this survey. Students at the university reportedly have access to some of the cheapest shops, bars and other amenities. Durham is known for its 11th century castle and Norman Cathedral, which together are designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site and dominate the city’s skyline. The university’s estate includes 63 listed buildings, ranging from the castle to a 1930s Art Deco Chapel and the historic Cosin’s library. The university’s sports centre, The Graham Sports Centre, is based at Maiden Castle. It has an indoor rowing tank, a fencing piste, athletics tracks and sports pitches.
The University has been named the third safest university in England and Wales by The Complete University Guide 2014, as it has the third lowest incidence of student-relevant crime within three miles
Newcastle is a research intensive university located 15 minutes away from the city centre. According to the Complete University Guide, Newcastle University has continued to climb up the ranks of its league table since 2011, climbing from 29 to 20. According to this survey, the university has managed to maintain its position in fourth for quality of student life.
University of Glasgow
Founded in 1451, the University of Glasgow is the fourth-oldest university in the English speaking world and one of Scotland’s four ancient universities. While the highest full time salaries on graduation are earned by students from the London School of Economics (LSE) – probably because the university produces so many investment bankers – students at the University of Glasgow also earn good salaries following graduation – on average £25,111. Glasgow is the UK’s first UNESCO City of Music. With a large student population, the city has a young, progressive feel and there are numerous choices when it comes to going out. Dancing on tables and late nights are not uncommon in Glasgow, a city that caters for all tastes with 700 bars and over 400 eateries.
- University of Cambridge
The University of Cambridge is the third-oldest university in the world, having been formed in the early 13th century. Similar to the University of Oxford, the University of Cambridge dropped three places this year, from third in 2013 to sixth this year. According to the THE world rankings, the university ranks fifth, behind Oxford but ahead of Imperial College London, which is the only other university in the UK to make the top 20.
- Northumbria University
According to accommodation costs from HEFCE, students at Northumbria University have the cheapest available; helping the university climb from 11th place last year into the top 10 this year. It is the largest University in the North East of England and has 33,000 students from more than 100 countries. Northumbria places a great deal of focus on graduate employment, and many students choose to take an industrial placement year during their studies.
University of Oxford
The oldest university in the English-speaking world (and the second oldest surviving in the world after the University of Bologna), the University of Oxford can trace its roots back to at least the 11th century. While the University of Oxford ranked highly in Times Higher Education world university league tables – coming in third behind the California Institute of Technology and Harvard – in terms of quality of student life, the university comes in in eighth place (falling three places on last year).
University of Dundee
Along with Durham University, the University of Dundee has access to some of the cheapest shops, bars and amenities. The area around the university also has the third lowest crime rate – 5.5 per 1,000 residents.
The University of Dundee has the only British law school which offers qualifying degrees in both Scottish and English law.
University of Exeter
The University of Exeter has invested £380 million into its three campuses. The University of Exeter’s schools and colleges were established in the middle of the 19th century – the oldest being the School of Art, which was established in 1855. The most popular courses at the university are English, History and Psychology.
Interesting: Harry Potter author JK Rowling studied at the University of Exeter, and some of the characters in her books are based on her college professors.