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For the 10th year in a row, the University of Cambridge leads the 2021 Complete University League Tables. The annually compiled league tables also highlight a good year for universities in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

At a time when students are facing more uncertainty than ever, from their grades to term start dates, the newly redesigned Complete University Guide annual League Tables bring a trusted source of information that is essential to students’ impending higher education decisions. Little change in the upper rankings will reassure students who are looking for confirmation of their choices. However, zoning in on those subjects that are key for today’s students, the landscape looks very different. Interestingly, at both the subject and university level, universities in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have performed particularly well this year.

Cambridge remains top for the 10th year in a row, closely followed by Oxford, with very little movement in the top 10, bringing some much-needed consistency and reassurance for students who are looking for confirmation that they are investing their futures in institutions that are performing reliably well. The most significant climb in the high rankings is Kings College London which this year rose 5 places to break into the top 20. The full League Tables can be accessed here.

Medicine, one of the most viewed subject League Tables on the Complete University Guide, has seen a considerable increase in views over the past few months, correlating with increases in searches for medical courses across IDP’s sites. The 2021 rankings for Medicine were also among the most turbulent, with considerable movement up and down and the addition of Buckingham as a new entry. Scottish universities performed particularly well with Dundee climbing 5 places to rank joint 1st with Glasgow, which also climbed two places. Another Scottish university, Aberdeen was one of the biggest movers climbing 7 places to enter the top ten and rank fourth for Medicine followed by Edinburgh which remained stable in fifth. Finally, a fifth Scottish university, St Andrews, was one of the biggest climbers in Medicine, rising 17 places to enter the top ten and rank 8th.

Other medical fields are also proving increasingly popular, likely driven by the current attention on the medical profession and additional push and pull factors of the coronavirus pandemic. Nursing, in particular, has demonstrated a considerable increase in popularity likely due to both the impact of the coronavirus and the reintroduction in England of the NHS Bursary for Nursing and other allied health professionals as of this September. In the Nursing Subject Table once again England seems to have been outperformed by other nations in the UK with Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales making up the majority of the big climbers and holding the top 3 table positions. Glasgow and Edinburgh retain their rank in first and second place, while Cardiff university climbed 9 places to rank third. Queens University Belfast, Dundee university, Bangor, West of Scotland University and the University of South Wales also all improved their position in the nursing League Table with Dundee showing the most significant change climbing 22 places.

Simon Emmett, CEO at IDP Connect, owners of the Guide said “Congratulations to the University of Cambridge, who have maintained their position at the top of the table for a decade. It’s been interesting to see changes at both a regional, national and subject level this year, we’ve seen a big increase in interest in courses related to Medicine, making the changes in those already popular tables particularly significant this year.”

For the 5th year, TheCompleteUniversityGuide.co.uk has published a ranking of specialist arts, drama and music institutions, with 14 Higher Education Providers including colleges and conservatoires, evaluated using 10 measures.

Fully online and free to access, TheCompleteUniversityGuide.co.uk university rankings provide users with greater flexibility than other rankings. Each of the Guide’s tables can be sorted by their individual measures, year, region and mission group (including unaffiliated universities). The league tables can be found in full, along with the methodology and more information at www.TheCompleteUniversityGuide.co.uk.

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Contact: Alison Patterson: Tel +44 (0) 75925 69751 or email admin@thecompleteuniversityguide.co.uk.

Notes for Editors

  1. The team behind TheCompleteUniversityGuide.co.uk has compiled university league tables for more than 25 years. Since 2007, these have been freely available online. The Guide is an autonomous division of IDP Connect, the international educational listing company, from which, by mutual agreement, it retains its complete editorial independence. In January 2017, IDP Connect (formerly Hotcourses Group) was acquired by IDP Education.

  2. The main League Table is based on ten measures: Entry Standards, Student Satisfaction, Research Quality, Research Intensity, Graduate Prospects, Student-Staff Ratio, Spending on Academic Services, Spending on Student Facilities, Good Honours Degrees, and Completion. It includes 130 institutions (131 last year).

    for a comparative rankings list of the main University League Table in 2021 and 2020.

  3. The Arts, Drama & Music League Table, published since 2016, lists 14 specialist institutions offering too small a subject range to appear in the Main Table.

    for a comparative rankings list of the Arts, Drama & Music League Table in 2021 and 2010.

  4. The 70 Subject Tables are based on five measures (Entry Standards, Student Satisfaction, Research Quality, Research Intensity, and Graduate Prospects) and include 145 universities, university colleges and specialist higher education institutions (143 last year).

  5. All University League Tables on TheCompleteUniversityGuide.co.uk can be filtered by year, region, and mission group (Cathedrals Group, GuildHE, Million+ Group, Russell Group, University Alliance, as well as unaffiliated universities). All tables can also be sorted by any of the measures that comprise them.

  6. Criteria for inclusion in the main University League Table or the 70 Subject Table can be seen.

CP - Image - Headshot - Ella Grimwade - UK
Ella Grimwade09 June 2020