Deciding on a course and university for postgraduate study is tough and using a league table is a handy way to see how institutions compare with each other. Using the Guardian University Guide is a useful way to rank institutions and the good news is that they've just released their 2018 rankings.
What Do These League Tables Look At?
The Guardian University Guide focuses on subject areas and looks a few different aspects to come up with its total score for each institution. A total score for each institution is calculated by averaging out the score for the institution for each subject area. The Guardian University Guide looks at some National Student Survey Statistics, Value Added Scores – which is how much value an institution adds to a student's chances of getting a 2:1 or above, Student-Staff ratios, Expenditure per Student, Entry Scores, and Career Prospects.
How Are These League Tables Worked Out?
The different areas reviewed are given different weightings for the total score. The National Student Survey Teaching and Assessment and Feedback sections and the Expenditure per Student score are 10% each of the total score. The Value Added, Student-Staff Ratio, Entry Scores and Career Prospects are all given a weighting of 16.25%. Finally, the National Student Survey Overall Satisfaction score is 5% of the total score for an institution.
Points To Watch Out For
The students surveyed and the subjects included are all based on undergraduate students and degree subjects. The Guardian University Guide doesn't consider the research conducted at a university as this is of little concern for undergraduates. There is a threshold for the minimum number of students that an institution has enrolled in a subject to be included in the rankings. Just because an institution doesn't rank in a subject area doesn't mean that they're not an excellent place for study or research.
Which Institutions Ranked Highly This Year?
The Guardian University Guide Top 10 Institutions for 2018
Changes To The 2018 Methodology
The Guardian University Guide tries to keep the methodology the same and has done since 2008. The unchanging nature of the methodology means that if an institution has gone up the rankings you can see that there are some great improvements going on. This year they used the National Student Survey in a different way to previous years by concentrating on the Teaching, Assessment and Feedback, and Overall Satisfaction sections. They also used the undergraduate entry UCAS tariff under the new system and converted statistics they had received that were from the old tariff system.
It's best to remember that the Guardian University Guide surveys undergraduates and the courses they take. This means that there is no consideration given to research. The ranking of an institution is not the only consideration as there are plenty of non-academic factors that will form part of your decision as well. However looking at well respected rankings figures are a good place to start when trying to choose a university for your postgraduate studies.