Oxford back on top

The University of Oxford topped The Times’ University of the Year league table for the first time in 12 years, beating long-time rivals such as Cambridge, St Andrews, and LSE. Second place went to the University of St Andrews, who won last year, and Cambridge took third.

The universities are rated on several factors including “teaching excellence”, “student satisfaction”, and the proportion of graduates who are able to find employment or progress to postgraduate study. Oxford performed strongly across all academic measures, and what truly put it ahead was having the lowest student-to-staff ratio, coming in at 10.5:1.

Oxford came first for 2:1s and Firsts, with 94.5% of graduates achieving those grades. It came joint-first for completion rate (99%) and ranked fourth for graduate prospects, with 91.6% of students going on to professional jobs or postgraduate studies.

Zoe Thomas, the guide’s principal author, told the Oxford Mail: “The reason that Oxford edged it this year is its extremely low staff to student ratio. It speaks very clearly of their tradition of having a don and up to two other students.”

Ms Thomas added: “The extraordinary work on the AstraZeneca Covid vaccine cannot be overlooked but it was not part of our methodology. Still, it is part of the rich profile that [the University] brings to everything that it does.”

Professor Dame Louise Richardson, the outgoing Vice-Chancellor of the University of Oxford, said: “My colleagues and I are delighted by this news. It is a testament to the talent and commitment of staff across the collegiate university as well as to the creativity and resilience of our students who refused to allow a pandemic to derail their education.”

Oxford, Cambridge, St Andrews, Durham and LSE, five of the most prestigious British universities, came in respectively at 1st, 3rd, 2nd, 6th and 4th place.

Oxford frequently tops many different league tables, both globally and nationally, but now it has finally regained its spot in the prestigious University of the Year league table.

Image description: The Radcliffe Camera

Image credit: Elliot Parker for the OxStu