University League Tables: Cambridge Beats Oxford As Best University

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The latest university league tables are out, and yet again the battle for the top was a two horse race between Oxford and Cambridge.

Cambridge regained its place at the top in the Guardian's 2014 league tables, while Oxford was forced to settle for second place for the third year running.

cambridge university students

Cambridge students stripped off and lathered on the cream during recent Caesarian Sunday celebrations

The rankings, which are based on several factors, including student to staff ratios, career prospects and expenditure per student, saw the London School of Economics, St Andrews and UCL rank third, fourth and fifth respectively. Surrey University leapt into the top 10 from 12th place in 2013 while Warwick dropped from fifth to 10th place.

Sir Christopher Snowden, Surrey's vice-chancellor, said: "I am absolutely delighted that we have reached eighth place, and that all the hard work of our colleagues has been recognised in this prestigious league table.

"We always seek to maximise the quality of our teaching, learning and research which, together with our investment in resources, has contributed to our success. Surrey's high scores for student satisfaction and high entry qualifications have helped us become recognised as a leading university in the UK and internationally."

The league table's results are heavily influenced by final year undergraduates who provide feedback on their universities via the National Student Survey. They are questioned on "key issues" such as quality of their courses, teaching standards and facilities at their respective universities.

The University of Northampton was also hailed as a success story, rocketing 39 places to be in the top 50. Professor Nick Petford, vice-chancellor for the institution, said he was "delighted" with the university's position.

"Our commitment to student experience, intellectual capital, strategic partnerships and financial sustainability is all part of our ‘Raising the Bar’ strategy," he said. "As we continue to value these four critical success factors we will endeavour to head towards delivering outstanding life changing opportunities in education."

Other notable movers were Leicester, which jumped to 13th from 19th place and Birmingham which climbed 15 places from its position at 30.

Sussex University has taken the biggest tumble, coming in at 50th out of the 119 institutions. In the 2013 rankings, the university came 27th, and ranked 11th in 2012. The drop has been attributed to declining job prospects for its graduates - rather than the recent privatisation protests.

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