University of York drops six places in Guardian league table

York have fallen out of the top ten and into 15th place in this year’s Guardian university league tables.

In the new rankings York has moved six places lower than last year and now lies just below the University of Bath. York was the only university out of the top ten last year to fall by more than three places.

Despite winning the 2010 Times Higher Education University of the Year award, York has also fallen out of the top ten universities in the Complete University Guide.

One of the reasons for the slide down the Guardian table is that the career prospects percentage for graduates finding employment after six months has gone down by four per cent over the last year – a problem that has been highlighted at York for many years.

Ben Humphrys, YUSU Academic Affairs Officer, warned to take the league tables “with a pinch of salt” but “what does matter is the driving force in this drop; student satisfaction in a few departments fell significantly last year.

“Work has already been done to address this, but externals and applicants take league tables seriously so these results should inspire more focus on improving the student experience in those departments.”

Charlotte Griffiths, a first-year James College student, commented: “I think that is disappointing because I chose my universities on the league table list. I looked at what universities were good in the tables and York was in the top ten and now it is gutting.”

The Guardian’s University league table takes into account topics such as ‘student’s satisfaction with teaching and feedback’, the staff-student ratio, the amount spent per student, as well as student jobs six months after graduation.

Within the top 60, 38 universities will be charging the full £9,000 with many others expected to make a similar decision in the near future.


  1. 17 May ’11 at 1:06 pm

    2nd Year No Fear

    What a fool the person who picked her university based on league tables is…

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  2. 17 May ’11 at 1:16 pm

    Jonathan Frost

    I agree, but a university’s reputation is a factor surely? Regardless, I don’t think this is something to be concerned about, just inevitable fluctuation. Next year may well see a rise.

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  3. I think Ben Humphreys ought to be taking a harder line than “a pinch of salt”; I wouldn’t mind knowing which departments saw the biggest swings, and to hear exactly what measures are being taken. Not for those to be charged £9000 (as York students inevitably will be), but for those who are here now.

    I am also surprised that there is not a more strongly fought campaign on campus from YUSU for better teaching standards in general – if I was them I’d be using this to get some radical changes: out of the top 10 IS a big deal, university degrees trade reputations as currency, and virtually nothing else.

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  4. 17 May ’11 at 4:20 pm

    Alexander Prowse

    Whislt these league tables seem to change a lot each year, it would be nice for York to keep a solid position in the top 10. Lancaster 7th, really?!

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  5. of course you base it partly on league tables, you ain’t gonna get employed by top companies if you’ve gone to a shit uni…

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  6. We’re usually in the top three for teaching, nationally. We were above Cambridge University for a number of years. Research sees us in the top six in the country, usually, too… so the problem is that of investment in facilities, # of 1sts and 2is, various other things that are ranked. I haven’t looked at this specific league table situation to see why York has dropped (yet) but I imagine that we’re still very much in the top ten for teaching quality. Remember that we’ve had a few new departments and a bit of a shake-up, academically, too…

    And employers hardly use the league table. They use the general reputation of the university, and one year out of the top ten isn’t too big a deal. There needs to be a proper fight to get York back up to 5th or 6th, though.

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  7. The Guardian’s table is pretty shocking anyway, when I was choosing my Uni i paid attention to the league tables but ended up chosing York for the course content, I had offers from places 2 or three higher but those small margins were irrelevant! Everybody knows the Guardian talks out of its back pages…its all about the Times Guide

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  8. 17 May ’11 at 9:46 pm

    God damn hippies!

    I understand we are dropping due to our careers service… truth to tell, it’s terrible. Have you ever used their website? Do you even know the URL? York is not on the target list of any major company (with the possible exception of BAE and some others that fund our departments). Few companies bother coming up to our career fairs (understandably, as hippies tend to stage ‘die ins’ in front of their stalls).

    Anyway, this situation is terrible. Rankings do matter, because they reinforce a uni’s general reputation – if we were ranked at the top 5 consistently, our overall prestige would rise. Unfortunately, York is not seen in the same league as Warwick, UCL or LSE, even though the teaching is on a par, if not better.

    I’m seriously you guys – start getting our grads into top companies! Make it a priority. Advertise. Subsidise companies to travel up here if that’s what it takes. Send yearbooks with CVs to prospective employers. Hire a decent HR manager for the careers service. Do something!

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  9. 18 May ’11 at 10:33 am

    Brian Blessed

    The spending per student is pretty low as well, maybe we need another vice chancellor to make up for it?

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  10. Apparently we used to be consistently in the top seven.

    Then Cantor arrived.

    Lancaster presumably has better heads of management…

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  11. The Guardian bases its tables primarily on three different types of student satisfaction, unlike other universities which base their assessment on the RAE assessment.

    To be quite frank their assessment is rubbish. Durham has gone up and down the rankings like a yo-yo. When their ratings for specific subjects are so out-of-sync with other universities, questions must be asked.

    It’s all about the Times guide.

    But yes, the careers service needs seeing to.

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  12. 18 May ’11 at 6:03 pm

    Marcel Proust

    Only a fool of an applicant would look at these league tables and say that they dont want to come to York because we arent in the top 10 anymore. These rankings mean squat, if your going to be influenced by these tables you might as well look at one on egg and cress sandwich prices at each uni and make a decision based on that.

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  13. 18 May ’11 at 9:39 pm

    god bless hippies

    Obviously die-ins are more about raising the ethical considerations of a company that facilitates the killing of people than about getting graduates jobs at a times top 100 ranked employer. York should be an attractive university for employers to get graduates from, but at the expense of being an institution that flags up ethically absurd situations?

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  14. As I’ve said before, BAE is no more morally accountable than the UK government. Would you also stage die-ins if the Diplomatic Service had a stand? If no, then do not do it for BAE either. If yes, no wonder people do not want to come.

    The point is that such behaviour does not only deter BAE. It deters all sorts of other companies, who view York as a fairly left-wing university. Why waste resources sending people up North?

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  15. 19 May ’11 at 9:11 pm

    Peter O'Hanra-Hanrahan

    A liberal,

    York a “left-wing university”? You’re really full of **** aren’t you! :’D

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  16. Jason Rose – who cares if York has good teaching quality? You can have the best teachers in the world but it doesn’t matter if they’re teaching you easy stuff (compare maths here to Cambridge maths).

    And the idiots that say “only a fool would look at league tables!!!” – people like you are the reason York is going down. You have no intelligence if you think league tables don’t matter. Why would you go somewhere (if you can help it) that’s not doing well in the tables?

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  17. 25 May ’11 at 12:07 pm

    funded by military research

    unless you go to oxford or cambridge what uni you went to means fuck all in the real world, sad to say it’s what contacts you have that matters.

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  18. So in general would you recomend the University of York as a good place where a person can go and undertake his/her postgraduate degree?

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  19. Since student satisfaction was introduced league tables have been skewed. Clearly students at other universities had the common sense to rate their departments and university highly, even if they didn’t think so.

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