York drops down 100 top universities list


New statistics have revealed that the University of York has dropped from 70th to 88th in the world’s top 100 universities table. The figures show a further decline from previous years also. In 2009 York ranked at 81st place, and in 2007 it ranked at 74th place.

The table is created by QS Topuniversities and is based upon research quality, graduate employability, teaching standards and how international the departments and student bodies are.

The University of York ranks 6th out of 172 universities for research quality, with 18 out of its 23 departments scoring 5 or 5* for research. The last RAE (Research Assesment Exercise), conducted in 2008, ranked the English, Biology, Health Economics and Health Sciences departments as number one in the UK for research.

According to the table, the majority of York students are satisfied with their learning experience despite a recent report showing that 87 per cent of York students answered ‘definitely’ or ‘maybe’ to a statement asked by a National Student Survey (NSS) report last month: ‘Overall, I am satisfied with the quality of my course’.

Despite falling in the overall rankings, most departments in York are shown to be advancing in the QS 2010 statistics. The Arts and Humanities departments have moved up 25 places to 75th in the world, whilst Life Sciences and Biomedicine, Natural Sciences and Social Sciences have also all moved up but are still outside the top 100 universities. Only Engineering and IT have dropped down the table.

Ben Humphrys, YUSU Academic Officer, told Nouse: “A high international reputation is important for recruitment, for the profile of our students to national and international businesses and in securing funding for the University; so it’s both great that the University is still in the top 100 and disappointing that we’ve dropped. However, when it comes to the actual experience of studying at York these indicators have got to be taken with a pinch of salt – very few of these indicators refer to the factors which affect students. For students at York it’s crucial that we pay attention to the real indicators of the experience – the NSS, student staff ratios, facilities spend and our regular departmental checks.”

For the first time in seven years an Ivy League University has been knocked off the top spot by a UK institution, Cambridge University. Oxford, however, dropped from number five to number six in the rankings. Overall the UK fell from joint-third to 16th place in the rankings. Finland has topped the league table, with Iceland coming second. In the UK, 38.7 per cent of school-leavers go on to gain a degree, according to the figures, whereas in Iceland it is over 66 per cent.

Sally Hunt, of the University and College Union, said: “We have plummeted down a graduate league table – going from a major player to a relegation candidate in less than a decade.”

To see YUSU’s comment on the recently released National Student Survey, visit http://www.yusu.org/blog/entry/435.


  1. 8 Sep ’10 at 5:14 pm

    Janny Chollen

    clugs what you doing to me


  2. The list is laughable anyway. The fact York acknowledged it last year stank of the cheap desperation the university has for approval and recognition.


  3. 8 Sep ’10 at 6:44 pm

    Benjamin Hoff

    In that list, Manchester is 30th, Bristol 27th, Birmingham 59th, Sheffield 69th, all of whom come below York in the UK league tables.

    Gotta ask the weighting of these calculations, and just how effective a tool for measuring they are.


  4. Why is the fact that 38% of UK students go to university a bad thing? Can we afford to have 66% of students like Iceland, with a population the size of Leicester.

    In addition, I agree that the rankings are screwed, and not just out of partisanship. Perhaps they are more business rather than academia orientated?


  5. “Finland has topped the league table, with Iceland coming second.”

    No disrespect to Finns and Icelandics, but what the hell?!


  6. hardly a worrying fluctuation, if you insist on going by these league tables.

    but hey gogo arts and humanities at 75th.


  7. “According to the table, the majority of York students are satisfied with their learning experience despite a recent report showing that 87 per cent of York students answered ‘definitely’ or ‘maybe’ to a statement asked by a National Student Survey (NSS) report last month: ‘Overall, I am satisfied with the quality of my course’.”
    Someone needs to explain to me how this makes sense.
    Also, Finland and Iceland top the tables on number of graduates as a percentage of something or other…not quality. It’s such a pointless league, I don’t even know why people are giving it so much attention. Then again, “ZOMG Britain still isn’t that bad after all!” doesn’t make a very good headline.


  8. 9 Sep ’10 at 1:51 am

    proud to be York

    I really don’t think this matters a great deal tiny alterations in the world league methodology can cause large fluctuations. If we’d have fallen back out of the top 100 then that’d be a bit deal. We are still top 10 UK (in every league) and we are still top 100 worldwide. We are still York. Our name has resonance, I don’t think this should concern us at all.

    Interesting statistical stuff though.


  9. This system uses how international the departments and how international the students are as 2 measures.

    How does this influence quality. I agree its good to have teachers from all over, but surely that is an effect of being a good university attracting the best, not a cause. Universities from small countries e.g. belgium, Singapore or Hong Kong will have international teaching staff, due to small domestic talent pool,not due to university quality!


  10. This methodology is laughable. There is no way UCL is better than MIT, it promotes British and Commonwealth universities over superior European or American institutions, it’s no wonder The Times dropped their affiliation with QS.

    Berkeley is one of the top few research institutions in the world and is ranked 28th, up from 39th in 2009. Only Stanford and Harvard are real all round equals in research.

    Dartmouth is one of the best undergraduate universities in the world, an Ivy League member, a feeder for the best graduate programmes in the US and has the top median mid-career salary for any American university. Ranked 90 down from 85.

    The other main ranking (ARWU) puts too much emphasis on science and international prizes and is equally flawed. We can’t really compare ourselves as a university to others around the world, only our UK ranking is anything close to being a good indicator of quality.


  11. Why can’t UCL be better than MIT? I mean, of course MIT has a better name, and nearly certainly a better engineering department, but I suppose it does not compare to UCL when it comes to politics or philosophy.

    Concerning the statistic about Dartmouth salary, does this take into account graduate students? Because its business school is ranked 4th in the world…



  12. anyone see the sunday times league table ? York fell from 8th to 13th. worrying indeed.


  13. This is from 2004, but it has MIT higher than UCL for politics, MIT doesn’t have a philosophy department though. The latest US New graduate ranking has MIT politics in the top 10 in the US.


    As for the salary info, it doesn’t take Tuck BS into account. I can’t remember where it was from but it had the usual suspects at the top, Princeton, Harvard, Caltech, Harvey Mudd etc. I’m not trying to sing the praises of US universities, nor specifically Berkeley, Dartmouth or MIT, though clearly some of those British universities listed aren’t as good as those that rank similarly from the US.


  14. @Hova and in other tables, york has risen to 8th/9th this year. fluctuations are inevitable.
    though the newest Sunday Times league table is pretty awful in my opinion. LSE is ranked 30th for economics, 33rd for history. York is 20th in the history table, Edinburgh is about 40th, and KCL is ranked above Oxbridge.
    I’ll leave you to judge the accuracy of the table from there.