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Oxford places second in Good University Guide, beaten by St Andrews

After placing first in the The Sunday Times and The Times “Good University” ranking last year, Oxford has fallen down to second place in the 2024 rankings. While it still ranked first in the South-East region, St Andrews has come out on top overall.

The ranking is based on teaching value, student experience, research quality, entry standards, graduate prospects, first-class and upper-second-class (2:1) degrees, staff-student ratio, and the continuation rate. 

Out of the criteria, Oxford placed first in the highest staff-student ratio (10.3), ranking second in first-class and 2:1 degrees (94.1%) and the continuation rate (98.5%). 

Oxford scored fourth place for graduate prospects, with 92.5% of students continuing into professional jobs or graduate study. The average graduate salary was £32,000. 

It also offers the second-best degree in terms of earning potential, with graduates in the area of business, management and marketing expecting to take home £58,000 within 15 months of graduating. This was only outperformed by Imperial College’s computer science degree, where the average salary reached £64,000. 

The metrics for teaching value and student experience for Oxford are absent from the final table, as they rely on the National Student Survey (NSS) results from 2022 and 2023. However, the SU and students previously boycotted the National Student Survey over concerns that the link between the survey and the Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF) could have permitted high-performing universities to raise their fees. 

Since no results from 2022 were available, the Good University ranking adjusted data from 2016 for its calculations, yet chose to omit the exact values from the tables. 

However, the 2023 results from the NSS survey are available since no active boycott of the NSS took place this year. The Oxford NSS website further states that “the previously perceived link to the TEF framework and fees and the commercialisation of Higher Education” has “now been considered.” 

In these recent NSS results, Oxford placed 51 with a 79.4% positivity rating. This was based on 32 questions related to teaching, learning opportunities, assessment and feedback, academic support, organisation and management, learning resources, and student voice.

Besides the general ranking, the Good University Guide measured social inclusion, in which Oxford progressed from place 115 to 109. This included the % of state-schooled students (53.5%) and students with an ethnic background at Oxford (24.6%).

Oxford also placed first in ten subject-specific Good University Rankings, including in English, Mechanical Engineering, and Medicine.

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