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The Times and Sunday Times University League Table

Prior to 2007, The Times tables were compiled by Mayfield University Consultants, the instigators of The Complete University Guide and, when their association ceased, the task was assumed by Exeter Enterprises, a subsidiary of the University of Exeter. Similarities remain in both these sets of tables, although with each year that passes there is greater divergence within their methodologies. The Sunday Times and The Times published separate tables until September 2013, when they compiled a combined ranking for the first time.

Mayfield Consultants have been compiling league tables since 1995 and, early on, recognized the potential of a dedicated web-based university guide. The Complete University Guide was launched in 2007 in partnership with Constable & Robinson, independent publisher since 1795. It attempts to do what the Sunday Times and The Times do in their book and supplement. In the past, it has also given the Independent an exclusive right to publish its tables in the newspaper and on their website.

The advantages of the web are obvious and all of the compilers are now strongly developing their own sites. The tables can be interactive and are put into perspective by surrounding text thus allowing users to generate their own bespoke tables based on their individual preferences.

In most cases, there is a cost to gain access to the tables. The guide book published by The Times and the Sunday Times has always carried a price tag and this has been joined by a pay wall on their newspaper sites. Thus, their web tables can now only be viewed in their entirety on payment of a fee. A basic tenet of The Complete University Guide from its inception is that there should be no cost to the user. There is ample evidence to suggest that buyers of guide books are skewed towards the higher socio-economic groups. In summary, there are a variety of ways to access university league tables but they are not uniform and certainly not all commercial.

Measures used in The Times and Sunday Times league table

Measure The Complete University Guide The Times & Sunday Times
Student satisfaction  
Research assessment    
Entry standards    
Student:staff ratio    
Spend on academic services    
Spend on student facilities    
Good honours degrees    
Completion rates    
Graduate prospects    

Other university league tables

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