Discover our tailored Clearing advice for students, parents and teachers.
Choosing where to study

Why use our university league tables?

Our university league tables can help you understand more about each university, including its strengths and weaknesses, so you can make the best decision for you.

Group Of Students Using Computers In university library

The Complete University Guide league tables – why use them?

The Complete University Guide league tables can help you make a final choice on which university and course to apply for. They can also help you decide where to apply during Clearing and are designed for students to easily refine their search.

They give you the most informative, unbiased and up-to-date information before you have to decide where to apply or which offer to accept. 

The tables give you a comparative view of university performance that can be reordered by any of the ten measures (or five for subject tables) that matter the most to you. You can find out more about these measures on our How to use the league tables page.

The rankings in the Complete University Guide are based on data from before the start of the coronavirus pandemic, so this hasn't affected university performance data. You can see how rankings have changed over the last five years by looking at the university profiles.

League table FAQs

What’s the difference between Complete University Guide, The Times/Sunday Times and the Guardian league tables?

Unlike The Times, the Complete University Guide is free to access and it places more emphasis on university research than the Guardian’s tables. 

Both The Times and Complete University Guide have subject tables, but the Guardian has fewer. The Complete University Guide is also an independent publication.

Our measures are especially relevant to prospective students as they use information about student experience and support, as well as academic performance. This is to support a student making their university choice.

What if a university appears near the bottom of the table?

This simply means their overall score is lower than others, but remember that some high-ranking institutions score low on some measures, and some low-ranking institutions score well on others. They may also score better in some subjects than other universities, so be sure to consider the university’s performance overall and in your chosen subject. 

By appearing in the tables at all, an institution shows that it's subject to government scrutiny and meets government quality thresholds. So don’t rule out an institution that’s low in the main league table rankings if it does well on the measures or subject that matters to you.

How can one university have an overall score that’s higher than another, yet have lower scores for individual measures?

Each measure is weighted differently in the calculation of the overall score. Also, the measures have different distributions which are evened out by the methodology we use. This means that a small difference in the score (when the scores are naturally quite close together) can generate quite a large impact on the table and vice versa.

If have any more questions, visit our FAQs page

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