mperial has been ranked fourth in The Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2018. This sees the College rise one place after overtaking Durham.
An analysis published by Imperial cites improvements in teaching quality and student experience as the main reasons for its rise in the rankings. Out of the 129 universities and higher education institutes included in the rankings, Imperial is 104th for teaching (up from 124th last year) and 31st for student experience (up from 77th in 2017). Following last year’s results, provost Professor James Stirling promised to address issues surrounding feedback and assessments. Vice-provost (education) Professor Simone Buitendijk said: “This year we’ve made great strides in our ambition to make Imperial a beacon for innovative, evidence-based, and inclusive teaching. Our new Learning and Teaching Strategy gives us a clear framework to build on our existing strengths and drive the changes that our students want and need.
Of the 14 subject tables Imperial appears in, it is in the top three for nine. This is a slight decrease on last year. Ranks have improved in six subjects and fallen in four. Changes here are again a result of teaching and student experience, boosting the score for physics but causing a drop for mathematics and chemistry. It is worth noting that these measures are relevant to other universities. This means Imperial fell in the medicine rankings as Edinburgh and Swansea made improvements. The remaining subjects have maintained their positions from last year, including civil engineering and geology, for which Imperial is top of the tables. The College’s analysis states that while being generally outranked by Oxford and Cambridge, Imperial is still ahead of UCL in both national and subject rankings.
“Of the 14 subject tables Imperial appears in, it is in the top three for nine”
The results also indicate that standards at Imperial are higher this year. The required 222 UCAS points places Imperial between Cambridge (230 points) and Oxford (221 points). Although Imperial makes more offers than Oxford and Cambridge, competition is arguably fiercer here. Applications to Imperial were up six per cent this year with an application:place ratio of 7.6:1.
There is additional good news for students nearing the end of their studies: Imperial has a 96.2 per cent completion rate, with 88.6 per cent of students achieving a first or 2:1. At 41.8 per cent, Imperial has the highest proportion of graduates leaving with a first-class degree of any higher education institute in the country. It will be interesting to see how this changes in future given recent concerns about grade inflation.
It gets better for graduates. The median salary for an Imperial graduate was £30,000 — considerably more than the average £21,000 (though admittedly not that much more if you factor in London living costs).
Imperial holds onto second place for both research quality and graduate prospects, beaten Translation and Innovation Hub and the Molecular Sciences Research Hub, which will see researchers begin work in 2018.
“We can and will provide the world-class educational experience our students deserve”
These general improvements follow a fairly tumultuous year which saw Imperial fall nine places in the QS World Graduate Employability Rankings, place 8th in the Times Higher Education global rankings, and receive a gold rating in the Teaching Excellence Framework (AKA the reason our tuition fees have gone up again).
Prior to that, research conducted at Imperial was judged to have the greatest impact on society and the economy than all other UK universities in the 2014 Research Excellence Framework. Ninety per cent of Imperial’s research was also rated as world-leading or internationally excellent.
Professor Buitendijk said: “Our goals are ambitious and we know that there is much work to do but we are confident that we can and will provide the world-class educational experience our students deserve.”