Lancaster University has shot up the rankings to reach 10th place in The Times Good University Guide, published last week.
Rated 23rd last year, this is the first time Lancaster has been placed within the top 10.
“Lancaster University’s astronomical rise into the top 10 UK universities this year is a clear indication of the high quality student experience provided here,” said Michael Payne, LUSU President. “Lancaster University Students’ Union is proud of its significant contribution to improving the student experience and will continue to work closely with the University to improve the lives of students in so many ways.
“This increase in the rankings clearly brings a marked increase in the value of students’ degrees from Lancaster; a welcome gift in the current graduate employment market,” Payne added.
Professor Paul Wellings, Lancaster’s Vice-Chancellor, told The Times: “This is the first time that Lancaster has entered the top 10 group of universities in The Times Good University Guide, which reflects not only Lancaster’s leading research and innovative teaching, but also the great overall experience that we offer students. Lancaster is committed to giving students the very best education and to equipping them well to compete and stand out in the jobs market.”
The league table rates 113 British universities and is based on performance in eight categories, including student satisfaction, quality of research and graduate employment rates. Over the past twelve months Lancaster has significantly improved in seven out of the eight criteria.
One of the biggest improvements came in the area of graduate employment, something which has historically held Lancaster back from reaching the highest echelons of university rankings. Data used in the compilation of the 2011 guide showed that over 78% of students who graduated in 2008 found graduate-level employment or went on to further study, compared to 64% in the previous year.
The university has put in a considerable amount of work over the past few years to improve Lancaster students’ employment prospects. The Lancaster Award, a new initiative for the 2009-2010 academic year, has been designed in conjunction with the Centre for Employability, Enterprise and Careers (CEEC) to give Lancaster students the chance to gain a wide range of skills in order to stand out from the crowd when applying for jobs.
“Being in the top 10 UK universities gives students a double benefit,” said LUSU VP (Academic Affairs) Danny Ovens. “ On one hand, the university and LUSU have both achieved a lot to benefit students, for example the Lancaster Award and a greater amount of opportunities within the students’ union for students to gain additional skills. As a consequence of this, we have got into the top 10, which brings with it a certain prestige both current students and alumni can carry with them.”
Further successes include an 80% satisfaction score in the National Student Survey of final-year undergraduates. The university has also increased investment in facilities, with £1,746 being spent per student on new building works, up £300 on last year.
In terms of subject rankings, Physics and Astronomy and French have both been ranked 10th in the UK, with a 94% employment rate for graduates in French.
Lancaster has had further success in The Independent Complete University Guide 2011, published at the end of May, where it has risen to eighth position. The Independent’s guide also ranks Lancaster first in the North West, and rates Accounting and Finance sixth and Business Studies eighth overall.