The University of Sussex has dropped to 21st place in the Independent newspaper’s Complete University Guide for 2012-2013, but has retained its place as the third best university in the South East of England. The university had been in 19th place in both 2012 and 2011. Despite this fall in ranking, the university’s overall score has increased by 24 points.
The Vice-Chancellor, Professor Michael Farthing, said: “The differences between the leading institutions as measured by the Complete University Guide are very slight – just a handful of points out of 800 or more can mean a rise or fall of two or three places.”
Points are awarded for entry standards, student satisfaction, research assessment and graduate prospects. The University of Sussex achieved a particularly high score in the ‘student satisfaction’ category, ranked as highly as universities such as Exeter (10th overall) and Bath (13th overall), who were awarded far higher cumulative scores.
Farthing added that: “Over the last five years we have seen a clear and consistent increase in our rankings across all league tables as a whole, with other national guides placing us firmly in the top 20 overall. Higher education is a tough, competitive world. While we’ve improved significantly in recent years, this latest league table shows that we need to continue to focus on the quality of teaching and research at Sussex and – as a result – do even better in the rankings.”
The university is in the top ten institutions for nine subjects, including Psychology (8th), Media Studies (5th), History of Art (5th), and forth in both Social Work and American Studies. These are not the only successes, with Anthropology, History of Art, Law, Italian, Philosophy, Politics and Social Work all improving their overall rankings.
Data on indicators such as entry standards, student-staff ratios, spending on academic services and graduate prospects are collated and provided by the Higher Education Statistic Agency (HESA), and joint with information from the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) about research quality.
A second year Politics student remarked on the data, saying: “I’m not surprised that politics has improved its ranking, and overall student satisfaction is so high. I’m really enjoying my time studying at Sussex , the teaching’s great and I feel really supported.”
There are many other league tables released by various newspapers and institutions, using differing criteria and methodology. Times Higher Education rankings rated the University of Sussex as the 99th best university in the world, and rankings for next year are due sometime in September.
Student experience is taken into account in most rankings, and individual surveys, purely for student experience exist.
The National Student Survey (NSS) is open to all final year students each year, and the anonymous feedback is accessible by prospective students and advisors, as well as for improvement by universities.