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UCL has been named University of the Year by The Times’ new league table

Jeremy Bentham approves

University College London (UCL) is the University of the Year, according to the new Good University Guide 2024 by The Times and Sunday Times.

Ranking sixth in the UK, the league table recognises UCL for its impactful research on global issues, innovative curriculums, “visionary” new campus in East London, student life, and graduate prospects.

UCL’s President and Provost, Dr. Michael Spence, said the award is “a testament to the dynamic and diverse community of students and staff who make UCL such an extraordinary place.”

Other London universities amongst the top 10 on the national ranking include London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) in fourth place and Imperial College London in fifth.

UCL’s ranking improved from last year, climbing from seventh to sixth place

Using data from sources like UCAS, The Good University Guide ranks UK universities in student satisfaction, quality of teaching, graduate job prospects, entry standards, and research quality. The title of “University of the Year” has also been awarded since 1999, with UCL previously snatching the title in 2004.

While rankings are certainly nothing new, The Times and Sunday Times claims “the higher education landscape has never been more challenging” than this year, with increasing competition to get into top institutions, soaring tuitions and student debt, remnant harm of Covid to campus life, and the “running scandal” of lecturer strikes and marking boycotts.

It also suggested that these problems might have contributed to students preferring programmes with better career prospects. Amongst other trends, data used in The Good University Guide 2024 showed how applications for subjects relevant to computer science grew nearly 10 per cent in the past 12 months, and the number of arts degrees offered has declined.

This might be why “high scores for graduate jobs” was specifically mentioned as one of the reasons why UCL was chosen as the University of the Year. The uni is ranked ninth nationally for graduate outcome by the guide for the fourth year in a row and described as “a top recruiting ground for large employers.”

Alongside graduate prospects, UCL is also given the title for promoting “futuristic development” through research, curriculums, and facilities that reflect its motto of “disruptive thinking since 1826.”

UCL’s new campus in Stratford is noted for having ‘multidisciplinary research labs and state-of-the-art facilities, a lecture theatre that doubles as a cinema, and a public skatepark’

Provost Dr Michael Spence said: “Our high-achieving, curious students learn from and work alongside world-leading academics, getting directly involved in research that breaks boundaries and tackles global challenges.

“This is a particularly exciting year for us, as we are opening our new campus at East Bank on Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in East London. UCL East is the culmination of years of passion and perseverance as we and our partners bring the vision of our new site to life, driving local innovation to transform lives across the globe.”

Helen Davies, editor of The Good University Guide, added: “Almost two centuries since its founding, in 1826, UCL continues to challenge its students, raises the bar for research and provokes global debate on everything from detecting cancers to legal action on behalf of those affected by climate change. The expansion of its curriculum, and its campus into east London, is visionary.”

You can see The Good University Guide 2024 by The Times and The Sunday Times in full here.

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