Cambridge leads Complete University Guide

2018 rankings show an improving picture for HE, driven by increased spending on student facilities and services

The 2018 rankings show an improving picture across the HE sector, driven by better graduate employment prospects and increased spending by the universities on student facilities and services.

Cambridge holds on to first place, as does Oxford in second. St Andrews has risen to third place for the first time in Main Table, which this year ranks 129 UK universities.

Although the universities comprising the top 10 remain the same, the order in which they have ranked has changed.

In addition to St Andrews, University College London has climbed three places to seventh. Loughborough has fallen three places to tenth, while the London School of Economics (fourth) and Imperial College London (fifth) have both fallen by one place.

Nationally the top 10 universities are Cambridge, Oxford, St Andrews, London School of Economics, Imperial College London, Durham, University College London, Warwick, Lancaster and Loughborough

Dr Bernard Kingston, Chairman of, said: “This year there is a considerable degree of stability at the upper end of the league table, as in the past. This stability, while it may not attract the headlines, demonstrates that the rankings fulfil our principal objective – to provide credible and freely accessible information for individuals seeking a university place.” 

Following a drop of nine places to 24th in 2017, Bristol (17th) has climbed seven places. Nottingham is the only other new entrant in the Top 20, climbing three places to 18th. Two universities have dropped out of the Top 20: Edinburgh falls four places to 23rd, while Southampton is the biggest faller of last year’s Top 20, dropping nine places to 26th. 

Coventry, in 43rd place, has climbed seven places and now replaces Lincoln (down one place to 50th) as the highest ranking post-1992 university (former polytechnic).

There are two new institutions in the Main Table in 2018. Birkbeck, University of London enters in 115th, and Suffolk enters in 129th. 

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