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Severian

The Good University Guide 2010

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I've always wondered why St Andrews gets such a high ranking, especially when its RAE score wasn't amazing. IMO, the London colleges UCL and LSE should be above it.

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Hmm, I'm surprised that Imperial College's research score isn't a touch higher. After all, the chief reason it has such abysmally low student satisfaction scores is that the administration tends to view it as a research university (or latterly a corporation), to the point that I wonder whether they're aware they have students at all.

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Do you think it's because it isn't considered a multi-faculty university? Kind of like how LSE doesn't do natural/physical sciences. But maybe they take that into consideration anyway, dunno.

 

I've heard that Imperial is better at most sciences than Oxbridge. Any truth in that?

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I can't speak for Oxbridge, but I expect they're at least as good and probably better. Imperial does focus on science, engineering, and medicine (the tiny humanities department was recently cut by 60%), but proportional to funding I don't think they're doing a better job than Oxbridge. Imperial's departments themselves are large, so to a student in science it may start to approach something like a production line, with a lot of material and work tossed onto students' heads but with little continuous assessment or personal feedback, unlike the tutorials system at Oxbridge. So as a student, I'd think that the Oxbridge treatment would rank them "better" in sciences.

 

Having more faculties probably helps on league tables like the Good University Guide in terms of the funding those departments provide. Several years ago there was talk of merging Imperial and UCL to make a "superuniversity" which would surpass Oxbridge and be on the level of Harvard, somehow, by having good departments across the whole range with the funding of both. (It failed as UCL natural scientists rebelled, saying they'd be made redundant.) Maybe Imperial and LSE would have been a better match!

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If you look at the score for "research quality " in physics (however that's measured) you will see that there are plenty of other universities (including UCL) between Oxford and Cambridge, so talking about "Oxbridge" doesn't make much sense here. Also, neither Oxford nor Cambridge wins on that score so "UniversityofLancasterNottingham" anyone?

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The recent RAE survey came out with 3 or so different ways of rating universities research quality... I don't know which the Times uses. We vary quite a lot depending which you use...

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