The University of Southampton has been playing leap-frog with the QS World University Rankings, catapulting two places up the table and becoming the 73rd best place to study in the world.
The table was headed by The Massachusetts Institute of Technolody which placed first, followed by the University of Cambridge in second place, and University College London at fourth place.
Simultaneously, the engineering department is now nearly in the top 50, which is followed by major improvements to the art and humanities departments.
The University of Southampton is a prominent member of the Russell Group, being heavily involved in research development and focusing on the University League Tables.
The Wessex Scene reported on the problems Southampton University faced in 2010, highlighting the dramatic fall from 12th to 18th in the country, which they have found difficult to rectify.
Comparing universities with a ranking system is still a fairly new invention, only coming into fruition as early as 1983, it has since become a major competition to claim the best positions (consistently lead by Cambridge and Oxford Universities).
The ranking system now effectively provides prospective students with key information they need to decide where they want to study, having serious effects on their futures, including living situations and future jobs. With the number of students attending university as high as ever last year, it is clear to see students and universities are attempting to show off what they have to offer, in order to achieve a desirable outcome for both.
The University of Southampton has managed to be consistent in attracting students who complete their courses, having one of the lowest drop-out rates in the UK, which can also be put down to the great work of university staff and the students union. However now that fees have increased, causing a severe drop in student applications, the number of desirable students for Southampton (grades AAB or above) have become more scarce and could in turn have a negative effect on the rankings.
The ranking system works in several different accountable levels, starting with obtaining academic review data, representing 40% of an institutions possible score. The rankings then consider active recruiters, discovering which universities are most favourable for them, which is accredited for 10% of the scores. There is 20% given for a straightforward tally of the staff/student ratio at a university. Another 20% comes from citations from the Scopus database. Finally, 5% each is allocated for the proportion of overseas staff and overseas students at each university.
The QS World University Rankings™ has a different motivation and as a result, uses different criteria. Our interest stems from globalization and from the internationalization of knowledge and study.QS World University Rankings
The improvements in league tables will hopefully have a positive benefit with the increased applications of high achieving A-Level students. The University of Southampton has some of the best departments and facilities in the country, leading the way for research, winning the Queen’s Anniversary Prize recently and employing distinguished professionals at the top of their professions like Sir Tim Berners-Lee.
The entire league table can be found HERE.