What Makes A Good University For Economics? UK Economics Rankings

Economics course rankings for the UK can vary according to your source, but we are here to explain the differences and what to look out for.

Last Updated: 22nd April 2022

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The UK Economics rankings are a popular way to assess all the courses available.

From this prospective students gain valuable insight into the courses and the universities.

The UK Economics rankings vary according to your source, so it is essential to know what to look out for.

Who Makes The economics rankings?

There are a number of different ranking guides which compile their lists using different measuring factors. The Guardian and The Complete University Guide are two of the most popular organisations that compile lists of the best universities for lots of courses.

 Of course, they are not the only league tables for Economics out there. A quick Google search will give you many options to compare against one another.

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The Guardian Economics Rankings

To compile their list of Economics courses in the UK, The Guardian uses the following headings:

Guardian score/100 – rating of excellence based on a combination of the other factors.

Satisfied with the course – the rating of the overall quality of the course, given by final-year students in the latest National Students Survey (NSS) given as a percentage.

Satisfied with the teaching – the rating of the quality of teaching on the course given by final-year students in the latest NSS.

Satisfied with feedback – the rating of the feedback and assessment, given by final-year students in the latest NSS.

Student to staff ratio – number of students per member of teaching staff.

Spend-per student/10 – money spent on each student, excluding academic staff costs, given as a rating out of ten.

Average entry tariff – typical UCAS scores of young entrants to the department.

Value-added score/10 – this score compares students’ degree results with their entry qualifications, to show how effectively they are taught – given as a score out of ten.

Career after 15 months – percentage of graduates who find graduate-level jobs, or are in further study at professional or higher education level, within 15 months of graduation.

Continuation – percentage of first-year students continuing to second-year.

What Does The Guardian Results Show?

The Guardian places the University of Cambridge in top spot with a perfect score of 100.

As you would probably expect to see, the University of Oxford is close behind with a score of 99.7. Completing the top three is St Andrews with an overall score of 92.5.

Stirling and Glasgow round off the top five.

guardian economics rankings
The Guardian Economics 2022 rankings

However, you may be looking at a course with a low student to staff ratio. From the table we can see that Oxford actually has the lowest ratio of not just the top five but the entire table so if that is what your preference is it might help form your decision.

Of the courses making up the top five, Stirling has a significantly lower average entry tariff of 151. If a university with lower entry requirements is what you are interested in, this should be taken into consideration.

Brunel takes the final spot with an overall score of 33.8.

The Complete University Guide Economics Rankings

The second and equally well respect university league table is produced by The Complete University Guide. Their rankings are based on a slightly different set of criteria, although there is some overlap.

Overall score – the total score calculated by The Complete University Guide’s independent and trusted methodology.

Entry standards – the average UCAS tariff of new students entering university.

Student satisfaction – a guide to how satisfied students are with the quality of teaching they receive.

Research quality – a measure of the quality of the research undertaken by the university.

Research intensity – a measure of the proportion of staff involved in high-quality research at the university.

Graduate prospects – outcomes – a guide to the success of graduates after leaving university.

Graduate prospects – on track – a measure of whether recent graduates agree that their current activity fits with their future plans.

What Does The Complete University Guide Results Show?

Just as The Guardian rankings, The Complete University Guide also places the University of Cambridge in top spot with an overall score of 100. Oxford is also in second place with an overall score of 97.8.

However, from here the tables are vastly different. The University of Warwick is third, with University College London and the London School of Economics completing the top five.

Interestingly, Stirling which The Guardian has ranked as the fourth best is ranked as 18th by The Complete University Guide – highlighting just how different the rankings are between the two.

the complete university guide rankings
The Complete University Guide Economics 2022 rankings

Looking at the ‘graduate prospects – on track’ data it shows some interesting things. At the top, 94% of Cambridge graduates feel their current activity fits with their future plans. For the rest of the top five this figure sits at 84-86%.

However, the University of Glasgow actually has the highest score of the entire table with 96%, despite being in ninth place. Remember, what matters from these tables is what is important to you, and if this factor is one such an example do not be dismayed by where the university has been ranked.

The University of Wolverhampton claims the final spot of the table with an overall score of 76.8.

Which Ranking Table Should I Follow?

As for which ranking table you should follow, that depends on what is most important to you. For example, you may place more importance on ’spend per student’ or career prospects.

The Guardian has created their own way of ranking universities which is largely based on student perspective and The Complete University Guide, on the other hand, puts focus on student satisfaction.

It can be easy to get carried away with all these different ratings and rankings of the Economics courses in the UK. While it is true that these differences may affect your experience at university, you should keep in mind that all of the courses are at highly rated universities with excellent rankings across the board.

However, it is crucial to remember that no matter which university you attend, you will graduate with the future of a highly respected career which is boundless in its opportunities. So do not get worried if you end up attending a university not at the very top of the list.

Ultimately, it is a matter of what you are looking for in a university when it comes to deciding which one to apply for.


What is most important to remember is that these rankings should only be taken into consideration. Do not make a decision based upon them but use them as a steppingstone to do further research and determine which universities meet your personal requirements.

The rankings establish the best performing universities but ultimately, what is ideal for other applicants will differ from what is ideal for you, so consider the rankings but make sure to form your own opinions.

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