What Makes A Good University For Engineering? UK Engineering Rankings

Trying to determine which university you want to study Engineering at? We assess the different league tables ranking Engineering courses in the UK.

Last Updated: 11th February 2022

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The UK Engineering rankings are a popular and effective way to compare Engineering courses in the UK.

Prospective students gain valuable insight into the course, the university, and also student satisfaction and employability.

The rankings vary according to your source, so knowing what to look out for is essential. 

Who Makes The Engineering 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 just two of the most popular organisations that compile lists of the best universities for a number of different courses.

The factors that are assessed by The Guardian are: 

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

The factors that are assessed by The Complete University Guide are: 

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 

Of course, they are not the only tables around for UK Engineering rankings. A quick search on Google can give you an array of options if you would like to consider and compare multiple tables to help aid your decision as to which university to apply for.

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Overall Engineering Rankings

 When looking at rankings for Engineering degrees, keep in mind what type of Engineering degree it is you wish to study.

There are rankings for general Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, Chemical Engineering, and any other Engineering area available to study.

The Guardian Engineering rankings 2022

The Guardian has five different tables to cover Engineering areas, with The Complete University Guide having seven different Engineering rankings. If you are set on which Engineering profession you wish to pursue or are undecided between two, this will allow you to compare their performances.

Keep in mind that Oxford and Cambridge only offer a general Engineering course and do not offer specialised courses – although Cambridge students can transfer onto a Chemical Engineering course if they so wish from their second year.

The Complete University Guide Engineering rankings 2022

If we first consider the general Engineering rankings, The Guardian and The Complete University Guide place Cambridge, Oxford, and Bristol in the top three places.

Durham and Sheffield round off the top five places on The Complete University Guide rankings, with Imperial College and Durham in fourth and fifth on The Guardian rankings.

UK vs International

The 2022 Engineering rankings from Times Higher Education features 1,188 universities across more than 70 countries.

Although the schools at the very top are in the US and the UK, universities in Singapore, China and Switzerland perform extremely well.

China is the second most-represented country in the list of the best universities for Engineering, ahead of the UK, Germany, Australia and Canada.

The Times Higher Education World Rankings Engineering rankings 2022

Oxford and Cambridge find themselves in fifth and sixth place in the rankings, with US institutions Harvard, Stanford, Berkeley and MIT ahead of them.

Looking at The Times Higher Education World Rankings is also beneficial, as it considers criteria that The Guardian and The Complete University Guide tables do not include.

This criteria being the number of students, the percentage of international students, and the female to male ratio.

Which Ranking Table Should I Follow?

Which table you follow 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 its own way of ranking universities, which is primarily based on student perspectives. The Complete University Guide, on the other hand, focuses on student satisfaction.

It can be easy to get carried away with all of these different ratings and rankings of the best Engineering courses in the UK. However, it is crucial to remember that no matter which university you attend, you will graduate with the future of a fully respected career which is boundless in its opportunities.

Know What You Are Looking For

It may seem obvious, but with the masses of data and information these tables assess, it is essential to know what you are wanting to get out of your time at university.

Though the tables are presented with the “best” at the top, that may not be what you are looking for with your degree.

Only you know what is important to you and what considerations you have in mind when looking at league rankings.

Some considerations could be:

  • Do you want a high staff to student ratio?
  • Do you want to go somewhere with a high average entry tariff?
  • Do you want a course with a more even split between male and female students?

All the league tables that we have looked at The Guardian, The Complete University Guide and The Times Higher Education World Rankings allows you to re-order the tables according to the criteria that are important to you, such as student ratio, student satisfaction, and graduate prospects.

This allows you to determine what university is best suited to you based on your desires.

Having these questions in mind will help you navigate the rankings and ensure you get the most out of them.

Starting Point

What you must keep in mind is that these league tables should only be considered as a starting point, from which you ought to carry out further research.  

Entry to these top-rated universities is highly competitive and this is something which should also be carefully considered when assessing these tables. Oxford has a 16% success rate to their Engineering course, Cambridge’s acceptance rate is similar at around 13%. Make sure you are aware of entry requirements to ensure you can successfully achieve them. 

You can take this research further by looking at the rankings for specialised Engineering courses if you have a set career path in mind when applying.

Ultimately the Engineering course rankings are a helpful tool and should only be used as such.


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 instead use it as a stepping stone to do further research and determine what 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 form your own opinions.

Our expert tutors will guide you to Oxbridge Engineering success.

Applying to Oxbridge is immensely competitive, and you must give yourself the best chance of success. We help you craft the perfect Personal Statement, achieve a highly competitive ENGAA or PAT score and teach you how to Interview effectively – covering all areas of your Oxbridge application.

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