2022 UK Medical School Rankings – How Accurate Is It?

This year, we’ve seen some surprising changes in the Medicine rankings on The Complete University Guide’s League Table. How accurate are league tables exactly? We explain how league tables work and more in this article.

Table of Contents

Latest UK University Rankings for Medicine

Here is The Complete University Guide’s league table for Medicine for 2021 and 2022.

Rank2021 RankingsRank2022 Rankings
1University of Dundee1Swansea University
1University of Glasgow2University of Oxford
3University of Oxford3University of Dundee
4University of Aberdeen4University of Cambridge
5University of Edinburgh5University of Edinburgh
6Queen Mary, University of London6University of Glasgow
7University of Cambridge7University of Aberdeen
8University of St Andrews8Queen Mary University of London
9Imperial College London9Keele University
10Swansea University10University of Exeter
11University College London11Imperial College London
12University of Bristol12University of St Andrews
13Newcastle University13Lancaster University
14Queen's University Belfast14University of Bristol
15Keele University15Cardiff University
16University of Exeter16Brighton & Sussex
17University of Warwick17Newcastle University
18Cardiff University18King's College London, University of London
19Brighton & Sussex19University of Manchester
20University of Sheffield20UCL (University College London)

The Complete University Guide League Table Explained

2022 UK medical rankings

We’ve compared The Complete University Guide’s 2021 league table for Medicine with the latest 2022 league table. What we found is that Swansea jumped up nine positions from 10th place to 1st place, beating Oxford, Cambridge, and the Scottish universities. Additionally, Keele University went up six spots, climbing its way into the top ten UK medical universities for 2022. UCL went from 11th place in 2021 to 20th place in 2022.

With such drastic changes in the position of long-established universities for Medicine, it got us wondering what could have caused these changes in the 2022 league table. We looked into The Complete University Guide’s methodology for putting the league table together and we’ve found a few things.

1. Subjective indicators

It is important to note that some key indicators of university performance are based on subjective factors, although league tables generally try their best to keep things as objective as possible.

One of such key indicators is Student Satisfaction, which is based on the National Student Survey conducted every year. This is a measure of subjective opinion, rather than a measure of quality and so it may change greatly from year to year and it could be influenced by external factors such as student bias about the university.

Another key indicator that may not be as objective as we think is the Entry Standards. Entry Standards are calculated based on the UCAS Tariff score of new students. As the Complete University Guide has pointed out, the Entry Standards indicator for universities with more international students may skew the results lower as some international qualifications are not included in the UCAS Tariff.

2. Weightage

The Complete University Guide’s League Table is measured based on ten indicators and each indicator has a different weightage in the calculation process.

The indicator with the strongest weightage is the Student Satisfaction score at 1.5 weightage, followed by Entry Standards, Research Quality, Student-Staff Ratio, and Degree Completion with an equal weightage of 1.

Most of these indicators are unlikely to change drastically from year to year, such as the Student-Staff Ratio and Degree Completion. However, the indicator with the strongest weightage, Student Satisfaction, is a subjective indicator that can change greatly depending on how the students decide to fill in the survey in that year.

Comparing Swansea’s performance in the league tables last year and this year, the university’s indicators largely remained the same, except Student Satisfaction which jumped from a score of 3.71 to 4.23 (out of five) in 2022. As a result, Swansea jumped from 10th to first place this year.

Therefore, we speculate that The Complete University Guide’s rankings may be susceptible to change based on how the Student Satisfaction survey has been filled out that year.

3. Missing information

To The Complete University Guide’s credit, most of its methodology is transparent and it is quite clear how the information is obtained and how the league table is calculated. What we found, however, is that there are instances where universities that are missing certain information may be ranked higher than other universities that have published the same information, giving an advantage to the first university.

Some universities may choose not to publish certain information or it may have been released after the league table was published in June. To some extent, it is normal to have missing information in league tables which is a huge trove of information.

That being said, we wonder how the Complete University Guide’s League Tables deal with such missing information. In the 2022 Medicine league table, Oxford is missing information on its Student Satisfaction indicator while Swansea is missing information on its Entry Standards. Despite this, the universities are ranked second and first respectively.

We speculate that universities that did publish all information are slightly disadvantaged in the calculation process compared to universities that withheld some information.

Verdict

Overall, what could explain the major changes to the Complete University Guide’s 2022 league table for Medicine this year is down to potentially missing information in the calculations, indicators being subjective, and the weightage of certain indicators.

League tables may not be as objective as they try to be because Student Satisfaction is usually a key component to how the league tables are calculated. This indicator is susceptible to student bias and other external factors that can affect how universities are ranked.

Based on the information we have gathered, our speculation is that Swansea’s leap in Student Satisfaction scores in 2022 is what caused the university to jump to the number one position this year. Additionally, the missing information in the calculation of the 2022 Medicine league table may have played a significant role in this jump as well.

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