Oxford overtakes Cambridge as top university for the first time in a decade

Morgan Sindall Construction Oxford University

For the first time in more than 10 years, Oxford has overtaken Cambridge as the UK’s number-one-rated university in the 2022 Complete University Guide (CUG) league tables. The annually compiled league tables also show that England has yet again claimed 9 out of the top 10 universities. Scotland’s University of St. Andrews is the only non-English university in the top 10, coming in at 4th place.

Every year for the last quarter of a century, the team behind the Complete University Guide (CUG) has released a set of university and subject league tables aimed at guiding prospective students in their higher education decision making. This year’s tables indicate similar levels of performance to last year’s from most universities, but with a few surprising shifts.

In the main 2022 league table, which ranks 130 universities throughout the UK, the top 10 universities saw minor year-on-year shifts. Notably, Warwick re-entered the top 10 into 10th position after two years in 11th place.

The University of Bristol was down three places to 17, while Reading University rose three places to No 36. Oxford Brookes remained at No 48 with Coventry at No 51. The University of the West of England in Bristol came in at 56 and the University of Worcester is at 90, followed by the University of Gloucestershire at 96. The Royal Agricultural University in Cirencester came in at 120.

Simon Emmett, CEO of IDP Connect, owners of the Guide said: “Congratulations to the University of Oxford for taking the lead in this year’s rankings after a decade. It is a testament to the close competition and high standards among the UK’s top universities.

“Many of this year’s students are expecting higher grades from teacher-led assessments and therefore have higher ambitions for their higher education choices. More prospective students are keeping their options open and leaving their university decision-making to much later compared to other years.

“The 2022 CUG league tables will serve as a valuable guide to even more actively researching students this year. My hope is that these rankings will help them make the right decisions as they consider their higher education options.”