Britain's best universities revealed: Imperial College London beats Oxbridge to first place in the Mail's league table – see the full rankings and use our interactive tool to plot your course to a top degree

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Imperial College London has beaten Oxford and Cambridge to first place in the Mail’s brand new university league table.

The in-depth UK university rankings – published today on MailOnline – placed Oxford second and Cambridge third.

Imperial’s win is a rare triumph over the old guard as the two institutions have only been knocked off top spot twice in 30 years of British universities being ranked by experts.

Specialising in science, technology, engineering, maths, medicine and business, Imperial is home to more than 21,000 undergraduate and postgraduate students who are largely based in South Kensington, London, and several smaller sites around the capital.

It regularly features in the top 10 of global university rankings, which are typically dominated by big Ivy League US colleges such as Harvard, and recruits more than half of its students from overseas. But it has never topped a domestic league table – until now. To mark its achievement, Imperial is also today named the inaugural Daily Mail University of the Year.

Imperial College London has beaten Oxford and Cambridge to first place in the Mail¿s brand new university league table. Pictured: The entrance to the Imperial College in London, Kensington. there are students near the entrance and a car parked near the entrance

Imperial College London has beaten Oxford and Cambridge to first place in the Mail’s brand new university league table. Pictured: The entrance to the Imperial College in London, Kensington. there are students near the entrance and a car parked near the entrance

Imperial¿s win is a rare triumph over the old guard as the two institutions have only been knocked off top spot twice in 30 years of British universities being ranked by experts. Pictured: The city of Oxford with the Radcliffe Camera and All Souls College

Imperial’s win is a rare triumph over the old guard as the two institutions have only been knocked off top spot twice in 30 years of British universities being ranked by experts. Pictured: The city of Oxford with the Radcliffe Camera and All Souls College

Imperial had the best record of any university in terms of graduate jobs, with 96.5 per cent of leavers landing ‘highly-skilled’ roles. Imperial students also achieved the joint-highest average salary of £35,000 after graduating, while the university’s research ranked best overall with two-thirds of staff conducting ‘world-leading’ work. It also scored higher than Oxford and Cambridge for having a fair admissions policy, selecting more than a quarter of new students from homes where neither parent went to university themselves.

University rankings and league table: Use the Daily Mail’s interactive guide to find the right uni for you

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The Mail’s new rankings are published in a comprehensive University Guide – available here or as a free magazine in this weekend’s Mail on Sunday – featuring profiles of more than 131 universities and in-depth analysis of their strengths and weaknesses. We have also designed an interactive University Finder where you can create your own personalised rankings – based on the ratings that you care about most. The guide is designed to help students and their parents decide where to go, against the backdrop of rising costs and an overwhelming array of choice.

The rankings are based on 12 key performance indicators – making the Mail’s guide the most comprehensive of any university ranking in the UK.

Welcoming the achievement in the Mail ranking and awards, Professor Hugh Brady, president of Imperial College London said: ‘I’m so proud of Imperial’s world-changing educational and research environment.

‘It is a truly inspiring place where students and staff from so many different backgrounds and nationalities are warmly welcomed and work passionately together to create a healthier, smarter, safer, more prosperous and more sustainable world.’

Oxford and Cambridge’s demotion from top billing coincides with both universities being among those most severely impacted by the national lecturers’ marking and assessment boycott. This has seen thousands of students nationwide unable to graduate or left with unclassified degrees because final examinations and dissertations have been left unmarked.

Just 59 per cent of undergraduates at Cambridge who should have graduated this summer did so. Disgruntled students ranked Cambridge and Oxford 121st and 119th respectively out of 128 institutions for the quality of the student experience, according to Mail analysis for the new guide.

The publication of our University Guide comes at a difficult time for the sector. Student numbers are at record level but so too is student debt. Changes to the loans system coming into force this month will extend the loan repayment period from 30 to 40 years and reduce the salary level at which repayments begin to be made from £27,295 to £25,000.

The rankings are based on 12 key performance indicators ¿ making the Mail¿s guide the most comprehensive of any university ranking in the UK. Pictured: King's College, Cambridge

The rankings are based on 12 key performance indicators – making the Mail’s guide the most comprehensive of any university ranking in the UK. Pictured: King’s College, Cambridge

There have been calls for a review of university funding and the financial burden borne by students, many of whom now face paying for university into their 60s.

University rankings and league table: Use the Daily Mail’s interactive guide to find the right uni for you

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This follows two years of industrial strife on campus, which has left lectures undelivered and examinations, dissertations and coursework unmarked, and prolonged disruption to course delivery from the Covid pandemic,

A report this week showed there were 8,000 students with student loan debt of more than £100,000 and 800,000 with loan debt of between £50,000 and £100,000, partly the product of high interest rates.

The Mail’s league table – the first new university ranking of British universities in 15 years – focusses on the issues of acute concern to today’s students and their families.

The 12 ranking measures incorporate graduates’ success in the jobs market and the salaries they go on to earn, and the extent of student support including the effectiveness of signposting for mental health and welfare services.

The ranking is the only one to assess the fairness of university admissions policies, measured by the proportion of first generation students – those whose parents did not go to university – admitted to each institution.




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