Bored of hearing about world rankings and acceptance rates, now you find your university on the things that REALLY matter. From how much it is to grab a pint to how safe (or dangerous) your uni’s city is, here’s the ultimate ALTERNATIVE university league table to make your decision.
Unifresher’s alternative uni league table is a fresh look at universities in the UK, aside from standard measurements of academic output, awards and entry requirements. We’re not saying these things aren’t important, but so is the quality of life you live while studying. That’s why we’ve put together this different kind of league, which takes statistics and figures from sources like Numbeo, Uber and People and Planet to rank 94 UK universities on their quality of life.
How to use the table
Use the table to find out which university came out on top (by total score) and which are…not quite as good.
Scroll across the table to see all the different factors we ranked each university for, or use the arrows at the top of each column to find out which university is the best for each variable, such as sustainability, crime rate, social life or the cost of a McMeal!
You can also search for a particular university in the navigation bar to find where your uni ranks compared to others. Enjoy!
Alternative University League Table
|Rank||University||Pint**||Social Life||Sustainability||McMeal*||Crime Rate||Price of an Uber||Cinema Ticket||Total Score|
|2||Cardiff Metropolitan University||£4.00||4.44||82.30%||£6.95||37.73||£13.00||£6.00||464|
|4||University of Plymouth||£3.50||4.33||61.80%||£5.50||40.1||£19.00||£10.00||454|
|5||Northumbria University, Newcastle||£3.70||4.56||66.80%||£6.50||38.4||£20.00||£10.00||432|
|7||University of Portsmouth||£4.50||4.33||48.60%||£5.89||45.44||£12.00||£7.50||427|
|10||University of Leeds||£4.30||4.58||49.70%||£7.00||43.34||£11.00||£10.00||413|
|11||University of Gloucestershire||£4.50||3.94||34.50%||£5.50||37.05||£7.00||£12.50||406|
|12||Nottingham Trent University||£4.00||4.59||69.80%||£6.00||50.5||£12.00||£10.00||404|
|13||University of Derby||£3.00||3.82||47.30%||£6.00||43.97||£11.00||£6.00||402|
|14||University of Exeter||£4.25||4.27||72.20%||£6.95||34.55||£16.00||£7.50||401|
|15||University of Reading||£4.00||4.23||75.80%||£6.00||43.74||£22.00||£7.95||400|
|16||University of Bristol||£4.67||4.43||66.10%||£6.50||41.72||£15.00||£10.00||398|
|17||Bristol, University of the West of ...||£4.67||4.25||64.10%||£6.50||41.72||£14.00||£10.00||388|
|18||Leeds Beckett University||£4.30||4.41||47.20%||£7.00||43.34||£12.00||£12.00||383|
|20||University of York||£5.50||4.35||44.10%||£6.00||27.64||£10.00||£10.00||378|
|22||University of Worcester||£4.00||3.96||66.90%||£6.25||40.74||£15.00||£10.00||371|
|23||Brunel University London||£4.00||4.00||56.10%||£6.00||54.17||£12.00||£10.00||368|
|24||University of Central Lancashire||£3.85||4.04||54.20%||£5.37||67.64||£10.00||£9.50||366|
|25||University of Sheffield||£4.00||4.63||41.70%||£6.50||42.48||£11.00||£10.00||364|
|26||University of Sunderland||£3.50||3.72||4.80%||£5.99||46.1||£12.00||£15.00||363|
|27||University of Liverpool||£4.38||4.69||50.90%||£6.00||47.89||£13.00||£10.00||363|
|29||University of Bolton||£3.10||3.92||10.50%||£5.37||63.71||£10.00||£7.00||358|
|30||University of Nottingham||£4.00||4.44||36.10%||£6.00||50.5||£9.00||£8.00||356|
|31||University of Chester||£3.95||4.06||42.50%||£6.50||20.97||£12.00||£9.00||356|
|32||Edinburgh Napier University||£5.00||4.14||56.10%||£6.50||31.37||£11.00||£10.00||356|
|33||Manchester Metropolitan University||£4.65||4.30||79.90%||£6.79||55.14||£13.00||£10.00||354|
|34||Liverpool John Moores University||£4.38||4.44||55.10%||£6.00||47.89||£14.00||£8.00||352|
|35||University of Salford||£3.40||4.04||70.60%||£6.00||55.14||£16.00||£12.00||344|
|36||University of East Anglia UEA||£5.00||4.12||47.70%||£6.50||26.12||£18.00||£12.50||339|
|37||Sheffield Hallam University||£4.00||4.36||52.40%||£6.50||42.48||£15.00||£6.50||338|
|38||York St John University||£5.50||4.36||39.00%||£6.00||27.64||£13.00||£10.00||336|
|39||Leeds Art University||£4.30||4.13||20.60%||£7.00||43.34||£10.00||£10.00||329|
|40||Birmingham City University||£4.00||4.14||62.00%||£6.00||62.58||£12.00||£10.00||329|
|41||De Montfort University||£4.00||4.10||64.70%||£7.00||46.41||£12.00||£6.50||325|
|43||University of Huddersfield||£4.00||3.93||48.50%||£6.50||60.44||£11.00||£8.00||316|
|45||Aston University, Birmingham||£4.00||4.35||59.40%||£6.00||62.58||£16.00||£10.00||311|
|46||University of Strathclyde||£4.00||4.23||35.30%||£6.00||45.79||£13.00||£12.50||310|
|47||University of Glasgow||£4.00||4.40||42.80%||£6.00||45.79||£18.00||£8.25||309|
|48||University of Manchester||£4.65||4.32||47.80%||£6.79||55.14||£14.00||£8.50||309|
|49||Arts University Bournemouth||£4.00||3.76||44.10%||£6.00||41.09||£12.00||£10.00||304|
|50||University of Surrey||£4.00||4.05||32.10%||£6.00||26.52||£16.00||£10.00||301|
|52||Bath Spa University||£4.65||4.03||64.80%||£6.50||26.38||£16.00||£8.00||301|
|53||Glasgow Caledonian University||£4.00||3.84||49.30%||£6.00||45.79||£13.00||£10.00||300|
|54||The University of Edinburgh||£5.00||4.33||42.20%||£6.50||31.37||£15.00||£12.50||299|
|56||University of Lincoln||£4.50||4.21||35.40%||£7.50||26.62||£9.00||£9.00||296|
|57||Solent University (Southampton)||£4.00||4.35||42.80%||£6.00||51.93||£18.00||£10.00||290|
|58||University of St Andrews||£3.75||3.74||37.90%||£7.00||17.03||£29.00||£8.00||287|
|59||Anglia Ruskin University||£5.00||4.21||44.60%||£6.00||28.69||£18.00||£8.00||287|
|60||University of Oxford||£5.00||4.15||54.10%||£7.00||34.75||£17.00||£10.00||283|
|61||University of Leicester||£4.00||4.12||43.30%||£7.00||46.41||£13.00||£10.00||279|
|62||Oxford Brookes University||£5.00||4.01||57.00%||£7.00||34.75||£15.00||£8.00||279|
|63||Queen's University Belfast||£5.20||4.15||36.40%||£6.50||45.21||£15.00||£10.00||278|
|64||Edge Hill University||£4.38||4.03||21.20%||£6.00||47.89||£11.00||£12.00||276|
|65||University of Sussex||£5.10||4.46||38.60%||£6.00||38.05||£18.00||£9.00||276|
|67||Liverpool Hope University||£4.38||4.18||31.30%||£6.00||47.89||£14.00||£10.00||273|
|68||University of Warwick||£3.50||3.74||49.20%||£6.00||52.45||£15.00||£12.00||272|
|69||University of Brighton||£5.10||4.22||43.60%||£6.00||38.05||£17.00||£9.00||271|
|70||University of Southampton||£4.00||4.10||28.90%||£6.00||51.93||£13.00||£9.50||269|
|72||Newman University, Birmingham||£4.00||4.04||21.50%||£6.00||62.58||£11.00||£9.00||262|
|73||University of Kent||£5.00||4.01||59.90%||£6.00||32.75||£20.00||£10.00||262|
|74||University of Birmingham||£4.00||4.41||15.40%||£6.00||62.58||£15.00||£10.50||260|
|75||University of Bath||£4.65||3.98||32.90%||£6.50||26.38||£13.00||£10.00||252|
|76||University of Essex||£3.67||4.02||58.90%||£8.00||46.45||£19.00||£12.50||251|
|77||University College Birmingham||£4.00||4.07||6.90%||£6.00||62.58||£12.00||£8.00||250|
|78||University of Hertfordshire||£2.00||3.72||42.50%||£8.00||23.39||£19.00||£9.00||246|
|80||University of Cambridge||£5.00||3.78||40.70%||£6.00||28.69||£19.00||£12.00||213|
|82||University of Greenwich||£6.00||3.84||70.70%||£7.50||32.75||£22.00||£12.00||198|
|83||King's College London, University o...||£6.00||4.27||69.70%||£7.50||53.81||£22.00||£12.00||187|
|84||UCL (University College London)||£6.00||4.18||71.80%||£7.50||53.81||£22.00||£9.25||182|
|85||Queen Mary University of London||£6.00||4.00||56.90%||£7.50||53.81||£17.00||£10.50||159|
|86||St Mary's University, Twickenham||£6.00||3.77||35.10%||£7.50||25.88||£18.00||£15.00||151|
|87||University of Chichester||£5.00||3.66||35.50%||£6.00||83.97||£19.00||£9.00||140|
|88||SOAS University of London||£6.00||3.99||44.40%||£7.50||53.81||£25.00||£12.00||108|
|89||University of Westminster, London||£6.00||3.96||42.30%||£7.50||53.81||£21.00||£12.00||99|
|90||London Metropolitan University||£6.00||3.82||42.00%||£7.50||53.81||£19.00||£12.00||90|
|91||University of Roehampton||£6.00||3.97||13.60%||£7.50||53.81||£19.00||£15.00||77|
|92||Royal Holloway, University of Londo...||£6.00||3.75||33.60%||£7.50||53.81||£18.00||£7.00||76|
|93||London South Bank University||£6.00||3.94||30.40%||£7.50||53.81||£20.00||£12.00||75|
|94||Goldsmiths, University of London||£6.00||3.93||27.20%||£7.50||53.81||£23.00||£8.50||64|
Which university is the best?
Out of the 94 universities, Bangor University came out on top overall. It’s clear to see why; it comes first place for the cheapest McMeal (or equivalent food combo), as well as high up for other factors like sustainability (70.3%), 10th cheapest for an Uber, and is the 6th safest overall. So it’s generally a good university all round. On average, it beat out all other UK universities, including the elite Russell Groups.
In second place was Cardiff Metropolitan University, which actually came in top place for sustainability and for being the uni city with the cheapest cinema tickets (sharing top position with Bournemouth University and the University of Derby).
Newcastle University came in third place, followed by the University of Plymouth and Northumbria University in fourth and fifth respectively.
Which university is at the bottom?
In last place of Unifresher’s alternative university league table is Goldsmith’s University in London. Despite it not being the worst for any one category, it’s total score ranked Goldsmith’s University in 94th place overall. Some of the reasons why are likely due to it being 4th most expensive university to grab an Uber, among the most expensive for a pint, and 9th worst for sustainability.
It seems that London prices are influential on the outcome of our table. It makes sense, as part of judging the best university is understanding whether you can afford student life in your uni city. In fact, of the ten worst universities, only one is not based in London. This was the University of Chichester based in Sussex came in 87th place overall.
The second-lowest is London South Bank University, followed by Royal Holloway, University of Roehampton and London Metropolitan University.
Where are Oxford and Cambridge?
Oxford University and Cambridge University normally dominate university ranking and tables, but not in our alternative league. When it comes to things that matter (e.g. getting that McMeal combo in regularly), Oxbridge didn’t make the top five – or top ten for that matter. Cambridge ranked at 80th and Oxford came in 60th position, meaning they were both in the bottom half of the table!
- Bangor University came out as the best university overall
- Goldsmiths, University of London fared the worst
- 9 out of the 10 worst universities are based in London
- 5 out of the 10 best universities are based in Wales
- 9 out of the 10 best universities are located by the coast
- 3 out of the 10 best universities are Russell Group universities
- The best university for a McMeal is Bangor University
- The safest university is Falmouth University
- The cheapest university for a pint is the University of Hertfordshire
- The university with the best social life is the University of Liverpool
- The university that has the cheapest Ubers is the University of Gloucestershire
- The cheapest universities for a cinema ticket are the University of Derby, Cardiff Metropolitan University and Bournemouth University
- The most sustainable university is Cardiff Metropolitan University
So how did we create out table? We took the list of UK universities from The Complete University Guide, and then used data from Numbeo to calculate crime rates, the cost of a McMeal, cinema tickets, and the price of beer. We used People and Planet’s most up-to-date findings on sustainability ratings, and user ratings and experiences on University Compare for scoring the universities’ social life. Finally, we calculated the price of an Uber for a 10km journey starting at each university using Uber’s price estimate at the same time of day (non-weekends).
Universities with incomplete data were removed from the list, giving a total of 94 UK-based universities overall.
Each university was then given a score (1-94) based on their position in the list for each of the variables, and then summed up. Some variables were reverse-scored, including crime rate and prices). The final rank was based on the summation of these scores.
- *The cost of a McMeal or equivalent combo deal
- **The cost of 0.5 litre draught, which is equivalent to 0.88 of a pint however we classified this as a pint for simplicity.