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Durham best university in the North, according to The Times’ new guide

The Times & Sunday Times’ greatly anticipated Good University Guide 2024 has been published – and the results are interesting for institutions in the North East.

Written by High Life North
Published 16.09.2023

The Times & Sunday Times has just released its greatly anticipated, official Good University Guide for 2024 this weekend – and there are some interesting results for North East institutions.

The definitive guide to the UK’s universities, the Good University Guide provides conclusive rankings for all UK universities, scoring them on various factors including graduate employment and teaching quality. It also offers the most comprehensive overview of higher education in the country – including profiles on 131 universities, making use of the latest data published within the last two months.

A free, 96-page supplement, the Good University Guide 2024 is now published online and is also printed in today’s The Sunday Times (17th September).

The guide provides prospective students and their families with the right information to make an informed choice about their higher education, evaluating everything from satisfaction with teaching quality and the student experience through to degree completion rates and graduate employment prospects.

And new to the guide this year is a ranking from People and Planet that assesses the environmental and ethical standards of each UK university, as well as guides on the scholarships and bursaries available, student wellbeing and sports facilities on campus.

Durham Univeristy ranked best in the North


Claiming the top spot this year for the ‘North and North East’ category was Durham University.

Other big news from the region was that the University of York has been shortlisted for University of the Year.


North and North East Ranking National Ranking University
1 7 Durham University
2 15 University of York
3 18 University of Sheffield
4 24 University of Leeds
5 37 Newcastle University
6 49 Northumbria University
7 67 University of Hull
8 76 University of Huddersfield
9 77 York St John University
10 85= Sheffield Hallam University
11 89= Leeds Arts University
12 92 Leeds Trinity University
13 93= University of Sunderland
14 101 Leeds Beckett University
15 102 Teesside University
16 108 University of Bradford

Newcastle University ranking


What you study and where you study matter more than ever when it comes to future earnings.

New to the online guide is a searchable database of graduate salaries per university and per subject.

The top degree is computer studies at Imperial College, where the average salary within 15 months of graduating is £64,000.

In second place, business, management and marketing from Oxford, where graduates can expect to take home £58,000.

At the other end of the scale, students who finish drama, dance and cinematics at the University of Central Lancashire will be earning an average salary of £18,000 within 18 months of leaving university.

The curriculum is evolving fast.

Applications to study computer science, including AI, video games design and robotics, were almost 10% higher than last year, according to analysis of Ucas data, and 31% higher than in 2019.

There is a welcome rise in joint honours and  interdisciplinary work to collaborate on solving the world’s future problems from climate change to health.

Oxford university

The cult of Oxbridge continues.

The reputation of Oxford and Cambridge – never out of the top three in the past three decades – have seen a rising proportion from non-selective state schools, according to the latest data. Cambridge has 49.5% – up from 40.1% in 2018 – and Oxford has 53.5%, up from 39.4%.

The diversity index.

The Times & Sunday Times’ social inclusion ranking reveals that many of the universities at the top of the academic league table – those with the highest entry standards, best job prospects and most competition for places – still find themselves at the bottom when it comes to social inclusion.

The highly selective Russell Group institutions occupy 16 of the bottom 20 places, with Durham University at the bottom.

Helen Davies, editor of The Times and The Sunday Times Good University Guide, said:

“The higher education landscape has never been tougher,” says Helen Davies, editor of The Times and The Sunday Times Good University Guide 2024. “It is more competitive to get a place at many of our top institutions; the cost of attending university has soared, leaving graduates with extraordinary debt; and in many cases, campus life still bears the scars of the pandemic. Meanwhile, lecturers are on strike and the marking crisis is a running scandal.

“It means any prospective student, parent or carer needs to think hard about whether university is the right choice, and then where to study and what subject. It’s where this guide — our 30th edition — is here to help. Our online version has so much more on how the universities compare subject by subject, a guide on campus life, and what scholarships and bursaries may be on offer.

“We are here to champion the ambitious work of our first-class universities, and the aspirations of any student of any age who wants to keep on learning.”


· University of the Year 2024: University College London

· University of the Year 2024 runner-up: University of Exeter

· University of the Year 2024 shortlisted: London School of Economics and Political Science, University of York, University of Liverpool and University of Buckingham

· Specialist University of the Year: Harper Adams University

· University of the Year for Graduate Employment: Imperial College London

· Scottish University of the Year: University of Glasgow

· Welsh University of the Year: Aberystwyth University

· Sports University of the Year: University of Nottingham

· University of the Year for Social Inclusion: Bath Spa University

· University of the Year for Social Inclusion runner-up: Queen Mary, London

To read the full Good University Guide 2024 online, visit The Times & Sunday Times’ website.

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