ICONIC university rivals Oxford and Cambridge have been knocked off the top spot for the first time in The Times and The Sunday Times Good University Guide 2022.

The guide, a leading resource for prospective students in its near 30-year history, sees the University of St Andrews take the top position.

The University of Oxford does retain second place behind St Andrews, after finishing there last year.

According to the guide, the university becoming more socially inclusive helped maintain its position.

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The guide states: “Oxford sits in second place nationally thanks to the determination of the university to become more socially inclusive.

“The 2020 intake reflected the new dynamic with 68.4 per cent of the expanded number of admissions coming from the state schools.

“This had had a direct impact on undergraduate opportunities and the student experience.”

Oxford scored 89.2 per cent for graduate prospects, a score based on the percentage of those in professional jobs.

Last year, Oxford was named overall ‘university of the year’ because of its work on the coronavirus vaccine and its efforts to improve social mobility.

Meanwhile, Oxford Brookes University is ranked 54th nationally, up two places from last year.

Brookes scored 74.7 per cent for graduate prospects and was ranked eighth in the south east.

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The Times and The Sunday Times have produced university guides since 1993 and 1998 respectively.

Since 2013, they have published a combined Good University Guide, based on an analysis of student satisfaction with teaching quality and their student experience, entry standards, research quality and graduate prospects.

This year’s guide includes profiles on 132 universities, following a year of closed campuses and a move to online learning.

The new edition reveals most universities have seen a dramatic drop in student satisfaction teaching quality scores, in the latest National Student Survey.

The University of Surrey has been named the university of the year for graduate employment, while the University of Sussex won university of the year for student retention.

Surrey was one of only two universities to avoid a decline in student satisfaction scores throughout the pandemic, the other being Imperial College London.

Sussex, which has more than 14,000 full-time undergraduates, has a dropout rate of 5 per cent compared to the benchmark of 10.1 per cent.

A 96-page supplement will be published with The Sunday Times this weekend.

For more about the guide, visit: thetimes.co.uk/article/good-university-guide-in-full-tp6dzs7wn