Manchester universities fall in Times Good University Guide 2022 as students speak out

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Both Manchester universities have dropped down the rankings in a prestigious annual guide – with students speaking out following a tough year in the pandemic.

The University of Manchester and Manchester Metropolitan University have both fallen down the table in The Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2022.

In the latest list, which has been published this weekend, the University of Manchester has slipped out of the UK’s top 20 institutions.

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It now stands in 23rd place out of 132 UK universities, having been 18th in 2021.

The University of Manchester has slipped out of the UK’s top 20 universities in the guide

Manchester scores well in two of the factors used to compile the list – with a 93% course completion rate and 79.4% of graduates securing a high-skilled job or a place on a graduate-level course, known as ‘graduate prospects’.

The guide also uses scores from the 2021 National Student Survey, which saw the University of Manchester score 69.8% on teaching quality and 65.1% on student experience.

That percentage for student experience is the second-lowest out of 12 north west universities, and comes on the back of a turbulent year at the university.

Last autumn, students protested over the university’s handling of the pandemic, with fencing placed around its accommodation in Fallowfield and anger over the cost of fees and rent being charged.

Students protesting at the Owens Park campus on November 5 last year
Students protesting at the Owens Park campus on November 5 last year

However, the University of Manchester still remains the second-highest ranked university in the north west, behind only Lancaster University – which ranked 11th in the UK.

And the drop in student satisfaction has been seen in other universities across the country, amid the switch to online learning, with only Imperial College London and the University of Surrey improving their scores this year.

Meanwhile, Manchester Metropolitan University has slipped down six places in this year’s guide, from 65th to 71st.

The university fared better than its neighbour in the National Student Survey for teaching quality, scoring 72.3%, but worse for student experience at 64.1%.

First year students behind perimeter fencing at Manchester Metropolitan University in September 2020
First year students behind perimeter fencing at Manchester Metropolitan University in September 2020

It scored 63.6% for ‘graduate prospects’, has a completion rate of 85.5% and is the sixth-highest placed north west university in the latest guide.

There was better news for the University of Bolton in this year’s guide, with the university climbing 29 places in the guide to 89th position, up from 118.

Its students were the most satisfied in Greater Manchester for both teaching quality (81.3%) and student experience (75.9%).

However, its completion rate of 75.8% and score of 60.2% for ‘graduate prospects’ are the lowest in Greater Manchester.

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Bolton leapfrogged the University of Salford, which is now Greater Manchester’s lowest-ranked university.

The university climbed two places from last year’s guide, at 98 in the national list.

It also ranked higher than the University of Manchester in the National Student Survey – scoring 72% for teaching quality and 65.6% for student experience.

Salford has a course completion rate of 80.1% and scores 70.1% for ‘graduate prospects’.

Bolton is now the north west’s eighth-highest ranked university, while Salford is 10th on the regional list.

The University of Cumbria is the region’s lowest-ranked institution, at 125 out of 135 on the national list.

Across the UK, St Andrews was named as the top university, with the 2022 guide being the first not to have either Oxford or Cambridge in the top spot.

The University of Manchester and Manchester Metropolitan University have been approached for comment.

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