The University of Cambridge is ranked 1st nationally in The Sunday Times University Guide for 2012, followed by University of Oxford in second place. Imperial College London dropped from third place last year to 14th nationally in the 2012 league table.

Durham University was ranked No. 3 in the UK, moving up from 6th last year, achieving its highest ever ranking in the guide. More than four in five (82 %) of Durham graduates get a graduate-level job when they leave, with an average salary of more than £21,300, and along with Cambridge University, over 98 % of Durham students complete their course, according to the guide. In addition, Durham is ranked as a World Top 100 University in the 2011 QS World University Rankings.

The University of Exeter is ranked 9th (up from 17th place last year) in this league table and has also been named runner-up in The Sunday Times University of the Year award.

Lancaster University is ranked 18th nationally, up three places on last year, and it is also ranked in the top ten in all other major UK university league tables. The University also has high levels of student satisfaction, with physical science (90.8%), geography and environmental science (87%) and media studies (83.7%) recording the highest scores for student satisfaction with teaching quality, academic support, assessment and feedback.

University of Leeds moved up from 26th to 24th in the national league table. It is also the only institution in the Russell Group to be shortlisted for the University of the Year award.

Coventry University has risen 30 places to 53rd overall in the league table, making it the second highest climbing university in the UK. The guide also ranks Coventry University 9th overall in the Midlands and 5th best in the region for teaching excellence.

The top 20 UK universities for 2012:
1 Cambridge
2 Oxford
3 Durham
5 Bath
6 St Andrews
8 Warwick
9 Exeter
10 Bristol
11 Loughborough
12 Newcastle
13 Sheffield
14 Imperial College London
15= Nottingham
15= York
17 King's College London
18 Lancaster
19 Sussex
20 Glasgow
Source: The Sunday Times

* Suggested Reading:

Scottish University of the Year

Guardian University Guide 2012

UK University League Table 2012

World University Ranking Tables

America - US News & World Report, The Princeton Review, BusinessWeek
Canada - Maclean's, Gourman Report Ranking of Canadian Universities
UK - Sunday Times, Guardian, Times Good University Guide, Daily Telegraph
World - Shanghai Jiao Tong ARWU Rankings, Webometrics, Newsweek
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