Students taking part in this year's Big Essex Award scheme
The outstanding student experience, strong graduate prospects and world-leading research have helped the University of Essex climb five places into the top 30 of The Times and The Sunday Times Good University Guide 2017.
The Guide is the definitive overview of the very best UK universities and shows Essex performing strongly on the Guide’s measures for student satisfaction and employability. The Guide ranked Essex 30th overall, 18th for student experience and 25th for research quality with criminology; drama, dance and cinematics; history of art; and politics all in the top 10 nationally.
Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Education), Professor Aletta Norval, said: ““Our performance in The Times and The Sunday Times Good University Guide 2017 shows we are delivering an outstanding educational experience which our students really value. This is underpinned by a commitment to making sure our world-leading research really informs their studies.
“Our strategic plan set an aim of securing a place in the top 30 of The Times and The Sunday Times Good University Guide 2017 so I am extremely pleased the hard work of all our staff and our partnership with the Students’ Union has helped us achieve this target.”
"Fantastic to see all of our hard work being recognised" - Students' Union
VP Education at the Students' Union at the University of Essex, Josh Gulrajani, added: “As a Students’ Union, we are committed to giving our students the best possible experience at Essex, and to help our members get an amazing degree, so it is fantastic to see all of our hard work being recognised by The Times and The Sunday Times Good University Guide.
“The Students’ Union is also thrilled to see the University increasing the number of opportunities for our students to get a truly transformational education, and this ranking is proof of that.
“We hope to continue working with the University to build on this fantastic result, and we will continue working tirelessly to ensure that our students are at the centre of everything that we do, and that they get the best from their experience at Essex.”
Subject tables show the University of Essex is in the top 10 in the UK for criminology; drama, dance and cinematics; history of art and politics, top 20 for American Studies, and top 30 for art and design; linguistics; mathematics; philosophy; and sociology.
Building on our reputation for excellence
The Times and The Sunday Times Good University Guide 2017 reaffirms the University of Essex’s strong reputation for delivering excellence in education and excellence in research.
The University has been in the top 10 of mainstream English universities for student satisfaction according to the National Student Survey (NSS) for the past four years.
The Research Excellence Framework (REF) in December 2014 re-confirmed Essex’s position as one of the UK’s top research universities, with the quality of our research in politics once again being rated the best in Britain and social sciences as a whole ranked 4th overall.
Improving the student experience
Professor Norval added: “At Essex, we constantly strive to further improve the student experience. This academic year we opened our new £26 million student centre and library extension as well as the landmark £22 million Essex Business School. We’ve also made significant improvements to the way we support our students to get the most out of their time at Essex which has had a positive impact on our continuation rates and the number of good degrees achieved.
“We have a very strong focus on helping our students develop the right skills for their future career. Our Employability Strategy has created dedicated posts in our faculties to promote work experience, develop one-to-one coaching programmes for final year students, and expand our programme of careers talks and employer presentations.
“We’ve also set-up employer advisory boards across our University so we can work even more closely with employers to develop courses which really help graduates develop the skills they need in the workplace.
“Our performance in The Times and The Sunday Times Good University Guide 2017 has been achieved through a whole university approach - academics, professional services and students all pulling together. All of this has been crucially underpinned by an active partnership with academic departments, with lecturers embedding employability skills in the curriculum, supporting students as their Personal Tutors and promoting employability as an integral part of the Essex experience.”
The Quality Assurance Agency (QAA) review released last year highlighted Essex’s high-quality learning experience, strong extra-curricular opportunities, close-working relationships with students and extensive support for developing employment skills.
The QAA review commended the University’s approach to peer mentoring, the personal tutor system and the development of study skills, as well as the academic staff development programme, as examples of the University’s approach to improving students’ learning opportunities.