Lancaster University has been named University of the Year by The Times and The Sunday Times Good University Guide 2018.
Lancaster has been the top university in the north west of England for more than a decade and this year rose three places to finish sixth place in the national league table, securing it a top 10 finish for the second consecutive year and its highest ever ranking.
The new edition of The Times and The Sunday Times Good University Guide 2018 is published over three days, beginning with a free 96-page supplement published this weekend in The Sunday Times.
It provides the definitive rankings for UK universities and the most comprehensive overview of higher education in Britain.
It includes profiles on 131 universities and the definitive UK university rankings, making use of the latest data published in the past two months.
Lancaster University has not opted for expansion on the scale of other leading universities but it is firmly committed to becoming a “global player” in both teaching and research.
Its sixth-place ranking in The Times and The Sunday Times Good University Guide 2018, as well as the winning of the coveted University of the Year award, cements its place as an elite UK university.
One of the 1960s generation of universities, it was also awarded Gold in the Teaching Excellence Framework – the new government-led teaching ratings published in June.
The university has invested heavily in its campus, including eco-friendly student residences and a collaboration project with business and the NHS called Health Innovation Campus.
The first £41m phase of the project should be completed within the next two years and it hopes the project will create a world-class centre for excellence for innovation and research in health.
Given the heavy recent spend on enhancing the campus and academic facilities, it is no surprise that the university is the eighth biggest spender on facilities across the UK – and the highest in the north-west, spending an average of £3,104 per student.
It has won the Best Student Halls award for seven of the past eight years in the annual National Student Housing Awards.
Heavy spending and campus upgrades help translate into outstanding scores in the National Student Survey for student experience.
Lancaster’s 84.3 per cent positive score in this area was the seventh best in the UK, helping the university rise three places to sixth in the overall Good University Guide rankings.
Lancaster has also continued to foster an extensive global presence. It remains the only UK university to have a presence in sub-Saharan Africa, having opened a branch in Ghana.
There is also a joint institute in China and opportunities for students to spend time overseas at a network of universities across Europe, America, Asia and Australia.
As well as its institutional success, Lancaster’s criminology course is ranked top in the UK among the 67 subject tables to be published on Sunday.
Alastair McCall, editor of The Sunday Times Good University Guide, said: “Rising to its highest ever ranking in our league table this year, Lancaster is at the top of its game.
“It knows the university it wants to be and as a result makes a distinctive offer to students.
“The modern interpretation of a collegiate structure, coupled with flexible degree programmes and academics committed to teaching as well as research has been recognised in consistently good outcomes in the annual National Student Survey. Students love Lancaster.
“Dynamic course content and structure, plus the opportunities many students get to work abroad, is reflected in outstanding graduate prospects once they leave.
“In the 19 years of our University of the Year awards, there has rarely been a more clear-cut winner.”