League tables examine a range of university metrics including student satisfaction, research quality, student-staff ratios and graduate prospects. They give an overall ranking for a university as well as at academic subject level.
University league tables are increasingly used by prospective students when choosing a university and course to continue their education. Recent research has shown that more than two-thirds (69%) of students now use at least one league table when deciding on university.
 Youthsight, 2013
A range of UK and international outlets develop university league tables, usually publishing the results on an annual basis - generally from May through to September. The most recent results from the most commonly used UK-focussed university league tables can be found in the following links:
These tables can usually be examined online, or are also available to download.
As well as providing a steer as to how the University and its subject areas are performing, ratings can also be used in the promotion of specific course offerings. This could be on University course pages, course leaflets and other promotional material. Rankings can be determined at both a Scottish and UK institution level, and used accordingly. Examples include:
QS Stars is a rating system which allows students to get a wider picture of an institution’s qualities, looking at everything from the employability of graduates, to sports facilities and community engagement. It is designed to reflect the nuanced mission of universities, and the needs of students who may be interested in things other than those to which traditional rankings are necessarily limited.
International audiences review QS rankings throughout their university search. The QS Stars audit evaluates an institution against over 50 different indicators, and awards universities between one and five + stars over eight categories, as well as an overall rating.
In 2015, the University of Stirling achieved an overall rating of five stars from QS. The University also gained a five star ranking reflecting our established reputation and high standing, cutting edge facilities and internationally renowned research and teaching.
The Key Information Set, or KIS, comprises the items of information which students have said they find most useful when making choices about which course to study. Some of the items are measures of student satisfaction from the National Student Survey (NSS), which is completed by more than 220,000 mainly final year students in the UK each year. Some of the items are from the Destination of Leavers from Higher Education (DLHE) which surveys students who gained a qualification from a university or college, six months after they left. The DLHE survey asks whether they are employed, studying, both or, neither.
KIS statistics are updated from the most recent NSS or DLHE surveys annually, usually around August. The most recently available information for NSS is from the 2014 survey and from DLHE this is for 2012/13. For the University, this information can be found at either of the following sources:
As with University League Tables, results from NSS and DLHE can also be used when promoting courses. Various statistics are available from these surveys and examples of how these can be used include:
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