The reputed annual Complete University Guide (CUG) has published its independent University League Tables and Rankings for 2012, in which Cambridge University has beaten Oxford to the top spot for the first time in 4 years.

The table ranks 116 universities on a number of criteria, including student satisfaction, research, entry standards, student to staff ratio, spend on academic services, spend on facilities, honors, graduate prospects, good honors degrees and completion rates.

This is the first time since 2007 that Cambridge has topped the table, also securing the highest scores in research, entry standards and completion rates.

Interestingly, when ranked by order in terms of two very important parameters - student satisfaction and graduate prospects - the top rank was earned by The University of Buckingham (overall rank 42), one of the UK's few private institutions with no state funding. It also has the best student-staff ratio of 8.9

Oxford University, which slipped to second position this time, continues to hold the top spot when it comes to good honors - what the Guide describes as the percentage of graduates achieving a first or upper second class honors degree. The class of degree achieved can impact a graduate's employment prospects. In terms of student satisfaction, too, Oxford scored marginally higher than Cambridge.

Nationally, the top 10 British universities according to the CUG 2012 overall rankings are:

  • 1. Cambridge
  • 2. Oxford
  • 3. Imperial College, London
  • 4. London School of Economics
  • 5. Durham
  • 6. St. Andrews
  • 7. University College, London
  • 8. Warwick
  • 9. Lancaster
  • 10. Bath