Durham University has risen to a record high fifteenth position in the QS University Rankings for Employer Reputation, up from twenty-fourth in 2010. Although it is on a par with the University of Chicago, and twenty-eight places ahead of Princeton, the Ivy League institution located in New Jersey, Durham lags behind the well-known “golden triangle” of Oxford, Cambridge and London (The London School of Economics and Imperial College). Warwick and Manchester also rate higher in the survey of seventeen thousand blue-chip companies.
However, the overall QS world ranking still places Durham at an unimpressive ninety-fifth, behind Glasgow, Sheffield and Southampton. Although the University is, as the Vice-Chancellor puts it, “now recognised internationally as being one of the world’s top 100 universities”; as one of the top ten universities in the top two countries for higher education in the world, the ranking appears low. This is somewhat surprising, given the University’s success in the Employer Reputation table and the various British League Tables (The Times, The Sunday Times, The Guardian and The Complete University Guide), where Durham ranks between fifth to eighth in the country.
An increase in international reputation will certainly help attract overseas students, whose unsubsidised fees play an important part in funding the University. An international student from Kenya said that the increase in position “shows Durham is a world class university. I chose Durham for its ability to improve every year,” and that Durham, with a permanent population of only thirty thousand, is known within Kenya for its university.
The international nature of the table may suggest that Durham graduates would have more success finding careers abroad than in an oversaturated British jobs market. Another student commented that “while Durham may lack the ‘party atmosphere’ of a city university, the new ranking proves Durham has what really counts for a university – job potential.”