Law degrees to get gold, silver and bronze rankings under new grading system

All university degree courses will be ranked ‘gold, silver or bronze’ if new proposals by the government come into force.

Last year, universities were given the ratings as part of the Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF). Under the new plans, all undergraduate degrees, including law, would be ranked in the same way.

Courses will be ranked by a number of factors, including student satisfaction, quality of teaching, drop-out rates, and average graduate salary.

A consultation on the proposals has been opened for the next 10 weeks by the Department for Education. If it goes ahead, it is expected that the ranking system would go live in 2020.

Universities Minister Sam Gyimah said: “Prospective students deserve to know which courses deliver great teaching and great outcomes and which ones are lagging behind. In the age of the student, universities will no longer be able to hide if their teaching quality is not up to the world-class standard that we expect.

“The new subject-level TEF will give students more information than ever before, allowing them to drill down and compare universities by subject. This will level the international playing field to help applicants make better choices, and ensure that more students get the value for money they deserve from higher education.”

A number of different organisations publish rankings of law degrees already but their worth is open to question.

The Guardian law rankings, for example, have long thrown up some surprising results, with universities regularly leaping up or plummeting down the table from year to year. In the most recent table London South Bank University jumped 45 places in one year, rising 13th place to rank above more established universities including Nottingham, Edinburgh and Warwick.