Monday, January 14, 2008

League table madness

I posted Some comparative figures and league tables of UK mathematics departments. I wrote the bash scripts to pull out the data on EPSRC grants etc while watching TV over Christmas. Please feel free to post comments here.

18 Comments:

Blogger Billlion said...

I notice Cambridge claims to be the largest undergraduate maths course in the UK, with 250 a year. The same page counts Part III as undergraduate, altough it differs from newer MMath degrees in that you can transfer in for the final year after gaining a BSc. They have about 200 in Part III but that includes physics I think.

2:25 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The link doesn't work.

12:31 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It is meant to be
www.cam.ac.uk/admissions/undergraduate/courses/maths/


Looks like the link above just links back to this page.

3:24 AM  
Blogger Billlion said...

Yes that is the one I meant. Thanks anon.

3:19 PM  
Blogger Billlion said...

I have also notice Queen Mary Univ London School of Maths Sci web site says

The School is one of the largest mathematics departments in the UK

They only had 35 research active staff in 2001 RAE, although I expect they have expanded. Their website currently says they have 800
undergraduates total, in 16 degree programmes, and 50 academic staff teaching full time. If the top seven by no of research active academics had notexpanded since 2001, and all 50 QMUL staff were research active, they would be seventh by that measure of size. However assuming about 50 stay for the MSci fourth year (and are counted as undergraduates) 250 maths undergraduates a year is quite big. About equal fourth with Bristol. Quite hard to do with 50 staff?

But a caution here. I only looked for figures for undergraduate numbers for departments where the 2001 RAE suggested they were big. There may well be other departments who have expanded to 250 a year over the last few years.

I think the Manchester website also currently says "one of the largest" as well. I think on the whole we should all be a bit more specific. Eg "one of the largest N U.K. maths departments in terms of undergrad numbers" where N is chosen to account for the uncertainty in getting these figures!

7:15 AM  
Blogger Billlion said...

Another one I missed.
The Open University web site says


We are Europe's largest provider of university-level education in Mathematics and Statistics and provide courses for approximately 80% of the part-time Mathematics and Statistics students in the UK.

Wonder how many that is.

11:49 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Lies, damned lies and statistics.

5:40 PM  
Blogger Billlion said...

Thanks to everyone who has emailed in comments, and corrections. I will try to incorporate them where possible. Please post them here as well as emailing if them if you want.

I hope to do the exercise again some time later maybe after the next RAE as this should give an upadte on for example the number of research active staff.

11:09 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Have you seen the new league table published by the independent/GUG for 2009? What do you make of the rankings now....(top 3) Cambridge Oxford Dundee?!? http://www.thegooduniversityguide.org.uk/single.htm?ipg=6643#ss

3:36 PM  
Blogger Billlion said...

Well we were especially interested in that table as in the printed edition Manchester was 4th, but the online version was rather different. The GUG guide still seems to be using old figures 2005/2006 for the DELHE survey of graduate employment after six months as far as I can tell.

But, well, good for Dundee! Hope it helps them.

I don't yet understand what has changed in the INdepent/GuG criteria or their inputs, but it might be possible to understand this from looking at the case of Dundee.

I really hope it is not like the infamous cases of Bangor and Hull, where a dramatic rise in league table positions coincided with them closing the departments. Closing your degree courses does at least temporarily increase the staff to student ratio!

2:05 AM  
Blogger Billlion said...

Some links: Print edition of the subject league table for maths Thursday 24th April 2008. The Good University Guide subject tables 2009 (select mathematics). Explaination that the GUG use 2005-06 figures for employment prospects. One assumes they mean DELHE which is done every year. The online version of the Independent has different rankings for science subjects to the print edition. See eg maths/manchester.

2:57 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your article on the ranking of maths departments within the UK was very informative. I would just like to point out some minor corrections regarding the ISI highly cited researchers. I think you omitted the following two Warwick mathematicians from the list: Ian Stewart and Robert MacKay.

12:08 PM  
Blogger Billlion said...

You are right. Fixed. I dont know how I missed them. But actually the ISI web site does not say when they were declared "highly cited", but I assume I just missed them out when I did this last December.

2:19 PM  
Anonymous Sarah said...

Thank you Bill this has been a really useful article

12:04 AM  
Blogger Billlion said...

The page has been referenced a few times on the Student Room as I found from my access logs (the page got over 1500 hits this month). This web site seems like a good place for prospective students and current students to discuss their choice of course and university, as well as lots of other problems. I think they are so lucky compared with my generation in that they can information and a range of opinions so easily.

Its not only maths students that read it, an English Literature student at Manchester called Lauren (or OhNO!) says she "read it all for some reason". Fortunately she attributed the spleling mistakies in the Guaardian section to my sense of humour. Well actually I did put some in for a laugh, it is true, but its funny as well as I do make a lot of spelling mistakes.

I am planning to update the survey next January, so maybe I'll find a sympathetic literature student to check for mistakes that are not jokes.

11:40 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

When is the update coming up Bill?

4:24 AM  
Blogger Saul Jacka said...

Dear Bill,
Just checked the Warwick numbers. Not your fault but you've missed all our Maths and Physics students (who are administered by Physics).
2008 totals are 1536 undergraduates in maths (widesense) and an intake of 538 (some significant overshoot). The current target is more like 460.
Cheers,
Saul Jacka
(HoD Statistics at Warwick)

5:23 AM  
Blogger Billlion said...

I missed of "Physics and Maths" students from Manchester as well for the same reason - they are administered by Physics, so at least that was consistent.

12:05 AM  

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