Lancaster University has been named International University of the Year by The Times and The Sunday Times Good University Guide 2020.
Two years after winning the overall University of the Year title, Lancaster finds itself in the winner’s enclosure once more, this time for its role in promoting British higher education abroad and for the opportunities it provides overseas for its own students.
Lancaster came out on top thanks to its global campuses and extensive university partnerships across the world.
It remains in the top spot in the north west, and is now a regular presence in the UK top 10, despite this year slipping two places to rank a still outstanding eighth.
Since 2013, Lancaster has invested more than £170m into campus improvements, and with a planned £250m spend over the next five years, it ranks fifth overall for spending on facilities and services.
Despite a decrease in student satisfaction with teaching quality and the wider student experience, the university has a gold rating in the Teaching Excellence Framework.
The university last year saw a fourth successive increase in new enrolments.
Alastair McCall, editor of The Times and The Sunday Times Good University Guide, said: “Few universities can match Lancaster’s record for exporting British higher education to the world, while at the same time offering opportunities to their UK-based students to incorporate a global learning experience within their degree programmes.
“Our International University of the Year award is designed to recognise both achievements and Lancaster stood out in a crowded marketplace.
“It is the only British university to have a presence in sub-Saharan Africa, having opened a campus in Ghana, and there is a joint institute in China with Beijing Jiaotong University.
“And now there is a new campus in Leipzig, Germany. All are helping to establish Lancaster - now a regular in our UK top 10 - as a truly global player.
“Heading in the opposite direction, hundreds of Lancaster students undertake part of their courses in America, Asia, Australia or Europe, making use of one of the most extensive programmes of university partnerships anywhere in British higher education.”
Lancaster University’s vice-chancellor Professor Mark E. Smith said: “I’m delighted that the hard work of our staff and students has been recognised as Lancaster has always considered itself truly international in everything we do.
“This outlook influences our world class research and teaching, enriches our students’ experience and extends our community with global staff and alumni from 100 different countries.
“Lancaster is constantly developing partnerships across the world to ensure it delivers teaching that takes students to the frontiers of knowledge and produces graduates who can compete in a global job market.
“We currently have partnerships with leading universities and institutions in 24 countries around the world and we are very proud of our successful overseas campuses in Malaysia, China and Ghana and this year launched in Leipzig, Germany – our first in mainland Europe.
“At a time when there is such profound uncertainty in so many parts of the globe, Lancaster remains resolute in our determination to be a university that is open to the world.”
The biggest riser in this year’s north west regional table is the University of Central Lancashire, which jumps 30 places to a national rank of 75th.
Student satisfaction has increased significantly, bring UCLan back into the national top 100, and its £200m campus plan sees an Engineering and Innovation Centre opening this year in Preston, with the hope of recruiting more women into the field.
The Times and The Sunday Times Good University Guide 2020, to be published on September 22, provides students and their parents with an invaluable first reference point on the path to finding a university place.
It contains full profiles of all universities. The league table is made up of nine indicators including student satisfaction with teaching quality and their wider student experience, research quality, graduate prospects, entrance qualifications held by new students, degree results achieved, student/staff ratios, service and facilities spend, and degree completion rates.
The Times will complement coverage in The Sunday Times with two further supplements to be published on Monday and Tuesday, September 23 and 24.
These will focus on the best universities for teaching quality and student experience and the universities that come top in different subject areas.