The Good University Guide has released a list of the best UK universities for specific professions, revealing some unexpected highs and lows for some of our best known higher education institutions. Oxford and Cambridge Universities are surprisingly conspicuous by their absence from several of the tables, but in many cases this is simply due to the fact that the rankings focus on vocational courses, many of which are not offered by the elite Oxbridge pair. Nonetheless the rankings show a fascinatingly varied picture of excellence across quite a variety of UK universities; a refreshing change from the usual suspects who tend to top the more generic league tables year after year. The results suggest that it is well worth investigating which universities are best for which subjects before making decisions about applications – you might be missing out on the best university in the UK for your subject just because it doesn’t have a fantastic reputation for performance across the board.


The medicine league table starts out as one might expect, with Cambridge University in pole position closely followed by Oxford, but some will be surprised to hear that Aberdeen comes in third and Dundee takes fifth place, suggesting that Scotland reveals hidden gems when it comes to medical training! Many extremely highly-respected universities for medicine actually score rather poorly on the list, with Birmingham, King’s College London and Nottingham all in the lower half of the table.


Cambridge University leads the field again in the rankings for law, but this time Oxford is pipped to second place by the London School of Economics. Interestingly in this table, the University of Nottingham scores much more highly than in many rankings, notching up an admirable fourth place. Aberdeen and Dundee impress again, coming in sixth and eighth respectively, whilst the usually highly respected University of Warwick plunges to the bottom of the table in 20th place.

Business Studies

The business studies rankings hold more surprises, with the London universities performing particularly highly. The London School of Economics and Imperial College London take the top two spots, strongly supporting the theory that it is best to study in an area that is closely related to the field in which you hope to go on to work. King’s College London is also among the top five ranked institutions for studying business.


Architecture really shakes up the top spots, with Cardiff University leading the field as the best place to study the subject in the UK. Cambridge is placed second, but other less generally highly performing institutions like the Universities of Bath and Ulster are prestigiously ranked in the top ten.

Accounting and Finance

Predictably, the London School of Economics leads the pack here, but the University of Warwick swoops back from trailing in many of the other league tables to take second place. Scottish Universities perform very well again, with Edinburgh and Glasgow coming in third and fourth. Durham, a university usually rated very highly on league tables, comes in fifth here, but makes a surprisingly poor showing across most of the rankings.

These tables can be immensely valuable for students who are not looking for a prestigious academic institution for its own sake, but for the university most likely to propel them to professional success after a more vocational degree. Often the best universities to attend for future employment and links with relevant industries are not the same universities that are topping the general league tables. So remember, find out which universities are the leaders in your specific vocational field before you apply – you might just be surprised.