One way to assess the quality of an institution is to consider their position in the league tables published by various newspapers. Notably, the Guardian University Guide and the Times Good University Guides (These sites can be found by navigating from the Guardian and Times websites – http://education.guardian.co.uk/ and http://www.timesonline.co.uk).
League tables measure a university’s standing according to a range of measures, including the quality of its research and teaching (see above). League tables rank both universities and individual departments (arranged by subject). Be sure to look at the position of the specific department you are interested in. The results might surprise you. The best departments may not always be in what you might consider the best universities. If so, you may have to balance the performance of the specific department against the perceived ‘reputation’ of the university.