Newcastle University has been promoted into the top ten in a survey of the best student experiences in the country, while Durham University has been relegated from 8th to 20th.
The Times Higher Education (THE) Student Experience Survey claims to look beyond the usual definition of the student experience, such as teaching, learning, assessment and feedback, to include other aspects of campus life such as facilities, industry connections and cheap amenities.
John Gill, editor of THE, said: "One of the aims of the Government's higher education reforms was to increase competition between universities and intensify the focus on the student experience.
"Our survey, which is now in its 10th year, is perfectly placed to track what this has meant in practice, and which universities are performing particularly well in specific areas - whether in teaching and learning, or areas such as the standard of facilities, in which many institutions have been investing heavily."
Newcastle University was ranked 10th in the poll and now shares its top ten status with Cambridge and Oxford Universities.
Professor Suzanne Cholerton, Pro-Vice-Chancellor, Learning and Teaching, Newcastle University, said: “This excellent result is an acknowledgement of the efforts and commitment of everyone at Newcastle University.
"We support our students to develop skills for learning, life and work through a number of programmes such as the Pride of Newcastle University Awards scheme. The scheme has offered students 12,000 opportunities in accredited and paid placements, volunteering and entrepreneurship modules.
“The high ranking is also a testament to the importance of the support community on campus. This community brings together the Students’ Union, tutors and wellbeing staff to put students at the heart of the Newcastle University experience. Everyone is welcoming and our supportive attitude is something that we are all very proud of.”
Claire Boothman, President of Newcastle University Students’ Union, said: “These results are fantastic, and as a student of Newcastle University this is no big surprise as I have had an incredible experience, which made my studies very enjoyable.
“For students, university isn’t just about gaining a degree. It is about the experience you have alongside it. At Newcastle you feel as though you are supported through learning and listened to by staff. The University and the city itself provide a great overall experience for students and you feel attached to both when you leave."
Almost 14,700 full-time undergraduates were polled in for the survey, which was conducted in conjunction with specialist youth market research agency YouthSight.