A rise of 24 places in the Guardian University Guide 2016 puts Sussex among the UK’s top 20 universities.
The table, published today, ranks Sussex at 19th, making it the highest climber in the table, while Brighton has fallen five places to rank 67th.
Vice-Chancellor Professor Michael Farthing attributed the rise to a renewed focus on student experience and graduate employability.
He said: “During the past couple of years we have looked very carefully at the areas in which we weren’t doing so well and have made some major improvements.
“In particularly, we have increased opportunities for studying abroad, for professional and industry placements and for internships.
“Giving our students these real-world experiences has contributed to our massive improvement. Ninety six per cent of our graduates are either in work or full time study six months after leaving, which is a stunning result.”
The university has also invested in better library provision, IT services and careers services and e-learning support, and more academic staff to improve the ratio of students to staff.
Mr Farthing said: “What’s important now is that we continue to give our students the best opportunities, not just in terms of their experience while studying at Sussex, but for their careers and their personal development,” he said.
The university’s chemistry degree is ranked first, and drama is placed second nationally. Seven other subjects are in the top ten: Modern Languages (4th), Social Work (5th), American Studies (6th), English (8th), Geography (8th), Physics (9th), History of Art (10th).
Subjects appearing in the top 25 are: Philosophy (12th), Sociology (14th), Anatomy (14th), Medicine (15th), Music (15th), Media and Film Studies (16th), Mechanical Engineering (18th), History (20th), Law (20th), Mathematics (22), Psychology (24th).
The Guardian’s tables rank universities according to: spending per student; student/staff ratio; graduate career prospects; what grades applicants need to get a place; a value-added score that compares students’ entry qualifications with their final degree results; and how satisfied final-year students are with their courses, based on results from the annual national student survey (NSS).
Sussex’s rise, up from 43rd last year, makes the University the highest climber in the top 50 of the 119 UK institutions measured by the Guardian