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The University has fallen 14 places in the QS World Rankings. While six UK Universities made it into the top ten, York fell from 110th to 124th in the 2012/13 rankings.
Cambridge was ranked as best in the UK, in third overall, while University College London was next best followed by Imperial, Oxford, Edinburgh and King's College London, while York finished 20th out of the UK institutions.
York was also ranked behind the likes of Queen Mary, Southampton, Leeds, Sheffield, and Birmingham.
The University has had mixed results in the rankings in recent years failing to make progress in the national rankings, but performing well in other tables.
Earlier this year Nouse reported how York remained as the top UK University under 50 years old in the Times Higher Education Rankings. In the under 50 rankings York was ranked as seventh overall, the only UK institution in the top ten ahead of Warwick in 13th, and Lancaster in 14th place.
However York had previously been ranked 16th in the Guardian league table, gaining just one place, while The Complete University Guide ranked York as 12th for the second year running.
York is currently ranked as 13th in The Times Good University Guide, and 103rd in the THE world rankings which are updated next month.
Kallum Taylor, YUSU President, commented, "It's important we don't obsess too much over league tables. What's crucial is the experience of our students during their time here, and their prospects post graduation - this table doesn't say we're doing anything terribly - we're obviously not - but we know roughly that in relation to our nearest competitors, York has to up its game.
"Perhaps with the new VC we'll see some new ideas that will set York apart somewhat from the rest, instead of always being the one to follow - which will inevitably leave us slipping behind."
YUSU Academic Officer Dan Whitmore offered a similar appraisal of the situation, adding, "Yeah, it's a little disappointing that we have dropped a little, we're now the 20th in the UK which isn't great given that we were seventh only a few years ago. However, I wouldn't obsess too much with the rankings fluctuating a little; we're still one of the best universities in the UK and as far as reputation goes we are now a member of the Russell Group, making us a real contender in the sector as a whole.
"It'll be interesting to see how Koen [Lamberts, incoming Vice-Chancellor] reacts to this when he arrives in January and hopefully a breath of fresh air will give the university the boost it needs!"
A University of York spokesperson said: "While our fall in the QS world rankings is disappointing, this sort of fluctuation does occur periodically in league tables. However, the fact remains that the University of York is one of the best universities in the world, with excellent teaching and world-class research. York is ranked one of the top 20 UK institutions, with 11 out of 18 of its QS subjects in the world top 100.
"What we have achieved in 50 years is remarkable: We have managed to forge a powerful global reputation as a strong research-led university, performing well against the world's elite heritage institutions. We also recently joined the prestigious Russell Group of leading UK universities.
"Earlier this year, the University of York was the only UK University to rank in the top 10 in the Times Higher Education (THE) world rankings of universities less than 50 years old."