This is a rise from last year, when the service ranked seventh, and means the civil service is now the second highest ranking public sector organisation in Britain. The highest ranking public sector employer - at number 3 - is Teach First, a social enterprise aiming to recruit graduates to teach in disadvantaged areas.
Two individual departments are also included in the ranking: the Department for International Development (DFID), which has risen 40 places to 59, and the Foreign Office, which has risen 15 places to 69, compared to last year.
The list also features MI5 at number 51 and the NHS at number 8.
International development Minister Alan Duncan said: “Development offers opportunities all over the world and provides the excitement and satisfaction of converting idealism into action. Our recruits are immediately entrusted with responsibility and they have the opportunity to follow a rewarding career path. It’s great that this ranking recognises that DFID is both a good place to work and a flagship for Britain’s leadership abroad."
The ranking was compiled from the results of face-to-face interviews conducted with 18,252 students who graduated in the summer of 2013. Students were asked: "Which employer do you think offers the best opportunities for graduates?". Over 1,100 organisations were named.