Top Universities in the UK and How to Find Yours?

writer icon

Engy Hassan

calender icon

22 February, 2021

time icon

5 mins read

time icon

University Life

Share NOW

fav icon
main topic image

As a student thinking about studying abroad, you probably have a lot of questions before you make a decision. What are the best universities in the UK? How are they ranked? Is there a way to find out the best university in a specific subject? We have gathered the answers to all these questions and more below. 

1.Top Ranking Organisations

When reading about university rankings, you might find some ranking names that are unfamiliar to you. If you have come across “University table league”, “THE Ranking”, and “QS Ranking”, here is a short description to each of these, 

  • UK University League

The UK University League is a table made by The Complete University Guide to compare the top universities in the UK by score, entry standards, student satisfaction, research quality, research intensity, graduate prospects, facilities, etc. 

  • THE Ranking

Times Higher Education (THE) rankings are global performance tables meant to assess universities against the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the United Nations. The Times Higher Education magazine usually publishes them, and you can always recheck the university ranking on THE’s website throughout the year. 

  • QS Ranking

It’s an annual publication of the UK university rankings published by Quacquarelli Symonds, a specialised British company in higher education institutions analysis worldwide.

Different ratings systems have different priorities; however, most of the time, the top 10 universities are very similar in most ranking systems. Below are the top 10 universities in the UK, according to the UK University League Ranking. 

2.Top 10 Universities in the UK (UK University League Ranking)

1. University of Cambridge

It is the fourth oldest university in the world with more than 100 academic departments. Cambridge libraries house many valuable medieval manuscripts, and its museums exhibit zoological specimens and archaeological artefacts. More than 117 Nobel laureates graduated from Cambridge. Charles Darwin is one of the most well-known alumni, alongside Prince Charles and Olivia Colman, the actress.     

Famous Departments: Mathematics 


2. University of Oxford 

One of the oldest universities in the world with more than 100 libraries and two museums, one of which holds the blackboard of Albert Einstein. More than 30 world leaders, 27 British prime ministers, 120 Olympic medalists and 50 Nobel prize winners have graduated from Oxford. Gandhi, Hawking and Hugh Grant are some of the famous alumni.    

Famous Departments: Philosophy, Modern Languages, Geography, English Language & Literature and Mathematics.

3. University of St Andrews 

In 2020, the university held the title of “highest-ranking Scottish University”. The Duke of Cambridge, Prince William and his wife Catherine, the Duchess of Cambridge, are both alumni of the university alongside the actress Elizabeth Ann Hanks, Tom Hanks’ sister, and Michael Berry, the mathematical physicist. 

Famous Departments: Classics, International Relations, History of Art, Geography, Economics and Physics.

4.London School of Economics and Politics

International students make up 70% of the student body at LSE and is known for its specialisation in politics and law, as the name suggests. The university alumni include many Noble prize winners, like William Arthur Lewis, Oliver Hart and many more. 

Famous Departments: Law, Economics, History, Philosophy and Politics. 

5. Imperial College London

Imperial College has always preserved its place among the best universities globally for science, medicine, engineering, technology and business. The university was  home to many Nobel Prize winners, field medalists and royal members, as well as famous novelists like Mark Lawrence and actors such as Navin Chowdhry.

Famous Departments: Business, Science, Engineering, Technology and Medicine.

6. Loughborough University

Despite being in a small town in England’s countryside, Loughborough University was named University of the Year by The Times newspaper in 2020. It is well known for its supportive educational system and innovative teaching method. 

Famous Departments: The Department of Politics, History and International Relations. 

7. Durham University

As a well-known university amongst sports fans, Durham University has a student population of more than 17,505, with 90 % practising at least one sport. The university has a globally recognised rowing club from which multiple Olympic winners have graduated. 

Famous Departments: Theology and Archaeology. and Sport and Exercise Sciences

8. Lancaster University

It is a world-renowned research university with multiple research facilities, including laboratories, libraries, etc. In the Government's latest independent review, it was graded as an internationally excellent university by 48% of the reviewers.  

Famous Departments: Politics 

9. University of Bath

The University of Bath is famous for research and teaching excellence. With more than 80% of its research classified as world-leading, it was awarded Gold for teaching excellence by TEF in 2017.     

Famous Departments: Accounting & Finance, Aeronautical & Manufacturing Engineering, Architecture and Biological Sciences. 

10. UCL (University College London)

When it comes to equality, UCL is a pioneer in gender equality. It was the first university in England to set equal admission terms for both women and men. In 2019, more than 50% of the students were international, most of which came from Asia.  

Famous Departments: Architecture, Archaeology, Anthropology and Geography

3. Tips To Choose The Best University For You

Now that you know the best universities you could apply to, here are some tips to help you know where you stand and how to choose the best university for you. 

1. Learn About Yourself

Discover your unique talents, learning styles and the career path you might be interested in. Whether you do this by reading about multiple majors, working during your summer holidays, or even applying for an internship before starting school, do whatever it takes to know your capabilities a bit more. You can then choose the perfect major for you. 

2. Improve Your Skills and Research Your Career Path

Research the possible career paths for any major you could be interested in. To ensure your path is smooth, check out the skills needed in your preferred job and start developing these requirements. Moreover, we highly recommend you work on three vital aspects besides the main career skills. 

1. Learn  a craft 

2. Develop proficiency in a variety of languages other than your native language and English.

3. Ensure your computer skills are up to date. 

Having this combination of skills in your early years will open lots of doors and offer unique opportunities.   

3. Ask for Advice

Take advice from someone with experience, both academic and professional, to help you get a closer look at the path you are considering taking. Being aware of the pros and cons before going through any new experience is always a plus, and in this case, it might save your future! Send mails, DMs, or even call, do whatever you can to reach someone with experience and ask them for that precious wisdom! 

4. Top Universities in the UK by Subject 

Once you are done with your initial introduction to the top universities and how to choose the best for yourself, check out our blog section for a thorough overview of the top 4 universities by subject. We have over 10 articles discussing the topic. 

  1. Top English Studies Universities in the UK

  2. Top Psychology Universities in the UK

  3. Top Law Universities in the UK

  4. Top Universities to Study Politics in the UK

  5. Top Business and Management Universities in the UK

  6. Top Computer Science Universities in the UK

  7. Top Art and Design Universities in the UK

  8. Top Economics Universities in the UK

  9. Top Architecture Universities in the UK

  10. Top Accounting and Finance Universities in the UK

Don’t forget to book student accommodation near your preferred university; we have tons of accommodation options near the above-mentioned choices and more. Book with Casita now. 


Subscribe to download

Share NOW