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Best universities in the UK 2024 - University Rankings

The University of Oxford is top in a list of the best universities in the UK 2024, which includes institutions in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland

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February 23 2024
The University of Oxford


Top 10 universities in the UK 2024

Scroll down for the full list of best universities in the UK

UK Rank 2024 World University 2024 Rank  World University 2023 Rank  University City/town
1  1   1  University of Oxford Oxford
2  5   =3  University of Cambridge Cambridge
3  8   10  Imperial College London London
4  22   22  UCL London
5  =30   29  University of Edinburgh Edinburgh
6  =38   35  King’s College London London
7  46   37  London School of Economics and Political Science London
8  51   =54  University of Manchester Manchester
9  81   76  University of Bristol Bristol
10  =87   =82  University of Glasgow Glasgow

Which are the top universities in the UK? If you want to study in England, Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland, which universities should you consider?

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This league table reveals the best UK universities and colleges, according to the trusted Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2024.

The University of Oxford takes the first place position, with the University of Cambridge following in second place, while two of London’s best universities and a Scottish university complete the top five.

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Three universities in Scotland appear in the top 25 – the University of Edinburgh, the University of Glasgow and the University of St Andrews – while Cardiff University is the top-ranked Welsh university, sitting in 24th place.

For students looking to study in Northern Ireland, the best university in the ranking is Queen’s University Belfast.

Of the top universities in the UK, about 20 are in London, including well-known institutions such as Imperial College London and King’s College London.

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5. University of Edinburgh

Founded in 1583, the University of Edinburgh is the sixth-oldest university in the English-speaking world and one of Britain and Ireland’s seven ancient universities.

It is made up of three colleges: arts, humanities and social sciences; science and engineering; and medicine and veterinary medicine. Within these colleges are 20 academic schools.

A range of student clubs and societies is on offer, including a music society, a theatre society and a variety of sports teams including football, rowing, judo and rugby.

The student newspaper, The Student, is one of the oldest student newspapers in the UK. It was founded by the author Robert Louis Stevenson.

4. UCL

UCL’s main campus is in the central London area of Bloomsbury. Nearly half of all UCL students are from outside the UK, with significantly more from Asia than from continental Europe.

UCL was the first university in England to admit students irrespective of class, race or religion, and the first to admit women on equal terms with men, following the educational philosophy of Jeremy Bentham, the university’s “spiritual founder”.

For admission, undergraduate students are required to have achieved top grades in their high school exams. The most competitive degree is the BSc in philosophy, politics and economics, which receives 30 applicants for every place.

Famous alumni include Mahatma Gandhi; Alexander Graham Bell, the inventor of the telephone; and Coldplay’s Chris Martin, who met the other members of his band at the university.

3. Imperial College London

Imperial’s main campus is near Kensington Palace in the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, with other campuses around the city. The student cohort is extremely international and is made up of more than 125 nationalities.

Imperial College London is consistently ranked among the best universities in the world for science, technology, engineering, medicine and business.

It was formed in 1907 from a merger of three colleges in London and now has 17,000 students and 8,000 staff.

In addition to top scientists, Fields medallists and Nobel prizewinners, Imperial also produces influential government advisers and policymakers. Many graduates go on to achieve breakthrough innovations in industry and business, and are highly sought after by blue-chip companies and start-ups.

The author H. G. Wells and Sir Alexander Fleming, who discovered penicillin, are among Imperial’s famous alumni.

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2. University of Cambridge

In total, 117 Nobel laureates are affiliated with the University of Cambridge, and Cambridge-linked mathematicians have won 11 Fields medals. Notable alumni include actors, athletes, politicians, royals and cultural figures, including biologist Charles Darwin, broadcaster David Attenborough, conservationist Jane Goodall and actress Olivia Colman.

Like Oxford, the University of Cambridge is fundamentally collegiate and is also one of the world’s oldest and most prestigious universities. The town is just an hour from London.

The university is home to more than 19,000 students and 9,000 staff. There are 31 colleges, some of which date back to the 13th century, and more than 100 academic departments.

Cambridge is particularly renowned for excellence in mathematics and has educated some of the most famous British scientists.

Undergraduates are taught via lectures and supervisions – intimate tutorials with only a couple of other students at most. The workload is heavy but terms are shorter than at many other UK universities.

Cambridge libraries are home to extensive collections of medieval manuscripts, and the university museums display collections of archaeological artefacts and zoological specimens.

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1. University of Oxford

More than 30 world leaders, 27 British prime ministers, 50 Nobelists and 120 Olympic medallists were educated at Oxford. Stephen Hawking, Hugh Grant and Indira Gandhi are some of its famous graduates.

Undergraduates and postgraduates belong to one of its 44 colleges and often live in the college building or college-owned accommodation.

One of the world’s oldest and most prestigious universities, the University of Oxford attracts top scholars and students. Entry standards are high and admission is competitive; on average, the institution receives five applications for each available place.

Social life and recreational activities – such as rowing, cultural events and societies – also revolve around the college. Undergraduates are taught almost exclusively by tutors in their college, while postgraduate students are primarily served academically by a centralised faculty.

There are more than 100 libraries at Oxford, the most famous of which is the Bodleian, built in 1602. The city also has a number of museums, including the Oxford University Museum of Natural History, which houses the remains of a dodo, and the Museum of the History of Science, which displays a blackboard used by Albert Einstein.

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Best universities in the UK 2024

Click each institution to view its full World University Rankings 2024 profile

UK Rank 2024 World University 2024 Rank  World University 2023 Rank  University City/town
1  1   1  University of Oxford Oxford
2  5   =3  University of Cambridge Cambridge
3  8   10  Imperial College London London
4  22   22  UCL London
5  =30   29  University of Edinburgh Edinburgh
6  =38   35  King’s College London London
7  46   37  London School of Economics and Political Science London
8  51   =54  University of Manchester Manchester
9  81   76  University of Bristol Bristol
10  =87   =82  University of Glasgow Glasgow
11  =97   =108  University of Southampton Southampton
12  101   =108  University of Birmingham Birmingham
13  105   =114  University of Sheffield Sheffield
14  =106   =104  University of Warwick Warwick
15  129   =128  University of Leeds Leeds
16  =130   130  University of Nottingham Nottingham
17  135   =124  Queen Mary University of London London
18  147   =139  University of York York
19  =155   122  Lancaster University Lancaster
=20  =168   =176  University of Liverpool Liverpool
=20  =168   =139  Newcastle University Newcastle
22  174   =198  Durham University Durham
23  =177   =137  University of Exeter Exeter
24  190   =187  Cardiff University Cardiff
25  =193   201–250  University of St Andrews St Andrews
=26  201–250   =192  University of Aberdeen Aberdeen
=26  201–250   =163  University of Leicester Leicester
=26  201–250   =198  Queen’s University Belfast Belfast
=26  201–250   =198  University of Reading Reading
=26  201–250   201–250  University of Sussex Brighton
=31  251–300   251–300  University of Bath Bath
=31  251–300   201–250  University of East Anglia Norwich
=31  251–300   351–400  Loughborough University Loughborough
=31  251–300   201–250  University of Surrey Guildford
=31  251–300   251–300  Swansea University Swansea
=31 301-350 NR Birkbeck, University of London London
=37  301–350   201–250  University of Dundee Dundee
=37  301–350   301–350  University of Essex Essex
=37  301–350   351–400  Royal Holloway, University of London Egham
=37  301–350   201–250  St George’s, University of London London
=37  301–350   401–500  University of Strathclyde Strathclyde
=42  351–400   401–500  Brunel University London London
=42  351–400   351–400  City, University of London London
=42  351–400   501–600  Heriot-Watt University Edinburgh
=45  401–500   401–500  Aston University Birmingham
=45  401–500   401–500  Bangor University Bangor
=45  401–500   251–300  Bournemouth University Bournemouth
=45  401–500   501–600  Goldsmiths, University of London London
=45  401–500   501–600  University of Hull Hull
=45  401–500   351–400  University of Kent Kent
=45  401–500   401–500  University of Plymouth Plymouth
=45  401–500   401–500  University of Portsmouth Portsmouth
=45  401–500   351–400  Royal Veterinary College London
=45  401–500   501–600  SOAS University of London London
=45  401–500   351–400  University of Stirling Stirling
=56  501–600   501–600  Aberystwyth University Aberystwyth
=56  501–600   301–350  Anglia Ruskin University (ARU) East Anglia
=56  501–600   501–600  University of Bradford Bradford
=56  501–600   251–300  Brighton and Sussex Medical School Brighton
=56  501–600   401–500  Edinburgh Napier University Edinburgh
=56  501–600   501–600  University of Greenwich London
=56  501–600   601–800  University of Huddersfield Huddersfield
=56  501–600   501–600  Keele University Keele
=56  501–600   401–500  University of Lincoln Lincoln
=56  501–600   401–500  Liverpool John Moores University Liverpool
=56  501–600   601–800  Manchester Metropolitan University Manchester
=56  501–600   401–500  Middlesex University London
=56  501–600   501–600  Northumbria University Northumbria
=56  501–600   501–600  Nottingham Trent University Nottingham
=56  501–600   401–500  University of the West of England Bristol
=70  601–800   501–600  Birmingham City University Birmingham
=70  601–800   801–1000  Coventry University Coventry
=70  601–800   601–800  De Montfort University Leicester
=70  601–800   601–800  University of Derby Derby
=70  601–800   601–800  Glasgow Caledonian University Glasgow
=70  601–800   601–800  University of Hertfordshire Hatfield
=70  601–800   601–800  London South Bank University London
=70  601–800   601–800  The Open University Nationwide
=70  601–800   601–800  Oxford Brookes University Oxford
=70  601–800   401–500  SRUC (Scotland’s Rural College) Edinburgh
=70  601–800   601–800  Ulster University Ulster
=70  601–800   601–800  University of the West of Scotland Paisley
=70  601–800   601–800  University of Wolverhampton Wolverhampton
=83  801–1000   801–1000  University of Brighton Brighton
=83  801–1000   NR  University of Gloucestershire Cheltenham
=83  801–1000   801–1000  Kingston University London
=83  801–1000   801–1000  Leeds Beckett University Leeds
=83  801–1000   1001–1200  Robert Gordon University Aberdeen
=83  801–1000   801–1000  University of Roehampton London
=83  801–1000   801–1000  University of Salford Salford
=83  801–1000   801–1000  Sheffield Hallam University Sheffield
=83  801–1000   1001–1200  University of Westminster London
=92  1001–1200   801–1000  University of Bedfordshire Luton
=92  1001–1200   1201–1500  Canterbury Christ Church University Kent
=92  1001–1200   1001–1200  University of Central Lancashire Preston
=92  1001–1200   1001–1200  University of East London London
=92  1001–1200   801–1000  Edge Hill University Ormskirk
=92  1001–1200   1001–1200  University of South Wales Pontypridd
=92  1001–1200   1201–1500  Staffordshire University Stoke-on-Trent
=92  1001–1200   1001–1200  Teesside University Teesside
=92  1001–1200   NR  University of West London London
=92  1001–1200   801–1000  University of Winchester Winchester
=102  1201–1500   1001–1200  Cardiff Metropolitan University Cardiff
=102  1201–1500   1201–1500  University of Chester Chester
=102  1201–1500   1001–1200  University of Sunderland Sunderland



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