Top Universities in the UK: 2022 List of Top 10 Ranked Higher Education Institutes

The Top Universities in the UK 

The UK is an excellent location to study and attain a degree because it is filled with credible scholarly universities. With more than 400,000 international students enrolled in some higher education programs within universities across the UK, learners have gathered from across the globe to benefit from this outstanding educational system. 

Selecting a university-based on a student’s needs and the university’s ranking is a blend for success no matter which field the student plans to enter. Universities are ranked based on their overall performance and how well particular colleges within the university perform. 

Understanding the top ten universities in the UK, how successful their alumni are, and how each has historically prevailed in an academic setting is essential to make an informed decision about an academic future. 

1. Cambridge University 

The University of Cambridge offers 30 undergraduate courses teaching more than 65 topics, and within the university are 29 undergraduate Colleges where students live, create, and study. From chemical engineering to linguistics to law, Cambridge offers an educational opportunity for everyone. 

Furthermore, international students are welcome, with more than 25 percent of undergraduates, around 3,100 students, hailing from other countries. Notably, the admissions process is somewhat different from other universities and begins earlier.

Cambridge University has historically ranked as a top ten school for the UK and globally. Rankings notate the level of performance in distinct categories, including the number of admissions, staff, and percentage of graduations. Success after graduating from Cambridge is quantifiable, with about 89 percent of graduates finding jobs within fifteen months of leaving. 

Cambridge is a good choice for those who enjoy reading because the university library includes more than 29 million books. The library accepts a free copy of each book printed in the UK. The colleges of the university are dispersed within the town. Cambridgeshire and the colleges of the university are steeped in history. 

For instance, In 1546, Henry VIII founded Trinity College, which remains the largest college in Cambridge. Alumni include intellectuals from throughout history like Charles Darwin, John Milton, and Isaac Newton. 

2. Oxford University

Another university consistently ranked within the top ten in multiple ranking systems is Oxford. Indeed, Oxford ranked first in the Times Higher Education (THE) World University Rankings for 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020, and 2021. Like Cambridge, all of the colleges associated with the university are in close proximity to within the city. 

At last accounting, about 24,000 students study at Oxford. Most of the undergraduate students yield from state schools, 69 percent in 2020. International students hold about 10,900 seats and heil from more than 160 countries. 

Interestingly, Oxford does not have a founding date. Still, historians agree that it likely began around 1096 and accelerated rapidly after 1167, when King Henry II halted English nationals studying at the University of Paris. Through the years, famous alumni include 28 British Prime Ministers and 55 Nobel Prize winners.

3. University of Edinburgh

More than 13,000 international students call the University of Edinburgh their academic home. The University of Edinburgh offers courses designed to improve English language skills before starting a degree course for those studying English as a second or third language.

Located in Scotland’s capital, the university was founded in 1583 and is one of the world’s best universities. Additionally, the university boasts high employment rates after graduation and has ranked in the top 10 in the UK for employability. 

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and Alexander Graham Bell are alumni of the University of Edinburgh and more contemporary graduates like J.K. Rowling and Pippa Middleton. 

4. London School of Economics and Political Science

With more than 40 undergraduate programs and over 160 graduate studies, the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) is a tremendous educational opportunity no matter your desired field of study. LSE ranks high for research quality, degree achievement, and honors obtained. According to the latest Complete University Guide, LSE is a top-rated university in London.

Evident from its name, economics is a primary and well-reputed field of study at the LSE. Indeed, the Department of Economics consistently ranks amidst the top 20 economics departments globally. 

Recently elected United States Senator Jon Ossoff is a recent LSE graduate and joins others like David Attenborough. In 2020, the school celebrated its 125th anniversary. 

5. University of Manchester

The University of Manchester holds a high reputation for education and innovation that resonates worldwide. For instance, the Times Higher Education University Impact Rankings issued the top ranking to the University of Manchester for its contribution to sustainable development and social justice.

Additionally, international businesses, charities, and governments seek the expertise of Manchester academics. From midwife training to industrial biotechnology, the university offers many courses of study. 

6. University of Birmingham

Founded in 1900, the University of Birmingham is the UK’s first civic university where students were admitted on a truly equal basis. Over the years, the physical area of the University of Birmingham has grown to be over 600 acres and has a satellite campus in Dubai. International students make up about 30,000 people of the population. 

Since the University of Birmingham is a civic university, contributions to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are critical. The university aims to address “the global challenges we face, including those related to poverty, inequality, climate change, environmental degradation, peace, and justice.” 

7. Imperial College London

As the only university in the UK to focus solely on science, medicine, engineering, and business, it is tailored for students looking to pursue degrees in those fields. The university has campuses across London and enrolls about 15,000 students. Housing for undergraduates is guaranteed during the first year.

Imperial College London is currently ranked within the top twenty Best Global Universities and the top five of the best global universities located within the UK. Many renowned chemists, engineers, and physicians attended Imperial College London, including Geoffrey Wilkinson and Sir Alexander Flemming. 

8. University of Bristol

In 2021, the QS World University Rankings listed the University of Bristol in the top ten for graduate employability within the UK. As such, Bristol is at the frontlines of varying fields of global research. Presently, the University of Bristol has 40 Fellows of the Royal Society and 13 of the British Academy

Founded in 1876, the university was the first higher education establishment in England to admit women equally to men. In the years since, many famous alumni have experienced success in the fields of art and entertainment like James Blunt, Simon Pegg, Matt, and Lucas.

9. University of St. Andrews

St Andrews comprises three colleges, including United College, St. Mary’s College, and St. Leonard’s college. The divisions of study within the school are arts and sciences, divinity, and postgraduate studies, respectively. The university has been designated “University of the Year” by The Times and Sunday Times twice. In 2021, St Andrews had the most distinguished entry standard of undergraduate admittance in the UK.

Interestingly, alumni from St. Andrews helped shape world history and politics. Specifically, James Wilson, a signer of the Declaration of Independence, attended St Andrews; he was subsequently appointed to the United States Supreme Court and helped found the University of Pennsylvania Law School.

10. Durham University

Founded by an act of Parliament, Durham University is a public learning institution in the UK. After Cambridge and Oxford, Durham University is the third-oldest university. In 2005, the Sunday Times was named “University of the Year” by the Sunday Times, and ten years later, it added an accolade as the sports university of the year. 

In 2020, the university recently received the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service for exceptional student volunteering and outreach. Durham regularly ranks in the top ten list of universities in the United Kingdom.

Alumni have held positions of power in law, sports journalism, and business. The alumni network is well connected for Durham University graduates and holds regular convenings and dinners for distinct groups and experts who have university degrees. 

How are Universities Ranked in the UK? 

National rankings of universities in the UK stem from three distinct guides and are published yearly. The Complete University Guide, The Guardian, and The Times are the issues bodies. Additionally, The Complete University Guide produces an individual ranking for British universities over 70 subjects. 

The U.S. News & World Report’s issues reports are based on Reuters’ data for global rankings. Universities are assessed on factors like international research reputation, publications, and the quantity of cited papers. The U.S. News also publishes region- and subject-specific rankings based on a similar methodology.

Why are Universities Ranked? 

The principal purpose of ranking universities is to provide potential students with as much information about a school as possible by reviewing and issuing reports on admissions practices, student happiness, graduation rates, and student-to-staff ratios, among other factors. 

Rankings can also review and consider a school based on individual colleges or subjects. All of the listed UK Universities are terrific options for purposes of obtaining higher education.