10 Best Universities in the UK for International Students

//10 Best Universities in the UK for International Students

The United Kingdom is an island country in Europe and a world-leading commercial and cultural center. It has a reputation for strong public service broadcasting, historic castles and buildings, and time-honored educational institutes.

The country’s long history includes leading the Industrial Revolution and developing parliamentary democracy. Presently, it is home to the royal family and Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, the longest-reigning monarch in Britain. The United Kingdom continues to have a great economic and political influence in the world. In this article, I hope that this article on the best universities in the United Kingdom for international students was helpful.

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Is the United Kingdom Good for International Students to Study In?

Universities in the United Kingdom are leading in teaching and research in the world. They consistently rank among the top universities globally. Thus, over 500,000 international students apply to UK institutions every year. You can reduce overall fees and living costs in the UK because courses are shorter than in other countries. You may need to demonstrate English proficiency to enjoy over 50,000 world-class higher education courses.

Living in the UK guarantees a rich diversity of culture, efficient transport links, safe accommodation, and extraordinary cuisine. England, Northern Ireland, Wales, and Scotland each offer a unique experience, whether from its cosmopolitan cities, countryside villages, or historic old towns. The United Kingdom is also a venue for famous music festivals and international events in sports.

Can International Students Work in the United Kingdom While Studying?

International students who wish to engage in part-time work have to follow some rules and regulations. Students staying for more than six months in the UK are given a student visa that allows part-time jobs up to 20 hours per week. During vacations, students may work full-time. Students studying presessional English or any below UK degree level courses may only 10 hours per week. Lastly, short-term study visas do not allow students to work at all.

Can International Students Stay in the United Kingdom After Graduation?

Starting in 2021, the United Kingdom launched a new graduate immigration route. After graduation, international students can change their current visas to post-study work visas. With this, you are allowed to stay for up to two years in the country and take on paid employment or start a business. Ph.D. students are allowed to stay for three years. At the end of the post-study work duration, you can apply for another UK visa or settlement options with the Immigration Office.

Best Universities in the United Kingdom for International Students

1. University of Oxford

The oldest university in the English-speaking world, the University of Oxford is the best university in the United Kingdom for international students. It has 39 independent colleges, six private halls, over 100 libraries, and the largest university press in the world. The university is ranked number one worldwide for medicine and is world-leading in its four academic divisions: Social Sciences, Medical Sciences, Humanities, and Mathematical, Physical & Life Sciences. Since 2017, Oxford University has consistently ranked first internationally in Times Higher Education (THE) World University Rankings.

The collegiate institution is scattered around Oxford, making it a “city university.” Colleges and halls organize weekly small-group tutorials for undergraduate teaching, a feature unique to the university and its close relation, Cambridge. Over 24,000 students study at Oxford University, and about 45% are international students.

2. University of Cambridge

The University of Cambridge, one of the best universities in the United Kingdom for international students, was founded by a group of scholars that left Oxford University in 1209. It is one of the oldest and most prestigious universities in the world. Over 150 academic departments in Cambridge are organized into six schools: Clinical Medicine, Biological Sciences, Physical Sciences, Technology, Social Sciences, and Arts. Cambridge University has produced the most PhDs and research paper outputs in all of the British Universities. The university coordinates closely with tech ventures like Silicon Fen and major universities outside the UK like MIT.

Cambridge is ranked sixth globally for “openness and diversity,” with over 4000 international students. Its small group teaching sessions like Oxford provide close supervision and effective teaching.

3. Imperial College of London

The Imperial College of London is a public research institution that focuses on medicine, science, technology, and business. It was established in 1907 as a merger of the Royal College of Science, the Royal School of Mines, and the City & Guilds College. Today, it has high-ranking subjects in clinical health, physical sciences, engineering & technology, and computer science. An established leader in research and education, Imperial produced several Nobel Prize Winners, thinkers, and artists like Sir Alexander Fleming, Thomas Huxley, Brian May, H.G. Wells, and more.

Imperial ranked first in the UK for Innovation. This forward approach applies to its internationally excellent research and inclusive community. Over 59% of Imperial’s students are from outside the UK.

4. UCL (University College London)

UCL is the United Kingdom’s largest university in terms of total enrollment. This top university in the United Kingdom for international students was founded in 1826 and inspired by the radical thinking of English philosopher Jeremy Bentham. UCL was the first university in England to admit students regardless of gender and religion. With eleven faculties and over 100 departments, the comprehensive institute delivers high-quality teaching and research. Their research priorities include Sustainable Cities, Global Health, Human Well-being, and Intercultural Interaction.

UCL ranks in the global top 10 in anthropology, architecture, education & training, medicine, and more. It further fosters knowledge and culture with museums ranging from archaeology to art to anatomy. It also administers the Orwell Prize, a prestigious award for political writing in London.

5. London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE)

London School of Economics and Political Science is a public research university dedicated to the broad subject area of social science. Since its foundation in the 1800s, the university pledged to improve society through analyzing poverty, inequalities, and related issues. It displays academic excellence in politics, law, sociology, economics, and anthropology. LSE has produced over 50 world leaders and 18 Noble Prize laureates, including the philosopher Bertrand Russel.

LSE is one of the best universities in the UK for international students with over 9600 students from nations outside the UK. It has close partnerships with Columbia University, Peking University, the University of Cape Town, and more institutions abroad.

6. University of Edinburgh (UoE/Edin)

The University of Edinburgh is a prestigious research university and one of the oldest universities in the English-speaking world. It made significant contributions to the Scottish Enlightenment in Edinburgh that earned the city the nickname “Athens of the North.” Presently, this top university in the UK has 20 academic schools in three colleges: Science and Engineering, Medicine and Veterinary Science, and Arts, Humanities, and Social Science. Moreover, it ranks top in the UK for medicine and informatics research.

The UoE has five main campuses in Edinburgh, a known cultural hub. It is a site of historical and architectural prowess. Aside from academics, the university students and alumni also excel in performing arts, sports, and independent publications.

7. King’s College London (King’s/KCL)

King’s College London is one of the best universities in the UK that resulted from eminent social changes in the Industrial Revolution. King’s is renowned for its research contributions in stem-cell cloning, DNA discovery, Higgs boson, communication technology, and more. The university is a major center for healthcare education, dentistry, and nursing with several teaching hospitals. Moreover, it leads in biomedical research, being the only World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) accredited laboratory in the UK.

KCL has five campuses all around London, providing quality education far and wide. It closely cooperates with the British Museum, British Library, Shakespeare Globe, and more. Furthermore, KCL’s global engagements provide enriching experiences for students and staff.

8. University of Manchester (UoM)

The University of Manchester is the UK’s largest single-site university. Its buildings are integrated with Manchester city, including parks, residences, and the Jodrell Bank Observatory. Three faculties comprise the University of Manchester. These are Biology, Medicine, and Health, Science and Engineering, and Humanities. It is most notable in the subjects of economics, social sciences, life sciences, and engineering.

With its large campus and diverse programs, the University of Manchester naturally has the largest student population in the UK. UoM students enjoy a lively campus, an extensive National Research Library, an art gallery, and sports facilities.

9. University of Warwick (Warwick)

The University of Warwick was established from a government initiative to expand higher education in England in 1965. It is comprised of over 30 academic departments in the faculties of Arts, Science Engineering and Medicine, and Social Sciences. Among its highest-ranking subjects are Mathematics, Management, Statistics, and Economics. The university also operates a Business School, a Medical School, the Coventry College of Education, and the Horticulture Research International.

As one of the best universities in the UK for international students, the University of Warwick has over 26,000 students, and more than 43% come from outside the United Kingdom. It has close partnerships with major international universities like Columbia University, Cornell University, McGill University, UC Berkeley, and others.

10. University of Bristol (Bristol)

The University of Bristol started as an engineering faculty then grew into one of the best research universities in England. It offers first-class teaching in the following faculties: Arts, Engineering, Life Sciences, Science, Health Sciences, and Social Sciences and Law. The highest-ranking courses in the university are Computer Science, Electrical and Electronic Engineering, Biological Sciences, Psychology, and Mathematics. Moreover, the institution is a member of prestigious university groups such as the Russel Group, the Coimbra Group, and the Worldwide Universities Network.

The university fulfills the Bristol Futures principles and values: innovation & enterprise, global citizenship, and sustainable futures. These principles shape academic excellence that produces well-rounded students and graduates.


I hope that this article on the best universities in the UK for international students was helpful. Feel free to also check out the UK Scholarships Page for more information about studying in the UK!