20 Best Universities In London

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London stands proudly among the top 5 student cities worldwide, boasting a constellation of esteemed academic institutions, including Imperial College London, the London School of Economics, and University College London (UCL), each renowned for their excellence on a global scale.

As the capital and largest city of both England and the United Kingdom, London serves as a major global hub for higher education and has the highest concentration of higher education institutions in Europe. To provide a glimpse of the possibilities, let's delve into the 20 highest-ranked universities in London, as featured in the 2024 QS World University Ranking and the 2023 Times Higher Education World University Ranking (THE).

1. Imperial College London

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  • QS World Rank: 6
  • THE World Rank: 10
  • Acceptance Rate: 14.3%

Established in 1907, Imperial College London holds the distinction of being one of the top 10 universities in the world. It is a leading public research university specializing in science, engineering, medicine, and business.

This institution stands as one of the UK's most internationally diverse universities, with a student body comprising 50% from the UK, 16% from the EU, and 34% from countries outside the UK or EU borders. It annually accepts over 300 undergraduate medical students and has approximately 321 taught and 700 research full-time equivalent postgraduate students.

2. University College London

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  • QS World Rank: 9
  • THE World Rank: 22
  • Acceptance Rate: 38%

University College London (UCL) is the second-largest university in the UK by enrolment and the largest by postgraduate enrolment. Over the course of the decade from 2013 to 2022, UCL consistently secured a place among the top 25 institutions in all three major global rankings.

UCL offers 26 halls of residence, equipped with some 7,000 student beds. In 2022/3, the university had a total of 51,058 students -comprising 25,121 undergraduates, 19,745 postgraduate taught students, and 6,192 postgraduate research students.

3. King's College London

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  • QS World Rank: 40
  • THE World Rank: 35
  • Acceptance Rate: 13%

Established in 1829, King's College London expanded through a series of mergers during the late 20th century. Today, it encompasses five campuses: the historic Strand Campus in London, three others along the Thames (Guy's, St Thomas', and Waterloo), and one located in Denmark Hill in south London.

King's stands as the fifth-largest university in the UK in terms of total enrollment, receiving over 70,000 undergraduate applications each year. In 2021/22, the university had 41,490 students -23, 225 undergraduates, 18,270 postgraduates- 5,715 academic staff, and 4,240 administrative staff.

4. London School of Economics and Political Science

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  • QS World Rank: 45
  • THE World Rank: 37
  • Acceptance Rate: 8.9%

Founded in 1895, the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) became a university in its own right within the renowned University of London in 2022. It is nestled in the London Borough of Camden and Westminster, Central London.

The institution boasts an enrollment of over 11,000 students, with nearly 70% coming from countries outside the UK. LSE is organized into 25 distinct academic departments and institutes, each dedicated to advancing teaching and research in a diverse range of pure and applied social sciences.

5. Queen Mary University of London

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  • QS World Rank: =145
  • THE World Rank: =124 
  • Acceptance Rate: 43.6%

Queen Mary University of London (QMUL) is one of the members of the federal University of London. The institution has six campuses across East and Central London in Whitechapel, Mile End, Ilford, Charterhouse Square, West Smithfield, and Lincoln's Inn Fields.

QMUL is organized into three faculties -the Faculty of Science and Engineering, the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, and Barts and The London School of Medicine and Dentistry. During the academic year 2021/22, the university accommodated a total of 26,045 students, comprising 17,430 undergraduates and 8,615 postgraduates.

6. City, University of London

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  • QS World Rank: =328
  • THE World Rank: 351–400
  • Acceptance Rate: 12%

Founded in 1894 as the Northampton Institute, City, University of London became a university when The City University was created by royal charter in 1966. The institution became a member of the federal University of London on September 1, 2016.

The university has six specialist Schools that include remarkable academic departments, and research centres. It is home to over 20,000 students and has more than 150,000 alumni from over 170 countries. In 2023, a merger was proposed between City, University of London and St George's, University of London.

7. Brunel University London

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  • QS World Rank: 343
  • THE World Rank: 401-500
  • Acceptance Rate: 65% to 75%

Situated in Uxbridge, London, Brunel University of London was founded in 1966. The university adopted its current three-college organizational structure in August 2014. It is a member of the European University Association, the Association of Commonwealth Universities, and Universities UK.

Brunel boasts over 16,150 students and a dedicated staff of 2,500. In the fiscal year 2021-22, the university recorded an annual income of £271.3 million, with a notable £22.4 million sourced from research grants and contracts. The university's expenditure for the same period amounted to £311.9 million.

8. St George's, University of London

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  • THE World Rank: 201-250
  • Acceptance Rate: 40%

St George's, University of London (SGUL), is a constituent college of the University of London. It established its affiliation with the University of London shortly after the latter's inception in 1836. Additionally, SGUL maintains a close association with St George's Hospital and is one of the United Hospitals.

The university has an impressive 12.8 student-to-staff ratio, catering to more than 5,500 students led by a team of over 800 staff members. Situated in Tooting, the university offers a wide array of foundation and undergraduate degree programs in medical, biomedical, and healthcare sciences.

9. Birkbeck, University of London

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  • QS World Rank: 374
  • THE World Rank: 351-400
  • Acceptance Rate: 76%

A member institute of the University of London, Birkbeck, University of London holds the pride of being one of the few universities to specialize in evening higher education in the UK. It was founded as the London Mechanic's Institute by Sir George Birkbeck in 1823.

The university offers 200 plus undergraduate and postgraduate programs, with its academic activities organized into five constituent faculties which are further subdivided into nineteen departments. It houses a total of 13,937 students, comprising 9,682 undergraduate and 4,255 postgraduate.

10. Royal Veterinary College University of London

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  • THE World Rank: 351-400
  • Acceptance Rate: 38%

A member of the federal University of London, the Royal Veterinary College (RVC) was established in 1791. It serves as the oldest and largest veterinary school in the UK and one of nine in the country where students can study to become a veterinarian. The RVC has two campuses -one near Potters Bar in Hertfordshire and the other in Camden in Central London.

The university currently has 1,501 students (both UK and international) enrolled in its Veterinary Medicine programs, which include the BVSC with Aberystwyth University, and 198 students in its Veterinary Nursing programs, including the new Graduate Certificate in Advanced Veterinary Medicine.

11. Royal Holloway University of London

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  • QS World Rank: =413
  • THE World Rank: 351-400
  • Acceptance Rate: 16.98%

Royal Holloway, University of London (RHUL) became a university in its own right within the University of London in 2022. The institution has six schools 21 academic departments, and approximately 11,500 undergraduates and postgraduates from over 100 countries.

RHUL employs some 2,300 dedicated members of staff, including 132 research staff and 534 academic staff. It has strong connections and exchange programs with universities in the US, Canada, Hong Kong, and Australia, notably the University of California, Yale University, the University of Toronto, the University of Hong Kong, and the University of Melbourne.

12. SOAS University of London

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  • QS World Rank: =511
  • THE World Rank: 501-600
  • Acceptance Rate: 44%

SOAS University of London, founded in 1916, is a member of federal University of London. It has earned global recognition as a leading institution for the study of Asia, Africa, and the Middle East. The institution's library is one of England's five national research libraries.

The university is divided into three faculties: the Faculty of Languages and Cultures, the Faculty of Arts and Humanities, and the Faculty of Law and Social Sciences. During the 2021/22 academic year, SOAS had 6,295 students, comprising 3,400 undergraduates and 2,890 postgraduates.

13. Goldsmiths, University of London

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  • QS World Rank: =593
  • THE World Rank: 501-600
  • Acceptance Rate: 17%

Originally founded in 1891 as The Goldsmiths' Technical and Recreative Institute in New Cross, London, Goldsmiths, University of London, received its present name in 1904 upon its acquisition by the University of London. This institution specializes in arts, design, humanities, social sciences, and computing.

In 2020, Goldsmiths accepted approximately 10,000 students at both the undergraduate and postgraduate levels, and notably, 37% of its students hailed from international backgrounds. Nearly one-third of its students are engaged in postgraduate studies.

14. Kingston University London

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  • QS World Rank: 601-610
  • THE World Rank: 801-1000
  • Acceptance Rate: 20-30%

Kingston University attained university status in 1992, previously known as Kingston Polytechnic, through the provisions of the Further and Higher Education Act 1992. The university boasts four campuses situated in Kingston and Roehampton.

With a focus on arts, design, science, fashion, engineering, and business, the university is structured into four distinct faculties. As of December 2022, the university has 18,590 students in total, including 4,290 international students hailing from over 140 countries, ranging from Zimbabwe to Afghanistan.

15. Middlesex University

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  • QS World Rank: 661-670
  • THE World Rank: 401-500
  • Acceptance Rate: 57%

Middlesex University London derives its name from its location within the historic county of Middlesex. Its origin dates back to 1878 when St Katharine's College, initially established in Tottenham as a teacher training college for women, laid the foundation for the university's history.

Presently, the institution has a student body of over 19,000 in London and over 37,000 globally. The university has student exchange links with over 100 universities in 22 countries across Europe, the United States, and the world. More than 140 nationalities are represented at Middlesex's Hendon campus alone.

16. University of Greenwich

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  • QS World Rank: 671-700
  • THE World Rank: 501-600
  • Acceptance Rate: 64%

The University of Greenwich is located in London and Kent, United Kingdom, offering a diverse array of subjects encompassing business, architecture, education, engineering, maritime studies, natural sciences, pharmacy, social sciences, mathematics, computing, and humanities.

Its alumni roster boasts two Nobel laureates, Charles K. Kao and Abiy Ahmed. The university accommodates approximately 35,000 students representing more than 130 countries. It has earned five Queen’s Anniversary Prizes for Higher and Further Education. Furthermore, it is actively expanding its campuses and enhancing its facilities.

17. University of Westminster

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  • QS World Rank: 711-720
  • THE World Rank: 1001-1200
  • Acceptance Rate: 18%

The University of Westminster was established in 1838 as the Royal Polytechnic Institution, the first polytechnic to open in London. The polytechnic previously attained a Royal charter in August 1839 and officially became the University of Westminster in 1992.

Its main campus is located in Regent Street in central London, with other campuses in Marylebone, Harrow, and Fitzrovia. The institution is structured into three colleges and comprises 12 schools. Remarkably, it supports over 20,000 students hailing from 165 countries enrolled in its undergraduate, postgraduate, and professional courses.

18. London South Bank University

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  • QS World Rank: 851-900
  • THE World Rank: 601-800
  • Acceptance Rate: 17%

London South Bank University (LSBU) is situated in the London Borough of Southwark, adjacent to the South Bank of the River Thames, which serves as the source of its name. Established in 1892 as the Borough Polytechnic Institute, it received university status in 1992 under the Further and Higher Education Act 1992.

The university hosts a student body of more than 15,000 individuals representing over 130 nations, with a global alumni network exceeding 80,000. Among the UK students at LSBU, 70% are Londoners, while approximately 12% come from abroad, encompassing over 3,000 EU and other international students.

19. University of East London

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  • QS World Rank: 851-900
  • THE World Rank: 1001-1200
  • Acceptance Rate: 56%

The University of East London (UEL) is situated within the London Borough of Newham, London, England. It operates across three campuses in Stratford and Docklands, with the addition of University Square Stratford, which opened in September 2013.

As of February 2019, the university boasted over 17,000 students from 135 countries. The university's academic offerings are delivered through its seven teaching schools. Additionally, the Graduate School plays a pivotal role in providing essential support and administrative services for postgraduate research students.

20. London Metropolitan University

( Source : ac )

  • QS World Rank: 901-950
  • Acceptance Rate: 84%

London Metropolitan University, often known as London Met, was established through the merger of The University of North London and London Guildhall University in 2002. However, its educational legacy traces back to 1848.

The institution operates campuses in both the City of London and the London Borough of Islington. In the academic year 2020-21, it enrolled a total of 12,525 UK-based higher education students, with 82% pursuing undergraduate studies and 18% engaged in postgraduate programs. The university's academic structure now consists of six schools, a shift from the previous arrangement of four faculties, with each faculty encompassing three schools.

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