Top Engineering Schools in the UK | Top Universities
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Top Engineering Schools in the UK

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Keshala Jayawickrama

Updated Jun 19, 2024
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UK engineering

The recent QS World University Rankings by Subject 2023 covers the best universities for 54 different subjects, including 533 top engineering and technology schools around the world – 39 of which can be found in the United Kingdom.  

The ranking covers six different branches of engineering – chemicalcivil and structuralelectricalmechanicalmineral and mining and petroleum engineering.   

The rankings are compiled using five indicators: academic reputation, employer reputation, research citations per paper, international research network and the H-index (a way of measuring the productivity and impact of published work). Find out more about the methodology used here.   

Top universities for the engineering and technology subject area in the UK  

Based on the QS World University Rankings by Subject 2023  

UK ranking  

World ranking  

Institution  

Location  

1  

3  

University of Cambridge  

Cambridge  

2  

University of Oxford  

Oxford  

3  

6  

Imperial College London  

London  

4  

32  

University of Manchester  

Manchester  

5  

39 

UCL (University College London)  

London  

6  

59 

University of Edinburgh  

Edinburgh  

7  

88 

University of Southampton  

Southampton  

100 

University of Leeds  

Leeds  

112 

University of Bristol  

Bristol  

=10 

=114 

University of Sheffield  

Sheffield  

=10 

=114 

University of Birmingham 

Birmingham 

=10 

=114 

University of Nottingham 

Nottingham 

The University of Cambridge is the best UK university to study engineering and technology of the 39 UK schools featured in the rankings. The University of Cambridge ranks in third place globally once again this year, earning impressive scores across each of the indicators.   
Notable movements for UK universities in the engineering school rankings this year include University of Birmingham, which made an impressive leap, ascending twelve places to achieve a joint ranking of 114th alongside the University of Sheffield and University of Nottingham.   

The University of Leeds also demonstrated significant progress, climbing eight places to secure 100th position, while the University of Edinburgh advanced by seven places, now sharing 66th position. Outside the top 10, King's College London dropped by eleven places this year, ranked 129th in the global rankings.

Other top universities for engineering in the UK

There are plenty of top universities to study engineering outside of the top 10 in the UK. In Scotland, for example, University of St. Andrews is also considered a top university. In England, Loughborough University scores well for indicators such as academic reputation, citations per paper and international research network, highlighting the cutting-edge research and high-quality education that the university is able to provide. In Wales, Swansea University ranks well and in Northern Ireland Queen's University Belfast also produces successful engineering graduates.

See the full engineering and technology subject ranking here.  

Top universities for chemical engineering  

Top universities for chemical engineering in the UK  

Based on the QS World University Rankings by Subject 2023 

UK ranking   

World ranking  

Institution  

Location  

1  

University of Cambridge  

Cambridge  

Imperial College London  

London  

9  

University of Oxford  

Oxford  

4  

15 

University of Manchester  

Manchester  

5  

19  

University College London (UCL)  

London  

There are currently 420 chemical engineering schools in the rankings, with 24 of these located in the UK.   

The UK’s top school for chemical engineering is the University of Cambridge, ranked third globally after ascending by two places this year. The university achieves a near-perfect score in the employer reputation indicator. Only the top five universities are included in the global top 50 while the sixth-placed university, University of Edinburgh is 62nd globally. 

Outside the global top 50, both the University of Birmingham and the University of Leeds have shown significant improvement, with the former advancing by 19 places to reach 66th position, and the latter climbing eight places to secure 68th place. 

View the full chemical engineering ranking here.  

Top universities for civil and structural engineering  

Top universities for civil and structural engineering in the UK  

Based on the QS World University Rankings by Subject 2023  

UK ranking   

World ranking  

Institution  

Location  

1  

University of Cambridge  

Cambridge  

2  

7  

Imperial College London  

London  

3  

13 

University of Oxford  

Oxford  

4  

42 

University College London (UCL) 

London 

5  

43 

University of Manchester  

Manchester  

There are 230 schools featured in the civil and structural engineering rankings this year, including 25 universities in the UK.   

The highest-ranked programme in the UK can once again be found at the University of Cambridge, ranked sixth worldwide, down one position this year.  

Six UK-based universities are ranked among the top 50 for civil and structural engineering. There are two new entrants included in the civil and structural engineering rankings this year from the UK, Swansea University and the City University of London both of which are ranked 201-230. 

See the full civil and structural engineering ranking here   

Top universities for electrical engineering  

Top universities for electrical engineering in the UK  

Based on the QS World University Rankings by Subject 2023  

UK ranking  

World ranking  

Institution  

Location  

1  

University of Cambridge  

Cambridge  

2  

8  

University of Oxford  

Oxford  

10 

Imperial College London  

London  

4  

31  

University of Manchester  

Manchester  

5  

43  

UCL (University College London)  

London  

The UK is home to 38 of the 521 top electrical engineering programmes in the world this year, with the University of Cambridge once again taking top spot, having ranked fifth globally.   

Among the top 10 universities in the UK, nine are among the global top 100 for electrical engineering. Notably, the University of Nottingham made significant progress, advancing by seven places to secure a ranking of 97th this year, while the University of Southampton moved in the opposite direction, dropping seven places to be positioned 72nd in the UK. 

Four universities beyond the top 10; University of Strathclyde, University of GlasgowUniversity of Bristol and University of Warwick are included in the global 150 for electrical engineering in the UK. Of these four, University of Warwick scores excellently for the research citations per paper indicator, for which it’s ranked 50th in the world and seventh in the UK. 

See the full electrical engineering ranking here.  

Top universities for mechanical, aeronautical and manufacturing engineering  

Top universities for mechanical, aeronautical and manufacturing engineering in the UK  

Based on the QS World University Rankings by Subject 2023  

UK ranking  

World ranking   

Institution  

Location  

1  

4  

University of Cambridge  

Cambridge  

2  

8  

Imperial College London  

London  

3  

9  

University of Oxford  

Oxford  

4  

21  

University of Manchester  

Manchester  

5  

28  

Cranfield University  

Cranfield  

There are 520 universities featured in the mechanical, aeronautical and manufacturing engineering ranking this year, including 40 best mechanical engineering schools in the UK.   

The University of Cambridge takes the top spot in the UK, while being ranked fourth globally, achieving high scores across all ranking indicators. Imperial College London is ranked second in the UK and eighth globally, while the University of Oxford is ranked ninth worldwide and third in the UK. 

Six universities fall into the worldwide top 50 and the University of Bristol has demonstrated the most remarkable progress this year. It has advanced by an impressive 19 places, securing 48th position and earning a spot in the top 50 of the mechanical engineering school rankings.  

The University of Southampton has slipped just outside the top 50, currently holding 51st position in the UK for mechanical engineering. 

See the full mechanical, aeronautical and manufacturing engineering rankings here.   

Top universities for mineral and mining engineering   

Top university for mineral and mining engineering in the UK  

Based on the QS World University Rankings by Subject 2023  

UK ranking  

World ranking  

Institution  

Location  

1  

15  

University of Exeter  

Penryn  

33 

University of Aberdeen 

Aberdeen 

51-70 

University of Birmingham 

Birmingham 

There are only three mineral and mining engineering university located in the UK in 2023, out of the 71 top mineral and mining engineering schools worldwide.   

Camborne School of Mines at the University of Exeter ranks 15th globally, down four positions this year. Although all three universities have earned impressive scores across each of the indicators, they each perform best for the research citations per paper indicator.  

See the full mineral and mining engineering rankings here.  

Top universities for petroleum engineering   

Top universities for petroleum engineering in the UK  

Based on the QS World University Rankings by Subject 2023  

UK ranking  

World ranking   

Institution  

Location  

1  

6  

Imperial College London  

London  

11  

University of Manchester  

Manchester  

3  

12 

Heriot-Watt University  

Edinburgh   

16  

University of Surrey  

Guildford  

29  

University of Leeds 

Leeds 

There are 162 universities offering courses in petroleum engineering this year, with 14 of these located in the UK. The best UK university for petroleum engineering is Imperial College London, ranked sixth place globally and earning its best indicator score for H-index citations (95.9 out of 100).  

Within the top 50, the University of Leeds makes the most significant move by climbing five places to 29th. 

See the full petroleum engineering rankings here. 

FAQs   

What are the best engineering schools in the UK? 

In the UK, several universities excel in engineering disciplines, as per the QS World University Rankings by Subject 2023. The University of Cambridge, University of Oxford, and Imperial College London are consistently recognised as top engineering schools for various engineering fields, such as electrical, mechanical, and civil engineering.  

Also, universities like the University of Exeter and Imperial College London shine in mineral and mining engineering, and petroleum engineering respectively. 

Is the UK good for engineering? 

Yes, the UK is a favourable destination for engineering studies. Many UK universities rank higher in global engineering subject rankings, including institutions like the University of Cambridge, University of Oxford, and Imperial College London, which consistently excel in various engineering disciplines.  

The country's universities offer top-tier programmes and research opportunities, attracting students from around the world. Additionally, the UK's strong emphasis on quality education and a diverse international student community make it an excellent choice for engineering students seeking a well-rounded educational experience. 

Is it expensive to study engineering in UK? 

The cost of studying engineering in the UK can vary depending on factors such as the university, programme, and your nationality. Tuition fees for international students are generally higher than those for UK or EU students.  

However, there are various scholarships, grants, and financial aid options available to help offset these costs. Additionally, the UK offers a wide range of engineering programmes, and some universities may be more affordable than others.