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Top Universities in the UK 2022

By Chloe Lane

Updated June 8, 2021 Updated June 8, 2021

The United Kingdom boasts an impressive 90 universities in the recently released QS World University Rankings 2022, claiming four of the top 10 entries. It is only beaten by the USA, which has 177 entries.  

The UK’s universities have inspired countless works of film and literature. The UK is also incredibly diverse -- it’s said that across the UK, there’s a different accent every 30 miles you travel. 

Read on as we explore the best universities in the four constituent members of the UK: England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. 

Top 10 Universities in the UK 

According to the QS World University Rankings 2022 

UK Ranking 

World Ranking 

Institution 

Location 

University of Oxford 

Oxford 

=3 

University of Cambridge 

Cambridge 

Imperial College London 

London 

=8 

UCL 

London 

16 

The University of Edinburgh 

Edinburgh  

=27 

The University of Manchester 

Manchester  

35 

 
King's College London 

London 

49 

 The London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) 

London 

61 

The University of Warwick 

Warwick 

10 

62 

University of Bristol 

Bristol 

Top Universities in England  

 Oxford

England has the largest population amongst the four constituent members of the UK. It also has the most universities.  

The highest ranked universities in England, and the UK, this year are, of course, the Oxbridge duo. Both universities boosted their position in this year’s rankings: The University of Oxford climbs three places in 2022 to rank second globally and the University of Cambridge rises five positions to joint third.  

However, there’s more to UK universities than just Oxbridge. London offers a host of interesting universities, with four featuring in the UK top 10. The best of these is Imperial College London which ranks consistently highly in the world rankings, rising one place to rank seventh globally. 

Beyond London, England is home to many other world-leading institutions and attractive locations. In the post-industrial Midlands and Northern England, you’ll find many of the country’s slightly younger, redbrick universities, including the University of ManchesterUniversity of BirminghamUniversity of Sheffield, and University of Liverpool.   

English universities can charge a maximum of £9,250 for UK students at undergraduate level. However, there is no maximum amount universities can charge international students and international students can expect to pay between £10,000 and £26,000 per year at undergraduate level.  

Top Universities in Wales  Across England’s border, Wales is known for its rugged landscapes, friendly people and mountainous National Parks. It also has a group of prestigious universities that includes Cardiff University and Swansea University (ranking joint 151st and joint 440th respectively).  

Several Welsh universities offer bilingual programs, taught in both Welsh and English, in recognition of demand for the native language to be cherished and preserved.  

Welsh Universities can charge up to £9,250 for Welsh, European Union and Northern Irish students. All Welsh students can apply for a fee grant to cover some of the cost of tuition. The cost of tuition for international students varies across universities but is usually around £13,000 to £20,000.  

As in England, postgraduate courses usually charge between £10,000 and £26,000 annually for international students.  

Top Universities in Scotland  

edinburgh

Scotland covers the northern third of Great Britain. With peaceful coastal seascapes juxtaposed with bustling historical cities, Scotland is a popular study destination for international students.  

Scotland is home to the “ancient four” – the Universities of Edinburgh (16th), Glasgow (73rd), St Andrews (91st) and Aberdeen (205th). This group of universities were all founded before the year 1600.  

Scotland is also home to many younger universities, such as the Universities of Heriot-Watt (joint 270th), Strathclyde (302nd) and Stirling (joint 471st), as well as specialist schools such as the Glasgow School of Art.  

If you’re from Scotland or you’re from an EU country, tuition fees for Scottish universities are £1,820 but will be covered by the Student Awards Agency for Scotland (SAAS) so you’ll essentially pay nothing.  

However, if you’re from the rest of the UK, you’ll pay up to £9,250 per year for your undergraduate degree. For both EU students and UK students, postgraduate and between £5,000 and £15,000 per year for postgraduate courses. International students from outside the EU will pay between £10,000 to £26,000 per year for undergraduate programmes and between £15,000 and £30,000 for postgraduate programmes.  

Top Universities in Northern Ireland  

  Belfast

Northern Ireland, continues to tempt international students across the Irish Sea with its idyllic drumlins (rolling green hills shaped during the last ice age), vibrant folk culture and a good selection of universities, including Queen’s University Belfast (joint 216th) and Ulster University (651-700).  

Northern Irish universities will charge up to £4,275 for home students and may charge up to £9,250 for students from elsewhere in the UK. As with other areas of the UK, tuition fees for international students vary greatly between programmes and universities, so check the university’s website for more information.  

This article was originally published in June 2021 .

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Written by

As Content Editor for TopUniversities.com and TopMBA.com, Chloe creates and publishes a wide range of articles for universities and business schools across the world. Chloe has a Bachelor’s degree in Economics from the University of Reading and grew up in Leicestershire, UK. 

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