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Universities in Cardiff, Wales

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Cardiff Bay is home to a wonderful variety of modern and historic buildings, and is a great destination for food, shopping, attractions and activities in Cardiff.

Cardiff is the capital city of Wales, a region of the United Kingdom. With a population of over a million residents, Cardiff and its suburbs form the eleventh-largest city in the United Kingdom.

Originally famous for its importance as a port for coal trade, Cardiff today is a hub of world-class sporting events as well as film production. Cardiff is also known as one of the United Kingdom’s most multicultural communities, with over 15% of the city population consisting of immigrants. With a new business district under construction in downtown Cardiff, the city is set to also become a major centre for global businesses and employers.

Top Universities in Cardiff

Cardiff University

Founded in 1883, Cardiff University is situated on large campuses in two neighbourhoods of Cardiff – Heath Park and Cathays Park. The university is home to over 26,000 enrolled students, of which nearly a third or 7,500 are international students. 

Cardiff University is well-known for its top-ranked research facilities and modern infrastructure, and operates multiple award-winning research institutes including the Cardiff Catalysis Institute and the Data Innovation Research Institute. In fact, Cardiff University is Wales’ only member university of the Russell Group, a prestigious group of 24 Universities in the United Kingdom with a shared focus on research and a reputation for academic achievement. 

Cardiff University also ranks highly for its graduate employment rate which will be of great benefit to international students trying to secure jobs in the United Kingdom.

Cardiff Metropolitan University

Cardiff Metropolitan University was originally founded in 1976 as the South Glamorgan Institute of Higher Education and has a current total enrolment of just under 10,000 students. 

Cardiff Met was recently awarded the “UK and Ireland University of 2021” prize by Times Higher Education, proving the world-class quality of its faculty and research facilities. The university is located on three campuses across Cardiff – Cyncoed, Howard Garden and Llandaff, all of which are within a few miles of central Cardiff.

1,800 international students from over 140 countries are enrolled at Cardiff Metropolitan University, and the university also offers multiple study abroad programmes through partnerships with 17 institutions in 15 countries.

University of South Wales

Originating from the Newport Mechanics’ Institute founded in 1841, the University of South Wales (USW) is primarily based in Newport, a small town located twenty minutes away from Cardiff. The university also operates an additional campus in Cardiff as well as one in the nearby town of Pontypridd.

USW has a strong reputation for the quality of its mechanical courses as well as its film studies programmes. The university is home to a sizable international student community of nearly 3,000 students. 

The university places special focus on providing international students with practical work-related skills as part of their degree programmes. In order to do this, the university has constructed multiple areas where international students can practise their future careers, such as courtrooms, fashion spaces and music studios.

Cardiff Universities World Ranking 2025

Below are the top-ranked Sydney universities for international students, with their ranks in two of the world’s most well-respected international university rankings, the QS 2025 University World rankings and the Times Higher Education 2024 Rankings.

For more information about rankings systems and methodologies see our University rankings explained guide.

UniversityQS World Ranking 2025Times Higher Education Ranking 2024
Cardiff University186190
Cardiff Metropolitan University1,201-1,500
University of South Wales1,001-1,200

List of other top-ranked Colleges & Universities in Cardiff

In addition to the three top-ranked Cardiff universities for international students, the city also offers multiple world-class institutes for specialisations in subjects such as Film Studies and Business. A few such institutes for international students in and around Cardiff are:

Tuition and Living Costs in Cardiff

Undergraduate tuition costs at top-ranked Cardiff universities can vary between 15,000-25,000 US Dollars per annum for international students, and tuition fees are higher for specialised programmes such as Medical degrees at 30,000-40,000 US Dollars per year.

Meanwhile, tuition fees for Master’s and other postgraduate courses depend on the specific programme and courses selected, and usually total between 15,000 and 30,000 US Dollars per annum.

As for living costs in Cardiff, Cardiff University estimates that international students will require approximately 1100-1200 US Dollars monthly. This figure includes 400-450 US Dollars for shared accommodation, 200-225 US Dollars for food expenses, 250 US Dollars for transport and utilities, and another 200-250 US Dollars for entertainment and miscellaneous expenses. International students should note that on-campus accommodation at Cardiff universities will be slightly more expensive, at about 700 US Dollars per month.

Life in Cardiff for International Students

With London being only a short two hours away by train, and the Cardiff International Airport being well-connected to most European cities, international students can comfortably plan weekend trips and vacations during time off at their top-ranked Cardiff Universities.

While in Cardiff, you will also never run out of exciting activities, and the multiple parks in Cardiff make for great picnics and outdoor activities. Below are a few of Cardiff’s must-visit attractions for international students:

  • Cardiff Castle
  • National Museum Cardiff
  • St. Fagans National Museum of History
  • Caerphilly Castle
  • Cardiff Bay
  • Castell Coch
  • Wales Millenium Centre
  • Principality Stadium
  • Bute Park
  • Techniquest
  • Barry Island
  • Llandaff Cathedral
  • Roath Park
  • Museum of Cardiff
  • The Senedd
  • Norwegian Church Arts Centre
  • Cardiff Bay Barrage
  • Mermaid Quay

With such an exciting mix of world-class sports, restaurants and entertainment venues, life in Cardiff will surely excite and engage you during your time at world-class Cardiff universities as an international student. The welcoming city community and excellent student support will also be of great help as you settle into your new surroundings in Cardiff.

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