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Universities in Leeds, UK

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The Leeds Corn Exchange is a Victorian domed building located in the city centre. It used to be a corn exchange, but today is home to a variety of independent shops and cafes.

Leeds is a city in northern England with a population of just over half a million residents. Leeds has been an important centre for trade in England, and a hub of multiple industries over the decades including wool, printing, engineering and iron foundries.

In recent years, Leeds has also become a top destination for international students because of its world-class universities, as well as its closeness to major English cities such as Manchester and Liverpool, both of which are about an hour away by road. Additionally, with a student population of over 50,000, you will have the support of a welcoming and immigrant-friendly student community during your time in Leeds.

Top Universities in Leeds

Leeds and its surrounding area are home to five top-ranked universities for international students, alongside multiple other specialised institutes offering degrees and certificates in certain subject areas.

University of Leeds

Founded in 1904, the University of Leeds is a prestigious large-scale university with nearly 33,000 enrolled students of whom about 11,000 are international students. Although it was originally founded with a focus on scientific subjects, the University of Leeds later expanded its curriculum to offer degrees in subjects such as Literature and History.

With a sizable international student community, you will always be comfortable and have access to international student support services at the University of Leeds. The University of Leeds is also the only university in Leeds to be a member 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.

The university has a single campus located near the Leeds city centre, making it a unique urban university with a proper campus, unlike most other urban universities which have buildings spread across the city. The University of Leeds also offers a UK-Chinese Engineering course programme in partnership with Southwest Jiaotong University in Chengdu, China.

Courses offered to international students at the University of Leeds are divided into 7 faculties:

  • Faculty of Arts, Humanities & Culture
  • Faculty of Biological Sciences
  • Faculty of Business
  • Faculty of Engineering & Physical Sciences
  • Faculty of Environment
  • Faculty of Medicine & Health
  • Faculty of Social Sciences

Leeds Beckett University

Originally founded in 1824 as the Leeds Mechanic Institute, Leeds Beckett University was a hub for engineering and technical learning during Leeds’ growth as an industrial centre in the 1800s.

The university has since expanded to teach humanities-related courses as well, and is home to about 2,000 international students today. Leeds Beckett University also operates three high-quality research institutes in the fields of Sport science, Sustainability and Healthcare.

Courses at Leeds Beckett University are offered to international students in the following 14 faculties:

  • Art, Architecture and Design
  • Built Environment & Engineering
  • Business
  • Clinical & Applied Sciences
  • Computing, Creating technologies & Engineering
  • Cultural Studies and Humanities
  • Education
  • Events, Tourism & Hospitality Management
  • Film, Music & Performing Arts
  • Healthcare
  • Law
  • Languages
  • Social Sciences
  • Sport

Leeds Art University

For international students pursuing artistic and creative subjects, the Leeds Art University will provide a world-class experience. Founded in 1846, the university hosts just under 1,800 enrolled students of which about 200 are international students.

The small class sizes allow for greater attention towards you from the world-class faculty at Leeds Art University. Although it is clearly a university with a focus on creative learning and artistic freedom, the Leeds Art University also makes sure to provide international students with all the help they require with their career. In fact, as many as 95% of students at Leeds Art University pursue internships alongside their academic degrees.

Popular courses for international students at Leeds Art University include Visual Communication, Fine Art, Fashion Designing and Creative Writing. Because the university campus is located right next to the University of Leeds campus, you can enjoy access to most of the resources at the University of Leeds as well, in addition to interacting with its large international student community.

Leeds Trinity University

Located on a beautiful 40-acre campus just 15 minutes from Leeds City Centre, Leeds Trinity University was originally founded in 1966 to train teachers for Catholic schools. Today, the university is home to over 3,000 enrolled students and is well-known for its high-quality research facilities, strong partnerships with local businesses and employers, and specialisations in social science subjects.

International students will be delighted to know that Leeds Trinity University offers guaranteed work placements with every degree, ensuring that you have at least one job offer in the United kingdom after graduation. Research institutes at Leeds Trinity University include the Leeds Centre for Victorian Studies, established in 1994.

University of Huddersfield

Situated an hour away from Leeds in the nearby town of Huddersfield, the University of Huddersfield has a long history of providing world-class vocational education. Originally founded as the Huddersfield Scientific and Mechanic Institute in 1825, the university currently hosts 14,500 enrolled students of which around 3,500 are international students.

The University of Huddersfield provides excellent opportunities for international students to gain practical and work-related skills alongside their degree; 70% of students graduate with a professional qualification at the university. The University of Huddersfield also places great importance on encouraging innovation and enterprise, and has previously been awarded the Entrepreneurial University of the Year award by the Times Higher Education group.

Courses at the University of Huddersfield are offered to international students in the following six faculties:

  • Applied Sciences
  • Arts and Humanities
  • Huddersfield Business School
  • Computing and Engineering
  • Education and Professional Development
  • Human and Health Sciences

Leeds Universities World Ranking 2024

Below is a list of the top Leeds universities in 2024, according to QS world rankings and Times Higher Education:

UniversityQS World Ranking 2024Times Higher Education Ranking 2024QS Rank in the UKTHE Rank in the UK
University of Leeds751291115
University of Huddersfield=567501-60055=29
Leeds Beckett University1,001-1,200801-1,00086=32

It must be noted that while the Leeds Art University and Leeds Trinity University do not feature on either the THE or QS world rankings for 2023, both universities have excellent courses and world-class facilities for international students. The University of Leeds, meanwhile, is the best ranked university for international students in Leeds, as well as one of the best worldwide.

List of other top-ranked Colleges & Universities in Leeds

In addition to the five top-ranked Leeds universities, the city and its surrounding regions also offer international students the chance to graduate from multiple specialised institutes for work-study programs, practical skills training and other degrees. A few of these top-ranked institutes are:

  • Leeds Conservatoire
  • Leeds City College
  • University Technical College Leeds
  • BPP University Law School
  • Leeds College of Building
  • Huddersfield New College

Tuition and Living Costs in Leeds

Average undergraduate tuition costs for international students in top-ranked Leeds universities can vary between 15,000-30,000 US Dollars per year. Tuition fees are higher for Dentistry and Medical courses at about 38,000-40,000 US Dollars per year. Meanwhile, postgraduate tuition fees depend on the course selected, and usually range between 15,000 and 35,000 US Dollars.

As for living expenses, the University of Leeds estimates that international students will require between 700 and 900 US Dollars monthly. This figure includes 500-600 USD monthly for shared accommodation, 150-180 USD for food expenses, 50-60 USD for utilities, and 80-100 USD monthly for miscellaneous expenses. Although living costs in Leeds are not extremely affordable, it will still cost international students only about half as much as living costs in major cities such as London.

Life in Leeds for International Students

Leeds offers a diverse set of events and venues for international students outside the classroom. Sports-loving international students will love to experience sporting venues such as the Elland Road Football Stadium, while the multiple outdoor parks around Leeds offer excellent opportunities for daytime picnics and relaxation.

Below are a few more of Leeds’ must-visit attractions for international students:

  • Kirkstall Abbey
  • Temple Newsam
  • Royal Armouries Museum
  • Leeds Art Gallery
  • Roundhay Park
  • Leeds City Museum
  • Harewood House Trust
  • The Hepworth Wakefield
  • Thackray Museum of Medicine
  • Abbey House Museum

International students at top-ranked Leeds universities enjoy the best of British culture outside the classroom while also receiving a world-class education. With multiple entertainment venues and tourist attractions in Leeds as well as in nearby cities including Manchester and Liverpool, you will enjoy every day of your time in top-ranked Leeds universities.

The closeness of Manchester with its international airport allows for excellent connectivity between your home country and your top-ranked Leeds university as an international student. Make sure to complete your research on top-ranked Leeds universities before applying.

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