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Universities in London, UK

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The Palace of Westminster is where the House of Commons and House of Lords meet, the two houses of the Parliament in the UK. Located next door is also the famous Big Ben clock tower.

Universities in London, UK

London is the capital city of the United Kingdom and one of the largest cities in the world. London has been an important hub for multiple industries and worldwide businesses, as well as a centre for European political activity over the past few centuries.

A truly global city with a diverse community, nearly 40% of London’s 9.5 million residents are immigrants from all over the globe. With excellent connectivity options between London’s major airports and cities in Africa, Asia and South America, you will always be able to comfortably travel to your top-ranked London university from your hometown.

Top Universities in London

London is home to five top-ranked universities for international students, alongside multiple other specialised institutes offering degrees and certificates in certain subject areas.

Imperial College London

Founded in central London in 1907, Imperial College London is home to over 17,000 enrolled students and offers courses in 4 areas – science, engineering, medicine and business. With over 60% of enrolled students being international students, the university has developed a complete support system for international students, and you will always feel at home during your time in the top-ranked London university.

Imperial College is especially well-known for the extremely high quality of its research facilities and publications. A few of the university’s world-class institutes for specialised research include the Institute of Global Health Innovation and the Energy Futures Lab. Imperial College has 9 clusters of university buildings all over London, with the main campus located in the South Kensington neighbourhood.

University College London (UCL)

In 1878, University College London became the first institute in the United Kingdom to admit women on equal terms as men. Founded nearly 2 centuries ago in 1826, University College London is home to more than 35,000 enrolled students, of which nearly 21,000 are international students.

UCL ranks especially highly for its quality of postgraduate courses; more than half of its enrolled students are pursuing graduate studies. University College London also operates an overseas campus in Doha, Qatar. The fact that as many as 29 Nobel Prize winners attended the university proves its credentials as a top-ranked research university.

Courses at UCL are offered across 11 faculties, some of which are:

  • Arts and Humanities
  • Built Environment
  • Brain Sciences
  • Engineering
  • Institute of Education

King’s College London

Founded in 1829 as a sister college of University College London, King’s College London (KCL) is a world leader in medical science and is the largest healthcare learning centre in Europe. Additionally, King’s College provides world-class courses in Law, Humanities and Social Sciences.

Over 28,000 students are enrolled at King’s College, with nearly half of those being international students. KCL also provides international students the chance to experience academics in other countries, with the university maintaining more than 150 partnerships with institutions in countries including Brazil, France and USA. King’s College London’s primary campus is situated on the Strand in central London, and it also operates 4 other campuses in the city.

Courses for undergraduate and postgraduate international students are offered at King’s College London in 9 faculties:

  • Arts & Humanities
  • Business
  • Dentistry, Oral & Craniofacial Sciences
  • Law
  • Life Sciences & Medicine
  • Natural, Mathematical & Engineering Sciences
  • Nursing, Midwifery & Palliative Care
  • Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience
  • Social Science & Public Policy

The London School of Economics & Political Science (LSE)

Home to nearly 10,000 students from over 140 countries, the London School of Economics and Political Science was founded in 1895 with a specific mission to study poverty and inequality in modern societies. LSE is well-known for its world-class research facilities and projects in the Social Sciences, and as many as 37 presidents or prime ministers of multiple countries have graduated from the university.

International students make up nearly 70% of LSE’s overall student body, one of the largest concentrations of international students in any university worldwide. LSE is also considered a member of the “Golden Triangle” of three world-class universities in the United Kingdom, alongside the universities of Oxford and Cambridge.

The primary LSE campus is situated in the Westminster neighbourhood of Central London, and lies within walking distance of Westminster Abbey and Big Ben. LSE maintains strong technical and research partnerships with six world-class universities including Columbia University in New York City and Peking University in Beijing.

Courses are offered across 29 departments to international students at LSE, some of which are:

  • Department of Media and Communications
  • Department of Methodology
  • Department of Philosophy, Logic and Scientific Method
  • Department of Psychological and Behavioural Science
  • School of Public Policy (formerly Institute of Public Affairs)

Queen Mary University of London

Originally founded as the London Medical College in 1785, Queen Mary University of London (QMUL) is home to nearly 20,000 enrolled students. The university offers international students over 240 degree programmes across its five campuses in different areas of London.

Ranked 9th among UK universities in the 2014 Research Excellence Framework, Queen Mary University is known for its high-quality research, especially in the medical field. The university also provides an excellent support network for international students to secure internships and full-time positions, and was featured in The Sunday Times’ “top ten UK universities for highest graduate starting salaries”.

Courses at Queen Mary University are offered in three faculties:

  • Humanities and Social Sciences
  • Science and Engineering
  • Medicine and Dentistry

London Universities World Ranking 2024

Below is a list of the top London 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
Imperial College London6833
University College London (UCL)92244
King’s College London40=3876
The London School of Economics & Political Science (LSE)454687
Queen Mary University of London=1451352117

The above five top-ranked London universities are all members 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.

List of other top-ranked Colleges & Universities in London

In addition to its five top-ranked London universities, London also offers international students the chance to graduate from multiple world-class institutes for work-study programs and other specialised degrees. A few of the other top-ranked London institutes are:

The high quality of educational infrastructure available to international students in London is proven by the fact that 11 of the above universities is in the top 1,000 as ranked by QS Worldwide Rankings 2022.

Tuition and Living Costs

Undergraduate tuition costs for international students in top-ranked London universities can vary between 25,000-30,000 US Dollars per year. Tuition fees are higher for specialised programmes, such as Dentistry and Healthcare courses, at about 38,000-40,000 US Dollars per year. Postgraduate tuition fees, meanwhile, depend on the specific programme and courses selected, and usually range between 20,000 and 35,000 US Dollars per annum.

On the matter of living costs, Imperial College London estimates that international students should budget between 1,800 and 2,000 US Dollars monthly. This figure includes about 1,200 US Dollars for shared accommodation, 350 US Dollars for food expenses, 150 US Dollars for transport, 120-150 US Dollars for utilities and another 150 US Dollars for miscellaneous expenses.

For many international students, high living costs could be a major disadvantage of studying at top-ranked London universities. Luckily for you, most London universities offer a wide variety of scholarships to attract high-performing international students. We recommend that you thoroughly research and locate such scholarships before you begin the application process.

Life in London for International Students

London offers an endless list of entertainment, sporting, cultural and historical sites for international students to enjoy during their time away from the classroom. History buffs will love a visit to the iconic Buckingham Palace and Tower Bridge, while sports lovers surely can’t miss trips to Wembley Football Stadium or the Lord’s Cricket Ground.

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

  • The British Museum
  • Tower of London
  • Victoria & Albert Museum
  • The National Gallery
  • St. Paul’s Cathedral
  • Natural History Museum
  • Westminster Abbey
  • London Eye
  • Big Ben
  • Hyde Park
  • The Shard
  • Hampton Court Palace
  • The British Library
  • Kensington Palace
  • Museum of London
  • ZSL London Zoo
  • Royal Academy of Arts
  • National Portrait Gallery

International students at top-ranked London universities enjoy one of the world’s most iconic cities while also having access to top-ranked faculty and research facilities at their universities. An immigrant-friendly atmosphere and sizable international student communities at each top-ranked university also ensure that you will always feel comfortable, safe and supported during your time in London.

The large number of top-ranked London universities can be overwhelming for international students regarding which one might suit them best, so we strongly advise you to carry out extensive research on factors such as student feedback, course specialisations and faculty engagement for each top-ranked London university.

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