London – the capital of England and the largest city in the UK, has been one of the most desirable destinations to study abroad for many years. This reputation has been driven jointly by the consistently high quality teaching, world-renowned universities and the diverse culture available in the city.
Latest population figures estimate London’s total population approaching 8.7 million and with around 102,000 non-UK students (2010/11) the city of London has the largest number of international students in the world. London is a truly international city and offers those students choosing to study there a truly international experience. With over 25% of London’s total student population of around 400,000 coming from over 200 countries and territories outside of the UK, if you’re looking to study abroad in London then it is highly probable that someone else from your country will be there as well!
Studying a degree in London could be a big step on your desired career path as many employers will place a high value on your study experience in such a revered location. London’s economy is primarily driven by service-based industries – this has created a hub of finance, legal and media companies who choose to have their head-offices in London, therefore there is more likely to be work experience possibilities in your field. With over 30,000 courses available you will find something to meet any career and development requirement.
Many heads of states, business leaders and international politicians have studied at institutions in London. Examples of the gravitas of London’s higher education alumni include Aung San Suu Kyi, (Burmese opposition politician) Mahatma Gandhi (ideological Indian leader) and the most reverend Desmond Tutu (Anglican bishop and apartheid activist).
With over 45 universities, London is a hub for world leading research and teaching. In 2015, four of the top 100 universities in the world were located in the city.
An interesting and unique institution is the University of London, the University is a federal body with 28 self-governing institutes and colleges and contains some of the instantly recognisable institutions such as London Business School, UCL, King’s College and Queen Mary, University of London. As a student at any of the component colleges you are also classed as a student of the University of London giving you access to a wider student community with over 120,000 members.
The top 5 universities in London 2017 (Complete University Guide) are:
Surprisingly, London lacks the presence of an ‘ancient’ university such as Oxford or Cambridge with the earliest universities in the capital being founded in the early 1800’s. The title of “Oldest University in London” is still hotly debated today with three institutions staking a viable claim to the title. These are UCL, King’s College London and the University of London. The newest university in London is Imperial College London, although founded in 1907 it existed as a college within the University of London until 2007 when it became an independent university.
Alongside these universities, London has attracted several world-class private institutions such as Regent’s College, BPP and Richmond University. These universities and colleges generally offer smaller class sizes, more specialisation in the subjects they teach and a tighter alumni network which may be useful in your career.
London, like most capital cities around the world, is a more expensive place to study in than other places within the country. According to the UK Border Agency (UKBA) students living within London will need at least £1,200 a month to cover living costs in order to obtain a visa. This is the minimum requirement and more money will be required if you plan to socialise or explore during your time in the city.
To study in London as an international student from outside of the EEA you will need to apply for a student visa, with the exception of having to prove you have more funds available due to the higher living costs in London this process is exactly the same for studying anywhere in the UK. More details can be found on the Study in the UK directory.
To search for a course at a university in London please use the course search facility at the top of this page.
For more information about England please see our Study in England page.
*Source UKCISA, Times Higher Education, UKBA
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