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London’s Top Universities

Published 30 April 2013

It isn’t hard to see why so many students choose London for their university education. It is one of the most exciting cities in the world, which makes it attractive to both UK and international students deciding where they will spend the next three or four years of their life.

No matter what you plan to study, London has so many universities that you are sure to find somewhere offering the course you want.

The Guardian newspaper’s annual list of the UK’s best universities features ten from London in the top fifty. Their system rates universities based on factors such as student satisfaction, career prospects, entry requirements and average results, providing a handy resource for those making what could be one of the most important decisions of their life.

Where to find the best education in the capital

  • London School of Economics – According to the Guardian, this is the third best university in the country, beaten only by Cambridge and Oxford. A worldwide centre of excellence in social sciences, LSE boasts a number of very famous alumni, including former US president John F. Kennedy and esteemed naturalist Sir David Attenborough. Rock star Sir Mick Jagger also famously attended, but only lasted one year.
  • University College – Known for covering a broad range of subjects, UCL bills itself as “London’s Global University”. The research carried out here is also highly regarded; with University College the second most frequently cited UK institution in academic papers.
  • Imperial College – Located in Kensington, Imperial offers the best future prospects in the UK, with 84% of students either working or in further education six months after graduating.
  • City – Focused primarily on business and professions, and offering excellent links to both, City University is located right at the heart of London.
  • SOAS – The only institution of its kind in the UK, the School of Oriental and African Studies delves very deeply into a very specific area. It is one of the most highly regarded schools at the University of London.
  • University of the Arts – Europe’s largest institution dedicated solely to the arts, it is made up of six schools focusing on design, art, fashion, performing arts and communication.
  •  King’s College – A respected university for students of law, medicine and the arts, King’s graduates are widely known for commanding excellent starting salaries.
  • Queen Mary University – Offering a wide range of courses, Queen Mary is particularly notable for medical students. It is the site of Barts and the London School of Medicine and Dentistry, and the UK’s first fully qualified female doctor, Elizabeth Blackwell, was trained here in 1850.
  • Royal Holloway – Unique in as much as, while part of the University of London, it is actually located on a 135-acre estate near Windsor, well outside the city centre. Ideal for those looking to study in a calm environment.
  • Brunel – Named after esteemed engineer Isambard Kingdom Brunel, this university seeks to encapsulate his philosophy and encourage its students to use their newfound academic knowledge in a practical, imaginative way.

What to do once you’ve chosen your university

Of course, everyone hoping to study in London will have already picked out their preferred university long before they arrive, but this is just the start of a long journey.

First and foremost, you need to find out the entry requirements for your chosen place of study and ensure you achieve these. Only then can the real planning begin, with securing a loan and finding the perfect student accommodation in central London among your most important tasks.

Ask any student in London though, and they’ll tell you the hard work was all worth it.