If there’s one thing London is never short on, it’s choice. Whether that’s the type of cuisine you want for dinner, the style of play you want to watch in one of the hundreds of theatres or where you go to study.
London has over 40 institutions able to award degrees including many of the most well-known universities in the country.
So, if you’re planning on studying in the capital and need some inspiration as to where, this post should help.
We only have time for a quick overview of each of the top 10 universities in London but it should be enough to pique your curiosity!
Top ten list of universities in London city
As there are so many universities in London, we selected what we consider to be the top 10 schools.
We used our own experience, anecdotes from former students we know and some well-known league tables to create this list.
The list includes:
- London School of Economics (LSE)
- Imperial College London (ICL)
- University College London (UCL)
- King’s College London (KCL)
- Queen Mary University of London (QMUL)
- City University London
- Birkbeck, University of London
- SOAS, University of London
- Royal Holloway, University of London (RHUL)
- Brunel University
Let’s take a quick look at London’s best schools!
London School of Economics (LSE)
London School of Economics (LSE) or London School of Economics and Political Science to give it its full name, is one of the best-regarded schools of its kind anywhere in the world. Located in the heart of the city, LSE offers 36 undergraduate and over 140 postgraduate and doctorate degrees across 25 departments.
Those degrees cover anthropology, history, international relations, social psychology, accounting, finance, economics, government, law, management and many other subjects.
It is located on the bank of the River Thames, by King’s College London, the Royal Opera House and the Royal Courts of Justice.
Imperial College London (ICL)
Imperial College London (ICL) is widely rated as one of the #10 universities in the world as well as one of the best universities in London. It specialises in medicine, science, engineering and business.
There are four faculties: Faculty of Engineering, Faculty of Natural Sciences, Faculty of Medicine and Imperial College Business School. While the focus is narrow, it allows ICL to excel in its chosen subjects.
It has around 20,000 students and has the main campus in South Kensington and an innovation campus in White City. The university also has a location at Silwood Park near Ascot in Berkshire and links with teaching hospitals across London.
University College London (UCL)
University College London (UCL) is arguably the oldest university in London. It was the first of its kind, founded in 1826 and is committed to education and research. Despite being the oldest, it has one of the freshest outlooks, with collaborations with leading businesses and other institutions.
It has around 41,000 students and a main campus in Bloomsbury, close to Camden. It also has UCL East at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. The main campus houses most of the 11 faculties that include Faculty of Arts and Humanities, Faculty of Brain Sciences, Faculty of the Built Environment, Faculty of Engineering Sciences and many others.
Bloomsbury is a great part of London, part of the ‘knowledge quarter’ and UCL plays a huge role in that.
King’s College London (KCL)
King’s College London is a Russell Group university close to LSE and was co-founded by King George IV in 1829. It’s a well-established university in London with a great reputation in its chosen areas of study.
King’s College London has five main campuses at Strand Campus, Guy's Campus, Waterloo Campus, St Thomas's Campus and Denmark Hill Campus. There is also a satellite campus at the Defence Academy of the United Kingdom in Shrivenham, Oxfordshire.
The university has over 33,000 students across all these locations and nine faculties. The school is best-known for social science, law, mathematics, science, medicine and related subjects.
Queen Mary University of London (QMUL)
Queen Mary University of London (QMUL) was originally four different medical colleges: The Royal Hospital of St Bartholomew, London School of Medicine and Dentistry, Queen Mary College and Westfield College. They were brought together into a university in 1989.
Queen Mary University is a member of the Russell Group and has five campuses across London in Mile End, Charterhouse Square, West Smithfield, Whitechapel, and Lincoln’s Inn Fields.
It has three main faculties: Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry and Faculty of Science and Engineering. It has around 26,000 students across the multiple campuses with over 40% being international students.
City, University of London
City, University of London is part of the larger University of London and became a university in 1966. It’s a highly regarded university with links across business and the Mayor of London sits as its rector.
The university has campuses throughout London including Northampton Square in Finsbury, Goswell Road in Clerkenwell, The City Law School in Holborn, Bayes Business School in St Luke's Islington and NTO City in Spitalfields.
Subjects covered include law, accounting and finance, actuarial sciences, engineering, radiography, radiotherapy, oncology and many more.
Birkbeck, University of London
Birkbeck, University of London is one of the best universities in London for night classes. It’s also a school that can trace its roots back to the London Mechanics’ School founded in 1823.
With over 11,500 students and 19 different departments, teaching here is varied. It covers everything from law and criminology to biological sciences and politics.
Birkbeck, University of London is located between Malet Street and Woburn Square in Bloomsbury. It’s part of the ‘knowledge quarter’ with UCL and is a great part of the city to live in.
SOAS, University of London
SOAS, University of London (the School of Oriental and African Studies) is another university in London that’s part of the ‘knowledge quarter’ with UCL and Birkbeck. It is one of the world’s leading universities for studies in this field and has a superb reputation for teaching.
SOAS has around 5,800 students in a collection of buildings in Bloomsbury London. There are three faculties: Faculty of Arts and Humanities, Faculty of Languages and Cultures and Faculty of Law and Social Sciences.
Each teaches a mix of languages, music, religious studies, philosophy, economics, business studies, politics and other subjects relevant to Asia, Africa, and the Middle East.
Royal Holloway, University of London (RHUL)
Royal Holloway, University of London (RHUL) is part of the federal University of London and has around 10,500 students across six schools. It deserves its place in our best universities in London list because of the quality of the teaching and student satisfaction.
RHUL is based on the outskirts of London in 135 acres of woodland, between Windsor and Heathrow. It’s an amazing setting that makes this university stand out from the crowd.
There are six schools at RHUL: the School of Business and Management, School of Engineering, Physical and Mathematical Sciences, School of Humanities, School of Law and Social Sciences, School of Life Sciences and the Environment and School of Performing and Digital Arts.
Brunel University has a stellar reputation for serving international students and is highly regarded as one of the best universities in London for engineering. That’s impressive considering it was only founded in 1966.
Brunel University has around 15,000 students and is located in Uxbridge, Middlesex. It’s a short distance west of the city of London and one of the more affordable universities in London to study.
It has three main colleges: the College of Engineering, Design and Physical Sciences, College of Business, Arts and Social Sciences and College of Health, Medicine and Life Sciences. It is primarily known for digital media, aerospace engineering, journalism, anthropology, law and business among other subjects.