Best universities in England 2024

By seeta.bhardwa@…, 5 January, 2024

The top five universities in England 2024

Scroll down for the full list of best universities in England

England Rank 2024 World University Rank 2024 World University Rank 2023 University City/Town
1 1 1 University of Oxford   Oxford
2 5 =3 University of Cambridge   Cambridge
3 8 10 Imperial College London   London
4 22 22 UCL  London
5 =38 35 King’s College London   London

Higher education institutions in England are some of the most popular around the globe. Each year, more than 200,000 international students choose to study in England.

England, the largest country in the United Kingdom, has a fascinating history that deserves to be explored. As well as the bustling capital of London (home to 9.4 million people), there is a multitude of major cities including Birmingham, Manchester, Sheffield, Bristol, Liverpool, Newcastle and Leeds – all of which are easily accessible for students.

English scientists and institutions have won more than 100 Nobel prizes, an achievement few other countries can match. Many scholarships, grants and bursaries are available for international students at English institutions, and the cost of living is good – including healthcare, which is provided free of charge by an institutionalised national system.

Below are some of the best universities to study at in England, based on the Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2024.

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5. King’s College London

Established in 1829 by King George IV and the Duke of Wellington, King’s College London is the fourth oldest university in England.

King’s College London has become the largest healthcare learning centre in Europe, with three teaching hospitals and serving as a hub for over 27,000 students, including nearly 10,500 postgraduates, from 150 different countries.

Situated at the heart of London on the Strand, along the north bank of the River Thames, the university's main campus is complemented by four additional campuses at Guy’s Hospital, St Thomas’ Hospital, and in Waterloo and Denmark Hill.

King’s College London is associated with 12 Nobel Prize winners, including Maurice Wilkins, credited with the discovery of the DNA structure, and Archbishop Desmond Tutu, who received the Nobel Prize for Peace for his efforts against South Africa's apartheid regime.

With a network of more than 150 partner institutions, the university offers diverse study abroad programmes in collaboration with higher education institutions globally, such as Humboldt University in Berlin and Sorbonne University in France. 

4. UCL

Founded in 1826 to bring higher education to those who were typically excluded from it, UCL became the first university in England to admit women on equal terms to men, in 1878.

UCL is a constituent college of the University of London and is a member of the Russell Group. It is based in the heart of London. International students, from some 150 countries, account for one-third of the population.

The institution has one of the largest systems of postgraduate study in the country, with almost 52 per cent of students involved in graduate programmes.

With 29 Nobel prizes awarded to UCL alumni or staff, the university was the alma mater for many significant scientific figures, including William Ramsay, who discovered the noble gases in 1904.

3. Imperial College London

Established as a university in 1907, Imperial College London was the result of a merger between the Royal College of Science, the Royal School of Mines and the City and Guilds College.

It is a science-based institution in the centre of London, located around the museum district of South Kensington – it formed part of Prince Albert’s mission to make this area a centre for education.

Imperial’s focus is on science, engineering, medicine and business. It is home to the largest concentration of high-impact research of any major UK university. Some 14 Nobel prize-winners, including Sir Alexander Fleming, who discovered penicillin, attended the university. 

Notable alumni include the author H. G. Wells, Queen guitarist Brian May and Sir Liam Donaldson, former UK chief medical officer.

2. University of Cambridge

Established in 1209, the University of Cambridge is the fourth-oldest surviving university in the world and the second-oldest in the anglophone world.

The campus is in the centre of the city, with other listed buildings on or near the River Cam. There are 31 autonomous colleges, in which students attend small-group teaching sessions called college supervisions.

There are more than 24,000 students at Cambridge – with nearly 4,000 from a range of 120 different countries. It is also home to 100 libraries with more than 15 million books, nine arts, scientific and cultural museums, and a botanical garden.

Cambridge University Press, the university’s publishing business, has more than 50 offices worldwide, producing up to 45,000 titles spanning all kinds of academic research, education and Bible publishing.

Covering every possible category, 92 affiliates of the university have been awarded Nobel prizes.

1. University of Oxford

The University of Oxford’s exact founding date is unknown. There is evidence to suggest that teaching began around 1096 – making it the oldest university in the English-speaking world, and the world’s second-oldest functioning university.

Spread over Oxford’s medieval city centre, the university consists of 44 colleges and halls, with more than 100 libraries – making it the largest library system in the UK.

Oxford has the youngest population of any city in England and Wales, with a quarter of the residents being students (over 24,000 from more than 140 different countries).

Oxford is a modern, research-driven institution, but its particular strengths lie in sciences, and in medicine in particular. If its medical sciences division were a university in its own right, it would be the fourth largest in the UK. Oxford is also among the top 10 global universities for life sciences, physical sciences, social sciences and the arts and humanities.

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Top universities in England 2024

Click each institution to view its full World University Rankings 2024 results

England Rank 2024 World University Rank 2024 World University Rank 2023 University City/Town
1 1 1 University of Oxford   Oxford
2 5 =3 University of Cambridge   Cambridge
3 8 10 Imperial College London   London
4 22 22 UCL  London
5 =38 35 King’s College London   London
6 46 37 London School of Economics and Political Science   London
7 51 =54 University of Manchester   Manchester
8 81 76 University of Bristol   Bristol
9 =97 =108 University of Southampton   Southampton
10 101 =108 University of Birmingham   Birmingham
11 105 =114 University of Sheffield   Sheffield
12 =106 =104 University of Warwick   Coventry
13 129 =128 University of Leeds   Leeds
14 =130 130 University of Nottingham   Nottingham
15 135 =124 Queen Mary University of London   London
16 147 =139 University of York   York
17 =155 122 Lancaster University   Lancaster
=18 =168 =176 University of Liverpool   Liverpool
=18 =168 =139 Newcastle University   Newcastle
20 174 =198 Durham University   Durham
21 =177 =137 University of Exeter   Exeter
=22 201–250 =163 University of Leicester   Leicester
=22 201–250 =198 University of Reading   Reading
=22 201–250 201–250 University of Sussex   Brighton
=25 251–300 251–300 University of Bath   Bath
=25 251–300 201–250 University of East Anglia   Norwich
=25 251–300 351–400 Loughborough University   Loughborough
=25 251–300 201–250 University of Surrey   Guildford
=29 301–350 301–350 University of Essex   Colchester
=29 301–350 351–400 Royal Holloway, University of London   Egham
=29 301–350 201–250 St George’s, University of London   London
=32 351–400 401–500 Brunel University London   Uxbridge
=32 351–400 351–400 City, University of London   London
=34 401–500 401–500 Aston University   Birmingham
=34 401–500 251–300 Bournemouth University   Bournemouth
=34 401–500 501–600 Goldsmiths, University of London   London
=34 401–500 501–600 University of Hull   Hull
=34 401–500 351–400 University of Kent   Canterbury
=34 401–500 401–500 University of Plymouth   Plymouth
=34 401–500 401–500 University of Portsmouth   Portsmouth
=34 401–500 351–400 Royal Veterinary College   London
=34 401–500 501–600 SOAS University of London   London
=43 501–600 301–350 Anglia Ruskin University (ARU)   Cambridge
=43 501–600 501–600 University of Bradford   Bradford
=43 501–600 251–300 Brighton and Sussex Medical School   Brighton
=43 501–600 501–600 University of Greenwich   London
=43 501–600 601–800 University of Huddersfield   Huddersfield
=43 501–600 501–600 Keele University   Keele
=43 501–600 401–500 University of Lincoln   Lincoln
=43 501–600 401–500 Liverpool John Moores University   Liverpool
=43 501–600 601–800 Manchester Metropolitan University   Manchester
=43 501–600 401–500 Middlesex University   London
=43 501–600 501–600 Northumbria University   Newcastle
=43 501–600 501–600 Nottingham Trent University   Nottingham
=43 501–600 401–500 University of the West of England   Bristol
=56 601–800 501–600 Birmingham City University   Birmingham
=56 601–800 801–1000 Coventry University   Coventry
=56 601–800 601–800 De Montfort University   Leicester
=56 601–800 601–800 University of Derby   Derby
=56 601–800 601–800 University of Hertfordshire   Hatfield
=56 601–800 601–800 London South Bank University   London
=56 601–800 601–800 The Open University   Milton Keynes
=56 601–800 601–800 Oxford Brookes University   Oxford
=56 601–800 601–800 University of Wolverhampton   Wolverhampton
=65 801–1000 801–1000 University of Brighton   Brighton
=65 801–1000 NR University of Gloucestershire  Gloucester
=65 801–1000 801–1000 Kingston University   Kingston upon Thames
=65 801–1000 801–1000 Leeds Beckett University   Leeds
=65 801–1000 801–1000 University of Roehampton   London
=65 801–1000 801–1000 University of Salford   Salford
=65 801–1000 801–1000 Sheffield Hallam University   Sheffield
=65 801–1000 1001–1200 University of Westminster   London
=73 1001–1200 801–1000 University of Bedfordshire  Bedford
=73 1001–1200 1201–1500 Canterbury Christ Church University   Canterbury
=73 1001–1200 1001–1200 University of Central Lancashire   Preston
=73 1001–1200 1001–1200 University of East London   London
=73 1001–1200 801–1000 Edge Hill University   Ormskirk
=73 1001–1200 1201–1500 Staffordshire University   Stoke-on-Trent
=73 1001–1200 1001–1200 Teesside University   Middlesbrough
=73 1001–1200 NR University of West London   London
=73 1001–1200 801–1000 University of Winchester   Winchester
=82 1201–1500 1201–1500 University of Chester   Chester
=82 1201–1500 1001–1200 University of Sunderland   Sunderland

Find the best universities in England with Times Higher Education’s World University Rankings data

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