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The academic standards, research, and facilities of UK universities are often regarded as among the best in the world. They are well-known for providing local and foreign students with the ideal conditions to reach their full potential. With so many options available, it is essential to identify and locate the top universities there.

Read on as we look at the top five universities in the UK.

Top Universities in the United Kingdom

Below are some of the top five universities you can consider attending in the UK:

  1. University of Oxford
  2. University of Cambridge
  3. Imperial College London
  4. University College London
  5. University of Edinburgh

University of Oxford

The University of Oxford is one of the oldest institutions in the UK and a leading global center for learning, teaching, and research. The university offers 48 undergraduate courses and is divided into four academic divisions: Humanities, Mathematical, Physical & Life Sciences, Medical & Biological Sciences, and Social Sciences. 

According to the Times Higher Education World University Rankings, the University of Oxford ranks as the best university in the world. The student annual course fees are between £33,050 and £48,620 for international students. 

In addition to providing a prominent worldwide network, it offers a life-altering educational experience that develops analytical reasoning, leadership potential, and lasting friendships.

University of Cambridge

The University of Cambridge is home to nearly 20,000 students from over 140 countries.  It currently ranks 2nd in the QS World University Rankings 2024. The tuition fee here ranges from £24,507 to £63,990 for international students.

Studying at the University of Cambridge provides excellent academic standards, world-class teaching, research possibilities, a dynamic intellectual community, and a distinguished worldwide reputation. It offers a life-altering academic adventure, access to significant networks, and a boost to professional possibilities across many fields.

In Cambridge, you will find different programs, from undergraduate and graduate degrees (Bachelor, Master, and doctorate), to part-time (online) courses. You can also opt for short courses (certificates and diploma studies) at the university.

Imperial College London

If you are interested in studying business, this is one of the universities to look into, as it is one of the top institutions for business education. It has also been recognized for its commitment to helping women advance in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) and healthcare professions by receiving the Silver Athena Swan award. Its tuition fees range from £30,200 to £46,600 annually for international students.

Its emphasis on the hard sciences, the medical and business fields, and the commercial sector makes it a top option for ambitious students. It is currently ranked as the 6th university in the world according to the QS World University Rankings 2024.

University College London

The University College London (UCL) is a leading research institution in the United Kingdom and worldwide. The institution boasts a global student population with representation from over 150 countries and a comprehensive curriculum. 

UCL was named University of the Year 2024 by the Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide and is ranked ninth in the world by the QS World University Rankings 2024. The annual tuition cost for international students is between £19,720 and £28,610.

The institution boasts a global student population with representation from over 150 countries and a comprehensive curriculum. This curriculum covers arts and humanities, engineering, law, sciences, and social sciences at undergraduate and graduate levels. UCL is well-known for its outstanding professors,  exciting student life, exceptional research facilities, and worldwide alumni network.

University of Edinburgh

The University of Edinburgh is the only Scottish university to make the list. It has a highly valued research output and an excellent worldwide research network. It is currently ranked 25th in QS World University Rankings 2024.

It is well-known for conducting groundbreaking research in a variety of disciplines and for the significance of its findings. It offers courses ranging from Astrophysics, Art and Design, Computer science, Mathematics to Physics. The degrees you can take here range from Undergraduate Master, Postgraduates, MBA, PhD, to Business School.

The institution also offers its students the opportunity to participate in the annual Go Abroad Fund, which funds 250 or more students to participate in a short-term abroad program. Undergraduate fees here range from £26,000 to £36,000 annually for international students. 


The United Kingdom is often regarded as a world leader in the field of higher education, and with good reason: it is home to many prestigious universities that are routinely placed among the world’s top universities.

Are you thinking of studying in the UK? Feel free to contact Purplebook to guide you through your study abroad journey.

Also, check out this scholarship in case you missed it: University of Cambridge Mastercard Foundation Scholars Programme for Young Africans UK 2024

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