You are here

Interested in studying abroad?

Check out our comprehensive guides

Top Universities in the UK 2020

Top Universities in the UK 2020 main image

The University of Oxford continues to be ranked as the best university in the UK this year.

The elite institution has climbed one place since last year’s ranking and is now the fourth best university in the world, while their rival institution the University of Cambridge has dropped one place to rank seventh.

Cambridge is far from along among UK universities in seeing its rank fall this year, with 56 of the country’s 84 universities dropping at least one place.

However, there continues to be four UK universities within the global top 10, as you can see from the table below. Read on for more information on the top 10 UK universities, and view the full results of the QS World University Tops 2020 here.

QS World University Tops 2020 – Top 10 Universities in the UK

UK Rank

Global Rank

University

1

4

University of Oxford

2

7

University of Cambridge

3

8

4

9

5

20

6

27

7

=33

8

44

9

49

10

62

10. University of Warwick

University of Warwick

One of the prestigious Russell Group universities, the University of Warwick continues to be the tenth-best institution in the UK despite dropping eight places globally this year. The university is bolstered by a strong reputation with employers and a healthy percentage of international students, two of the indicators used to compile our ranking (as explained in the methodology).

9. University of Bristol

Bristol is one of the rare UK universities to improve this year, climbing two places to just sit inside the world’s top 50. Since last year, the university has improved its proportion of international faculty and students, as well as its academic reputation.

8. London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE)

universities in europe

The first of four universities based in England’s capital city, LSE is ranked seventh in the world for international students, making it the most diverse UK university in our ranking. It also performs particularly well for employer reputation, with only Oxbridge and Imperial ranking higher within the UK.

7. King’s College London (KCL)

dental school

King’s College London has dropped two places this year to be ranked joint 33rd in the world, sharing the rank with Kyoto University in Japan. It’s particularly well-regarded for its medical education and research and is home to the oldest nursing school still in operation: the Florence Nightingale Faculty of Nursing and Midwifery (established in 1860).

6. University of Manchester

UK Universities

Another university to improve its overall rank since last year, the University of Manchester can point to improvements made in its academic reputation and research output (measured by citations per faculty). It also has the largest student community among these top UK universities, with approximately 41,000 students, nearly 11,000 of whom are from outside the EU.

5. University of Edinburgh

UK Universities

Falling two places but still inside the world’s top 20 universities, the University of Edinburgh is the only Scottish university to feature in this top 10. While Scottish students are able to study at the University of Edinburgh for free, students from other parts of the UK (i.e. England) have to pay fees. The university counts Charles Darwin, Alexander Graham Bell and J.K. Rowling among its alumni.

4. Imperial College London

international students

Imperial has been overtaken by UCL in this year’s ranking, losing its status as the top university in London. Despite this, it continues to out-score UCL for four of the six ranking indicators: employer reputation, faculty student ratio, percentage of international faculty and percentage of international students.

3. UCL (University College London)

top architecture schools

Now the best university in London, UCL is one of the largest and most diverse of the UK’s top universities, with a student population of 38,900, with almost 40 percent of these coming from outside the UK.

2. University of Cambridge

Cambridge

The gulf between Cambridge and its closest rival Oxford continues to grow, with the University of Cambridge slipping one place globally this year. UCL is now hot on its heels.

While Cambridge can point to a stronger reputation with academics and employers than Oxford can manage – as well as a more internationally diverse faculty – it’s now three years since it could claim to be the best university in the UK.

1. University of Oxford

The University of Oxford has tightened its grip on the number one spot in the UK this year, improving its proportion of international faculty and the number of citations being produced by those faculty members. While it might be tempting for such a famous university to rest on its laurels, it’s encouraging to see Oxford is still improving its research output.

The next 10 best universities in the UK can be found below

QS World University Tops 2020 – Top Universities in the UK 11-20

UK Rank

Global Rank

University

11

67

=12

=78

=12

=78

14

81

15

=93

16

96

17

97

18

100

19

126

20

128

A further 30 UK universities are ranked within the world’s top 500 institutions.

QS World University Tops 2020 – Top Universities in the UK 21-50

UK Rank

Global Rank

University

21

146

22

148

23

=154

24

=163

25

172

26

=173

27

181

28

194

29

205

30

222

31

=239

32

246

33

=274

34

=291

35

=296

36

=302

37

309

=38

=314

=38

=314

40

328

41

=349

42

=359

43

=368

44

370

45

376

46

417

47

=442

48

=462

49

=478

50

=484

After 500th place, the QS World University Tops group universities together into bandings, e.g. 501-510, 511-520. The remaining 34 universities and their banding can be seen below.

QS World University Tops 2020 – Top Universities in the UK 501-1000

UK Rank

Global Rank

University

51

521-530

52

531-540

53

591-600

=54

601-650

=54

601-650

=54

601-650

=54

601-650

=58

651-700

=58

651-700

=60

701-750

=60

701-750

=60

701-750

=60

701-750

=60

701-750

=60

701-750

=60

701-750

=67

751-800

=67

751-800

=67

751-800

=67

751-800

=67

751-800

=72

801-1000

=72

801-1000

=72

801-1000

=72

801-1000

=72

801-1000

=72

801-1000

=72

801-1000

=72

801-1000

=72

801-1000

=72

801-1000

=72

801-1000

=72

801-1000

=72

801-1000

Related categories:

Sakiko S & Iris J saved this
Written by Craig OCallaghan
As editor of Kyohaku.com, Craig oversees the site's editorial content and network of student contributors. He also plays a key editorial role in the publication of several guides and reports, including the QS Top Grad School Guide.

Want to leave a comment?

Please login or register to post
comment above our articles

0 Comment