When we talk about ‘the best’ universities, this might well mean different things to different people. You could be talking about where an establishment sits in the University League Tables, which measures a school by its academic performance. Or you might look at the QS Top University Rankings, which provides a list of the best schools on a global scale.
But what about such aspects as the student experience, and the suitability of a university for your own personal needs?
London is extremely well off for excellent universities. Indeed, the 2015 Times Higher Education rankings – a survey carried out by students themselves in relation to their experience at the school – places London firmly at top of the list of the world’s top cities for universities.
The UK capital is home to no less than six of the world’s top 100 uni’s. This survey asks students to rate on six different aspects of their university experience:
- The quality of the staff and lecturers
- The quality of the university facilities
- The quality of the sports facilities
- Whether the uni offers good industry connections
- Whether the uni provides a good community atmosphere
- The availability of cheap shops/bars/amenities
So, taking the academic performance, rankings and the student experience into consideration, below is the list of the 7 best universities in London.
1. Imperial College, London
This uni has featured particularly well overall in the past few years, and now stands at number 2 in the world (in the QS Worldwide League Table) and at number 6 (in the UK University League Table). For student experience it scores highly (Times Higher Education rankings), taking position 30, with consistently high scores for all areas.
Superbly located in South Kensington, close to London’s major museums and Hyde Park, Imperial College has one of the largest medical faculties in the country, a well-renowned business school, as well as being famous for science and technology. The student base is international, with around a third of all students hailing from outside the UK.
2. University College, London (UCL)
Rated number 5 in the world (QS), at position 9 (UK), and at 56 (Times HE), UCL consistently appears in the top places for London universities.
One of the major advantages of this uni is that it provides education in a huge variety of subjects. Location is, once again, superb – being close to Oxford Street and the fun area of Soho. UCL also attracts a high number of international students.
3. London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE)
LSE might only rank at number 71 (QS) in the worldwide ratings, but it sits high at number 3 (UK) and at 101 for student satisfaction (Times HE). However, this uni is a renowned around the globe for its pioneering study opportunities in such subjects as accounting, politics, law and sociology.
Centrally located close to Trafalgar Square and the West End, it’s no wonder that this is yet another uni that appeals to many students from overseas.
4. Kings College London
Sitting high at number 16 in the world (QS) and 28 (UK), Kings College is another magnet for foreign students. Student satisfaction (Times HE) saw it hit number 82 for 2015, and the uni is home to around 26,000 at any one time.
It offers a good selection of courses, including medical, the arts and sciences. Although the campuses are a little spread out, they are all located very centrally, with four of them right next to the River Thames.
5. Queen Mary, University of London (QMUL)
Currently number 98 in the 2015 world rankings (QS) and 36 in the leagues (UK), Queen Mary University has also held its number 86 place from last year when it comes to student experience (Times HE). Renowned for various subjects, including medicine, social sciences and humanities, the uni is popular with both UK and overseas students.
It also boasts a great location, close to the recently regenerated East End of London, an area famed for being home to cultures from around the world and authentic world cuisine.
6. School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS)
You might, at first, think that SOAS is a strange addition to this ‘top 7’ list. Sure, it ranks at 331 (QS) in the world, number 35 (UK) and 78 (Times HE), but this is a uni that, thanks to its uniqueness, really has earned its place in the list.
The establishment provides education in the cultures, societies and languages of Africa, Asia and the Near and Middle East. This makes it the only university in the whole continent of Europe to offer such courses.
7. City University, London
Founded in 1894 (then known at the Northampton Institute), City University ranks as 341 in the world (QS) and at number 40 in the UK.
The uni focuses on business, arts, social sciences, health, engineering and law. The Chancellor of City University is none other than the Lord Mayor of London. The university has long-standing ties with the financial centre of the UK capital – known simply as The City. Along with having great links with the major financial and other multi national companies in the area, the uni also offers a range of activities to maintain this relationship. These include students taking part in the Lord Mayor’s Show and graduation ceremonies at Guildhall.