Oxford University retains its hegemony as the top university in the United Kingdom in 2021. The prestigious school has fallen one spot from last year’s rating to become the fifth finest university in the world, while its competitor, the University of Cambridge, has remained in the seventh position.
The QS World University Rankings 2021 include a total of 90 UK institutions – six more than the previous year. Four of these institutions are in the worldwide top ten, while another four ranks in the top fifty.
Continue reading for more information on the top ten institutions in the United Kingdom, or click here to see the complete QS World University Rankings 2021 results. Additionally, you can learn more about the methods used to calculate the rankings by visiting this page.
1. University of Oxford
The University of Oxford retains the top position in the United Kingdom this year but falls one spot to fifth in the worldwide rankings. Oxford is the top-rated school in the United Kingdom for faculty-student ratio (eighth place) and citations per professor, achieving excellent ratings across all categories (44th place).
2. University of Cambridge
As is customary, the University of Oxford and the University of Cambridge are battling for top place in the UK rankings. Cambridge is once again in the second position, ranking sixth internationally. Cambridge, on the other hand, is the highest-ranked university in the United Kingdom in terms of academic and employer reputation, ranking second internationally in both categories.
3. Imperial College London
Imperial College London, the capital’s highest-ranked university, takes the bronze medal in the UK. It climbs up one spot to eighth rank internationally this year and ninth place globally in terms of academic repute.
4. UCL (University College London)
UCL (University College London) is just outside the UK’s top three, having dropped two places to 10th in this year’s worldwide rankings. Its greatest score is in the academic reputation index, where it is ranked 13th globally.
5. University of Edinburgh
The University of Edinburgh is ranked fifth in the United Kingdom and remains the world’s twenty-first best university — the only Scottish institution in the top ten. It ranks strongly for academic reputation and employer reputation, coming in at 25th and 31st in the world for both metrics, respectively.
6. The University of Manchester
The University of Manchester is ranked sixth in the United Kingdom this year and tied 27th globally. Employers have a special fondness for Manchester graduates — the university is ranked 21st in the world on the employer reputation measure.
7. King’s College London (KCL)
King’s College London (KCL) remains seventh in the United Kingdom this year, climbing two places to equal 31st in the worldwide rankings. As one of four London-based universities ranked in the UK’s top 10, KCL obtains remarkable results across the board, most notably in academic reputation, where it ranks among the world’s top 50 institutions.
8. London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE)
The London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) is ranked ninth in the United Kingdom but has dropped five places this year to 49th internationally — the first UK university in our top 10 to reach the global top 50. For foreign students, LSE is rated eighth in the world, making it the most diversified UK university on our list.
9. University of Bristol
The University of Bristol is ranked ninth in the United Kingdom but has dropped nine positions to 58th in the worldwide rankings this year. The university rates well on all ranking factors, but especially on academic reputation, where it is ranked 74th internationally.
10. The University of Warwick
The University of Warwick remains placed tenth in the United Kingdom this year and is also ranked 62nd internationally. Their success in the rankings is partly attributable to the university’s global perspective, as seen by near-perfect rankings for foreign professors and international students.