England boasts world-renowned universities, making the decision of which one to choose as an international student a hard one. Here are our top universities in England broken down into 8 unique categories.
England is a true travel hub, with rail, bus, and airport links to the rest of the world. You’ll find history, architecture, culture, cosmopolitan cities, and beautiful scenery all in one tiny country, making it a popular destination for international students to study abroad, get an entire degree overseas, or continue their education in a graduate-level program. With its convenient location to continental Europe, no language barrier for English speakers, and globally recognized universities, it is no wonder so many international students decide to study in England.
The real challenge is choosing a university that’s right for you. With all of the information available, it can be a tough decision.
To help you find the perfect British university to match your goals, we selected some of the best universities in England, based on factors such as available programs, class sizes, proximity to major cities, and more.
These universities are in no particular order and is not designed as a ranking, but instead attempts to inspire your imagination about the possibilities that await you in the UK. Read on for more advice and to learn the best universities in England for international students, broken down into eight popular categories!
Note: These universities were selected based on a variety of factors including their rankings, popularity among and support for international students, quality of programs, and their social scenes. Tuition prices are for the 2022 academic year and are subject to change. All values are in USD.
England, and the rest of the UK, have great universities with a vast range of benefits. That said, international tuition is expensive in the UK, so the decision of where and what to study should not be taken lightly. Fortunately, students from the United States can apply for FAFSA loans to cover tuition at universities in the UK.
When choosing a University, consider if you want to live in a big city or a smaller town, as the UK has plenty of both. Additionally, the cost of living will vary significantly between towns across England. London, for example, has a housing shortage and will be a more expensive option than, say, Lancashire. You can find a detailed cost of living breakdown throughout England on Numbeo (the source of all cost of living data provided throughout this article).
Another consideration when choosing a university in England is the path you decide to take. If you’re studying abroad, first determine if your home university has programs, exchanges, or other relationships with Universities in England. Studying abroad through your existing university has benefits, including the ease of transferring credits and the convenience of a designed program. The alternatives are to go through a third-party provider or to directly enroll, which is typically the cheapest option but requires the most work on your end.
If you plan to get your entire undergraduate degree in England or are pursuing a graduate-level degree, you will need to apply and enroll directly with the university of your choosing. We always recommend you apply as early as possible to retain enough time to navigate the student visa process, but universities in England have much less stringent deadlines when compared to the US, and you can be accepted into a course within a month or two of the start date. That said, scholarship applications still close well ahead of the start of the semester, so don’t procrastinate. The application process is also quite different in the UK, and you can choose to apply to multiple universities at once through a centralized system, and rank your preferred choice.
Additionally, the length of study to receive a degree is also different in England. Most bachelors are completed in three years, master’s courses take one year, and Ph.D.’s take as little as three years as well.
Tips for studying in England
There are differences between how universities in England are structured compared to US universities. For example, you will take modules instead of courses, and the grading scale for these modules is also different. Additionally, your performance (for those getting an entire degree in England) will determine what type of degree you receive, with a first-class degree being the best.
Generally speaking, your module assessment will be less based on tests and more project and essay-based (depending on your program and degree type), with a single exam at the end of the course also being common.
If you are dependent on student loans (such as FAFSA for US citizens), expect a significant delay between accepting your application and the disbursement of funds. Your loans will be paid out in USD, then transferred to your university and converted to GBP before being deposited into your British bank account (HSBC has an international student bank account option, for those looking). This process can take a few weeks, so if you need this money for essential living expenses, do this well ahead of time.
While studying in England, don’t take your access to the rest of the UK and continental Europe for granted. Ryanair offers flights for as little cost as a Saturday night Uber during a surge, and trains and busses will take you all the way up to the Scottish highlands. You can also always hop on a ferry over to Ireland for a weekend away
Overseas Tuition: $36,606 – 51,292/year
Cost of living: $924 + rent
Chances are, you’ve heard of Oxford. It’s the oldest university among English-speaking countries, and if that’s not enough, scenes from the Harry Potter movies were filmed here. One-third of Oxford’s student body is international, and sixty-three percent of postgraduate students come from outside of the UK.
Oxford is about 90 minutes northwest of London. The campus is gorgeous, and the town has a long history of craft breweries. Oxford University is regularly ranked in the top-10 globally, including ranking second in the 2022 QS World University Rankings and first in the Times Higher Education World University Rankings of 2022.
According to the Oxford website, famous Oxford alum, known as Oxonians, date back to the 13th century and include an astounding 55 Nobel Prize recipients, 28 British Prime Ministers, and 120 Olympians. The prestige and historical impact of Oxford University can still be felt today as Oxford remains a leader in research, spanning disciplines from humanities to medicine.