When you’re choosing your postgraduate university in the UK, you should be aware that this is one of the most important decisions you’re making in your life. All UK universities offer unique potential for the development of your future – and each institution has different merits. The UK is the leading research nation in the world. Over half of the research conducted in these universities is either internationally excellent or world leading. Graduates from reputable British universities are recognised and appreciated by academics and employers worldwide. That’s because their degrees prove they got high-quality education. Tradition, quality, and progressive values – that’s the kind of reputation the leading UK universities have.
While you are studying your postgraduate program you’ll meet different people, you’ll be taught by different professors, you’ll be taking different courses, and you may even be living in a different city. The choice is not easy, so to help you on your way here’s a list of the highest ranked UK universities.
University of Cambridge
Founded in 1209, the University of Cambridge is the second-oldest university in the English-speaking world (right after Oxford). It is a member of the League of European Research Universities, the Coimbra Group, the Russell Group, and the International Alliance of Research Universities. In terms of research power, this is the leading university in the UK. Let’s talk about the lives of the students there. Cambridge is unusual because it doesn’t have a single campus. 31 self-governing colleges are united under the Cambridge banner – they are all part of Cambridge, but they are still independent in a large part. This means that if you choose Cambridge, you’ll have another important choice to make: which Cambridge college do you want to be based in? The accommodation varies, depending on the college you choose, since each college serves takes care of this aspect individually. Most of the colleges own flats and houses in Cambridge. However, undergraduates can also get rooms with the help of the Accommodation Services of their college. Cambridge is a great place to be a student. It is growing rapidly and it can serve all students’ needs for studying, socializing, work, shopping, and pastime. Alumni include Charles Darwin, Sir Isaac Newton, Stephen Hawking, and Bertrand Russell. The university has produced the highest number of Nobel Prize winners - 90. That’s how great it is!
University of Oxford
This is not only one of the greatest universities in the English-speaking world, it’s the oldest one, too. The University of Oxford was established in 1096 and achieved rapid growth during the 12th century. This was the world’s center for debates, research, and growth in religion, science, and the arts. The University of Oxford is also a member of important research groups: the Coimbra Group, Russell Group, the Europaeum, and the League of European Research Universities. It has the highest number of leading academics in its staff when compared to other universities in the UK. The competition at this university is huge. It has the highest proportion of students achieving firsts in the UK. Oxford University students often live in college-owned accommodation or the college building itself. The campus supports recreational activities, so the social life is on a slightly higher level when compared to Cambridge. Oxford is famous for its libraries. There are more than 100 libraries for you to explore. As for the alumni, we have to mention the fact that 26 British Prime Ministers, including David Cameron, attended Oxford. Other notable names are Tim Berners-Lee and Bill Clinton.
London School of Economics and Political Science
London School of Economics and Political Science is one of the most notable social science universities in the world. While Cambridge and Oxford are perfect for students focused on research in different areas of study, this is the perfect school for those interested in social sciences. You can choose from a wide range of disciplines in addition to economics and politics, including anthropology, law, philosophy, and sociology, which are currently very popular. Graham Wallace, Beatrice and Sidney Webb, and George Bernard Shaw founded this school in late 1895 with the purpose to benefit society by analyzing inequalities and poverty issues. This university has a high proportion of international students – around 70%. The competition is tough; many postgraduate courses have an acceptance rate lower than 7%. The university is located in the centre of London, just a short walk away from the Thames River. Is there anything to say about the lifestyle in this city? The students get a unique experience that other cities cannot deliver. As for the alumni, keep in mind that over 30% of past and current politicians and heads of state have attended or taught at this university. If you’re into politics, this school should definitely be on your list of choices.
University College London
University College London is a top-ranked university in the UK for research strength. Along with Cambridge and Oxford, it is part of the Golden Triangle. Over 800 professors and 6,000 of its academic staff are dedicated to teaching and research. This university is proud of its heritage as the first UK university to admit students without any discrimination on the basis of class, religion, or race. In addition, it was the first UK university to give equal admissions chances and terms for women. What makes this school special is the idea of education for global citizenship. The students are inspired to explore the world and analyse ideas from different cultural perspectives. If you are attracted by global issues and you want your education to lead you to a profession of international importance, this school may be the right choice for you. The university is spread around three main campuses, which are located in Hampstead, Bloomsbury, and Archway. Some of the most famous alumni include Alexander Graham Bell, Mahatma Gandhi, and Chris Martin. Impressive.
University of St Andrews
Founded in 1413, this is the university in Scotland. St Andrews is a small town, but it has always been the center of political and religious life in Scotland. That reputation is conveyed through this university’s achievements in the humanities. The University of St Andrews is not centered in a defined campus; it’s rather covering the entire area of the town, and the students make up a significant part of the population. St Andrews is set on the east coast of Scotland. The location is breathtaking; you see the wooded hills of the Fife countryside from one side, and a rocky headland to the North Sea on the other. The Edinburgh airport is close, so you can easily be connected to the rest of the world. Some of the most notable alumni include Alex Salmond, Edward Jenner, and Prince William.
Did we make your choice a tad easier? All these universities are highly competitive, so you should definitely consider applying to them if you’re envisioning a bright future as a researcher, academic, or a professional in any field.
Author's bio: Karen Dikson is a college instructor and a creative writer at EssaysOnTime. She writes for several education resources, including Huffington Post. Karen loves teaching and helping her students achieve their goals.