Best UK Universities 2022
We are delighted to announce the top 20 UK universities in 2022 based on StudentCrowd reviews!
To create these UK university rankings, we analysed 15,871 authentic student reviews submitted on StudentCrowd between June 2020 and May 2022, across 11 different categories that students rated out of 5 stars. These awards touch on all of the most important aspects of university life in 2022. They are the only awards based 100% on verified students studying in the UK using their ac.uk email address.
It's been great to see UK higher education get back to the new normal this year, with students' experiences of university life being more of what they should be.
A huge congratulations to all the award winners who have pulled out all the stops to give students a fantastic university experience. Special congratulations to Keele University for topping the StudentCrowd rankings and performing brilliantly across a number of the individual categories as well.
To see our full list of University Awards across all of our categories, check out our main University Awards 2022 page.
Why do these university rankings matter?
In 2020, UCAS discovered that “online reviews by students” was the 2nd most important resource for applicants choosing a university. Students want to hear from other students.
Authentic student reviews give prospective students unique insight into different aspects of university life. Hearing directly from real students gives a truer reflection of the university experience and makes the transition to uni life much easier. That's what makes these university league tables so important!
Take a look below to see the top 20 UK universities as voted for by students.
Find out more…
Check out StudentCrowd’s Best UK University Awards 2022 to see all of our UK university rankings across categories like value for money, Students’ Union, course content and lots more! (Check out our FAQs at the bottom to read more about how the winners have been selected).
Want to see who was top last year? Take a look here: Best UK Universities 2021
The Top 20 UK Universities 2022
“Keele itself is one of the most beautiful area's ... The campus itself has so many events and social experience's as well as several buildings that provide additional support, amazing food and drink options...”
Located in Staffordshire, close to Stoke-on-Trent and Newcastle-under-Lyme, Keele University was founded with research and innovation at its core. 80% of research completed at Keele is considered world-leading and internationally excellent. As one of Britain’s largest campuses, there is plenty of space for over 10,000 students who study here, with alumni from over 162 countries worldwide. Keele is famous for subjects such as clinical health, life sciences and humanities, and teaching is directed through the research in global health and sustainable futures. Keele Students’ Union offers over 150 different societies, including its Athletic Union, where students can compete in the British Universities and Colleges Sports league. The campus provides a range of facilities, for example, cafes, bars, a pharmacy, GP surgery, post office and student advice centre. Keele has recently invested £45m in new science facilities on campus, including the David Attenborough laboratories, designed for research and teaching in life sciences.
“Icl is always my dream school. The lectures are really attractive and interesting. Staff here are all friendly and helpful. ICl located in central London,.A really decent uni.”
Considered one of the best universities in the world, Imperial College London is well known for its innovative, employable graduates. Spread across nine campuses in London, this university is competitive for courses in science, engineering, medicine and business. Although many students come here for their education, there are hundreds of clubs and societies which help with meeting like-minded peers in the university's big city setting. If students wish to expand their education beyond their degree-subject, ICL’s I-Explore scheme allows students to take modules from other disciplines in their second and third year, with credits that count towards their degree. The university’s central location means its students will never run out of places to discover in their free time. ICL’s main campus is in South Kensington, right on the doorstep of the Natural History Museum and Kensington Palace. Students who attend ICL are generally proud to be there, having worked hard to meet the level of excellence that runs throughout all faculties at the university.
“I have had a brilliant few years at Greenwich... All of the staff are really supportive... There are many different clubs and societies that you can get involved in, and there are also a lot of very well-paid student jobs available!...”
Situated in the historic Old Royal Naval College, close by to the world-renowned Greenwich Maritime World Heritage Site, the University of Greenwich is immersed in a cultural setting. The university is divided into three campuses, Greenwich, Avery Hill and Medway, all just a short commute into central London. Over the last decade, the University of Greenwich has invested more than £150 million in new teaching and research spaces. This includes the new Dreadnough Building, a student hub for socialising, going to the gym or attending concerts in the evenings. Recently, Greenwich has introduced a flexible degree programme for Law and Business, allowing students to learn online in their own time, with only one day a week on campus. The university hosts over 37,000 students from over 140 countries, providing support for international students during their studies and into post-graduation life. Students have said the lecturers at Greenwich are supportive, with academic skills workshops available for those who need extra help.
“Been here two years and have had a good experience so far... Lecturers have all been really friendly, equipment and facilities are easy to access... Pre-Covid, classes were always really interesting and the community was/still is fun and supportive...”
Located in Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire University is on the border of the countryside, yet has great transport links to Manchester via train. Home to over 17,000 students, the Staffordshire SU links everyone through societies on interests such as animation, dance, fashion, futsal and theme parks. The cost of living is low in comparison to cities like London, so for students looking to obtain a degree on a budget, Staffordshire University is a prominent option. This university has no shortage of high-end technology accessible for students. The £1.3m Smart Zone has 3D printing and laser cutting equipment, alongside virtual reality headsets and collaborative study spaces. Staffordshire also offers two-year accelerated degrees in subjects like sports writing and sustainability, which are excellent choices for students who want the degree without the extra cost. Students rate the accommodation choices highly, as they are within walking distance of lectures and university facilities.
“Loughborough University is honestly unique in its own right. Once you step foot on campus you understand what a great sense of community there is... The campus is a great place to work... the facilities for learning are good...”
Rated as one of the best universities in the country, Loughborough University is a campus-based institution in the East Midlands. Although the campus is 523 acres, it is just a short walk away from the centre of Loughborough, a market town, which has plenty of shops and cafes to choose from. Being located in the centre of the country means Loughborough is accessible via public transport from most places, so most students are never too far from home, or from any other cities they wish to spend time exploring. Currently there are over 18,000 students enrolled, including over 2,000 international students. Loughborough is a diverse town, with a range of multicultural eating out options and local communities. As part of the Students’ Union, there are over 120 clubs and societies to suit its vibrant population across campus. Additionally, the Students’ Union is central to the nightlife scene, hosting the best club nights in the area. Its excellent sporting reputation brings top-end facilities such as the olympic-size swimming pool and brand new National Cricket Performance centre.
“I really enjoy studying at LJMU. The staff and students are really welcoming and helpful. I am in my third year and I still love it as much as I did when I began. The support you receive from lecturers and peers is great.”
Liverpool John Moores is based on two campuses, City Centre and Copperas Hill, though both are less than a mile from the city centre, ensuring that students are immersed in the culture of Liverpool alongside their studies. Liverpool has more museums and galleries than any other city outside London. John Moores Students' Union has a selection of societies across different interests and sports, as well as employing around 150 students during term time. The university offers over 200 different courses for undergraduates, all involving practical sessions and industry-equivalent tasks. Students at LJMU don’t just graduate with a degree, but with experiences to apply in their working lives. The LJMU careers service is proactive at creating opportunities for students, regardless of their aspirations. Each faculty has a careers advisor who helps students with writing a CV, gaining interview experience and securing work placements. This support reflects on students, with 73% of graduates from LJMU in work or further education 15 months after graduation.
“A great university with plenty of campus facilities, including a 24/7 library with a large catalogue of literature, both physical and online copies. The Students' Union is also very active... Plenty of choice of clubs and societies to choose from.”
The University of Plymouth is located on the South Coast of England and is recognised for its contributions to marine and sustainability research. Just a short journey away from the beaches of Devon and Cornwall, students can enjoy coastal and city living at Plymouth. This campus university is north of Plymouth city centre, but some facilities stretch out to the coast. Its courses, specialising in marine biology, conservation, technology, oceanography and maritime science, are led by academic experts and researchers who are aware of new findings and integrate this into course content. 15 months after graduation, 80% of students at the University of Plymouth were in work or further education. With over 18,000 students, including 2,000 from 100 countries around the world, the Students' Union brings everyone together through the many societies. The Union offers independent advice for students on academic issues, accommodation, well-being and money.
“Aston University is a great experience with a modern and fun campus in the centre of the city. The social spaces are everywhere and this results in a bustling university with a fun atmosphere...”
Established in the diverse city of Birmingham in the West Midlands, Aston University is at the heart of urban life. Close by to great shopping at the Bull Ring or delicious food at the range of restaurants from every culture, students at Aston experience the world alongside their studies. All within the single-site campus, students will find the library, onsite cafes and green spaces to relax with friends. Home to Birmingham’s oldest working swimming pool, which has stunning interior features, The Sir Doug Ellis Woodcock Sports Centre hosts a gym, as well as multiple studios and courts. Research at Aston University specialises in bioenergy, neurodevelopment and forensic linguistics, which have their own institutes on site. This flows into academic teaching, alongside prioritising industry work experience for all students. Being in the UK’s second-largest city makes Aston a great choice for career-focused individuals.
“Durham university is one of the best in the UK. As an international student, I have been truly amazed by their teaching, facilities and support for students during my time here. Located in Durham and far away from a big city’s distractions.”
As one of the world’s leading universities, Durham is known for its academic excellence and hard-working student community. Just a 15-minute train ride from Newcastle, Durham offers a quieter, countryside location to study, without being too far away from the city lifestyle for those who want it. Durham is an UNESCO World Heritage Site, offering the cathedral and castle for students to explore and admire all year round. There are 17 colleges within Durham University, allowing students to find their community amongst its population of 20,000 people. These colleges host intra-college sports events for their teams, and have other benefits such as common rooms. Across the entire university, Durham has over 200 student-led societies across academic, sporting and cultural interests. Around 87% of students take part in extracurricular activities at Durham, allowing them to enrich their degree and obtain skills for the future.
“Fantastic place to study. Clubs and societies are very active. There are many free events and opportunities to bond with people from your course as well as from other courses. Career services are very competent, and helpful...”
Studying at Birmingham means living alongside the diverse group of 38,000 other students. 82% of home students at Birmingham are from state schools, with 35% being the first of their generation to attend university. Alumni at the University of Birmingham include 10 Nobel Laureates, some of which contributed to science’s greatest discoveries. Birmingham campus is a 30-minute canal walk from the city centre, so going out in the city is still accessible. There is also a university train station, which takes students into the city centre in just under 10 minutes. Students say the campus is green and spacious, with lots of traditional red brick buildings to admire. This year, Birmingham is hosting the Commonwealth Games 2022, using the campus hockey and squash courts, as well as the university swimming pool, for training. Birmingham offers over 350 undergraduate and 600 postgraduate courses, alongside online learning and short courses.
“Manchester is an exciting place to live. The university itself is great, the architecture is really stunning. Lecturers are passionate and committed to delivering high standards of education.”
The University of Manchester has celebrated alumni figures, such as Benedict Cumberbatch and Simon Armitage, alongside 25 Nobel Prize winners. The 40,000+ students at Manchester work hard to keep up this university’s reputation. Courses are designed with graduate employability in mind, and this shows through the 94% of graduates going straight into jobs or further study. This university is the first in the UK to have social responsibility as a core goal throughout the institution. One of the ways this changes student lives is through the 'Stellify' activities scheme, which encourages students to tackle ethical challenges or consider volunteering to help make change happen. All undergraduate courses are taught by experts who have industry links and research experience. This underpins all learning at The University of Manchester, pushing students to challenge themselves and be prepared for the jobs of the future. With 11 libraries for students to choose from, there is plenty of space for everyone to focus.
“Our university offers plenty of helps in study, career and life. There are many useful learning materials... And there are a lot of career services to help student find a job. Student clubs organized many activities to enrich our lives. Everything is awesome.”
The University of Bristol offers over 200 undergraduate courses, all which encourage students to think critically and learn independently. Lecturers teach the facts to students, but also spark discussions, share their own experiences and make links to research. The university continually invests in its facilities, across research and student spaces. Positioned right next to the city centre, the University of Bristol allows students to be immersed in the city, preparing them for the post-graduation lifestyle. Graduate employment from Bristol is one of the best in the UK, due to the curriculum demonstrating a breadth of knowledge and transferable skills for students. Bristol Students' Union has over 350 societies, as well as an intramural social sports league, in which students of any ability can take part. The city itself thrives with culture and a vibrant night-life, hosting top DJs and offering a range of bars, comedy nights and speakeasies.
“The best choice I could make. Great and in-depth lectures. Large campus with all facilities you can think of. Helpful teaching stuff. Great students society. Many events and possibilities to broaden your work experience.”
Based in the city of Liverpool, this university is surrounded by arts, culture and a thriving professional population. It is no surprise that six out of ten students stay in Liverpool after graduation. Over the last few years, the University of Liverpool has invested £800m in its teaching, research and facilities. This funding helps to run the 400+ undergraduate and postgraduate courses, studied by over 22,000 students. The university has thousands of external links to research organisations, a network which the students benefit from indirectly through teaching and directly through research opportunities. 'Career Studio' is the employment service run by the university, which helps students to ascertain their strengths and focus on finding work they will enjoy. For students looking to gain cross-cultural experience, Liverpool has partner institutions around the world, creating possibilities for studying in places like China, Australia, The Netherlands and Canada.
“Dundee University is a very friendly place that I enjoy studying at. The facilities at the Union are a great place to socialise. The library is a bright and open place that offers many floors where you can study!”
Founded on the East Coast of Scotland, the University of Dundee is one of the safest and cheapest cities in the UK. Just a half an hour cycle to the beach, or a 10-minute walk into the city centre, this compact university campus is ideal for those wanting to explore the area. Dundee is full of green spaces and cobbled streets to venture into in students’ spare time. Student societies such as the surf or hiking club make the most of Dundee’s nature and surroundings. The Students' Union has over 200 societies, so for students who love arts or politics, there is something for them too. For students who love studying late into the night, Dundee’s main library is open until 2:30am during the semester and 24 hours during exams and it was recently refurbished to include group study areas and updated technology.
“Swansea University has brought me a great deal of intellectual challenge as an engineering student as well as very exciting on site course-related activities. The university also provides a broad range of well-being opportunities”
Swansea is a city on the South Coast of Wales, with beaches and urban living at students’ doorstep. The Gower Peninsula, an area of outstanding natural beauty, offers a variety of beaches to explore on the weekends. For keen hikers, Afan Forest Park and the Brecon Beacons are not too far away. Getting around Swansea as a student is almost effortless, with the Unibus service running 24 hours a day during term time - perfect for nights out or evening library sessions. Meeting new people at university can be intimidating, but Swansea Students’ Union presents over 150 societies and sports clubs, so students can find people with the same interests right from the day they move in. Across the three faculties, research influences the teaching, ensuring that courses are continually updated and relevant in our fast-moving world. Staff are friendly and approachable, willing to support students throughout their studies at Swansea.
“One of the most underrated city in the UK. Excellent nightlife, lovely people, and a beautiful national park at your doorstep...There is an array of great societies to chose from, and the student's union is one of the best, and nicest, in the UK...”
As a member of the Russell Group, the University of Sheffield is guided by research and the academic experts within the institution, to demonstrate the best education for its students. In combination with their award-winning Students’ Union, the studying experience in Sheffield is one of total excellence. Student spaces at the Union include a 400-seat cinema which shows films throughout the semester at discounted prices. Located in the North of England, the university is a short walk from Sheffield city centre or Weston Park, one of the city’s many green spaces. The university library has over 60,000 academic journals and millions of ebooks, so students can access course material from any location. Aiming to prepare students for life after university, Sheffield integrates industry practices into its teaching, through using high-grade facilities and encouraging placement years to enhance students’ understanding of their subject.
“Amazing campus and incredible staff with people from all over the world attending”
The University of Warwick hosts over 25,000 students across its undergraduate and postgraduate programmes. The university ranks highly on national league tables, partly due to the challenging yet supportive academic environment. The Warwick campus is like a small student city on the outskirts of Coventry, featuring the Warwick Arts Centre which includes a cinema and art gallery, as well as hosting live music and shows. The campus has all the amenities students would need: cafes, restaurants, a book shop, banks, a pharmacy and a laundrette. For students looking for part-time work alongside studies, Unitemps is the university’s employment agency, which promotes jobs in cafes, or working on campus open days. Meeting new people at Warwick is easy, through over 300 student-run societies on campus. The Copper Rooms and Terrace Bar run weekly club nights or for those just wanting a pint and a chat, The DIrty Duck runs quizzes and games nights.
“I have had a great experience... so far... The campus and its facilities are great. All of the academic staff I have encountered so far have been very friendly, and show a genuine interest in their field of study and helping students succeed...”
Based in the North of England, the University of Leeds is based in a vibrant city. The green campus is 100 acres in size, so walking around it is quick and easy. In a convenient location, the campus is accessible via many bus routes, with the city centre being just a 10-minute walk away. Leeds is known for its night-life: there are so many clubbing and bar options that no night out will be the same! The Students' Union is located in the heart of the campus, with several food options and a Co-op for stocking up during the week. Nearly 40,000 people make up the student body at Leeds and it is diverse, with students coming from 170 countries around the world. The university is positioned next to Woodhouse Moor, a large park which attracts students and locals in the summer months as a social hub. The cost of living in Leeds is also relatively low for a big city, adding further incentive to students seeking the best value out of their time at university.
“The uni is great. The staff is so supportive, the campus is amazing, the facilities are well equipped, everyone is very supportive and the societies are really fun”
With a clear focus on high performance, the University of Exeter partners with students to ensure they gain the best university education possible. With 22,000 students, this university is spread across three campuses: two on the outskirts of Exeter and one in Penryn. Of the students who graduate from Exeter, 89% are in employment or further study after 15 months. This Devon university is full of green spaces and well-equipped facilities. Although Exeter is a smaller city than most others in the UK, it is a 20-minute train ride from the beach and is close to Dartmoor National Park. Sport at Exeter is important to many students and the university recognises this, having invested over £25 million in sports facilities over the past decade. Whether students are playing for fun, or interested in maximising their sporting potential, Streatham Sports Park has plenty of courts, pitches and even an outdoor pool!
“Aberdeen University is excellent. They provide traditional, high class education that rivals what is on offer from neighbouring institutions across the UK... Class sizes are small, that made me feel valued and that staff had time for me, even in 1st year...”
The University of Aberdeen is found on the North East coast of Scotland, close to the Cairngorms National Park. The university is split into two campuses: Old Aberdeen, which hosts the arts, social science and physical science courses, and Foresterhill, which hosts medicine and life sciences. Both campuses are less than 3 miles to Aberdeen beach and the city centre. Students can choose from one of the 12 schools at Aberdeen, making it a multidisciplinary university, both in education and research. Altogether there are over 400 different courses for undergraduate and postgraduate students, many being joint honours degrees, enabling students to combine subjects they love. Aberdeen’s Students' Association organises over 150 societies, and various events throughout the year, including campaigns and the graduation ball for finalists. AUSA is one of the only UK institutions with a free weekly newspaper, Gaudie, written and edited by students.