Best Universities for Clubs and Societies 2022
Joining a club or society at university is essential for enhancing the student experience and gaining more than just a degree. University league tables do not usually consider the importance of activities and social events, despite them being a large part of student life. At StudentCrowd, a university’s offering of clubs and societies is just as important as other factors which is why we choose to showcase the best UK universities across several categories which make up the student experience.
Why should I join a society or club?
In StudentCrowd university reviews, lots of students share how much they enjoyed societies at university. Most people come to university to gain a higher education, but societies enable students to expand their skills and interests. All societies are led by students, which provides opportunities for leadership. Leading and organising a society helps students to develop transferable skills for work after graduation and provides some wonderful content for the CV!
Sports clubs are very social and teams usually vary in ability. Whether you are a performance athlete or first-time player, sport at university can be great way to enjoy downtime and an easy way to get in some exercise between classes.
What society should I join?
There are often hundreds of uni clubs and societies to choose from, so the choice can be quite overwhelming at first. The University of Bristol (#20) has over 400 societies, but with nearly 30,000 students, it makes sense to have such a diverse range of choices.
Joining a student society can be a great way to try out a new hobby or seek out people with similar interests. Societies are usually divided into categories, such as arts, sports, culture, faith and campaign groups.
For example, international students generally join the society that is associated with their culture, to make their university experience in the United Kingdom easier. The University of Southampton (#12) has over 40 cultural groups.
Take a look at the society’s social media pages to see what kind of events and socials they organise. Some student groups are more organised than others, with weekly or monthly meet-ups. To avoid disappointment, check if the group timings work with your university timetable before signing up.
How is our top 20 worked out?
The Best Universities for Clubs and Societies top 20 award showcases universities which students have rated highly for their clubs and societies! We analysed 15,871 student reviews submitted on StudentCrowd between June 2020 to May 2022 to find out which are the best universities for clubs and societies in 2022 according to students. The annual StudentCrowd University Awards are the only awards based entirely on authentic student reviews. At StudentCrowd, we only allow reviews verified by a valid ac.uk email address, to ensure all the opinions on our site are expressed by real students. You can read more about our authentic review process here.
We can now reveal the top 20 universities for clubs and societies in our league table below!
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!
Find out who won StudentCrowd’s overall Best UK Universities 2022.
The Top 20 UK Universities for Clubs and Societies
“Has a great atmosphere with a divers array of students. Brilliant lecturers. Great facilities and many opportunities to join many different societies.”
Offering over 350 societies for students to join, the Uni of Sheffield has finally won the Clubs and Societies award, after ranking second in 2021. The choices for students include beekeeping, cosplay and skateboarding societies. Sheffield’s Give it a Go scheme allows students to try out new activities without any commitment - perfect for those wanting to explore different club options. The Sheffield Volunteering scheme links local charities and schools to students who want to develop further skills and help the wider community in their spare time. Also, there are over 80 sports teams that host training and events each week.
“The Union is great, it has a club attached for those who like that vibe or else there are other pubs/ bars around town. The aforementioned clubs and societies also put on events of their own throughout the year which are a fab time.”
St Andrews has over 150 societies, all run by 11 different subcommittees that help support and organise events for each category. There are classic academic clubs for each type of degree, alongside special interest groups focused on topics such as science fiction and fantasy, politics, faith, cultures and the arts. Saints Sport encompasses over 50 sports clubs at the university, as well as managing the facilities and organising fixtures.
“...Fantastic gay community here and in the city, lots of clubs and societies here to get involved in including subject-specific societies, charity-affiliate societies, research societies, lgbt societies, christian/catholic societies and political societies:)”
It's easy to get involved at The University of Manchester: the SU offers over 300 student-run clubs, societies and campaigns. Whether it’s comedy, cyber-security or chess, there is something for everyone. If a society doesn’t exist yet, students can start new groups, as long as they have enough members to begin with. Manchester is full of volunteering opportunities. An example is Student Action, which allows students to work with local communities and make change happen.
“There’re many societies and socials to join, good experience...”
There are over 100 societies in RUSU, playing host to students connecting over academics, careers, arts, campaigns, culture, faith, hobbies and politics. Playing sport at this university means representing the Reading Knights at competitions, whether that is in ultimate frisbee, softball, lacrosse or rugby. Want to find a niche society? Options include caving, sailing and clay pigeon shooting at Reading, so students can find their new passion.
“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...”
Students wanting a huge range of choice should look no further than Birmingham, with over 500 organised clubs and societies. For UoB students, time isn’t just spent academically, but also socially. Why not try Esports or join the Gospel Choir? There are many interesting choices, with some students taking part in Hide and Seek, Silent Film or even the Pasta society! Sporty students are also catered to at UoB, with over 50 different teams to get involved with.
“... lots of societies and activities to get involved with as well as many networking and career-related opportunities!”
Over 400 clubs and societies are on offer at the University of Cambridge. There are university-wide groups as well as inter-college groups which is great for students of all personalities, introverts and extroverts alike. Most colleges have sports and music clubs but there are wider options across the university. Some examples of societies include AI in medicine, a boat club, consulting, equine veterinary, railway and modern pentathlon.
“Really supportive & friendly university in a beautiful location. Loved being a part of clubs, societies and volunteering, which created lots of amassing memories and looks great on my CV.”
Helping to bring like-minded people together, Bangor University offers over 200 clubs and societies. A variety of groups that celebrate culture, diversity and personal interests are accessible at Bangor, ensuring every student finds their ideal group. This could be sports, special interests or volunteering and students can join as many societies as they wish with no pressure to commit to any early on.
“These last three years have been some of the best of my life...the number of clubs and societies available is insanely extensive...I can quite honestly say that I can't imagine myself studying anywhere else.”
Looking to enjoy student life beyond the textbooks and library sessions? UEA offers an assortment of societies that suit every student. The thought of presenting for student television at UEA TV might seem exciting for some, whereas others may prefer to share their favourite recipes at Vegan society. There are over 250 clubs and societies at UEA so the choices are extensive!
“A range of clubs and societies to join which are helpful for making friends and cultivating new interests as well as old hobbies...”
The selection of societies extends to over 200 choices at the Liverpool Guild of Students. As the LGS wants to improve student life, these groups have access to funding of up to £4,000, so students can make their society event ideas a reality. Choices include Animal welfare, Bhangra, Catholic, CrispSoc and Karaoke society!
“The University is a great central hub to make friends through engaging courses and a wide variety of events, societies and sports clubs to join to make friends and learn new things”
Trying something new at Northumbria University is easy, with over 100 societies and volunteering projects to get involved with. Students can go abroad, learn new skills or discuss topics of interest with people similar to them in the wide array of society choices. Examples include snowsports, BangladeshSoc and the Harry Potter society.
“...They have a great variety of societies available for anyone to join. Most likely to find a society for every hobby or interest.”
Welcoming students from all over the world, societies at Aberdeen cater for people from all cultures and backgrounds. There are over 100 options to choose from such as wild swimming, 5-a-side football, Egyptology, linguistics and various cultural groups. If a society doesn’t exist yet, AUSA ensures that students receive the training and assistance in setting up new groups.
“Good uni, interesting people, fun societies!”
Want to have the best social life, make new friends and have a great-looking CV? Joining a society at Southampton will tick all these boxes. Choices include 40+ cultural groups, 35+ performing arts groups and 30+ social action groups, and that is just three categories! If there are too many options, there is a random society selector tool on the SUSU website to help in decision-making. We love that!
“Nottingham Trent is great university as you able to have a balance between your studies and clubs, as there is a wide range of societies and clubs for varied ability and commitment levels e.g. Intermural Sports clubs and Beginners Teams...”
For many students at NTU, being a member of a society is their favourite part of university life. Getting involved in societies helps to develop skills in leadership, teamwork and events organisation, all of which would look great on a CV. There are over 130 different societies at Nottingham Trent, including RAG, belly dancing, documentary, chemistry and mixed rounders.
“Really modern facilities and lots of clubs and societies to get involved with. A very comfortable place to be”
Joining a society at Exeter is the perfect way to meet people with similar interests. Exeter’s Student Guild has over 300 societies, all providing a platform for socialising, enjoying down-time from studying and practising key skills. There are 13 different society categories at Exeter, namely, medical, media, outdoor, political, faith, fitness and charities.
“...Make sure to have a go at lots of clubs and societies in the first few weeks of Uni, you can always choose which ones you wan to continue later on!”
Upwards of 200 societies can be joined at Cardiff University, all hosting weekly events and socials for their members. Memberships can be obtained at any point in the year, so there is no pressure to make any society choices in freshers week. Each month the Students' Union promotes a ‘Society of the Month’ which students can nominate groups for.
"...Vast array of societies and events led by them, something for everyone."
There is bound to be a society for every student at Warwick, with the amount of groups exceeding 250. Whether it is the allotment society or the theatre tech crew society, students are able to find a group that suits them, to really express themselves and use their skills to contribute to the group.
“...The union organises diverse activities that are very welcoming and open for everyone. There's a wide range of clubs and societies that hosts regular events...”
Clubs and societies are an invaluable part of the university lifestyle at Leeds. There are more than 300 societies, all set up by students that are enthusiastic about what they love. Covering virtually every interest under the sun, some of the options are archery, KPOP dance, Nintendo & Pokemon, and spoken word.
“The University of Glasgow is a great university...They also provide numerous clubs and societies to join, which allows you to socialise much more than without them.”
The University of Glasgow offers over 300 societies associated with the Student Representative Council. Joining a club whilst at Glasgow is a notable way to gain more than just a degree from university. Students sing their hearts out at acapella society, or take part in a cocktail masterclass with the gin society... only a few of the exciting socials to enjoy.
“The staff are helpful and approachable. Enjoyed my study there, especially the 24h library. The campus is not as huge so it's easy to walk from one side to the other. Map of the campus is provided on the website and app which is very convenient”
Making new friends at the University of Essex is straightforward through joining student-led societies. Regardless of what interest they focus on, societies can complement degree-study, create time to relax or accelerate a social calendar. Some interesting societies at Essex are environmental sustainability, bookish, debating, blockchain & cryptocurrency and musical theatre appreciation.
“UoB is an excellent university with lots of diversity and different societies. Everyone can find a place to fit in...”
There are socialising opportunities for every interest at the University of Bristol. 400+ student groups arrange events and activities. If a group doesn’t exist yet, Bristol SU has the resources to set one up, including organisation and leadership training sessions. Bristol also runs Intramural, a social-sports league for any ability, for students who love sport but aren’t able to commit to a team.