What are the best cities for students in the United Kingdom?

Monday - February 23, 2015

If you are a future international student looking to study abroad, you may consider many factors in your search for the best suitable university or location. A lot of questions arise before making this decision, and usually students look at how well the institutions are ranked, tuition fees, quality of the study and research facilities, post-graduation opportunities, and importantly, the type of city they would like to study and live in for the next few years. If you have considered studying in the United Kingdom (UK), we have put together a list of top five cities to help you choose your future studies.

Our selection of the most attractive student cities takes into consideration the 2015 QS Best Student Cities index, where the UK is represented by London (3rd), Edinburgh (26th), Manchester (29th) and Coventry (45), as well as information relating to higher education institutions in these cities, student community, student life and the cost of living in that specific city.



Photo: Wikimedia Commons

England’s capital, London is one of the largest cosmopolitan cities in the UK and Europe.

The city boasts top ranked universities; having 18 higher education institutions in the QS World University Rankings, with two in the top five (Imperial College London and University College London). Overall, London has 43 universities to choose from, making it a hub for higher education.

Thanks to the diversity of cultures, it is a great place for students to live in and become part of an international community. When it comes to experiencing the city life, you can find plenty to do in London. Most of the museums have free entry, you can try out cuisines from all over the world and enjoy a bustling night life.

Tuition fees for postgraduate programs, the average for international students is around US$22,100.

London is also one of the world’s top business hubs, which is an attractive option for young people looking to advance their careers.



Photo by David.Monniaux on Wikimedia Commons

The capital of Scotland, Edinburgh is well known as a centre for learning and living the international experience. Having a rich history, amazing architecture, many museums and art centres, green spaces, as well as a great choice of places to go out with friends and university colleagues.

The city is proud to record a great international student mix, with average tuition fees for international students are around US$22,000, and the University of Edinburgh is ranked 17th globally.

Edinburgh it is a great place to live the student life, in spite of the not too welcoming weather!



Photo by Daniel Nisbet on Wikimedia Commons

Manchester is UK’s third student city on a global level. The University of Manchester (ranked 30th in the QS World University Rankings) brags a great number of international students and a very diverse student community. The city is well known for its great music scene and for fostering new artistic talent. If you are keen on exploring the nightlife of Manchester, you will be happy to find out bars and clubs to suit all tastes in terms of music, atmosphere and drinks. In addition to this, there is plenty of choice for eating out if you fancy spending more time out with your colleagues from university.



Photo by Snowmanradio on Wikimedia Commons

Entering the QS Best Student Cities Index for the first time in 2015, Coventry gives thanks to a large international student community and great reputation among graduate employers. Priding itself with the prestige of University of Warwick and the Coventry University, the city is a great place for students, with numerous places dedicated to arts and history lovers, such as Coventry Cathedral, the War Memorial Park, Coventry Belgrade Theatre, medieval Spon Street and many affordable bars and restaurants. The universities also offer student accommodation which is one of the best ways to start your student life, make friends and experience more of the student life.

Oxford and Cambridge


Photo: Wikimedia Commons

We are keeping two of the oldest and most renowned university cities in the UK as part of our recommendations. Hosting the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge, which are entrenched by historic rivalry that goes back in time, the two cities, Oxford and Cambridge share a lot of common traits. Both are known and appreciated for the top quality of the higher education and the centuries of traditions. When choosing whether to apply for one of the two universities (you cannot apply to both, based on a regulation from UCAS), you may want to take into consideration the location, availability of funding options and student life. While a lot of international students generally consider Cambridge as a prettier city, many appreciate Oxford for its lively atmosphere.

If you enjoy cycling, you will definitely enjoy living in one of these two cities, as they are small cities and easily navigable by cycling. They both have impressive historic buildings and rivers running through the city centres. While tuition fees vary between US$11,800-28,900 for international postgraduate programs for Oxford University, Cambridge fees vary between US$30,000-38,000 for most international master’s and doctoral programs. However, there are many funding options that Oxford and Cambridge offer to students, and the scholarships are very competitive, but if your application at one of the universities is successful, you will enjoy a great academic experience and inspiring student life.

Whether you are looking to study your bachelors, masters, or MBA in a big bustling city, with a vibrant lifestyle or in a smaller, historic city, the United Kingdom has a lot to offer to international students, and you will definitely enjoy your experience. Not only thanks to the strong academic courses, but also thanks to the great variety of things to experience outside of the classroom and opportunities to build a promising international career.

This article is a post by our partners at QS Course Finder – an online directory of business courses featuring over 11000 bachelor’s, master’s and MBA programs from universities in Europe.