The Best Cities to Study in the UK for International Students

Tower Bridge, London, England

The British academic system has set global education standards through its superior quality education, revolutionary teaching methodologies and cutting-edge infrastructure. The best universities in the United Kingdom are consistently ranked in the top 50 of world rankings by different ranking leagues. The UK is home to 164 universities and academic institutes, of which around 90 universities are regularly featured in the world rankings. In 2019, over 500,000 overseas students enrolled in UK universities for various programs and courses. There are umpteen reasons why international students choose to study in the UK; some of them are listed below.

  1. World-renowned universities
  2. Globally-acclaimed degree qualifications
  3. Wide variety of courses and programs
  4. Financial assistance through scholarships
  5. Rich culture and heritage
  6. English speaking nation – no language barrier
  7. Beautiful locations

International students prefer to study in some of the most picturesque locations in the UK, not just for aesthetic pleasure but also for several other reasons. The best student cities in the UK are categorised on the basis of their location, universities, affordability, accessibility, safety, industrial opportunities, job prospects, etc. In this article, we will review the best cities to study in the UK for international students.

Best Cities to Study in the UK

Following is the list of the top 10 best student cities in the UK according to QS Best Student Cities Rankings 2022.

Student City Ranking in the UK World Ranking
London 1 1
Edinburgh 2 15
Manchester 3 29
Glasgow 4 39
Coventry 5 47
Nottingham 6 48
Birmingham 7 49
Newcastle upon Tyne 8 57
Aberdeen 9 64
Brighton 10 83

1. London, England

Best Cities to Study in the UK - London, United Kingdom

London ranks among the top 5 best student cities in the world for higher education. This city is home to 18 universities ranked in the QS World Rankings of 2021 and is the most popular choice for higher studies amongst the international student community. Students studying in London have access to world-renowned universities offering superior quality education and an extensive selection of programs and courses. Being a hub of the international student network, students get to experience a diverse culture and the opportunity to socialise with people from different backgrounds. London has produced several Nobel laureates, accomplished scholars and noteworthy personalities over the years. Universities in London have contributed to fields of Art, Humanities, Medicine, Finance, Science and Technology, Engineering, et. al

London also offers ample industrial opportunities and excellent job prospects. Students studying in London can experience art, music, culture, architecture and a great social life.

Top 10 Universities in London

University Name London Ranking World Ranking
Imperial College London 1 1
Edinburgh 2 15
Manchester 3 29
Glasgow 4 39
Coventry 5 47
Nottingham 6 48
Birmingham 7 49
Newcastle upon Tyne 8 57
Aberdeen 9 64
Brighton 10 83

2. Edinburgh, Scotland

Best Cities to Study in the UK - Edinburgh, Scotland

Edinburgh, Scotland’s capital city, is a charming medieval town located on the southern shore of the Firth of Forth. The city is famous for its historical and cultural attractions making it the second most visited place in the UK. Edinburgh is also one of the best student cities as it is home to some of the best universities in the UK, with the University of Edinburgh ranked 16 in the QS World Rankings of 2021. Perks of studying in Edinburgh include excellent education, student-friendly environment, affordable cost of living, diverse and inclusive community, with exposure to arts and rich culture.

Top Universities in Edinburgh

University Name World Ranking
University of Edinburgh 16
Heriot-Watt University 270
Edinburgh Napier University 801-1000

3. Manchester, England

Best Cities to Study in the UK - Manchester, England

Manchester is the fifth largest populated city in the UK, located in the northwest of England. The city is a hub of art, culture, sports, music and industrial heritage. Manchester is the UK’s next best student city, ranked 30 in the QS World’s Best Student Cities for 2022. It is home to some of the top universities in the UK and is said to have the most wonderful student-friendly culture welcoming thousands of international students every year. High-quality education, affordability, student-friendly environment, thriving centre for arts, music, sports and culture are some of the reasons why Manchester is a great city to study in the UK.

Top Universities in Manchester

  • University of Manchester (QS World Rankings – 27)
  • Manchester Metropolitan University (MMU)
  • University of Salford
  • University of Bolton
  • Royal Northern College of Music

4. Glasgow, Scotland

Best Cities to Study in the UK - Glasgow, Scotland

Glasgow is the largest city in Scotland and one of the most populated cities in the UK. The city is a hotspot for culture, education, research and commerce and the most chosen place for higher studies in the UK. It is home to several top universities, three of which are ranked in the QS World Rankings of 2021. Glasgow offers a stimulating blend of art, culture, architecture, music, sports on top of excellent education, making it one of the most student-friendly cities in the UK. The city’s diverse culture, accessibility and affordability are some more factors that attract international students to study in Glasgow.

Top Universities in Glasgow

  • University of Glasgow (QS World Rankings – 73)
  • University of Strathclyde
  • Glasgow Caledonian University

5. Coventry, England

Coventry, England

Image Source: Wikimedia

Coventry is one of the largest and most populous cities located in the West Midlands, England. The city has a diverse mix of student populations studying in two of its top universities ranked high in QS World Rankings. Universities at Coventry offer practical and immersive teaching with a global perspective resulting in excellent career prospects. Innovative programs, career-focused education, industrial collaborations, student-friendly culture, etc., make Coventry one of the best student cities in the UK.

Top Universities in Coventry

  • University of Warwick
  • Coventry University


The United Kingdom ranks in the top 5 destinations globally for higher education. International students choose to study in the UK for its quality of education, top-ranking universities, research and industrial opportunities, diverse living, student-friendly community, high career prospects, etc., among other reasons. Highly acclaimed universities such as the University of Oxford, University of Cambridge, Imperial College, University College London (UCL) and University of Edinburgh are based in the UK. In this article, we have covered the best five student cities in the UK for higher education based on factors like quality of education, university rankings, cost of living, social aspects and industrial opportunities.

Do you want to learn about the job opportunities in the UK? Do read the below article.

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