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UK Public Universities: Top 10 Public Universities in UK for International Students

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The United Kingdom is a fascinating study abroad destination and is home to over half a million foreign students, a majority of which come from outside of the European Union. As a study destination, the UK offers a quality education that is renowned all across the globe, with many of the UK public universities making it to the list of the top universities in the world.

It is very well understood that the 130 public universities in UK offer education that is more affordable and academically rich, thereby making them a preferred choice among international students. But with such variant UK public universities options, which one should an international student consider?

Let us start with the journey of knowing more about the best public universities in UK for international students.

Table of Contents

Prerequisites for International Students Applying to Public Universities in UK

Before we delve into the discussion of public universities in UK for international students, let us understand a little more about the education system in UK and the prerequisites of admission into these institutions.

Higher education in UK is provided by universities and colleges. Though they are categorised into different types, on a broad scale, they can be divided into public and private universities.

Public universities in the UK are considered to be quite welcoming for international students. International applicants willing to study at public universities in London or UK just need to keep a few things in mind before applying to their favourite universities.

UK Universities with High Rate

Eligibility Criteria of Public Universities in UK

  • Minimum cutoff grade for the graduate and postgraduate courses in UK.
  • Proof of financial stability to pay the tuition fees in form of bank statements.
  • Academic or Professional letter of recommendation.
  • A resume listing all your academic, co-curricular, and other achievements.
  • English proficiency is a mandate to study at any public university in the UK and is assessed through exams like TOEFL and IELTS.
  • GRE/GMAT scores may be required when applying to public universities in the UK.
  • Statement of purpose or SOPs are one the most important prerequisites for international student application at most public universities in the UK.

How to Write the perfect SOP for UK Universities?

Next, let’s check the top public universities in London or UK to apply to!

10 Best Public Universities in UK

Some of the top universities in the UK are public universities. These universities are not only known for their quality education but also for the reputation they have built over the years. Many of them rank in the QS World University Rankings 2023.

Given below is the list of public universities in UK that are considered the best:

University

QS World Ranking 2023

Oxford University, Oxford, England

4

University of Cambridge, Cambridge

2

Imperial College London, London

6

University College London, London

8

The University of Edinburgh, Edinburg

15

University of Manchester, Manchester

28

King’s College London, London

37

The London School of Economics and Political Science, London

56

University of Warwick, Coventry

64

University of Bristol, Bristol

61

How to Apply to UK Universities as an international student?

Now let us talk about each of these top public universities in England for international students in an elaborate manner to help you choose the destination of your dreams:

1.  University of Oxford

Housing around 30,000 students, Oxford University is one of the most prestigious universities established to date. Being 924 years old, the university is extremely selective with its admission decisions. The acceptance rate at Oxford University stands at 20%, making it quite competitive for international students.

International student percentage

45%

Average Tuition Fee

£24,750 - £26960/ year

Top Courses

Medical sciences, Humanities, History, Linguistics, Mathematics, Social sciences, etc.

Location

Oxford, England

2.  University of Cambridge

Considered to be one of the top public universities in UK, the University of Cambridge is also among the most selective institutions. The university has an acceptance rate of merely 10-15%. The total student population at the university stands at 48,000 students, and the university is accredited by the Privy Council.

International student percentage

40%

Average Tuition Fee

£22,000 - £70,000/ year

Top Courses

Biological Sciences, Arts and Humanities, Clinical Medicine, Technology, Physical Sciences (MBA, Btech, MS, MIM, etc.)

Location

Cambridge

3.  Imperial College London

Known for being a research university, Imperial College London is one of the best public colleges in London for masters. The university is known for its degrees in STEM specialisations like engineering and science. The university is set in the very urban location of London, with a total enrolment of around 18,000 students.

International student percentage

60%

Average Tuition Fee

£31,000 - £35,700/ year

Top Courses

Science and engineering, business, veterinary sciences

Location

London

4.  University College London (UCL)

University College London is one of the best public universities in London. It admits students based on its entrance examination and has an acceptance rate in the range of 40-50%. With a student strength of around 43,900, the university offers a variety of top undergraduate and postgraduate programs tutored by some of the best faculty. So choose this among other public universities in London for international students and begin your education journey!

International student percentage

53%

Average Tuition Fee

£21,000 - £25,000/ year

Top Courses

Clinical studies, Medical sciences, Brain sciences, Engineering, Law, etc.

Location

London

5.  The University of Edinburgh

One of the largest universities in Scotland with 30,000 students, University of Edinburgh is widely known for its academically excellent programs. The university is one of Scotland’s ancient universities offering several disciplines, including Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences, Medicine and Veterinary Medicine, Science and Engineering.

International student percentage

33.4%

Average Tuition Fee

£22,000 - £34,000/ year

Top Courses

Arts, humanities and social sciences, Science and engineering, Veterinary science, etc.

Location

Edinburgh

Universities in Manchester UK

6.  The University of Manchester

A prestigious red brick university, University of Manchester is home to over 16,000 international students offering more than 1000 degree programs at various levels of study. It is one of the places to study for students interested in the field of Science and Engineering and boasts an employability rate of 94%.

International student percentage

30%

Average Tuition Fee

£20,000 - £28,000/ year

Top Courses

Medical and human sciences, Engineering and physical sciences, Humanities, Life sciences

Location

Manchester

7.  King’s College London

Established in 1829, King’s College London is one of the oldest educational institutions in the world. Out of a total student population of 29,600 students, 10,000 students at King’s College are graduate students. The university is known for its outstanding research all over the globe and is; therefore, one of the best places for those interested in research.

International student percentage

41.4%

Average Tuition Fee

£18,000 - £29,000/ year

Top Courses

Engineering and technology, Natural sciences, Life sciences and medicine, Business and Management

Location

London

8.  The London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE)

Famous for its 140 taught graduate programs; if you get selected at London School of Economics and Political Science, you will be spending time at the world’s most precious university for social sciences. The university is also considered to be extremely diverse, with international students coming from over 140 countries.

International student percentage

70%

Average Tuition Fee

£18,000 - £22,000/ year

Top Courses

Arts and humanities, social sciences and management, Business and management

Location

London

9.  University of Warwick

Standing tall as the world’s 7th best research university, University of Warwick houses around 30,000 students coming from over 50 countries around the globe. The university is also known to be moderately selective with its admission policy.

International student percentage

31.5%

Average Tuition Fee

£17,000 - £22,000/ year

Top Courses

Arts and humanities, social sciences and management, Engineering and technology

Location

Coventry

10.  University of Bristol

The total number of students studying at University of Bristol is around 27,000. The university is around 111 years old and is famous for various degree-level programs in the field of arts and humanities.

International student percentage

25%

Average Tuition Fee

£17,000 - £20,000/ year

Top Courses

Arts and humanities, social sciences and management, Business and management

Location

Bristol

Find out all about the Intakes & Deadlines for UK

Next, let’s explore the process to apply in these public universities in UK.

Application Process of UK Public Universities

Application for the UK public universities happens through the UCAS portal. This platform helps international students by bringing all the UK universities under one roof. Let’s check the steps!

  • Ensure that you meet all the eligibility requirements.
  • Finalise a public university and the course of your choice.
  • Write an impeccable personal statement of purpose.
  • Register yourself on the UCAS portal and start filling out the application form.
  • Pay an application fee of £25 for various universities and attach all the required documents.
  • Wait for 6-8 weeks to hear from the university.
  • If selected, you will receive a Confirmation Acceptance of Studies or CAS letter from the university—beneficial in visa applications.
  • Apply for UK Tier-4 Visa.

Ultimate Guide to UK Student Visa!

The cost of studying at a public university in UK is cheaper than the private universities. Still, it is greater than other countries. Therefore, international students can explore a few scholarships.

Scholarships for UK Public Universities

Following is the list of scholarships that international students can apply for public university tuition fees.

  • British Chevening Scholarships for International Scholarships
  • Erasmus Mundus Joint Masters Degree Scholarship
  • GREAT Scholarships
  • S Hornby Educational Trust Scholarship
  • Felix Scholarships
  • Rhodes Scholarship
  • Commonwealth Scholarship and Fellowship Plan
  • Charles Wallace India Trust Scholarships (CWIT)
  • Manmohan Singh Scholarships
  • Inlaks Scholarships
  • Scotland Saltire Scholarships
  • Goa Education Trust Scholarships
  • Queen Mary University Scholarships
  • University of Westminster Scholarships

UK scholarships for Indian Students!

Most of the public universities in the UK offer undergraduate and masters programs that are highly recognised all over the globe. Studying at these best universities in the UK also helps you get hold of placement and career opportunities not just in the UK but globally. So, go ahead and apply to the public universities in UK and begin your journey of learning. However, if at any step you need end-to-end expert guidance, subscribe to Yocket premium services. Our counsellors will surely help fulfill your study abroad dream!

Frequently Asked Questions about Public Universities in the UK

Ques. Which are the top three public universities in UK?

Ans. The top three public universities in UK are:

  • University of Cambridge
  • Oxford University
  • University College London

Ques. What is the average tuition fee for public universities in the UK?

Ans. The average annual tuition fees at most of the public universities in the UK ranges from £17,000 to £37,000.

Ques. Do public universities in the UK offer masters programs?

Ans. Yes, most of the public universities in the UK offer masters programs to international as well as domestic students.

Ques. What are the required admission documents to get admitted into top public universities?

Ans. Some of the required documents are:

  • High school transcripts
  • Passport and visa
  • SOP
  • English proficiency test scores
  • Entrance tests (if applicable)

Ques. What are the different types of masters programs offered at public universities in the UK?

Ans. Taught masters and research masters are the most common type of programs at public universities in the UK.