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Where to study in London: top 5 universities

Updated: Aug 25, 2023

Where to study in London: top 5 universities

London outshines all the others when it comes to choosing a great place to study as an undergraduate student. Despite the relatively high cost of living, the UK's capital tops the QS Best Student Cities 2024 ranking of the most student-friendly cities in the world for a reason. From fun, vibrant city life to rich culture, history, and countless other things to explore and be excited about - London has a lot to offer to students arriving here.

London is also home to a number of excellent, world-class universities that attract thousands of students from all over the world every year. Let’s take a look at the most prestigious and respected of these institutions, their entry requirements and some fun facts about them:

Imperial College London

Imperial College London was founded in 1907 and has since established itself as a leader in science, engineering, medicine, and business.

The university has a diverse student body, with students from over 140 countries. The institution has produced 15 Nobel laureates and has a strong track record of research output, with a focus on interdisciplinary collaboration.

A-Level Requirements: A*A*A-AAA

Top subjects: biological sciences, civil engineering, mathematics and statistics, mechanical and aerospace engineering, physics and astronomy

Fun fact: The legendary band Queen's roots lay at ICL - their very first public performance under the new name Queen took place here. Queen's Roger Taylor called ICL their “positional and spiritual base” that means a lot to Queen.

University College London (UCL)

University College London was founded in 1826 as an alternative to the universities of Oxford and Cambridge.

The university is one of the top universities in the UK when it comes to research, offering study programmes across a wide range of disciplines. It's a truly global university: 18,000 students from over 150 countries study here. It also prides itself on producing 30 Nobel laureates in areas from Medicine and Chemistry to Literature and Economic Sciences.

A-Level Requirements: A*A*A*-ABB

Top subjects: education, architecture & built environment, archaeology, anthropology, pharmacy & pharmacology, psychology, medicine.

Fun fact: UCL's main building designed by a famous English architect William Wilkins was used as a model for ancient Rome in the film Gladiator by Ridley Scott.

The London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE)

The LSE was founded by Beatrice and Sidney Webb, socialist economists and reformers, in 1895, with an aim to contribute to 'the betterment of society'.

The London School of Economics and Political Science is the world's leading university when it comes to the teaching and research in the area of social sciences such as law, management, and social policy. It has a diverse student community, with students from over 140 countries. LSE alumni and staff include 55 heads of state or government (including the 35th President of the United States John F. Kennedy) and 18 Nobel laureates.

A-Level Requirements: A*A*A-AAA

Top subjects: accounting & finance, economics, international relations and history, law, management, politics and international relations.

Fun fact: The Rolling Stones’ lead vocalist Mick Jagger was a finance and accounting student at LSE in the early 1960s. Initially, he was playing with the band on the weekends, but later dropped out to pursue his career in music.

King's College London

The university was established by royal charter in 1829 under the patronage of King George IV and the Duke of Wellington.

King's College London is a world-leading university for research, especially in areas such as health and medical teaching. There are 14 Nobel laureates among its alumni and staff, including contributors to the discovery of DNA structure, Hepatitis C, the Hepatitis D genome, and the Higgs boson.

A-Level Requirements: A*A*A*-BBB

Top subjects: medicine, psychiatry, nursing, law, dentistry, international affairs.

Fun fact: One of the King's buildings houses the largest medical museum in the UK: the Gordon Museum of Pathology.

Queen Mary University of London

The university's history begins in 1785 and is rooted in four institutions (including The London Hospital Medical College, England’s first official medical school) that were founded with a specific goal in mind: to provide education to underprivileged groups of people living in east London.

Queen Mary is one of the leading UK universities for the quality of research. There are 9 Nobel Laureates among Queen Mary's alumni and staff, and its BioEnterprises Innovation Centre supports drug discovery start-ups.

A-Level Requirements: A*AA-BBB

Top subjects: English, history, drama, law, medicine, geography, linguistics.

Fun fact: Queen Mary astronomers led the international team of scientists who discovered a planet that may be the closest possible home for life outside the Solar System.

Want to know more about what it's like to study in the UK and how to get into the best universities in the country? LEO International Online School offers a diverse and intensive two–year A-Level programme designed to prepare students for university entry in the United Kingdom. Learn more about this programme and our other courses here, and don't hesitate to contact us at

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