Types of UK Universities 

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In QS World rankings of the best universities 4 out of the top 10 universities are from the UK. This comes as a no-brainer given the fact that some of the universities date back to the 13th century. With such a strong legacy in academics, the UK surely has set a benchmark for the world with its universities and the world-class facilities it provides to students. There are 5 types of UK universities about which we will talk further in this article but before that let’s know why one should opt for studying in the UK. 

University types Ancient Universities, Red brick or civic universities, Plate glass or 1960s universities, New universities or polytechnic and metropolitan universities, Russell group universities 
Top 5 popular CoursesMBA, Civil Engineering, Law, Medicine, and Computer science
IntakeSeptember/October intake and January/February intake, additional intake in May/April for selected courses
Average tuition fees Average undergraduate tuition fees for international students vary from £11,400 – £38,000.
Acceptance Rate8% – 44%

Why study in the UK? 

  • What makes studying in the UK stand apart is the fact that they promote practical knowledge more as compared to textbook learning.
  •  UK universities are ranked amongst the world’s top ones as they hold the reputation of providing excellent education system with world-class facilities. 
  • A degree obtained from a UK university is recognized globally which provides you an opportunity to work in any part of the world. 
  • Universities in the UK provide you with a great combination and freedom to choose courses (academic and vocational) based on your interest areas. 
  • What makes a university stand out is its research framework and when it comes to UK universities, they are known for their world-leading research. This is regulated by an excellent research framework that ensures the quality of research across various fields. 
  • UK universities intake a large number of international students. This not only helps you grow personally by getting exposed to various cultures and ethnicities but also allows you to form global networks which can help you greatly in your professional journey. 

Types Of UK Universities 

As of 2022, there are over 160 universities and thousands of higher education institutions in the UK. Just like anywhere else in the world, the UK has universities that are either publicly funded or private. Public universities are more research-oriented whereas private universities focus more on teaching. Regardless of this fact, both universities offer a plethora of undergraduate and postgraduate courses from which students can make choices according to their preferences. 

There are five different types of universities in the UK which are categorized according to their foundation dates. 

Ancient Universities 

Ancient Universities in the UK are those whose foundation date ranges from 1096 to 1582 and are running successfully till now. Lecture rooms and corridors in these universities are present in buildings that are 100 years old. These include  British and Irish medieval and early modern universities that were founded before 1600. There are 7 ancient universities that are considered the oldest existent universities in the world. Four of these are based in Scotland, two in England, and 1 in Ireland. Being old universities that still offer tutorials in addition to the regular lectures which help students to connect with the faculty in small groups. The following table includes the 6 ancient universities in the UK and their foundation dates. 

University Name Foundation date Acceptance RateQS World Rankings2023 
University of Oxford 1096UG-13.75%, PG-30%4
University of Cambridge 1209UG-23%, PG-30.9%2
University of St. Andrews 1413UG-41%, PG-54%96
University of Glasgow 1451Overall acceptance rate-74%, MBA-28%81
University of Aberdeen 1495Overall acceptance rate-78%220
University of Edinburgh 1582UG-46%15
University of Dublin 1592Overall acceptance rate-20%98

Red Brick or Civic Universities 

Red brick universities were founded in the 19th university majorly in industrial cities. The reason behind it was the industrial revolution and the growing demand for science and engineering streams. These universities were formally known as civic universities but gradually took the name ‘ Red Brick ’ due to their architecture. An interesting fact about these universities is the fact that they used to admit students irrespective of their race and religion to impart real-world knowledge to them. 

The most fascinating thing about these universities is their campus area as some of them are built in the middle of the cities without a defined area because of which there are sometimes public roads running through them. All of the 6 Red Brick universities are included in the Russell Group which makes them quite popular choices amongst students. The following table represents the name of 6 Red Brick universities and the year in which they were granted the status of the university. 

University Name Year In Which They Were Granted University StatusAcceptance RateQS World Rankings 
University of Birmingham190013.54-15%91
University of Bristol190968%61
University of Leeds 190464%86
University of Liverpool190313.9%190
University of Manchester200459.3%28
University of Sheffield 190513%96

Plate Glass Universities or 1960s Universities 

These universities were founded between 1963-19992 following the recommendations of Robins Report On Higher Education (1963), a report which was based on education reforms. Progressive in their academic approach, Plate Glass universities experimented with new methods when it came to teaching style, syllabus, examination, administration and so much more. The name of Plate Glass Universities comes from the fact that they have stunning glass buildings and their architectural style is like that. The following table represents the name of Plate Glass Universities and the year they were formed. 

University Name Year They Were Granted University Status/ They Were Formed Acceptance RateQS World Rankings 
University Of York 196380%456
University Of Warwick 196514%104
University Of Sussex 196183%243
Lancaster University 196418.69%146
University Of Kent 196585%375
University Of Essex1964-6574%465
Aston University 196682.5%561-570
University Of East Anglia196379%342

New Universities or Polytechnic and Metropolitan Universities 

Polytechnic and Metropolitan universities were founded between the 1970s and 1980s to make students skilled in areas like Engineering, Science, and Technology. These universities were granted the status in 1992. The main aim of these universities is to make students highly skilled for their professional journey. Their growth rate has been quite high given the fact that they have been granted university status recently as compared to older universities in the UK. 

 Some of the new universities are- 

Russell Group Universities 

The Russell Group is a group of 24 universities in the UK that hold a reputation of renowned universities and are the most sought after amongst students. They are credited with having world-class research facilities because of which they enjoy a hefty amount of grants from the government. It is estimated that they contribute around 85 billion pounds to the economy and also produce two-thirds of the world-leading research. This comes as a no-brainer as to why they are said to be equivalent to US Ivy League universities. Following are the 24 universities of the UK that are a part of the Russell Group 

  • University of Birmingham
  • University of Bristol
  • University of Cambridge
  • Cardiff University
  • Durham University
  • The University of Edinburgh
  • The University of Exeter
  • The University of Glasgow
  • Imperial College London
  • King’s College London
  • The University of Leeds
  • University of Liverpool
  • LSE (London School of Economics & Political Science)
  • The University of Manchester
  • Newcastle University
  • University of Nottingham
  • University of Oxford
  • Queen Mary University of London
  • Queen’s University Belfast
  • University of Sheffield
  • University of Southampton
  • UCL (University College London)
  • University of Warwick
  • University of York 

Top UK universities 

In the prestigious QS world university rankings 2022, UK has an impressive number of 90 universities which is second to the only US which has 177 entries. The following table represents the top 10 UK universities, their rank globally, and their location. 

UK rankWorld rank University name Location 
12University of OxfordOxford 
23University of Cambridge Cambridge 
37Imperial College LondonLondon 
516The University of EdinburghEdinburgh
627The University of Manchester Manchester
735King’s College LondonLondon
849The London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) London
961The university of Warwick Warwick
10 62University of BristolBristol

General/Basic Eligibility 

Here is a list of basic eligibility for UK universities:

Undergraduate Requirements 

The main requirement for Indian students to get accepted by the university for undergraduate program is to complete education up to 10+2. Also, a student must have minimum marks and fulfill other eligibility criteria as stated by the university he/she/they are applying to. Following are the basic requirements for admission to a UK university –

  • Certificate of completing 10+2 education from a recognized board, securing minimum marks as stated by the university. 
  • Original grade cards from previous institutions a student has gone into. 
  • Statement of Purpose 
  • Letter of recommendation 
  • Scores of English proficiency test (IELTS/TOEFL/PTE)
  • Passport and other ID proofs 
  • Bank statements that prove your financial status
  • Offer Letter
  • Student Visa 

Postgraduate Requirements 

Masters programs in the UK are quite popular among international students. Courses like MBA, Data Science, Aerospace engineering, English, etc. hold quite a reputation amongst the students’ community who are considering studying in the UK for their postgraduate studies. Standardized tests such as GMAT and GRE or other university-specific entrance exams are the main requirement for getting admission into a PG program at a UK university. Following are the basic documents required for admission into a UK university for a PG program-

-Undergraduate degree from a recognized university with minimum marks as required by the UK university the student is applying to. 

-Official grade cards from academic institutions from where the student has completed his education.

-Two letters of recommendation. 

-Statement of Purpose 

-Score of English proficiency test 

– One-page resume 

-Bank statement showing your financial status


-Offer letter

-Student Visa 

PhD Entry Requirements 

If you are applying for a doctoral program in the UK then you must have completed your undergraduate and postgraduate degrees from a recognized university. Also, the degree should be in the related field as the subject chosen for research. The most important part of your PhD application would be a research proposal. All PhD programs also include a round of interviews. Following are the basic documents required to apply for the PhD program-

-A bachelor’s and master’s degree from a recognized university with minimum marks as stated by the university a student is applying to. 

– Official grade cards 

-Research proposal 

-Statement of Purpose (essay)

-Scores of English Proficiency Test (IELTS/TOEFL/PTE)

-Detailed CV

-Bank statement 


-Offer letter

-Student Visa

Documents Required

-All official academic transcripts and grade cards. 

-Passport size photographs 

Passport photocopy

-Updated CV / Resume

Portfolio (If required by the university or course) 

-English Language proficiency test scores (IELTS/TOEFL)

GMAT / GRE Scores

Letter of Recommendations 

Statement of Purpose (Essay)

Research Proposal (for PG research)  


If you are planning to study abroad make sure that finance doesn’t create hurdles in your journey. If you are facing difficulty in this area then going for the scholarship is a great way to take the leap and fulfill your dream of studying abroad. We have created a list of scholarships for Indian students, that can help you greatly in you are planning to go to the UK for studying-

  1. British Chevening Scholarships for International Scholarships
  2. Erasmus Mundus Joint Masters Degree Scholarship
  3. GREAT Scholarships
  4. A.S Hornby Educational Trust Scholarship
  5. Felix Scholarships
  6. Rhodes Scholarship
  7. Commonwealth Scholarship and Fellowship Plan
  8. Charles Wallace India Trust Scholarships (CWIT)
  9. Dr. Manmohan Singh Scholarships
  10. Inlaks Scholarships 
  11. Scotland Saltire Scholarships
  12. Goa Education Trust Scholarships
  13. Queen Mary University Scholarships
  14. University of Westminster Scholarships
  15. Vueville Future Technology Scholarship


How to apply to a UK university as an international student? 

You can apply for a bachelor’s degree in a UK university by submitting a UCAS application and for post-graduation also you need to submit an application. For further support, Leverageedu is always by your side. 

Which university in the UK is feasible economically?  

Tuition fees and cost of living can vary from university to university but the most affordable universities in the UK are in Scotland and the North of the UK. 

Why do international students apply to a UK university? 

UK universities hold some of the top positions when it comes to the best universities in the world. They are known to provide students with world-class facilities that include an excellent research framework, and top-notch faculty that helps students learn in a better way. Also, a degree from a UK university is recognized globally which helps students in getting a high-paying job. 

What is the total number of universities in the UK? 

There are over 160 universities in the UK some of which hold the top positions in the list of best universities in the world. 

What are the top 10 universities in the UK? 

According to the QS world university rankings, 2022 following are the top 10 universities in the UK- 
University of Oxford 
University of Cambridge 
Imperial College  London 
University College London (UCL) 
University of Edinburgh 
University of Manchester 
King’s College London 
London School of Economics and Political Science 
University of Warwick 
University of Bristol 

How many international students on average get enrolled in UK universities? 

In the year 2021 total number of international students combining both undergraduate and postgraduate courses was 605,130. 

These were all the important flashpoints regarding types of Universities in the UK. If you want to pursue professional assistance in your application process and move across the country to study abroad, our experts at Leverage Edu are ever ready to help you through the entire process. Connect with us now to get a FREE consultancy session!

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