Public Universities in the UK

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to Study in the UK has been a dream for all students who wish to achieve success globally. A country with one of the best education systems and student life. The UK is also known for its high-ranking universities. Four out of the top global universities are situated in the UK, which proves that it is the home to an excellent education system. And guess what’s common amongst these four, all of them are public universities! If you are a Nigerian student and want to study in the UK in 2022 then here’s everything you need to know about the UK application process for public universities in the UK!

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What are Public Universities?

There are two types of universities in the UK- Public and Private. While private universities are funded and regulated by private organizations, public universities in the UK are funded by the UK government. Public universities in the UK are funded by a direct financing council of the government but act as independent bodies. They are regulated, checked, and ranked by the Office for Students in England. The Office for Students has designed a Teaching Excellence Framework, criteria, based on which they rank public universities in terms of their education and faculty expertise.

Why Study at a Public University in the UK?

Public universities have an edge over private universities in a lot of key areas. Public universities are generally more spacious while private universities might not be strong in the infrastructure. Private universities offer more pedagogical knowledge for the wholesome growth of a student whereas public universities lack a little bit. A degree from a public university in the UK will get you more job opportunities than the private ones because of the years of reputation they hold. Since public universities in the UK are more or less funded by the government, the tuition fee for the best courses in the UK taught in public universities is lower than in private universities. 

Public Universities in the UK

Here are all the top public universities in the UK:

Oxford University 

Oxford University is one of the most prestigious universities in the world. The Oxford acceptance rate of 17.5% means out of every 100 applicants almost 18 students get accepted. One of the oldest universities in the world, Oxford has 38 colleges and 70 research departments. Indira Gandhi, Bill Clinton, and Boris Johnson are just a few of the illustrious alumni of Oxford University.

Cambridge University

The one right behind Oxford is Cambridge University. Standing tall in the top 5 universities in the world, Cambridge is a public research university with an acceptance rate of 21.5%. 121 Nobel Laureates, 194 Olympic winners and 14 British prime ministers have graced this university’s corridors and are today a part of the Cambridge alumni network. Cambridge offers undergraduate, postgraduate and doctoral degrees across its 31 colleges with over 150 departments. 

University College London

University College London or UCL is a public university in London, UK. UCL claims that it is the first university in England to admit women to their university. 195 years old, Mahatma Gandhi (Father of the Nation, India) and Alexander Graham Bell (founder of the telephone) are the personalities who once studied at UCL. 43% of the research happening at UCL is declared world-leading by the Research Excellence Framework. 

Edinburgh University

Situated in the capital city of Edinburgh, Scotland, the University of Edinburgh is a public university with links with the royal family. Members of the royal family have acted as chancellors of this university which accepts 40-50% of the applicants. Bill Gates, Malala Yosufzai and APJ Abdul Kalam are some of the honorary alumni of Edinburgh University. 

Manchester University

Manchester University is one of the top 10 public universities in the UK. This University ranks 27th on the Qs World Universities Ranking 2021 league table. They have more than 16,000 international students and offer over 1000 degrees at the undergraduate, postgraduate and doctoral levels. Manchester University ranks at the top amongst the universities in Manchester. Chaim Weizmann, a senior professor at Manchester University was the first prime minister of Israel.

King’s College London

Located in the heart of London, King’s College London is one of the leading public universities in the UK with strength in research. Their programs in law, humanities and medical sciences are excellent with utmost importance given to skill development. King’s is home to 6 medical research council centres making it the largest European centre for biomedical research. Pioneers of DNA structure, IVF treatment and Hepatitis C are proud alumni of KCL

London School of Economics and Political Science

London School of Economics and Political Science is a public university and a lead constituent college of the University of London. They offer courses primarily in economics, business, management, humanities, commerce, policymaking, politics and maths. 150 nationalists are represented by its student body and about 100 languages are spoken on campus. LSE has produced 18 Nobel Laureates in the field of economics, peace and literature.

Imperial College London

Imperial College London is one of the most prestigious public universities in the UK. The university offers courses in the fields of medicine, science, technology and business. More than 59% of the students come from 140 countries outside of the UK. 91% of the research conducted here is found to be world-leading with fibre optics, penicillin and holography developed on the ICL campus. Biology degrees at Imperial College have a 1:1 gender ratio. 

Warwick University 

A top public university in Coventry is the University of Warwick. Out of every 7 students that apply for Warwick, 1 gets accepted. Warwick is a primary research university offering degrees in medicine, engineering, science, arts and social sciences. Warwick University provides a double degree option and allows student exchange with Columbia University, McGill University, etc. 

Public Universities in the UK with Low Tuition Fees

Public Universities in the UK without IELTS

Public Universities in London

Here are the best public universities in London for you to explore:

Popular Courses in the UK

  • Economics
  • Law
  • Business Management and Studies
  • Finance
  • Accounting
  • Psychology
  • Architecture
  • Computer Science
  • Political Science
  • International Relations
  • Public Policy
  • South Asian Studies

Eligibility Requirements

Have you set your sights on a course of study at your ideal university? Before applying for the programme, be sure you meet the requirements. Following the receipt of a conditional offer, you will require the following supporting documents:

  • To be admitted to an undergraduate programme in the United Kingdom, you must apply through UCAS (Universities and Colleges Admissions Service).
  • Students interested in pursuing a master’s degree can apply through the UK PASS (UK Postgraduate Application and Statistical Service) or directly to their preferred university.
  • If you are a Nigerian education system graduate, you may be required to complete a year of International Foundation before a university will evaluate your application.
  • You must submit a personal statement, Letter of Recommendation (optional), résumé, job portfolio (if applicable), and other credentials and achievements.
  • To demonstrate your language proficiency, you must take an English-language test such as IELTS or equivalent.
  • You must have a valid passport that is up to date.
  • Nigerian students need a Tier 4 student visa to study in the United Kingdom after receiving an acceptance letter from the university. It is valid for the duration of the course plus an additional month.

Obtain your CAS number

Once everything is organised, your university will make you an unconditional offer. After that, you will have to pay a deposit. Depending on your programme and university, the fee varies. Make sure the university gives you a CAS number in the following step. A CAS number, which is necessary for your student visa application, demonstrates that you have received an unconditional offer from your university. Contact your university if they don’t provide you with your CAS number right away.

Complete a Tuberculosis (TB) test 

Every student who plans to stay in the UK for more than six months must get a TB test and submit the findings to UKVI when applying for a visa.

The only centre recognised by UKVI to do TB screenings is the Migration Health Assessment Centre of the International Organization for Migration (IOM). You will receive your test results the same day at a cost of about 57,800 Naira. Nigeria currently has two centres, one in Abuja and one in Lagos.

  • A bank statement 
  • Proof of funds (to show that you’re financially capable of paying your tuition fees and living expenses) 
  • Sponsorship letter (written by your parent or guardian who is sponsoring you) 
  • Birth certificate or equivalent (to prove your relationship with your sponsor)
  • CAS letter from your university 
  • TB test results 
  • Offer letter from your university 
  • All your previous documents used for your university admission, including a copy of your passport, transcripts, etc. 

If you prepare these aspects of your college application properly, it automatically increases your chances of getting accepted by a UK University.

UK Scholarships for International Students

  • Commonwealth Scholarship
  • Chevening Scholarship
  • Global Excellence Scholarship
  • British Council GREAT Scholarship
  • British Council Scholarship for Women in STEM
  • Teesside University MSc Scholarship
  • Alumni Scholarship
  • Family Loyalty Discount

Cost of Living in the UK 

The cost of living in the UK depends upon the city your public university is located. For example, studying in London will be more expensive than studying in Bristol. Here’s the average cost of living in the UK while studying at public universities:-

Types of Cost Average Cost (NGN)
Tuition Fee 5.4 -13.57 Million per year
Accommodation  0.26-0.42 Million per month
IELTS/TOEFL 77,483/73,156
UCAS Application fee 13,572 for multiple courses
Food  0.16 Million per month
Travel  26,829 per month
Utilities  81,542 per month
UK Tier 4 visa ₦202,967


Are public universities in the UK cheaper than private ones? Are public universities in the UK free?

No, but the tuition fees for home students and international students are different.

How many public universities are there in the UK?

The UK has around 130 public universities in the UK.

Who regulates public universities in the UK?

The Office for Students is a government body regulating public universities in the UK.

Is Oxford a public university?

Yes, Oxford University is a public research university in the UK.

Are public universities in the UK better than private universities?

4 out of the top 10 universities in the world are public universities in the UK which means public universities in the UK are better than private universities. 

Which is the cheapest public university in the UK?

Staffordshire University with an average tuition fee of NGN 5.3M  is the cheapest public university in the UK.

Which is the best public school in the UK?

Benenden School in Cranbrook is the best public school in the UK.

Which is the oldest public university in the UK?

Oxford University is the oldest public university in the UK.

Are public universities in the UK cheaper than private ones?

Yes, public universities are generally cheaper than private universities. 

What are the best public universities in London?

Some of the best public universities in London include – Brunel University, City, University of London, King’s College London, Middlesex University, Queen Mary University of London etc.

If you are a Nigerian student and planning to study in the UK our Leverage Edu experts are here to help you in identifying the best schools to apply to so that you can embrace the incredible opportunities presented by this striking country. Call our Leverage Edu experts at +91 86306 84298 and get started on an incredible journey to your dream university! You can drop a mail at and our experts will reach out to you.

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