Top 10 Oldest Universities in the UK

The UK is home to some of the oldest universities in the world. They have centuries of history and tradition behind them, which gives them a unique atmosphere and charm. Many of these universities are located in beautiful cities with stunning architecture and cultural attractions. These universities also offer a wide range of courses, from traditional subjects like law and medicine to more modern subjects such as computer science and international relations. Interested to learn more? Our article takes you through the Top 10 Oldest Universities in the UK.

List of Oldest Universities In The UK

oldest uk universities

10. Aberystwyth University (1872)

Located on the mid-Wales coast is Aberystwyth University which offers a unique student experience like no other. The tenth oldest university in the UK, Aberystwyth University was established in 1872 as The University College of Wales. The TEF Gold-rated university promises its students high-rated teaching as well as the most cutting-edge research.

9. Durham University (1832)

Durham is ranked 5th in the UK with 31 subjects ranked in the top ten for the country. Durham University offers prospective students a broad range of subjects, an excellent student experience, and the opportunity to complete a research or industry placement anywhere in the world. Studying there lets you experience the city’s rich culture, histories and the surrounding lush landscapes.

8. University College London UCL (1826)

Established in 1826 as London University, UCL is among the oldest universities in the UK. The university is also one of the largest universities in the UK. UCL is ranked among the top universities in the UK and in the world. The university welcomes over 18,000 international students, which easily makes it one of the most diverse universities in the UK. 

7. University of Manchester (1824)

Established in 1824 as the Manchester Mechanics’ Institute, the University of Manchester is among the oldest universities in the UK. The university has a diverse student body, with 30% of its students hailing from outside the UK and EU. The lively campus has one of the largest student unions in the country, offering over 400 active student societies.

6. University of Edinburgh (1583)

Ranked 12th in the UK and among the top 50 in the world, the University of Edinburgh is one of the top universities in the country. The university welcomes over 40,000 students from over 150 countries, which makes it among some of the most diverse campuses on our list. Edinburgh is well-known for its outstanding Medical programme, ranking 5th in the country for the subject.

5. University of Aberdeen (1495)

The University of Aberdeen is ranked among the top 40 universities in the UK. The university offers a unique combination of a rich heritage combined with a modern outlook. The diverse campus attracts students and academics from all around the world. Located in the cosmopolitan Aberdeen, the university offers panoramic views of the country’s coastal line as well as high standards of education.

4. University of Glasgow (1451)

The University of Glasgow is a part of the Russell Group of universities and its high standards in teaching and research are evident as the university attracts students from all over the world. Located in Glasgow, rated one of the world’s friendliest cities, the university offers a great learning environment for its 26,000 students.

3. University of St Andrews (1413)

Located in Scotland, the University of St Andrews is one of few ancient universities in the UK. The university considers itself a “Scottish university with a global orientation”, as it welcomes over 40% of its students and staff from all over the world while maintaining its distinct culture. Ranked as the number three university in the UK, St Andrews offers a wide range of subjects, with 25 of them ranked among the top ten courses in the UK. St Andrews scored well for academic services spend in league tables, which means that it invests in providing quality library and IT services for its students.

2. University of Cambridge (1209)

The University of Cambridge is among the world’s best universities. The famed university has a strong reputation for academic excellence and education standards. Additionally, it’s one of the most exclusive universities in the UK – Cambridge annually receives around 19,000 applications and has an average of an 18% acceptance rate.

1. University of Oxford (1096)

The oldest university in the UK is the University of Oxford, as some records have proven its existence in as early as 1096. The university is also one of the top-ranked universities in the world. Its unique approach to teaching at the tertiary level lends itself to the university’s success – Oxford has a personalised tutorial system that ensures students get enough contact hours with their tutors. This might be the very reason why Oxford has ranked among the top ten for nearly 40 of its courses.

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