What is the best university in the UK?

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In terms of academic reputation, Oxford and Cambridge are usually considered the best universities in the UK, and indeed two of the best in the world. In certain subject areas though, other universities are academically 'better' than Oxford or Cambridge. For example, Imperial is the world leader in some science subjects. To compare universities in terms of academic reputation, look at our rankings tables.

However, there is really no such thing as the 'best university in the UK', as it really depends on what you are studying and what you hope to get out of your course and whole university experience. When choosing a university, you should choose the one that best suits you based on a number of factors such as the courses offered, academic reputation, location and staff.

What are the most popular UK universities for international students?

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In terms of numbers, the University of Manchester has the most international students of any institution in the UK with 8,800, followed by Nottingham with 7,900 and UCL with 7,125. However, LSE has by far the highest percentage of international students, with 68%. For the full list, have a look at our guide to the Top Universities in the UK.

What are the differences between campus, city and collegiate universities?

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Campus universities have all (or most of) their buildings close together in one place that is often just outside a city. This creates a 'campus' that is like a very small town with student accommodation, leisure facilities and teaching and research facilities all very close to each other. The benefits of this are students living on campus have everything they need to study and socialise all easily within walking distance. Examples of campus universities in the UK include Warwick, Nottingham and Sussex.

Alternatively, city universities have their buildings and accommodation spread across the city where they are based. Although this means it is less convenient for the students, they can get a more rounded experience as they live in the city just as they would after university. It also means that they have a greater range of options when it comes to sporting facilities and socialising. Examples of UK city universities include Manchester, and Imperial and LSE in London.

Finally, there is the collegiate system that a few universities use in the UK. The universities of Oxford, Cambridge and Durham are the only ones to use this system that merges the two ideas of campus and city. Each university has buildings spread throughout the town in which it is based, but has a number of separate colleges that the students live, study and socialise (to an extent) in, like tiny campuses. This creates strong communities within each college, which all put together create the larger community of the university.

What are the differences between universities and colleges in the UK?

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There is no exact definition of the difference between colleges and universities and the two often blur. However, there are a number of key common differences between them. Universities are generally much larger (often with over 20,000 students) and offer a wide variety of different courses. In contrast, colleges are generally smaller and tend to focus in one area of study.

Universities are independent institutions that award their own degree certificates and must do a certain amount of research to maintain this standard. Colleges on the other hand are often attached to a university (though remain separate institutions) and because they do not have the same research facilities, often do not offer PhDs.

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