One of the oldest universities in the world still in operation, the University of Oxford is a massive, prestigious education institution that encompasses over thirty different colleges. In the Forbes and Times University Rankings, it ranks as the world’s top university and has done so for several years. Several influential world leaders studied there, including our current Prime Minister Boris Johnson, as well as former Prime Ministers Tony Blair and Margaret Thatcher, and legendary fantasy author JRR Tolkien. The university itself was founded officially in 1096.
Founded in 1209, Cambridge is the second-oldest university in the English-speaking world. It holds a rivalry with its counterpart, Oxford University, with both institutions often being placed atop rankings for the best universities in both the country and worldwide. Fascinatingly, the rivalry stretches back for centuries, and for a very long part of this Oxford and Cambridge were the only two universities in the country! It boasts over thirty colleges across its campus and several notable alumni, such as Sir Isaac Newton and Alan Turing.
Imperial College London, also known as the Imperial College of Science, Technology and Medicine, is the number one university in London for STEM and one of the top universities in the country, ranking highly in both global and national registers. Founded by Prince Albert, famously the consort of Queen Victoria and a known patron of the arts and sciences, Imperial is certainly more modern than the aforementioned universities, but no less prestigious! The university grounds themselves consist of around nine colleges, and offer students many top-class facilities in order to conduct work and research.
University College London (UCL) is another of London’s most prestigious education institutions, and also boasts an impressive number of students at 41,539, making it the second-biggest university in the country despite a relatively low acceptance rate! The university is particularly renowned for its excellence in Education, Architecture and Archaeology studies. Several important discoveries made by UCL academics through recent history include the discovery of hormones, gases and the development of the vacuum tube. Its alumni include historical figures such as Ito Hirobumi, Japan’s first Prime Minister, and celebrities such as famous film director Christopher Nolan.
Yet another London-based university, King’s College London is ranked among the highest UK universities worldwide. Founded by King George IV in 1836, King’s College has since become a very competitive university with only a 13% acceptance rate yearly. 84% of its graduates are reported to be in employment within 6 months of completing their education. The university boasts tens of thousands of students, and notable alumni include the famous Indian reformer and freedom fighter Mahatma Gandhi. Interestingly, the university itself also hosts a nine museums specialising in archaeological and anatomy exhibits!
Located in Scotland, the University of Edinburgh is one of the UK’s oldest universities, having been granted its charter by King James VI in the 16th century. It is also ranked as one of the world’s top universities, and ranked 1st in the UK for Sport-related subjects. The university is spread across five campuses, making it considerably smaller in area than other top-ranking universities. However, this does not apply to the student population, which is recorded to be over 35,000. Famous graduates include the great biologist Charles Darwin, and the atheist philosopher David Hume.