Top UK Universities by Region 2014/15

Laura Tucker

Updated February 22, 2023 Updated February 22

Click here to see the top universities in the UK 2015/16.

Home to a whopping 69 universities featured within the QS World University Rankings 2014/15, the UK has more ranked universities than any other country, outside of the US.

If you’re looking to study in the UK, there are many diverse opportunities open to you across England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. For those interested in studying in historic surrounds, there’s the wide selection of UK universities packed with tradition, including the famous two halves of “Oxbridge” – the University of Oxford and University of Cambridge.

If you want to be based in the UK capital, there’s a huge selection of universities in London to choose from, including Imperial College London, UCL (University College London) or Kings College London, all ranked among the world’s top 20 institutions.

Read on for a region-by-region guide to the top UK universities, based on the QS World University Rankings 2014/15. To compare this with last year's results, visit this article.

Top universities in London

London is a tough city to beat in terms of higher education institutions, boasting 15 universities featured in the QS World University Rankings 2014/15. Of these, the two top universities in London are UCL (University College London) and Imperial College London. UCL  is ranked joint 5th in the world, alongside the University of Oxford, and Imperial College London is ranked joint 2nd in the world, alongside the University of Cambridge.

This year, Queen Mary, University of London (QMUL) made the largest upward climb, going from 115th in the world in the last edition, to 98th in the world this year.

Top universities in London in 2014/15:

Note: Although most of the top universities in London are right at the heart of the city, some are much further out. These outskirt universities include Royal Holloway, Brunel University and Kingston University.

Top universities in England (outside London)

It’s not all about London if you’re looking to study in the UK. In fact, including both halves of Oxbridge, there are a total of 39 top UK universities located across the rest of England, of which 11 are ranked within the top 100 universities worldwide.

In this year’s QS World University Rankings, the top universities in England (outside London) are the University of Cambridge, ranked joint 2nd in the world, and the University of Oxford, ranked joint 5th in the world. The top universities in England (outside London) are as follows:

South East England

North West England

East England

West Midlands

South West England

Yorkshire and the Humber

East Midlands

North East England

Top universities in Scotland

While England may boast the largest number of top UK universities (after all, it has by far the largest population), the UK’s other member states – Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland – are also home to impressive selections of world-leading universities.

Scotland is home to nine of the top UK universities, led by the University of Edinburgh, ranked at joint 17th in the world this year, just one place behind King’s College London (KCL), and sixth in the ranking of top UK universities overall.

Another incentive to study in Scotland is that all EU students from outside of England, Wales and Northern Ireland are eligible for free undergraduate tuition! The top universities in Scotland for 2014/15 are:

Top universities in Wales and Northern Ireland

With smaller populations, Wales and Northern Ireland claim fewer representatives in the rankings, but these regions certainly shouldn’t be overlooked when choosing somewhere to study in the UK. Wales and Northern Ireland not only thrive in the higher education market, but they also offer students the chance to explore a completely different side of life in the UK, often offering close-knit and lively student scenes.

Of the top universities in Wales, Cardiff University is the highest-ranked in the QS World University Rankings 2014/15, and continues to go from strength to strength. This year Cardiff University is ranked 123rd in the world, having climbed a total of 13 ranks compared to the previous edition. The top universities in Wales are as follows:

And the top universities in Northern Ireland are:

This article was originally published in October 2014 . It was last updated in January 2020

Written by

Laura is a former staff writer for, providing advice and guidance for students on a range of topics helping them to choose where to study, get admitted and find funding and scholarships. A graduate of Queen Mary University of London, Laura also blogs about student life.

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