Article: 25 Great British Universities You Should Consider (That Aren't Oxford or Cambridge!): HowStuffWorks
25 Great British Universities You Should Consider (That Aren't Oxford or Cambridge!)
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Oxford and Cambridge are names that conjure up notions of history going back centuries. Oxford's "New College" was founded in 1379, making even Harvard a Johnny come lately. They are excellent universities; however Britain is full of universities that provide a top-notch education in nearly every subject, some of which rival or even surpass Oxford and Cambridge in their specialties. Name recognition is a sort of branding, and while those two universities are certainly venerable in their way, other universities have quietly earned themselves a place in the world, boasting their own famous academics, exclusive courses and unique degrees.
A wealthy landowner may be an alumnus of Oxford, but would his farm manager have gone to the same university, and if they had, would their knowledge of their specialty be better for it? Cambridge certainly boasts more than its fair share of actors, but it is by no means the only university in the UK that produces them. Getting in the Oxford or Cambridge may provide tremendous networking opportunities if one plays one's cards right. Still, for certain industries, it offers little advantage, and there are too few places for them to accept all the worthy pupils. The UK is full of excellent universities aside from Oxford and Cambridge. Here are 25 of them.
Goldsmiths, University of London: One of The World's Best Art Institutions
Goldsmiths was founded as a learning institution for the working class but has evolved to become the cradle of many an artist, including Steve McQueen, Lucien Freud and Damien Hirst. In keeping with this free-thinking sensibility, Goldsmiths boasts an interdisciplinary program, facilitating research that has won the university acclaim in areas not expected from a university known for its art programme.
Cardiff University: Top Science Education in Wales
Ranked 27th by The Times, Cardiff University is the best University in Wales. It has faculty staff who have been awarded two Nobel Prizes, one in chemistry and one in medicine. Over its short existence since 1883, it has produced many alumni who were admitted to the likes of the Royal Academy of Engineering and the British Academy.
Imperial College London: Alma Mater of The Father of Time Travel
Ranked fifth overall by The Times, Imperial College London was created in 1907 by the merger of existing science institutions. If one wanted to study the possibility of time travel, Imperial College London would be a good place in which to consider, as it has respected science and engineering programmes, 14 Nobel laureates, and is the alma mater of H.G. Wells.
University of Edinburgh: The Medical College of The Real Sherlock Holmes
The University of Edinburgh is a university so old, it qualifies as ancient. It has been an icon of medical and scientific learning for centuries, notably counting among its faculty a certain Dr. Bell upon whom the character of Sherlock Holmes was based by U of E alumnus Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. As the uni is located in the heart of the ancient Scottish capital, U of E students not only benefit from a lively environment but also from proximity to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, held every August.
The LSE: A Global Center for Thought
The London School of Economics and Political Science is the premier university in the UK for social science. Its stated purpose at the time of its founding was to advance the betterment of society, and everything from its academic departments to its famous student union has pushed the university in a socially progressive direction. With 16 Nobel laureates and alumni that include Mick Jagger, the LSE continues to grow, partnering with major universities the world over.
UCL: A Progressive University at The Vanguard of Feminism
UCL, which went from acronym for University College London to the actual name of the university, is a top institution in the UK, ranking fourth in the country in The Times rankings. UCL produced Marie Stopes, the pioneer of family planning, and Baroness Patricia Scotland, the first female Attorney General of the UK. Combining achievements of faculty and staff, UCL boasts 29 Nobel Prizes, including the one awarded to William Ramsay for discovering the noble gases.
University of Sussex: Serious Academics on England's Gorgeous South Coast
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but enough have beheld University of Sussex's campus to be one of the most beautiful in the UK that the reputation stuck. Located on the south coast, most of its programmes are postgraduate, a fact that makes sense given its resources; Sussex has a facility called The Keep in which priceless manuscripts are kept for study and preservation.
University of Reading: Teaching Business Like It's a Profession
What was once a bleak industrial center is now a limb on the sprawl of Crossrail, making Reading the perfect home for both international corporations looking for offices outside of central London, and for the University of Reading, which counts a prestigious business school among its departments. In fact, its triple-accredited Henley Business School is frequently ranked among the top 50 business schools in the world by The Economist and The Financial Times.
Royal Veterinary College: Moving Animal Medicine Into the Future
If medicine is one's interest, but animals are one's great love, then Royal Veterinary College is ideal. One of the finest veterinary learning institutions in the world, RVC trains veterinarians to treat animals ranging from pets and wildlife found in zoos, to working and farm animals like horses, cows, and chickens. Research includes subjects as obscure as a current study on the transmission of toxoplasmosis from animals to humans.
University of Sheffield: Serious Research in an Affordable Region
Located near the Peak District, University of Sheffield is a research university, member of The Russell Group, and in the century or so of its existence, home to five Nobel laureates in science. Located in a fairly inexpensive city in Yorkshire, the University of Sheffield boasts a spot among the top universities for the overall experience of students.
Lancaster University: A Top-flight Education in One of the Uk's Most Breathtaking Regions
Ranked 18th in the UK by The Times, Lancaster University is an excellent university in a small-town setting. Located on a 360-acre campus in England's picturesque northeast, Lancaster University, founded in the 1960s, is within striking distance of the Lake District National Park and the Forest of Bowland. Interestingly, Lancaster is one of the very few British universities set up on the collegiate system, with one college for postgraduates and eight for undergraduates.
Durham University: An International University With a Proud Tradition in Sport
Of Durham University's 17,500 students, 4,500 are international students, which is fitting in this university with a markedly global outlook. Durham has a well-deserved reputation for sport, producing dozens of cricketers, rugby players, and rowers over the years. However, its roll of MPs, ambassadors, and authors are just as impressive, as is the university's long roll of entertainers and media figures.
University of Glasgow: Alma Mater of Measurements
Lord Kelvin, Adam Smith and James Watt are all alumni of the University of Glasgow, which calls itself a place "where ambitious people can succeed regardless of background or circumstance." While the University of Glasgow has historically been and continues to be a Russell Group member focused on science, it today boasts some of the most exceptional humanities programmes in the UK.
University of Nottingham: A Small University With an Emphasis on Healthcare
A wonderful example of evolution, the University of Nottingham has grown from a small civil college to an accredited university with the UK's first 20th-century medical school, and a fabulous nursing programme resulting from the university merging with the Mid-Trent College of Nursing and Midwifery. Located in Nottingham, students can expect their time outside of class to be entertaining, with a charming city at their feet and an active student union to tie them together.
University of York: A New University Punching Well Above Its Weight
The University of York may have been founded in 1963, but it has earned itself the 16th spot on The Times list of the best universities in the UK, as well as placing in global university rankings usually the reserve of much older institutions. It is also noted for its support not just of science, but of women in science, the cause of York's receipt of 13 Athena Swan awards.
University of Southampton: A Leader in Cancer Research
If one wanted to enroll at a founding member of The Russell Group, a league of research-focused universities, then the University of Southampton would be ideal. Southampton conducts scientific research in a large number of areas. Still, it is most notably a leader in cancer research where it does cutting edge research in the field of cancer immunotherapy treatments.
Royal Agricultural University: Land Management, Elevated
Though it would seem that the Royal Agricultural University would cater to farmers, its portfolio is much more extensive than that. The RAU deals with many allied subjects, including land management, entrepreneurship and even horse care and management. It also holds the unique distinction, along with Oxford and Cambridge, of still possessing a pack of beagles, once used to hunt hares.
King's College London: The Home of Illustrious Healthcare Pioneers
King's College London is an excellent school with most sciences and humanities admirably covered. It is ranked 36th in The Times's higher education rankings. However, as a research university, King's College London is particularly focused on scientific learning, with a history in the Allied Health professions going back to Joseph Lister and Florence Nightingale, shown here with her class of nurses, among others.
University of Birmingham: A First Rate University in England's Second City
Located in the heart of Britain's second city and founded by none other than Queen Victoria, the University of Birmingham is a sprawling, international university with a campus in Dubai and a well-deserved reputation for graduating students into jobs. In fact, the University of Birmingham is one of the top universities targeted by recruiters in the UK.
Queen Mary University of London: Internationally Renowned Medical University
Simply put, Queen Mary University of London is England's first medical school. Originally founded as several medical colleges, the oldest founded in 1785, it became a university in 1887 and has since stood at the vanguard of medical learning. It is a truly international school, with 40% of its student population being international students, and it boasts the 12th spot in The Times university rankings.
University of Bristol: A First Class Education in One of Britain's Historic Port Cities
Located in the seaside city of Bristol and ranked 10th in the nation by The Times, the University of Bristol is a fabulous all-around university with programmes as diverse as law, language, and the sciences, to which end it conducts extensive research. Bristol is a vibrant city, and there is much to do there, as the University of Bristol alumnus Derren Brown discovered in his formative years.
University of Warwick: Modern University, Ancient Manuscripts
The University of Warwick is both one of the newer universities in Britain, founded in 1965 in Coventry, but also one of the most highly ranked, coming in at 77th in the world university rankings of The Times. In terms of unique draws, the university boasts one of the largest and most active student unions in the UK and a library (bottom right) with a massive collection of original manuscripts.
University of Manchester: One of The Best Universities in Terms of Student Life
Which university boasts the largest student population in the UK, and the largest alumni network of the campus-based UK Universities? The University of Manchester. Located in the city of Manchester, it is in one of the best places to be a young person, as between all of the higher learning institutions in the city, it has the highest student population in Europe.
Brunel University London: Aspirational Engineering University
Founded in 1966, the aptly named Brunel University London is focused primarily on engineering, with facilities dedicated to electronic imaging, and simulators for flight, automobiles, and even cars. While the name says "Engineering," the "London" part is a bit of a misnomer, as one needs to take the Tube to enter London itself.
University of St Andrews: A Medieval University Looking to The Future
Leave it to the Scots to make a self-sufficient university. The University of St Andrews, which was founded in the 1400s when new universities needed the literal blessing of The Pope, never hesitates when it comes time to step into the future, having its own wind farm to electrify its campus. It was one of the very first British universities to accept women and has one of the lowest dropout rates in the country.
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