Public Universities in UK

The United Kingdom has some of the best public universities in the world. From the world-renowned universities of Oxford and Cambridge to the diverse offerings of universities in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, the UK is an ideal place to pursue a higher education. In addition to providing excellent instruction and resources, public universities in the UK are also home to numerous student clubs, societies, and activities, providing students with an enriching and well-rounded experience. With so many options, it can be hard to choose which public university in the UK is the best fit for you, but with a little research, you can make an informed decision.

Study in UK has been a dream for all Indian students who wish to achieve success globally. A country with one of the best education systems and student life, the UK is also known for its high ranking universities. 4 out of the top global universities are situated in the UK which proves its home to an excellent education system. And guess what’s common amongst these 4, all of them are public universities! If you want to study in the UK in 2023 then here’s everything you need to know about the UK application process for public universities in the UK!


Must Read: Public Universities in USA

What are Public Universities?

There are two types of universities in the UK- Public and Private. While private universities are funded and regulated by private organisations, public universities in the UK are funded by the UK government. Public universities in the UK are funded by a direct financing council of the government but act as independent bodies. 

They are regulated, checked, and ranked by the Office for Students in England. The Office for Students has designed a Teaching Excellence Framework, criteria, based on which they rank public universities in terms of their education and faculty expertise. 

Public vs Private Universities- Which One to Choose?

Why Study in a Public University in the UK?

Public universities have an edge over private universities in a lot of key areas. Public universities are generally more spacious while private universities might not be strong on the infrastructure. Private universities offer more pedagogical knowledge for the wholesome growth of a student where public universities lack a little bit. A degree from a public university in the UK will get you more job opportunities than the private ones because of the years of reputation they hold. Since public universities in the UK are more or less funded by the government, the tuition fee for the best courses in the UK taught in public universities is lower than private universities. 

Public Universities in UK 

Here are all the top public universities in the UK:

Oxford University  

Oxford University is one of the most prestigious universities in the world. The Oxford acceptance rate of 17.5% which means out of every 100 applicants almost 18 students get accepted. One of the oldest universities in the world, Oxford has 38 colleges and 70 research departments. Indira Gandhi, Bill Clinton, Boris Johnson are just a few of the illustrious alumni of Oxford University.

Must Read: How to get Admission in Oxford from India?

Cambridge University

The one right behind Oxford is Cambridge University. Standing tall in the top 5 universities in the world, Cambridge is a public research university with an acceptance rate of 21.5%. 121 Nobel Laureates, 194 Olympic winners and 14 British prime ministers have graced the corridors of this University and are today a part of the Cambridge alumni network. Cambridge offers undergraduate, postgraduate and doctoral degrees across its 31 colleges with over 150 departments. 

Fun Fact: A group of scholars left Oxford University after a dispute with the locals and formed Cambridge University.

Also Read: MBA at Cambridge

University College London

University College London or UCL is a public university in London, UK. UCL claims that it is the first university in England to admit women to their university. 195 years old, Mahatma Gandhi (Father of the Nation, India) and Alexander Graham Bell (founder of telephone) are the personalities who once studied at UCL. 43% of the research happening at UCL is declared world-leading by the Research Excellence Framework. 

Must Read: Sandwich Courses in UK

Edinburgh University

YouTube: University of Edinburgh

Situated in the capital city of Edinburgh, Scotland, the University of Edinburgh is a public university with links with the royal family. Members of the royal family have acted as chancellors of this university which accepts 40-50% of the applicants. Bill Gates, Malala Yosufzai and APJ Abdul Kalam are some of the honorary alumni of Edinburgh University. 

Must Read: Russell Group Universities 

Manchester University 

Manchester University is one of the top 10 public universities in UK. This University ranks 27th on the QS World Universities Ranking 2023 league table. They have more than 16,000 international students and offer over 1000 degrees at the undergraduate, postgraduate and doctoral levels. Manchester University ranks at the top amongst the universities in Manchester. Chaim Weizmann, a senior professor at Manchester University was the first prime minister of Israel.

Also Read: London vs Manchester- Which is the best student city?

King’s College London 

Youtube: Kings College London

Located in the heart of London, King’s College London is one of the leading public universities in UK with strength in research. Their programs in law, humanities and medical sciences are excellent with utmost importance given to skill development. King’s is home to 6 medical research council centers making it the largest European centre for biomedical research. Pioneers of DNA structure, IVF treatment and Hepatitis C are proud alumni of KCL. 

Recommended Read: King’s College London Accommodation

London School of Economics and Political Science

YouTube: LSE

London School of Economics and Political Science is a public university and a lead constituent college of the University of London. They offer courses primarily in economics, business, management, humanities, commerce, policymaking, politics and maths. 150 nationalists are represented by its student body and about 100 languages are spoken on campus. LSE has produced 18 Nobel Laureates in the field of economics, peace and literature. 

Also Read: January Intake Universities in UK

Imperial College London 

Imperial College London is one of the most prestigious public universities in UK. The university offers courses in the fields of medicine, science, technology and business. More than 59% of the students come from 140 countries outside of the UK. 91% of the research conducted here is found to be world-leading with fibre optics, penicillin and holography developed on the ICL campus. Biology degrees at Imperial College have a 1:1 gender ratio. 

Also Read: Why do Indians prefer to study in the UK?

Warwick University 

YouTube: Warwick University

A top public university in Coventry is the University of Warwick. Out of every 7 students that apply for Warwick, 1 gets accepted. Warwick is a primary research university offering degrees in medicine, engineering, science, arts and social sciences. Warwick University provides for a double degree option and allows student exchange with Columbia University, McGill University, etc. 

Fun Fact: Stephen Merchant, co-creator and writer of The Office (British) is an alumnus of Warwick University.

Public Universities in UK with Low Tuition Fees

  • Staffordshire University
  • vLeeds Trinity University
  • University of Cumbria
  • London Metropolitan University
  • The University of Bolton
  • Buckinghamshire New University
  • Coventry University

Public Universities in UK without IELTS

  • University of Central Lancashire
  • University of Greenwich
  • Swansea University
  • University of Northampton
  • University of Plymouth
  • Portsmouth University
  • Northumbria University
  • Brunel University
  • Robert Gordon University

Public Universities in London

Here are the best public universities in London for you to explore:

  • Brunel University, London
  • City, University of London
  • Goldsmith’s College, University of London
  • King’s College London
  • Kingston University, London
  • London School of Economics and Political Science
  • Middlesex University, London
  • Queen Mary University of London
  • Royal Holloway, University of London
  • School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London
  • Economics
  • Law
  • Business Management and Studies
  • Finance
  • Accounting
  • Psychology
  • Architecture
  • Computer Science
  • Political Science
  • International Relations
  • Public Policy
  • South Asian Studies

Also Read: Best Engineering Universities in UK

Eligibility Requirements

UK is a country in which a lot of Indians apply but only a certain percentage of them get accepted. One of the main reasons for such low acceptance from India can be the eligibility requirement. The Indian education system is different from that in the UK. We advise all study abroad aspirants to check the following terms to know whether they are eligible candidates or not:-

  • Grade: For undergraduate and postgraduate courses in the UK, you are required to have a minimum cutoff grade in your 12th or your bachelor’s degree.
  • Entrance exams: For postgraduate courses in the UK, universities require a minimum score in GMAT, GRE or university-specific entrance exam. 
  • Proof of English proficiency: Since India is a non-English speaking country, an IELTS or TOEFL test is mandatory to affirm the spoken and written English ability of the students. 
  • Financial Soundness: You are required to be financially sound to pay your tuition fee and that is why you need to submit your bank statements. 
  • Statement of Purpose: Why do you want to study in the UK and why choose a particular public university? All of this comes under your SOP of 700-800 words. 
  • Letters of Recommendation: Letters from past academic teachers or employers verifying your potential and talent is a must. 
  • Resume: A resume listing all your academic, co-curricular and other achievements and qualifications is very important.

If you prepare these aspects of your college application properly, it automatically increases your chances of getting accepted by a UK University. 

How to Apply

UK Admission Process

Applications for all UK Universities now happen through the UCAS portal. The Universities and College Admission Services is a platform that eases admissions by bringing all universities under one roof. To start your application for courses in public universities in UK, have a look at our step-by-step guide:-

  • Register with the UCAS portal and fill in the applications for your preferred course and public university.
  • Pay an application fee of £25 for multiple applications and attach all the documents required. 
  • Submit your application and wait for 6 to 8 weeks to hear from your university. 
  • If accepted, the public university will provide you with a CAS (Confirmation of Acceptance of Studies) letter which is very important for a UK Visa application. 
  • Apply for the UK Tier 4 visa. 

Some public universities in UK might ask you to appear for a virtual interview as a part of their screening process. 

Cost of Living in UK 

The cost of living in the UK depends upon the city your public university is located in. For example, study in London will be more expensive than studying in Bristol. Although the tuition fee at public universities is lower than private, it is a lot more than top universities in India. Here’s the average cost of living in the UK while studying at public universities:-

Types of Cost Average Cost (INR)
Tuition Fee 10.3-25.76 lakhs per year
Accommodation  50-80,000 per month
IELTS/TOEFL 14k/13k 
UCAS Application fee 2,500 for multiple courses
Food  ₹30k per month
Travel  ₹5k per month
Utilities  ₹15k per month
UK Tier 4 visa ₹35k 

UK Scholarships for International Students

  • British Chevening Scholarships for International Scholarships
  • Erasmus Mundus Joint Masters Degree Scholarship
  • GREAT Scholarships
  • A.S Hornby Educational Trust Scholarship
  • Felix Scholarships
  • Rhodes Scholarship
  • Commonwealth Scholarship and Fellowship Plan
  • Charles Wallace India Trust Scholarships (CWIT)
  • Dr. Manmohan Singh Scholarships
  • Inlaks Scholarships 
  • Scotland Saltire Scholarships
  • Goa Education Trust Scholarships
  • Queen Mary University Scholarships
  • University of Westminster Scholarships

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public universities in uk

Public universities in UK have consistently been excellent in education, student life and skill development leading them to become the finest universities in the world. We know some of the leading public universities like Oxford and Cambridge might overwhelm you with their low acceptance rate. But if you want to study in the UK this January 2022 then call our Leverage Edu experts and kickstart your study abroad journey!