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Top 10 UK universities 2025

The 2025 UK university league tables have been published. Discover the top 10 unis.

university with trophy over it

Every year the Complete University Guide (CUG) publishes league tables ranking 130 UK universities. This includes 74 subject tables and an additional ranking of 12 Arts, Drama, and Music colleges and conservatoires.

We've taken a closer look at the top 10 unis that the UK has to offer, according to CUG's stats.

Have Oxford and Cambridge got a monopoly on the top of the table once again, or has another uni taken the gold medal? And is your uni one of the best in the country?

We also have a complete list of the easiest (and hardest) UK unis to get into.

How is the university league table ranked?

Before we get into the glamour of the top 10, we want to be clear that CUG ranks UK unis on a number of measures.

It takes all of the following into account:

  • Entry standards indicating the average UCAS score of new students entering the university
  • Student satisfaction
  • Research quality
  • Research intensity
  • Graduate prospects (outcomes), indicating the proportion of graduates in employment or further study 15 months after leaving uni
  • Graduate prospects (on track), indicating the proportion of graduates who agree that their current activity aligns with their future plans
  • Student-staff ratio
  • Academic services spend
  • Facilities spend
  • Continuation, indicating the proportion of students who stay on their course beyond the first year instead of dropping out of uni.

If you're looking at the league table in full, check out each uni's scores for the measures that matter to you.

Find out how eco-friendly your uni is with the ranking of the greenest UK universities.

Best UK universities 2025

These are the 10 best universities in the UK:

  1. University of Warwick

    Up from 11th place last year, the University of Warwick has increased to 10th in the 2025 rankings.

    Warwick ranks in the top five for a number of subjects including Creative Writing (1st), Accounting & Finance (3rd), Mathematics (4th), Economics (5th) and more.

    Along with its strong academic rankings, another perk of studying at Warwick is having 300+ societies to choose from (ideal for making friends with like-minded people!). Quidditch and allotment societies are two examples, but there's a huge and varied selection, so the chances are there will be one for you.

  2. University College London (UCL)

    ucl university college london

    Credit: Steve Cadman - Flickr

    University College London (UCL) is usually a sure bet to make the UK's top 10. It excels in the more academic aspects of the league table, such as entry standards and research intensity.

    And UCL is no stranger to leading the way. It was the first uni to admit students of any race, religion or political beliefs, and to welcome women on equal terms with men.

    Its mix of famous alumni includes Jonathan Ross, Chris Martin of Coldplay, and the inventor of the telephone, Alexander Graham Bell.

  3. University of Bath

    In 8th place is the University of Bath.

    Employability is a strong focus at this uni, with all undergraduate students having the option of doing a work placement. It's therefore unsurprising that it scored highly for graduate prospects (outcomes), ranking 6th in this category.

    And, of course, another selling point is that it's based in the stunning World Heritage Site city of Bath.

    Among the university's alumni is a whole host of successful athletes – including some Olympic medallists.

  4. Loughborough University

    Loughborough University, best known for its penchant for athletics (it was Team GB's HQ during the London Olympics), ranks highly. This is thanks, in part, to its great engineering and art & design departments.

    Loughborough places a lot of emphasis on students graduating with an all-round skill set, offering all undergraduates the chance to complete a year in industry as part of their degree.

  5. Durham University

    Durham University, founded in 1832, is consistently one of the highest-ranked unis in the UK.

    It has its fair share of famous former students, including Gabby Logan, Ed Gamble and Nish Kumar.

    Durham has excellent scores for degree completion and graduate prospects (outcomes) according to CUG.

    While it does fall down slightly on its student satisfaction rating, there are improvements in this area. In 2025, Durham ranks 53rd in this category, but it's up 21 places compared to the 2024 rankings.

  6. Imperial College London

    imperial college london uni

    Credit: Andrew Crump - Flickr

    Founded in 1907, Imperial College London was initially part of the University of London but gained independence in 2007. Imperial specialises in science, engineering, business, tech and medicine.

    Among its alumni are the author H.G. Wells and Brian May (the guitarist in Queen), the latter of whom studied astrophysics there.

    With a huge score of 94%, Imperial's graduate prospects (outcomes) are the highest in the UK.

  7. University of St Andrews

    St Andrews was founded in 1413, making it the oldest uni in Scotland.

    As you may know, St Andrew's alumni include the likes of Prince William and Kate Middleton, who met while studying there.

    The university consistently ranks as one of the best in the UK. It scores particularly highly for entry requirements and student satisfaction, coming 1st and 2nd for those categories respectively.

  8. London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE)

    The London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) has never finished outside the top five in CUG's UK university rankings. And this year it's third, taking the number one spot in London.

    The university's list of famous alumni is pretty impressive. It's played host to the likes of David Attenborough and Mick Jagger. Plus, the former Prime Minister, Clement Attlee, was a lecturer there.

  9. University of Oxford

    While the exact date of formation is unknown, the University of Oxford is widely considered to be the oldest in the English-speaking world. In fact, there's evidence of teaching as far back as 1096.

    As you might expect, Oxford's list of famous alumni reads like a who's who of world-renowned names. This includes Stephen Hawking, Malala Yousafzai, J.R.R. Tolkien and loads more.

    It scores well in pretty much every area except for facilities spending which it ranks 78th for. However, don't necessarily let this put you off.

    CUG recognises in the methodology that collegiate universities don't tend to do as well in the facilities spending category as individual colleges' facilities expenditure won't be included in the central uni's expenditure. As such, it's not the best measure to compare unis like Oxford and Cambridge with many others in the UK.

  10. University of Cambridge

    cambridge university Trinity college building

    Credit: Pajor Pawel - Shutterstock

    Founded in 1209, the University of Cambridge is the second oldest uni in the UK. As you probably already know, Cambridge also boasts lots of well-known alumni including Richard Ayoade, Thandiwe Newton, Stephen Fry and David Mitchell, among others.

    Cambridge regularly occupies one of the top two spots on league tables for UK universities.

    They've previously recruited a Professor of Lego too, so it's tough to argue the number one spot wasn't well deserved.

    And don't let Cambridge's elite reputation put you off. If you're unsure whether it's for you, take inspiration from our interview with Ibz Mo, the YouTuber who smashed boundaries at Cambridge.

You can see the full rankings table on the Complete University Guide's website. Here, you can compare rankings for each subject as well as overall performance.

We're forever told that UK unis are some of the best on the planet, but how do our cities rank? Find out the best places to study in the world.

Lucy Skoulding

WRITTEN BY Lucy Skoulding

Lucy Skoulding specialised in student news reporting while writing for Save the Student, sharing the latest data and top stories affecting our readers.
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