For full functionality of this site it is necessary to enable JavaScript. Here are the instructions how to enable JavaScript in your web browser.


Which universities are the easiest to get into?

New UCAS data shows that some universities offer places to over 90% of those who apply – but less than a fifth of Oxford applicants get an offer.

two excited happy students looking at their phones

Credit: Madrugada Verde (background), Dean Drobot (left), Antonio Guillem (right) – Shutterstock

Some universities are more difficult to get into than others. Places at Oxford and Cambridge are famously competitive. The lower you go in the university league tables, the easier it gets. Or so you might think.

We've crunched the numbers to reveal the percentage of students who receive an offer after applying to each university in the UK, proving once and for all which unis are the toughest nuts to crack.

Use the list and table below to see the acceptance rate for each uni. There are some surprises in there...

Join Save the Student for your chance to win a £250 gift voucher!

Easiest UK universities to get into

Based on the percentage of students who apply to each university and receive an offer, these are the easiest universities to get into:

  1. University for the Creative Arts (97%)
  2. Aberystwyth University (93.5%)
  3. University of Sussex (93%)
  4. Solent University, Southampton (92.4%)
  5. Bishop Grosseteste University (91.9%)
  6. SOAS, University of London (91.2%)
  7. Nottingham Trent University (90.1%)
  8. University of South Wales (89.4%)
  9. University of Kent (89.2%)
  10. St Mary's University, Twickenham, London (88.5%)
  1. Coventry University (88.5%)
  1. University of Reading (88%)
  2. Birmingham Newman University (87.6%)
  3. Royal Holloway, University of London (87.1%)
  4. De Montfort University (86.7%)
  5. Harper Adams University (86.4%)
  6. Abertay University (86.2%)
  7. Northumbria University, Newcastle (86%)
  8. London Metropolitan University (85.8%)
  9. Liverpool Hope University (85.5%)

In total, seven unis offer places to 90% or more of all applicants.

Interestingly, none of the unis in the top 20 also rank in the top 10 of the UK university league tables.

Worried you won't have enough money to make it through uni? Our guide to easy ways to make money quickly has everything you need.

Hardest UK universities to get into

Once again based on the percentage of offers made compared to the number of applications received, these are the hardest universities to get into in the UK:

  1. University of Oxford (19.7%)
  2. London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) (20.6%)
  3. University of Cambridge (24.4%)
  4. University of St Andrews (26.6%)
  5. University College London (UCL) (27%)
  6. Imperial College London (33.1%)
  7. The University of Edinburgh (37.4%)
  8. King's College London (38.5%)
  9. St George's, University of London (41.1%)
  10. University of the Arts London (44.8%)
  11. University of Strathclyde (49.5%)
  12. University of Manchester (53.3%)
  13. Leeds Arts University (54.2%)
  14. Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh (55.3%)
  15. London South Bank University (55.8%)
  1. University of Suffolk (55.8%)
  1. University of Leeds (56.9%)
  2. Wrexham University (57.9%)
  3. University of Bristol (58%)
  4. City, University of London (58.4%).

Something which won't surprise anyone is that Oxford and Cambridge are in the top three most difficult unis to get into. In fact, Oxford offers places to less than a fifth of those who apply.

But it may reassure you to know that beyond Oxbridge, some of the best unis in the UK offer places to around a third of their applicants. Imperial College London, for instance, has an acceptance rate of 33.1%.

More traditional league tables are worth looking at too. Has your uni made it into the UK's top 10 this year?

University acceptance rates

cambridge university Trinity college building

Credit: Pajor Pawel - Shutterstock

Of course, university admissions are also hugely affected by reputation. The more popular it is, the more applications it will receive. The more applications it receives, the fewer places there are to hand out, and hence the acceptance rate is lower. It's not all about great A Level grades and entry requirements.

In some cases, offer rates are low because unis have a limited number of places or cater to a niche subject area. This is likely to be true of the University of the Arts London and Leeds Arts University (two of only a few specialist arts universities in the UK). It may also apply to St George's, University of London, which is exclusively a medical school.

But some of the best and most prestigious universities in the UK have higher offer rates than you'd expect. Loughborough offers places to almost 69% of those who apply, while Bath offers places to over 70% of applicants.

Taking all universities into consideration, the average acceptance rate is 71.46%. But feel free to use the table below to see how each university compares.

This data shows the acceptance rates for undergraduate applications starting September 2023 across all age groups (not just 18-year-olds).

Full list of UK university acceptance rates

RankUniversityAcceptance rate
1University of Oxford19.7%
2London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE)20.6%
3University of Cambridge24.4%
4University of St Andrews26.6%
5University College London (UCL)27%
6Imperial College London33.1%
7University of Edinburgh37.4%
8Kings College London38.5%
9St Georges, University of London41.1%
10University of the Arts London44.8%
11University of Strathclyde49.5%
12University of Manchester53.3%
13Leeds Arts University54.2%
14Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh55.3%
15London South Bank University55.8%
15University of Suffolk55.8%
17University of Leeds56.9%
18Wrexham University57.9%
19University of Bristol58%
20City, University of London58.4%
21University of the Highlands and Islands (UHI)60.7%
22University of Bolton61%
23Queen Mary, University of London61.4%
24Durham University62%
25University of Sunderland62.4%
26University of Dundee62.5%
27University of Warwick62.7%
28University of Hertfordshire63%
29University of Glasgow63.6%
30Buckinghamshire New University63.8%
31University of the West of Scotland64.1%
32Falmouth University64.6%
33Edinburgh Napier University65.3%
33University of Surrey65.3%
35University of Birmingham65.4%
36University of West London66.4%
37Aston University, Birmingham66.5%
38University of East London66.7%
38Keele University66.7%
40Glasgow Caledonian University67.2%
41Arts University Bournemouth67.3%
41Middlesex University67.3%
43University of Essex68.7%
44University of Central Lancashire69%
44Loughborough University69%
46University of Leicester69.5%
47Edge Hill University69.6%
48Goldsmiths, University of London69.8%
49Robert Gordon University70.1%
50Anglia Ruskin University70.3%
51University of Bath70.6%
52Brunel University London70.7%
52Queens University Belfast70.7%
54Cardiff University70.9%
55University of Nottingham71.1%
56University of Huddersfield71.4%
57University of Southampton71.7%
58University of Plymouth71.8%
59University of Brighton72%
60University of Liverpool72.1%
61University of Derby72.9%
62Heriot-Watt University73.1%
63Kingston University73.5%
64University of Salford73.6%
65Birmingham City University73.9%
66University of the West of England, Bristol74%
67Sheffield Hallam University74.5%
68University of Chester74.8%
68Manchester Metropolitan University74.8%
70University of Bedfordshire75.3%
70University of Sheffield75.3%
72University of Stirling75.6%
73University of Hull75.9%
74University of Chichester76%
75University of Worcester76.3%
76University of Cumbria76.4%
77Teesside University, Middlesbrough76.5%
77University of Wolverhampton76.5%
79University College Birmingham76.7%
79University of East Anglia (UEA)76.7%
81University of Aberdeen72.2%
82Plymouth Marjon University77.2%
83Leeds Beckett University77.6%
84University of Greenwich77.7%
85Bath Spa University78.2%
86Leeds Trinity University78.5%
87University of York78.9%
88Newcastle University79.2%
88Swansea University79.2%
90Arts University Plymouth79.7%
90University of Westminster, London79.7%
92University of Wales Trinity Saint David80.1%
93Bournemouth University80.2%
94University of Portsmouth80.4%
95Liverpool John Moores University80.8%
96University of Northampton80.9%
97Ulster University81.2%
98Ravensbourne University, London81.6%
99University of Gloucestershire81.9%
100Cardiff Metropolitan University82%
100University of Exeter82%
102Norwich University of the Arts82.5%
103Oxford Brookes University82.7%
104Bangor University82.9%
105Staffordshire University83.5%
106University of Winchester84.1%
107Canterbury Christ Church University84.4%
107University of Roehampton84.4%
109University of Bradford84.5%
110Lancaster University84.6%
111York St John University84.7%
112University of Lincoln85.4%
113Liverpool Hope University85.5%
114London Metropolitan University85.8%
115Northumbria University Newcastle86%
116Abertay University86.2%
117Harper Adams University86.4%
118De Montfort University86.7%
119Royal Holloway, University of London87.1%
120Birmingham Newman University87.6%
121University of Reading88%
122Coventry University88.5%
122St Marys University, Twickenham, London88.5%
124University of Kent89.2%
125University of South Wales89.4%
126Nottingham Trent University90.1%
127SOAS University of London91.2%
128Bishop Grosseteste University91.9%
129Solent University (Southampton)92.4%
130University of Sussex93%
131Aberystwyth University93.5%
132University for the Creative Arts97%

Going to uni isn't all about the money. But we'd be lying if we said it wasn't a factor – so check out the graduate salary for your subject.

Jessica Murray

WRITTEN BY Jessica Murray

As an Editor of Save the Student, Jessica Murray has written extensively on student money news and money-saving tips. She was co-host of our podcast, No More Beans, and is now a journalist at the Guardian. Her tips and insights range from fun guides for freshers, to information for graduates entering the workplace.
Read more


Tweet / Instagram DM / Facebook DM / Email