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Published on 11.08.2023

The best universities in London for foreigners

When selecting universities for comparison, we focused on two rankings: QS World University Rankings and Times Higher Education World University Rankings.

QS is published on an annual basis by Quacquarelli Symonds and is one of the most popular rankings when choosing the place of higher education. Six indicators are taken into account: research activity, teaching, employers' opinion and career potential, the number of international students and faculty.

Times Higher Education World University Rankings are also published annually by Times Higher Education magazine. From 2004 to 2009, the rankings were compiled jointly with Quacquarelli Symonds.

Five universities are considered to be the best universities in London for international students: Imperial College London (ICL), University College London (UCL), London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE), King's College London (KCL) and School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS).
What do these universities have
in common?
The universities and colleges listed above are considered to be the best in the UK for teaching foreigners. In international rankings, they are leading in the following aspect: that all or nearly all of the students and teachers are foreigners.

These institutions also offer a high level of education. Every year, they are inspected for compliance with all criteria, allowing them to maintain high standards and stay at the top of the world rankings.

Another feature that unites British universities is the degrees of study. There are three of them in total: bachelor's, master's and postgraduate degrees.
Bachelor's degree studies take 3 years. It is not necessary to study further, so many students prefer to start a career in their chosen specialty.

The duration of the master's program is 1 year. It is a very intensive program, but once the students receive their master's degree, they become much more in-demand in narrow fields.

Another stage of postgraduate education in the UK is postgraduate study. This program takes 3–4 years, and once the students have defended their theses, they receive a doctoral degree. These people usually become teachers or scientists.

Imperial College London, ICL

Imperial College London is one of the best universities in the world and is one of the top three educational institutions in the UK, on par with Oxford and Cambridge Universities.

ICL consists of nine campuses, the main one being in South Kensington in Central London. As Imperial College is an institution that trains scientists, each campus is a separate research institute in the chosen field. For example, while the Hammersmith campus focuses on medical specialties, the White City campus trains business people.

ICL teaches subjects in four disciplines: science, technology, engineering and mathematics. The university also has faculties in medicine and business.

The average price of tuition at all levels for international students, including GCC residents, is from £35,000 per year and varies depending on the chosen program.

ICL has many scholarships for international students, ranging from undergraduate to postgraduate scholarship opportunities. Students from African countries, and those who are studying at home or abroad, have additional financial support options available. Language courses are also available to international students.

University College London, UCL

University College London (UCL) is considered to be the best college for foreigners. It welcomes foreigners of different faiths and the teachers are from other countries as well. UCL is also part of the University of London.

The college specialises in humanities, engineering, law, medical and natural sciences. The college consists of 10 faculties, which include more than 100 departments, institutes and research centres.

In 2018, UCL introduced a fixed undergraduate tuition fee for international students. It starts from £35,000 per year and varies depending on the chosen area of study.

Masters courses for international students at UCL are slightly more expensive. Annual tuition fees can reach almost £53,000, but start at around £19,400. The cost also differs depending on the chosen specialty. Postgraduate study for foreigners costs from £26,500 per year.

UCL supports international students financially with scholarships and grants. Students are also offered jobs on campus.

London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE

LSE is part of the University of London, specialising in research in applied economics, finance and social sciences. The School has a staff of 260 academics, researchers, postgraduate teachers and technicians.

The London School of Economics has great influence in the world of politics, law and business. Many of the world's heads of state have studied here. In addition, LSE graduates are current or former members of the UK House of Commons and the House of Lords.
The main areas studied at LSE are business, marketing, economics, management and HR.

Tuition fees at LSE are the same for both UK and international students. For the 2023–2024 year, it will be just over £25,000 for an undergraduate degree, around £25,000–£35,000 for a master's degree and around £25,000 for a postgraduate degree.

LSE students can access scholarships and financial support from governments and agencies around the world. The university runs the LSE Uggla Family Scholars Program, which offers three scholarships each year to new international students at the undergraduate level. It includes financial support of £29,000, accommodation at the University's expense and support for the duration of their studies.

King's College London, KCL

King's College London is one of the oldest and most prestigious universities in the UK. It is ranked 35th in the Times Higher Education World University Rankings and 31st in the QS rankings, as of 2023.

KCL teaches a wide range of humanities, social sciences, natural sciences and health sciences. It also teaches law, art and psychology.

Non-UK students studying for a Bachelor's or Master's degree will pay a minimum of £10,000 per year for tuition. A PhD for international students at KCL will cost around £20,000 per year.

KCL also financially supports international students based on their success. Students can receive the government's Chevening scholarship, while those from India, Malaysia, Bangladesh, New Zealand and Singapore can receive scholarships through the Commonwealth scholarships program.

School of Oriental and African Studies, SOAS

The School of Oriental and African Studies is part of the University of London, specialising in the languages, culture and history of Asia, Africa and the Middle East. It is the only higher education institution in Europe with these types of courses.

SOAS teaches anthropology and sociology, art, history, religion, philosophy and world culture. The main difference at this university is the possibility to study non-European languages from an absolute beginner level.

Tuition fees for international students at the undergraduate level are £21,000 per year, and £24,750 per year at the graduate level. Postgraduate tuition costs from £21,000 per year.

SOAS actively supports students at all stages of their studies and provides scholarships for undergraduate, graduate and postgraduate students. Of the 5,000 students currently enrolled, the majority of students are studying via distance-learning.
There is no free education in the UK, but there are ways to save money, either by getting a scholarship or government grant for outstanding achievement. This money can cover all or part of your tuition fees for a year or more.

Free education

What do these universities have
in common?
British universities are constantly at the top of the list in terms of the quality of education provided. According to Ceoworld magazine, UK higher education institutions are in first place, followed by the United States and Australia. The aim of British education is not only to educate students in their chosen field, but also to prepare them for an international career.
The quality of education is constantly being monitored. In the UK, this is the responsibility of The Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education (QAA), which annually reviews teaching standards, the opportunities available to students and the international reputation of higher education in the UK.
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Amit Seth
Managing Director