London ranks #1 in world’s academic cities!

London claims more top higher-education institutions than any other city in the world.


Following the release of this year’s QS and Times Higher Education rankings, it has transpired that London has the highest concentration of top-ranking universities in the world.

Evaluations carried out in areas such as teaching, research and international reputation have placed four London universities (Imperial College London, UCL, LSE, and KCL) in the top forty world universities.

Danny Byrne, the ranking expert from QS, also noted the difference in individual preference. Speaking to Roar!, he stated that, “As someone who studied at both Oxford and UCL, I can tell you that they are incredibly different environments and each has their advantages and drawbacks.”

He added, “London is an incredibly exciting place to be, but it’s also noisy and expensive. Oxford is idyllic, but socially and culturally limited compared to London.”

The independence and sheer volume of places to see, music to listen to, places to eat and people to meet will for many be what attracts them to studying in London. However, students looking for a strong student-university connection may find their time in London unfulfilling.

In surveys of King’s students carried out by Roar!, only 70% of respondents said that they felt the experience of studying at a university in London lived up to the expectations they held before they arrived, while 63% believed that studying in London had led to there being less of a feeling of being part of a student community.

Over time, the independence and fun that can be had as a student in London is something many will grow to love and appreciate, but it is an entirely different experience to any other student city in the UK. Indeed, everyone surveyed agreed that they felt studying in London differed from the stereotypical student experience.

The problem many have with ranking systems like QS and Times Higher Education is their great focus on academic achievement, while they are less focused when it comes to assessing the personal and social aspects of university life for the typical undergraduate student.

QS released a Best Student Cities ranking list in 2012 where London came second only to Paris after a comparison in areas such as affordability, diversity of students and employability of students, but it must be questioned whether or not the rankings reflect other difficult to measure factors like spirit and atmosphere.

When asked by Roar! if he felt the rankings fairly portray London as the best city to study in, Byrne commented, “London is certainly one of the best places to study insofar as such things are measurable.

“The student community is huge, students have access to amazing resources such as the British Library, and socially and culturally it is one of the most dynamic places in the world. But while rankings can provide a useful starting point, there is no objective way of measuring which is the best place to study for any given student. That is something which can’t always be reduced to data.”

With KCL having moved into the top 20 worldwide institutions, students and academics alike will no doubt be celebrating London’s new status as the most academically prestigious city to study in. This was very much reflected in our own findings: an amazing 84% of the King’s students who were questioned stated that overall, they were happy with the fact they were studying in London as opposed to another part of the country.