You’ll probably consider quite a few things before applying to university. Some of those factors might be location, professors, accommodation, and course details, but there’s an extra detail that might go into your decision-making process, and that’s how happy the students are at your chosen university. Happiness can be a great way to see overall student satisfaction, and choosing one of the best universities in the UK could be a great decision.
With that in mind, EDUopinions analysed our thousands of verified student reviews to discover the universities with the happiest students in the UK. Each school in our ranking has an overall student satisfaction rating out of 5, which has been calculated using individual ratings for a number of elements. These include facilities, professors, location, student life, accommodation, internationalism, value for money, and career prospects.
To ensure the quality of the results, each university should have received at least 50 verified student reviews. Here’s our ranking of the top 10 UK universities with the happiest students.
The 10 Happiest Universities in the UK
10. Glasgow Caledonian University
Glasgow Caledonian University (4.4 rating, 120 reviews) is one of the highest-ranked institutions in the UK. It has an extremely high rating for its location – its main campus is in the heart of the city, but it also has international locations in London and New York. The university has particular specialisms in financial services, tourism, and engineering, and students are also particularly happy with the university’s facilities.
I moved from Spain to Glasgow in 2016 to study Media Communication at GCU. I was quite afraid because even if I had a good level of English, I knew the Scottish accent could have been an obstacle. However, everyone was involved in the foreign students, and could not have found more support from the teachers.
The modules were very interesting and very dynamic. They were divided into different parts, theory, seminars and practical. We had no final exam, but we had to hand in a final essay, which was very interesting because you had to look for information on your own, and I learned lots of interesting things. Also, the building of the university was very new and beautiful. ¡I would recommend everyone to study at this University!
On the other hand, I was staying at the GCU accommodation, which was right in front of the university, this was absolutely perfect because you could go home during the breaks and have lunch there. It also was an opportunity to meet new people, and live university life. ¡I found a real family there!
9. Imperial College London
Imperial College London (4.3 rating, 217 reviews) is also in our ranking of the happiest universities in the UK. This is obvious when you look at its overall scores – the city-centre university has high scores for location, facilities, and internationality. Additionally, this research university has a strong connection to the sciences and engineering, so it also has a high rating for career prospects.
I have wonderful experience in IC this year. Lots of very good students, everyone was very friendly and loved my classmates. ICBS is the best Career Service around G5 without a doubt. Seriously, all kinds of activities and various consultants are very responsible. It also helped me a lot to find a job. The professors are very good, and there are many opportunities to network with alumni. During the epidemic, most of the networking activities were conducted online but the quality is excellent.
8. University College London
Next on our list of the happiest universities in the UK ranking comes the University College London – UCL (4.3 rating, 274 reviews). With a huge range of subjects across eleven faculties, UCL is one of London’s leading multidisciplinary universities. Overall, students rank it highly for its location in the heart of academic Bloomsbury and its internationality. This makes sense, as it’s the UK’s second-largest university, attracting students from around the world.
This programme’s concentration on different economic and policy approaches to development is especially valuable for me and my career afterwards. It would not only grant me sensitivity to policy changes but also useful tools for analysis purposes. The practice module that conducts fieldwork in Uganda is of utmost importance for me, for it could show me how theoretical “development” fits into actual situations. I can also have a closer touch with local NGOs and understand how they operate under local regulations. I am especially fond of the programme’s focus on discovering how societies overcome poverty to create healthy, wealthy, and sustainable societies and why some persistently fail. This focus clicks with my vision of helping the poor and understanding why some poverty is so enduring.
7. Newcastle University
Newcastle University (4.4 rating, 81 reviews) is a Russell Group University and has a TEF Gold Award for its high quality of teaching. It has been consistently among the top twenty of the most targeted universities by the UK’s leading employers for the last six years and is among the top ten universities in the UK for graduate prospects. The city of Newcastle, where the University is based, is one of the UK’s favourite student cities.
During my almost 3 full years of stay here in Newcastle upon Tyne I have had one of the best moments of my life. Newcastle University and the Computer Science programme have allowed me to meet a lot of amazing people with whom I have shared many amazing moments.
Overall, the programme has given me a stable foundation, allowed me to learn several coding languages to an intermediate level. The lecturers are professionals and have taught and demonstrated me a lot along the way.
Moreover, the student life in the city is simply amazing, international friendly and gives you the chance to meet a lot of amazing people. Finally, one of the best perks of studying in Newcastle is that the accommodations are affordable and there is a good balance between cost and quality.
6. University of Nottingham
The University of Nottingham (4.4 rating, 83 reviews) is a member of the Russell Group and Universitas 21 and it is famous the outstanding research-led teaching. Apart from the beautiful campus in Tottingham, it also has campuses in China and Malaysia and provides a truly international experience. Students rate highly the professors, the facilities as well as the student life.
The university has responsible professors, abundant library resources, perfect infrastructure, a good campus environment, highly safe accommodation, and convenient transportation. I highly recommend you guys to study here.
5. University of Leeds
Rounding out the top five universities with the happiest students in the UK is the University of Leeds (4.5 rating, 52 reviews). Overall, this city-centre university is renowned for its School of Medicine and international student body, but EDUopinions reviewers also ranked it highly for its faculty and student life. This is unsurprising given that it’s in one of the most popular student cities in the UK. All of this makes for very happy students.
4. The University of Edinburgh
The University of Edinburgh (4.5 rating, 64 reviews) was founded in 1582 and it is one of the oldest universities in the English-speaking world. Many of the buildings in the historic old town of Edinburgh belong to the University of Edinburgh and that gives the students a wide and authentic look at the history of the town.
I applied for Physics and Mathematics (Bsc) and although waiting 8 months for a reply, once I did hear back, the University was very responsive and made me feel very prepared to start my course. I really enjoy the lectures but I feel the tutorials are really great in the Physics department. Similarly, I love the workshops in Maths; they are very useful and interactive. They have a good blend of individual and interactive learning. I got accommodation at Fraser Court, which was alright, but frankly, I don’t feel was worth the money. Accommodation is expensive, especially Pollock/catered, and not particularly appealing. However, the location of the accommodation (very central) makes up for it, being in the centre of a vibrant, young and buzzing city. Edinburgh is a great student city, if a little expensive, with something for everyone; university societies are hugely varied.
I would recommend you to consider the University of Edinburgh for Physical Science and Mathematics courses, if you like independent learning and living in a big city.
3. University of Oxford
The University of Oxford (4.5 rating, 67 reviews) is the oldest university in the English-speaking world and the second-oldest university still in operation. Even though there is no foundation date, there is evidence of teaching that dates back as far as 1096.
Great professors, great content, and lots of 1-to-1 teaching with professors. We aren’t just force-fed information, we’re constantly asked to think about the what, how, why things are written and taught. The city is only 50min away from London, making it extremely easy to go back and forth for meetings, week-ends etc..
2. University of Bath
The University of Bath (4.5 rating, 68 reviews) comes with a reputation for both research and teaching excellence. It is a prestigious university that was founded in 1966 and is now established as one of the top UK universities. The University of Bath is highly ranked on EDUopinions and gets the 2nd best place in the UK universities list with the happiest students.
I am studying Politics and International relations with a Placement year. My programme is very well-taught and the professors are dedicated to delivering excellent knowledge, through various seminars and through lectures. The campus is very nice and everything is organized so well. One of the best things in our university is also the sports base – one of the best in the U.K. The university provides help with finding a placement for your 3rd year and you receive a lot of support from your tutors as well.
1. University of St Andrews
The University of St Andrews (4.6/5 rating, 58 reviews) is one of the oldest institutions in the world and it is known globally as a world leader in education. The university is located in the town of St Andrews in Scotland, a perfect place to study with an outstandingly high quality of life. Our student reviews’ ratings for St Andrews are the highest in the UK and therefore, it tops our ranking of the happiest universities.
I am loving my experience here. I have met most of my close friends during my first two years at St Andrews. The university has so many resources for academic, personal, and professional growth. Being a chemistry student, I am very much satisfied with the faculty, facilities and curriculum.
By looking at overall student satisfaction, you can get a great feel for exactly what a university is like and how its students feel about it. So, choosing one of the ten happiest universities in the UK could bode well for your overall experience at university and your career prospects.
Regardless of which university you end up choosing, you should consult with as many information sources as possible to ensure you make the right decision. To further aid your decision, check out EDUopinions‘ verified student reviews and hear from real students about their experiences at universities around Europe.
Editor’s note: This article was first published on the 1st of April 2022. We’ve updated it for current readers.