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Best universities for a master’s in London

As the capital of the UK and one of the largest cities in Europe, London is one of the world’s foremost destinations for postgraduate education. Home to a raft of prestigious universities, research institutes, and leading businesses, London can offer students unparalleled academic and professional opportunities. 

London has existed as a settlement for almost 2,000 years, and for much of its life has been a meeting point between different cultures, economies and perspectives. As a student at a London university, you’ll be able to see much of this history with your own eyes as you travel around the city, with ancient archaeology and prominent sites around every corner. 

London is a contemporary, exciting and ever-changing city. Technological innovation, financial dynamism and cultural energy define this urban community—galleries, venues, restaurants, bars, clubs and community spaces cover the city, offering you an endless number of things to see and experience. 

London has exceptional transport links across the city and the country, as well as rapid rail and air connections to Europe and beyond. A busy calendar of world-class sports events, festivals and events can also be explored all year round. 

CONTENTS 

Which universities are in London? 

University College London (UCL) 

University College London is one of the city’s leading higher education institutions, having placed 9th according to the 2023 Complete University Guide league table. It was established in 1826, originally as a secular alternative to the universities found in Oxford and Cambridge. UCL has a campus located in the Bloomsbury area, right in the heart of London, as well as a new site—UCL East—in the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, Stratford. 

Postgraduate learners can select from a wide range of taught and research degrees, from short courses to master’s degrees or doctoral study pathways. There are dozens of subject areas to choose from, whether it’s astrophysics or engineering, medicine or law. World leading faculties and research groups, such as IOE, contribute to the university’s status as the top-rated UK university for research strength. 

As a student of UCL, you’ll be able to make the most of the university’s exceptional learning and research facilities. The university offers hundreds of individual study spaces, from departmental buildings to the Student Centre which offers 1,000 spots alone. 16 specialist libraries provide the perfect place for gaining or developing new knowledge at the forefront of your field. 

Go to: Search courses at University College London

Imperial College London 

This is one of the highest rated universities in London, as well as being in the top five universities in the UK according to the Complete University Guide 2023. Imperial College London is a research-driven university with that specialises in science, engineering, medicine and business exclusively. It was founded in 1907, joining the University of London in 1908 before becoming independent in 2007. Its main campus is found in South Kensington, while also having teaching hospitals across the city and an innovation centre in White City. 

As the UK’s only university with an explicit focus on science, engineering, medicine and business, Imperial can offer you incisive postgraduate taught or research courses across a focused range of subject areas. The university’s Department of Life Sciences is one of the most highly funded of its kind across the UK, and is accredited as a centre of excellence for training and research. It’s also possible to get an Imperial master’s degree online, with programmes like the MSc in Business Analytics available remotely. 

Imperial College has a huge range of laboratories and other facilities across its sites, allowing students to get in depth research experience and contribute to the forefront of their field. Numerous teaching hospitals provide the perfect setting for gaining clinical skills and professional experience. Its campus is not only home to modern lecture theatres and private or social study spaces, but also offers free excellent to a range of sports facilities. The Student Hub is a one-stop shop for student services, located in the main campus. 

Go to: Search courses at Imperial College London

London School of Economics (LSE) 

The London School of Economics and Political Science is a world-leading higher education institution that offers postgraduate study options exclusively in the field of social sciences. You’ll find its campus in the heart of Holborn, just a short way from the River Thames and overlooking the central London skyline. Originally founded in 1895, followed by membership of the University of London from 1900, LSE began independently awarded degrees from 2008 and today is a leading university in the city. 

The university is a world leader for postgraduate programmes in the social sciences or management, with a range of taught and research options available to choose from. LSE also has a unique portfolio of Executive Education options, aimed at middle or senior level professionals looking to take the next step in their career. In addition to social science courses or research pathways supported by leading experts, students can explore a number of degree and non-degree language courses which are the perfect preparation for success around the globe. 

LSE is notable among UK postgraduate institutions as being the first one to achieve carbon neutrality, a symbol of its commitment to progress and innovation. Despite being in a busy central London location, pedestrianised streets make the campus a peaceful, focused study environment. Its library is an internationally renowned repository of social science knowledge, while a dedicated Language Centre and PhD Academy offer specialist environments for enhanced postgraduate level learning. 

Go to: Search for courses at London School of Economics

King’s College London 

King's College London is one of the oldest universities in the UK, having been established in 1829. It provides students with a broad portfolio of postgraduate courses that are highly rated, with the university itself taking 22nd place in the country according to the 2023 Complete University Guide. The university is spread across London, with five campus sites in total. Most of these can be found along the banks of the River Thames, and often close to the capital’s various tech, finance and business hubs. 

Postgraduates attending King’s can choose from taught and research across the sciences, medical disciplines, law, business, arts and humanities, and the social sciences. With its own Centre for Doctoral Studies, and connections to various doctoral training centres and partnerships, it’s a veritable hub for innovative research activity. The university is particularly known for its strength in medicine and allied fields, as Europe’s largest hub for professional education in healthcare. 

At King’s College London, you’ll be able to benefit from a raft of world-class research facilities. From medical to materials sciences, postgraduates can make use of various specialised labs, imaging facilities, technological resources and expert support to push the boundaries of their potential. Combined with excellent library and private study facilities, sports facilities, food and drink options, and clubs and societies—across the city of London—students will always be close to the tools and services they need. 

Go to: Search courses at King's College London

Queen Mary University of London 

With a history stretching back more than 230 years, Queen Mary University of London has been a major influence on the London academic landscape for some time. A member of the prestigious Russell Group, it’s a university with a strong focus on postgraduate research—having placed 7th in the country according to the 2021 Research Excellence Framework. The university has five campus sites across the city, in addition to sites in Paris, Malta and China. The main campuses are in Mile End and Whitechapel, respectively, with each campus having a particular disciplinary focus. 

Queen Mary recently placed 35th in the 2023 Complete University Guide, reflecting its commitment to teaching and research quality. Students can choose from taught and research programmes, as well as associate programmes—allowing students to study as a visiting student on a monthly basis. Postgraduate students can explore various cours es, from medicine and dentistry to science, engineering, social sciences and the humanities. 

The university offers postgraduate an exceptional environment for learning, with teaching and research facilities benefiting from continual investment. Recent development such as the Blizard Building, boasting some of Europe’s most expansive open-plan laboratories, and the first new dental school constructed in the UK for 40 years. With a 7,700 square metre Graduate Centre on top, along with a variety of cutting-edge, specialist facilities, it’s an unbeatable choice for postgraduates. 

Go to: Search courses at Queen Mary University of London

Other universities 

With a greater number of universities than any other city across the United Kingdom, there are many choices when it comes to postgraduate study. Some of the other major universities to be found in the city include: 

Entry Requirements 

As a prospective postgraduate student, you should explore specific entry requirements related to courses you’re interested in. These may vary between university, but generally you’re expected to have a related undergraduate degree or international equivalent, or relevant professional experience 

Completion of an interview or submission of a portfolio might be required. You can find out more about course-specific admissions criteria on our course finder tool. 

What to do in London 

You’ll never run out of things to do in London. Whatever your interests or preferred lifestyle, the UK capital can provide you with a level of choice and quality that’s hard to match. 

Part of what makes London such a fantastic city to live in is the wealth of choices available to you when it comes to transport. From buses and trains to boats, cable cars or rickshaws, there are plenty of ways to get around. Regional railway links can get you to cities like Oxford, Manchester or Liverpool in a little more than a couple of hours, while there are several airports on the outskirts of the city. 

For lovers of art, culture and history, London is like no other. A wealth of national galleries and museums are completely free to visit, with institutions like the British Museum, Natural History Museum, Science Museum, V&A, Tate Galleries and National Gallery drawing visitors from near and far. 

London’s known for its diverse and unique neighbourhoods, each with their own distinct atmospheres, charms and attractions. Whether it’s inner-city markets like Borough Market or Spitalfields, art-covered streets in Shoreditch or the post-industrial bars and clubs of Hackney Wick, you’ll always have new neighbourhoods to discover or old favourites to revisit. 

The city is home to some of the country’s most major sports and events spaces, with locations like Wembley Stadium, the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, Emirates Stadium, Royal Albert Hall, and O2 Arena putting it on the world map. 

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