The 5 Hardest Universities To Get Into In The UK

hardest universities to get into in the uk

Written by Pareeshti Rao

It all started with an impulsive urge to befriend Enid Blyton and be a part of the famous five! Writing since then has been my magic wand and I've used it to sprinkle words like fairy dust and express myself thereat.

June 1, 2021

Students always contemplate on the ‘best’ or the ‘top’ universities not only to get quality education but so that they can also add it to their CVs to attract employers upon completion of their uni studies. However, it is a very rare sight to see students debate about the hardest universities to get into in the UK. Have you ever been curious about why these universities are difficult to get into? Why is the application process of some universities more competitive than others? To give you clarity in this regard, here’s a list of the most difficult UK universities to get into and more details about them.

Before we proceed, I’d like you to take a look at the number of international students in the UK despite the competitive application procedure of quite many universities. This number has only witnessed an upward trend since the early 2000s. 

hardest universities to get into in the UK


Source: Studying-in-UK.org


Although students may find it a hard time getting into some of the top universities such as the University of Oxford and the University of Cambridge, that is where the challenge lies. Every year, more than 40,000 students fly from all corners of the world to study at these universities. The country is home to more than 1000 HEIs, 30 of which rank globally amongst the top 100 universities in the world. We’ve put across a list of some of the hardest universities to get into in the UK along with details such as their acceptance rates and other admission details.

List Of The Hardest UK Unis To Get Into


On what basis are universities categorised among the hardest universities to get into in the UK? In general, this is made based upon the percentage of offers made by the university vs the number of applications received.

University Of Oxford: 21.8%


With a very low acceptance rate of 21.8%, getting into the University of Oxford is indeed a tough competition. However, studying at this university, as we all know, has its own set of benefits. The University of Oxford offers 48 undergraduate courses to international students. The degrees cover a wide range of faculties such as law, humanities, language, theology, and philosophy.

If you’re lucky enough to get into this university, you’ll be among 24,000 students; 11,930 of which are UG students and the rest go on to pursue their PG studies. While it may be one of the hardest universities to get into the UK, it has also been ranked in the top 6 globally in the following fields:

  • Engineering
  • Life Sciences
  • Social Sciences
  • Arts
  • Humanities

University Of Cambridge: 28.5%


The University of Cambridge stands among the most prestigious universities in the world. Due to the large number of applications that it gets every year, the acceptance rate of the university is also quite low, making it one of the hardest universities to get into in the UK. The university accepts about 20,000 students every year 9,000 of which are international students coming from over 140 countries. Your chances of getting into this university are high if your academic scores are a plus for you. The university is famous for its 6 major schools namely:

  • Arts and Humanities
  • Biological Sciences
  • Clinical Medicine
  • Humanities and Social Sciences
  • Physical Sciences
  • Technology

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London School Of Economics And Political Science: 35.2%


When compared to prestigious universities such as Oxford University or the University of Cambridge, getting into LSE is slightly on the upper hand with an acceptance rate of 35.2%. However, it still stands amongst the hardest British universities to get into. With its main focus on developing innovative ideas and research theories, the university ranks amongst the best in the UK. As the name suggests, the university is famous for the following departments:

  • Economics
  • Accounting
  • Methodology
  • Sociology
  • Statistics
  • Philosophy
  • Law
  • Geography

Have you read about the latest lockdown rules in the UK as of 2021? 

hardest universities to get into in the uk

St George’s University Of London: 39%


If you break the name of the university, you’ll automatically understand that this university is associated with the University of London and St George’s hospital. A medical science-based open-research institute, it was the first in the UK to introduce a four-year programme in medical sciences. While you may think of it as one of the hardest universities to get into in the UK, you’ll largely benefit from the many services offered to international students, a few of which include:

  • Practices based on real-life situations including medical emergencies
  • Clinical Skill laboratories
  • Trauma Centers

Why this university is one of the hardest universities to get into the UK, is because the university accepts a total of about 5,500 students every year with a cut-throat competition. So if you’re really passionate about sharpening your skills, practising for real-life situations, and gaining ample exposure, this university would be the right choice for you. Keep in mind the study requirements for the UK so that you don’t falter while applying to the university.

University Of The Arts London: 41.9%


If you’re in the world of art and design, and you’re thinking of the UK for your higher studies, the University of the Arts London is the perfect place for you. Although it is among the hardest universities to get into in the UK, you can apply to the university for your pre-degree, undergraduate, as well as postgraduate studies. The university offers some of the most popular overseas courses in the UK including:

  • Art
  • Design
  • Screen
  • Communication
  • Fashion
  • Media
  • Performing Arts

You can alternatively look up even for short courses offered by the university in case you feel like your chances of getting selected are low. The university comprises 6 specialist colleges namely: Camberwell College of Arts, Central St Martins, Chelsea College of Arts, London College of Communication, London College of Fashion and Wimbledon College of Arts.

Thank you for reading this blog on the Hardest Universities To Get Into The UK. If you wish to read more, here are some blogs that might be of interest to you:

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