Aberystwyth University

Location: Aberystwyth 
Number of students: 8,500 
Website: aber.ac.uk

Students sitting on the lawn outside university building
Aberystwyth University

Aberystwyth University was founded in 1872, making it the oldest university institution in all of Wales. It excels in teaching, research, and student experience. There are 20 academic departments that offer undergraduate and postgraduate study, including the oldest International Politics department in the world.

The town of Aberystwyth is an inexpensive place to live, is safer than many places in the UK and has plenty to keep students occupied outside of their studies. The campus overlooks beautiful Cardigan Bay.

Accolades: 

  • University of the year for teaching quality (The Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2018 and 2019) 
  • 90% overall student satisfaction (National Student Satisfaction survey 2018)

Bangor University

Location: Bangor 
Number of students: 11,300 
Website: bangor.ac.uk

external view of university campus
external view of university campus
female and two males stood by building with people walking in background
Bangor University

Sitting in the north of Wales, between the mountains of Snowdonia and the waters of the Menai Strait, Bangor University is one of the most scenically-placed universities in the UK. It was founded in 1884 and has always balanced academic excellence with great student experience. 

The University is made up of three colleges that house 14 academic schools spanning the arts, humanities and sciences. The quality of the courses and lecturers is very good – in fact, Bangor was rated the second best in the UK for it at the Whatuni Student Choice Awards 2018. There are over 200 societies and clubs for students to join, plus the whole of Snowdonia National Park to enjoy as a back garden. Direct trains to Bangor run from London, Manchester, Crewe and Cardiff.

Accolades: 

  • Best university in the UK for clubs and societies (WUSCA 2019) 
  • Best creative writing degree in Wales (The Complete University Guide 2020)

Cardiff Metropolitan University

Location: Cardiff 
Number of students: 11,000 
Website: cardiffmet.ac.uk

Cardiff Metropolitan University (or 'Cardiff Met', as it's known locally) is a practice-focused city centre university. While Cardiff Met was founded in 1996, its first iteration was formed in 1865 when the School of Art opened. It has long been known for its high quality creative and sports-related degree courses. 

There are two campuses, Llandaff Campus and Cyncoed Campus, both of which are located in Cardiff. Across them are five schools: Art & Design; Management; Sport & Health Sciences; Technologies; Education and Social Policy. Alumni include journalist Michael Buerk and rugby legend Sir Gareth Edwards.

Accolades: 

  • 95% of students in employment or further study within six months of graduating (DHLE 2016) 
  • Silver award for teaching excellence (Teaching Excellence Framework 2017)

Cardiff University

Location: Cardiff 
Number of students: 31,600 
Website: cardiff.ac.uk

external view of university campus
Cardiff University

Ambitious, innovative and creative, Cardiff University is Wales’ largest institution of its kind and the 10th largest university in the UK. It is located in the centre of Cardiff, Wales’ capital city, and has a global reputation as a first-class place of study.

The Russell Group university prides itself on its academic quality and rigorous research; it ranks fifth in the UK for research quality in the Complete University Guide 2020. When it comes to choice, there are 300 degree courses split into over 20 schools. 12 of these schools are in the top 10 for their subject in the UK. 

Cardiff University still uses some of the architecturally striking buildings that it occupied when it was founded in 1883, as well as modern purpose-built facilities. It is positioned in the most active part of Wales when it comes to culture, sport and business, with great opportunities for extra-curricular activities.

Accolades: 

  • Best university in Wales (The Complete University Guide 2020) 
  • 83% student satisfaction (National Student Survey 2018)

Swansea University

Location: Swansea 
Number of students: 19,200 
Website: swansea.ac.uk

aerial view of university and beach
Students walking down steps, building with greenery
Singleton Campus, aerial view and Singleton Abbey, Swansea University

Founded in 1920, Swansea University is a research-led university that consistently performs well in teaching quality and student satisfaction. It has two campuses, both of which are on Swansea’s waterfront. The leafy Singleton Park campus overlooks Swansea Bay beach, with the Bay Campus on the beach to the east.

There are seven academic colleges and over 50 undergraduate and postgraduate degree courses. The university also invests a lot of time and money into research. Approximately 90% of its research is world-leading or internationally excellent in terms of the difference it makes to society.

Outside of the academics, Swansea University has a thriving social scene. There are 120 societies and 50 sports clubs, not to mention a city of entertainment and activity outside of the university.

Accolades: 

  • University of the year (WUSCAs 2019) 
  • Welsh university of the year (The Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2019)

University of South Wales

Main locations: Cardiff, Newport, Pontypridd
Number of students: 23,500 
Website: southwales.ac.uk

external view of university campus
Male employee working at a computer CEMAS - Centre of Excellence in Mobile Applications and Services, University of South Wales
External view of the university campus
University of South Wales Treforest campus,  a student at CEMAS (Centre of Excellence in Mobile Applications and Services) and ATRiuM building, Cardiff campus

The University of South Wales is a modern and ambitious university that puts great effort into preparing students for life after graduating. It was established in 2013 after a merger between the University of Glamorgan and the University of Wales in Newport, institutions that date back over 170 years. 

With three campuses in South Wales (Cardiff, Newport and Pontypridd) and a campus in Dubai, the university has a wide reach and a choice of locations. The University has four faculties, namely: Business and Society; Computing, Engineering and Society; Creative Industries; Life Sciences and Education. Within these are 12 schools that offer further specialisation.

Accolades: 

  • Cyber university of the year (National Cyber Awards 2019) 
  • 95% of students in employment or further study within six months of graduating (DHLE 2016)

University of Wales Trinity Saint David

Location: Carmarthenshire, Ceredigion, Swansea 
Number of students: 10,000 
Website: uwtsd.ac.uk

The University of Wales Trinity Saint David – or UWTSD for short – is an employment-focused university that teaches students the knowledge and skills they need to thrive after university. Quality teaching and equipment are complemented by excellent student support. 

There are three main campuses in South West Wales (Carmarthenshire, Ceredigion, Swansea), campuses in London and learning centres in Cardiff and Birmingham, with over 70 courses to choose from across the board. Its Fashion & Textiles course ranks the best in the UK in the Guardian 2020 University league table.

Accolades: 

  • Best in Wales for learning community (National Student Survey 2018) 
  • 8th in the UK for university of the year (WUSCA 2019)

Wrexham Glyndŵr University

Main location: Wrexham 
Number of students: 6,500 
Website: glyndwr.ac.uk

external view of university campus
Wrexham Glyndŵr University

Wrexham Glyndŵr University is one of the youngest universities in the UK. It was founded in 2008 from already existing educational institutions. The name and ethos come from Owain Glyndŵr (c. 1349-1416), an enterprising Welsh scholar who loved learning, Wales, and embracing the world around him.

While the university is relatively small, it has four campuses in North Wales (Wrexham Plas Coch, Wrexham Regent Street, St Asaph and Northop) and a satellite campus in Kingston-upon-Thames in London. Across them, there are 14 schools and many degree courses. 

The university has ambitious plans for its future, including the £60m Campus 2025 project to improve all areas of its campuses.

Accolades: 

  • Silver award for teaching excellence (Teaching Excellence Framework 2017) 
  • 11th best UK university for courses and lecturers (WUSCAs 2018)

Find more information about the studying in Wales and how to apply by visiting the Study in Wales website.