Aberystwyth University

Location: Aberystwyth 
Number of students: 6,300
Aberystwyth University website

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 21 academic departments, offering undergraduate and postgraduate study. It has 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:

  • Welsh university of the year (The Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2020)
  • 90 per cent overall student satisfaction (National Student Satisfaction survey 2020)

Bangor University

Location: Bangor 
Number of students: 8,800
Bangor University website

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 18 academic faculties and schools spanning the arts, humanities, engineering 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: 9,500
Cardiff Met website

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. Its Art and Design course ranked second in the UK for student satisfaction (Complete University Guide 2022).

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: 

  • Welsh university of the year (The Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2021)
  • Silver award for teaching excellence (Teaching Excellence Framework 2017)

Cardiff University

Location: Cardiff 
Number of students: 28,300
Cardiff University website

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 2022. When it comes to choice, there are 300 degree courses split into over 20 schools. 11 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) 
  • Top Welsh university for graduate prospects (The Complete University Guide 2022)

Swansea University

Location: Swansea 
Number of students: 17,800
Swansea University website

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: 17,700
University of South Wales website

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 three faculties: Computing, Engineering and Science; Creative Industries; and Life Sciences and Education. Within these are 10 schools that offer further specialisation.

Accolades: 

  • Cyber University of the Year (National Cyber Awards 2020)
  • Ranks in the top 10 UK universities for Complementary Medicine and Health Studies (The Complete University Guide 2022)

University of Wales Trinity Saint David

Location: Carmarthenshire, Ceredigion, Swansea 
Number of students: 10,000 
University of Wales Trinity St David website

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). There are also campuses in London and Birmingham and learning centres in Cardiff. There are over 70 courses to choose from across the board. Many of its courses rank joint 1st for research intensity in the UK (The Complete University Guide 2022).

Accolades: 

  • Best in Wales for learning community (National Student Survey 2018) 
  • Fourth in the UK for University of the Year (WUSCA 2020)

Wrexham Glyndŵr University

Main location: Wrexham 
Number of students: 3,700
Glyndŵr University website

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) 
  • 15th best UK university for student satisfaction (The Complete University Guide 2022)

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

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