The Best Colleges & Universities in Birmingham, England

Located roughly 100 miles from London, Birmingham, England has a long and storied history. 

Human activity in the area dates back to some 8,000 years ago in the Stone Age, while in more recent times, the city has been one of the main focal points of the Industrial Revolution and has a current economic focus in the service sector. 

Birmingham is the United Kingdom’s second-largest city, and it has been the scene of major historical events like the development of the Watt steam engine. 

In addition to its historical notability, Birmingham is one of the UK’s main post-secondary education centers. 

Home to six major universities as well as multiple centers for further and religious education, Birmingham offers prospective students a multitude of choices as they consider the institution they wish to attend. 

The Birmingham Business School, part of the University of Birmingham, was established in 1902 and is the oldest business school in all of the United Kingdom. 

Birmingham is also a center for arts education with notable institutions, including the Birmingham Conservatoire, Birmingham Institute of Art and Design, and the Elmhurst Ballet School. 

On top of the numerous schools and universities, the city is home to 41 local libraries. Many internationally recognized cultural institutions, such as the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra and Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery, are located in the city. 

Whether drawn to history or culture, any student wishing to attend one of Birmingham’s universities is sure to find their horizons broadened while studying there. 

University of Birmingham

University of Birmingham
University of Birmingham – public domain photo via Wikimedia Commons

Founded in 1900 by its first chancellor, Joseph Chamberlain, the University of Birmingham was the first university in England to consider applicants from all circumstances on an equal footing. 

The school now annually accepts over 30,000 students from across the globe. 

Staff and alumni from the university have contributed to the 10 Nobel Prizes the institution claims, and its contributions toward the discovery of the Higgs Boson and gravitational waves make it one of the most important schools in the recent advancement of physics. 

The University of Birmingham is a global leader in research, ranked 90th globally and 14th in the UK by QS World University Rankings. 

Also a founding member of Universitas 21, the school combines its efforts with 27 other global research universities. 

Originally founded as the School of Commerce, the University of Birmingham’s business school is internationally distinguished by holding accreditations from EQUIS, the AACSB, and the AMBA.

Furthermore, the Birmingham Business School was ranked 98th in the world and 12th in the UK in the Economist’s 2022 rankings

Whether seeking education from one of the globally-leading universities in physics and chemistry or from a world-renowned business school, the University of Birmingham is an attractive option for students around the world.

Aston University

Aston University
Aston University – public domain photo via Wikimedia Commons

On April 22, 1966, Queen Elizabeth II bestowed the charter for the establishment of Aston University. However, its history stretches back to 1875 as Birmingham and Midland Institute’s School of Metallurgy. 

Focused on science and technology, in more recent years the school became the lead sponsor of the Aston University Engineering Academy’s program to bring engineering education to students from 14 to 19 years old. Following this, 

Aston University established its medical school, known as one of the most inclusive schools of its kind in the Uk, it offers 40% of its places to applicants from underprivileged backgrounds. 

Aston’s 12 schools and 12 subject areas offer students a range of educational opportunities from the undergraduate to postgraduate levels.  

The United Kingdom’s most recent assessment of the quality of research across its institutions of higher education, known as the Research Excellence Framework, determined that 79% of Aston’s research was “world-leading” or “internationally excellent.”

 The same report found that 74% of its research was “very considerable” or “outstanding” in its significance and reach.  

Aston takes this acclaimed research output and works to effect positive outcomes in the world through the Knowledge Exchange Framework. The program is focused on working with enterprises to grow the economy and enhance productivity and society while keeping the best interests of its student body in mind. 

Aston University is an excellent choice for students seeking a forward-thinking science and technology university. 

University College Birmingham

University College Birmingham
UCB01, Summer Row Campus, CC BY-SA 4.0

University College Birmingham has recently invested £140 million into new campuses in which students pursue degrees accredited by the University of Warwick. The university’s roots go back to the 19th century, when its forbearer was known as Birmingham Municipal Technical School. 

From then until now, the school was noted for its culinary arts courses or what was referred to as “cookery.” 

The school became part of the United Kingdom’s higher educational system in 2002, although many of its courses have a vocational emphasis to this day. 

Alumni from the school have gone on to found businesses centered on developing zero calorie syrups and sauces and to receive industry awards

With students from 65 countries seeking further education, apprenticeships, or a higher educational degree, anyone who chooses to enroll at University College Birmingham is bound to encounter a wide range of opportunities and forge diverse connections. 

Birmingham City University

Birmingham City University currently sees some 25,800 students from 80 countries taking courses from one of its four faculties. 

These faculties offer health and education, engineering, business, and art courses. 

The university’s current formation arose from the merger of five different colleges brought together as The City of Birmingham Polytechnic in 1971 before becoming Birmingham City University in 2007. 

The university’s STEAMhouse center brings together experts from multiple disciplines to support the growth of business and promote innovation. 

As part of its mission to support economic growth, Birmingham City University has contributed £270 million to Birmingham’s regional economy. 

As part of its 2025 strategy, BCU has invested more than £400 million into an urban renewal project centered in Birmingham’s Eastside. 

The school is developing multiple buildings and revitalizing historic structures as it supports the city that supports it. 

Research projects at BCU have recently tackled healthcare provided via telemedicine and supply chain issues. 

Birmingham City University’s focus on solving global challenges while contributing to its region’s economic power ensures that its students’ research and skills are put to meaningful use.

Newman University

Newman University - Birmingham
James nayler is real, Campus Quad, CC BY-SA 4.0

Founded in 1968, Newman University offers students small class sizes as they study in buildings well-connected to significant thoroughfares and surrounded with beautiful scenery. 

Roughly 2,700 students find devoted academic support at its highly-awarded sustainable campus

While it was originally founded as a small Catholic college focused on educating future teachers, the school gained its university status in 2013. 

Among other notable events in its more than 50-year history, the school’s patron saint, John Henry Newman, was beatified in 2010 during Pope Benedict XVI’s stop in Birmingham during his state visit to the United Kingdom. 

Newman University’s research was recently ranked under the UK’s Research Excellence Framework as “internationally significant” and of “world-leading” quality. 

Newman’s postgraduate research centers are focused, in part, on the humanities, education, and biblical studies. 

The university supports its researchers as an organizational member of Vitae, which seeks to provide professional development opportunities to researchers. 

Students interested in adding a religious component to their courses in higher education find a fulfilling home as they study on Newman University’s quiet and sustainable campus. 

Birmingham Metropolitan College

Rather than being primarily focused on producing research and offering undergraduate and graduate degrees, Birmingham Metropolitan College is one of the United Kingdom’s further education centers

Further education in the UK serves some students as a bridge between secondary and higher education, while, for others, it provides vocational or career training. 

Created in 2009 by the merger of Matthew Boulton and Sutton Coldfield Colleges, BMet offers students approximately 200 courses to continue their education. 

Whether taking A-levels, vocational courses, or working toward higher education, students at one of BMet’s 10 locations in Birmingham find great support from the school. 

Birmingham Metropolitan College offers applicants small class sizes, low tuition costs, and accessible admission requirements. 

Students with interest in horticulture will find BMet’s partnership with the Birmingham Botanical Gardens enticing as the gardens are world-famous and contain 7,000 plants. 

The UK’s Royal Horticulture Society approves the school’s part-time and full-time courses. 

From continuing education to pursuing undergraduate or graduate degrees, students choosing to enroll at Birmingham Metropolitan College take advantage of its low cost of attendance and small class sizes to prepare themselves for the next phase of their journeys. 

South & City College Birmingham

Another instance of the UK’s further education system, South and City College Birmingham’s eight campuses offer accessible vocational training across Birmingham. 

The school offers students full-time, part-time, and apprenticeship classes to suit their educational needs. 

The school’s current formation is the result of a series of mergers of previously existing colleges mergers. 

Beginning with the merger of South Birmingham College and City College Birmingham, the final merger occurred in 2017 with the incorporation of Bournville College. 

Level 1 to higher education courses are provided to students, enabling them to pursue a career in construction or build one in higher education. 

The school offers its range of courses and virtual campus tours to international students, who make up part of the 20,000 students attending the school annually. 

South and City College Birmingham was recently awarded the title of Further Education College of the Year at the Education Awards. 

This event recognized the school’s efforts to promote excellence and achievement as it transforms the lives of its students.