The Best Universities in Europe

Every year, thousands of students worldwide flock to Europe to pursue their education. Why is it that Europe is one of the most popular study-abroad locations? 

Europe is home to some of the world’s most prestigious universities, from ancient universities with centuries-old traditions to modern, cutting-edge institutions.

European universities are responsible for producing some of the greatest minds in history. 

From Nobel laureates to influential political leaders, these establishments have played an essential role in shaping education and the modern world as we know it.

The universities outlined below each have a long-standing history of excellence, providing various degree programs and research opportunities. 

Each university selected from Switzerland to the United Kingdom offers unique benefits to those seeking a top-notch education. 

When researching universities, the options can be daunting for prospective students. With so many institutions to choose from, it can take time to narrow down the best options. 

To help make the decision easier, we have compiled a list of 10 of the best universities in Europe that every student should know about. Read on to find out more about these fantastic universities and why they should be on your radar.

Here are 10 of the best universities in Europe.

University of Amsterdam (Amsterdam, NL)

The University of Amsterdam has a long list of awards and achievements to its name. One impressive feat is UvA’s Economics and Business program’s triple crown of accreditation from the AMBA, EQUIS, and AACSB.

UvA also has an outstanding list of famous alumni, which includes astronauts, Nobel Prize winners, and Prime Ministers. 

Some of their most notable graduates include Charles Michel (President of the European Council), Melvin V Peebles (American actor and filmmaker), and Sutan Sjahrir (former Prime Minister of Indonesia). 

At UvA, students can choose from hundreds of courses and programs in areas such as humanities, law, economics, and science. 

You might consider UvA if you value research-led teaching, opportunities for international exchange, and the high quality of life that is found in Amsterdam. 

London School of Economics and Political Science (London, EN)

London School of Economics and Political Science
Shadowssettle, Centre Building, LSE from LSE Square, CC BY-SA 4.0

Founded in 1895 by the Fabian Society, a group of British intellectuals and social reformers, LSE has long been a leader in economics, political science, law, and international relations. 

Throughout its long history, this university has established a reputation for excellence in research. 

It has consistently ranked as one of the top universities in the world. In fact, according to the latest QS World University Rankings, LSE is ranked third in the world for Social Sciences. 

With a student body of over 12,000 students from 160 countries, LSE is a very attractive choice for students who want to attend a diverse college. 

They also boast a range of exciting extracurricular activities, including student-run societies and organizations, sports teams, and student media outlets. 

King’s College London (London, EN)

Kings College is known for its achievements in research and education, having received several awards, including the Queen’s Anniversary Prize for Higher Education in 2016 and the Times Higher Education Award for Outstanding Contribution to Innovation and Technology in 2018.

This university has produced remarkable alumni such as Mahatma Gandhi and Alexander Graham Bell.

Kings College offers a wide range of degree programs in the fields of medicine, humanities, natural sciences, and engineering. 

The university also provides career services and job fairs, helping students find employment after graduation.

Overall, Kings College London is an excellent choice for those looking for a top-notch education while also getting the chance to experience the culture and lifestyle in the vibrant city of London.

University of Manchester (Manchester, EN)

University of Manchester
AMUoM, Sackville Street Building, University of Manchester, CC BY-SA 4.0

The University of Manchester has a rich history that dates back to 1824. In 2004 the famous industrial city’s two pronounced colleges (the University of Manchester Institute of Science and Technology and Victoria University) combined to form the University of Manchester as we know it today.  

The university is home to some of the world’s leading researchers and has won numerous awards for its innovation, including the Nobel Prize and the Turing Award. 

In total, they have produced 25 Nobel Prize winners, including physicist Ernest Rutherford who discovered the structure of the atom. 

With over 40,000 students enrolled, the University of Manchester is the largest single-site campus in the UK. Outside of the UK, the institution also has a strong presence, with campuses in China, India, and Singapore. 

University of Edinburgh (Edinburgh, UK)

The University of Edinburgh is one of Europe’s most prestigious and highly respected institutions. Ranked 6th in Europe and 29th in the world by the Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2023.

Edinburgh offers an impressive range of courses, with 300 undergraduate and postgraduate degree programs to choose from. 

In addition, it is known for its excellence in research and is a select member of the Russell Group.

The University has several unique features which make it an attractive choice for students. It provides a range of student societies, from music and drama to political activism and international studies. 

It also has a vibrant campus culture, with numerous festivals, art galleries, museums, and a wealth of sporting facilities.

Edinburgh provides a world-class education and a stimulating learning environment that challenges and inspires students. With a strong sense of community and a wealth of resources, it offers considerable opportunities for students to reach their full potential.

ETH Zurich (Zurich, CH)

ETH Zurich
ETH-Bibliothek, ETH Zürich im Abendlicht, CC BY-SA 4.0

ETH Zurich is one of the top universities in Europe and a premier destination for students seeking an elite education. 

This university has an impressive faculty roster, which allows students ample opportunity to work closely with leading experts in their field. 

The history of ETH Zurich is fascinating. In the 19th century, the university was founded with the mission to excel in engineering and natural sciences by the Swiss Federal Government. 

Over time it has grown to encompass many more disciplines. However, ETH Zurich is still known for its research excellence and cutting-edge technology. 

ETH Zurich has also produced some of the most famous people from Europe. Such as physicist Albert Einstein, who, sometime after graduating, went on to teach at the university. 

For students looking to receive a world-class education, ETH Zurich is an excellent choice. 

With its stellar faculty, impressive research, and history of producing notable figures, ETH Zurich is a great option for anyone looking to take their education to the next level.

Imperial College London (London, EN)

If you are looking for one of the top universities in Europe, Imperial College London is definitely worth considering. Located in the heart of London, ICL is a prestigious institution and is ranked among Europe’s best universities. 

At ICL, students have a wide variety of courses to choose from, ranging from natural sciences, engineering, and technology to medicine and business. 

Imperial College London boasts some impressive statistics regarding student life. 

The college has a high number of international students and is also home to several prestigious societies, such as the Royal Society, the Institute of Electrical Engineers, and the Royal Academy of Engineering. 

It also offers 90+ sports clubs, including exciting outdoor sports such as mountaineering and windsurfing.

With so much going on both inside and outside the classroom, Imperial College London is an excellent option for any student looking for an unforgettable experience.

University College London (London, EN)

University College London
Ethan Doyle White, The UCL School of Slavonic and East European Studies, CC BY-SA 4.0

Founded in 1826, UCL has a long history of excellence in academics and research. UCL is based in London, England, and has over 38,000 students enrolled in its various programs. 

Currently, UCL has 30 Nobel Prize winners, making it the highest number of any university in the UK. 

UCL has been highly placed in all the major university rankings, such as the Times Higher Education World University Rankings, QS World University Rankings, and Academic Ranking of World Universities. 

QS has ranked UCL in the top 10 for two years consecutively. Additionally, the university was recognized as one of the leading European universities for international student diversity in 2018.

University of Cambridge (Cambridge, EN)

The University of Cambridge is a renowned institution with a long and distinguished history. 

Its alumni have gone on to accomplish great success and its departments are acclaimed for their many outstanding achievements.

Cambridge’s highly esteemed departments and constituent colleges are recognized around the world. 

Some of the school’s noted facilities include the Cavendish Laboratory, a leading center for physics research; the Mathematical Laboratory, home to several eminent mathematicians; and Trinity College, known for producing world-famous scientists, political minds, and writers. 

Scholars Francis Crick and James Watson were credited with discovering the structure of DNA while working at the Cavendish Laboratory at Cambridge. The university has achieved many more notable successes, such as being the alma mater of several Nobel Prize winners.  

Oxford University (Oxford, EN)

Queen's College, Oxford University
Odicalmuse, Facade of The Queen’s College, Oxford, 2020, CC BY-SA 4.0

Founded in 1096, the University of Oxford is one of the oldest collegiate institutions in the world and consistently ranks as one of the top universities globally. 

Many famous scholars have studied or taught at the University of Oxford—such as JRR Tolkien, Albert Einstein, Sir Stephen Hawking, Bill Clinton, and Tim Berners-Lee. 

Oxford is also one of the largest universities in the world, made up of 39 colleges scattered throughout the historic city. 

In 2022, the university was ranked first among European universities and fifth in the world by US News

Equally as impressive, the university consistently proves to be among the best research-intensive universities, with four separate departments in the top five for research quality.

In addition to its academic excellence, Oxford is known for its beautiful campus buildings, including the Radcliffe Camera Library and the Christ Church Cathedral. 

For students seeking culture and history, the university is also home to some of the finest museums in England.

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