There’s always a lot of hemming and hawing over which are the best UK universities to put on your CV to attract employers after uni is (sob) over.

But what we see a lot less debate about is which universities are the hardest to get into in the UK, in the first place.

Thankfully, Collegedunia’s ranking of acceptance rates has provided an answer to this question for the 2023 year.

They’ve ranked the UK’s unis according to ‘acceptance rates’. So you’ll know what you’re up against when it comes to the hardest universities to get into in the UK. And the easiest universities of course!

Here’s how they rank.

Check out the full list below, starting with the easiest UK universities to get into, to the toughest acceptance rates…

Aberystwyth University 

Acceptance rate: 96.1%

Situated along the picturesque coast of Wales, Aberystwyth University stands as a distinguished institution celebrated for its scholarly distinction and captivating environment. Established in 1872, the university provides a wide variety of undergraduate and postgraduate courses in numerous fields.

Thankfully, if things haven’t quite gone to plan, Aberystwyth University is one of the easiest universities to be accepted into.

Aberystwyth University’s top subjects include:

  Celtic Studies

  Agriculture and Forestry

The University of Roehampton

Acceptance rate: 93.9%

Nestled in the tranquil environs of Roehampton in Southwest London, the University of Roehampton presents a compelling choice for students exploring a wide array of academic fields. Its scenic campus, coupled with its closeness to London, offers students a blend of vibrant academic and cultural experiences.

Top subjects include:

Accounting and Finance

Bishop Grosseteste University

Acceptance rate: 92.2%

Situated in the storied city of Lincoln, England, Bishop Grosseteste University (BGU) stands out for its esteemed reputation in teacher training and educational fields. With deep roots tracing back to 1862, BGU creates a nurturing and inclusive atmosphere for students’ academic aspirations.

The scenic campus, along with its closeness to Lincoln’s lively cultural offerings, ensures that BGU provides a distinctive and enriching university journey.

Top subjects:

Childhood and Youth Studies

portsmouth university hardest universities to get into uk

University of Portsmouth

Acceptance rate: 89.9%

Located along the picturesque South Coast of England, the University of Portsmouth is a contemporary and lively institution. Tracing its origins back to 1869, the university has flourished into a top-tier academic establishment, celebrated for its proficiency in diverse fields.

Boasting a lively campus, cutting-edge facilities, and set within a lively coastal city, the University of Portsmouth delivers a fulfilling and diverse educational journey for students of every background.

Top subjects:

Forensic Science

Information Technology and Systems

Childhood and Youth Studies

York St John University

Acceptance rate: 89.4%

Located in the heritage-rich city of York, York St John University stands as a lively and welcoming institution, celebrated for its robust community ethos and student-focused educational methods. With its foundations set in 1841, the university boasts a storied legacy and is reputed for offering top-notch academic courses in various disciplines.

Top subjects:

Accounting and Finance

Leeds Trinity University

Acceptance rate: 89%

With a history dating back to 1966, Leeds Trinity University offers a supportive and inclusive environment for students. The university’s strong industry connections and emphasis on practical learning ensure that students gain relevant skills and experiences.

Its compact campus fosters a close-knit community, promoting individual attention and a friendly atmosphere. With its dedication to employability, Leeds Trinity University provides students with a well-rounded and engaging educational experience in a lively city setting.

Top subjects:

  Accounting and Finance

hardest universities to get into uk nottingham trent university

Nottingham Trent University

Acceptance rate: 88.9%

Nestled in the lively city of Nottingham, Nottingham Trent University (NTU) stands as a prominent institution, celebrated for its academic distinction and robust ties to industry. Originating in 1843, the university has transformed into a dynamic and forward-thinking centre of learning.

Furthermore, positioned in a city famed for its flourishing cultural offerings and vibrant student community, NTU provides an invigorating atmosphere that fosters both personal development and career advancement.

Top Subjects:

Forensic Science

Land and Property Management

Information Technology and Systems

Childhood and Youth Studies

Building

Newman University Birmingham

Acceptance rate: 88.7%

Situated at the centre of England, Newman University Birmingham is a distinguished institution renowned for its profound focus on the liberal arts and humanities. Since its founding in 1968, the university has been dedicated to providing education firmly grounded in moral values and social responsibility.

Nestled in Birmingham, a city characterized by its vibrancy and cultural diversity, Newman University opens doors for students to explore a plethora of cultural, leisure, and career prospects.

Top subjects:

Business and Management Studies

Hardest universities to get into in the UK

Within the realm of higher education, the United Kingdom has earned global acclaim for its prestigious universities, consistently ranking among the world’s finest. Amidst the UK’s diverse educational landscape, there exist institutions distinguished by their exacting admissions procedures, representing formidable entry challenges.

These universities serve as magnets for an array of exceptionally qualified and competitive candidates hailing from various corners of the world. Consequently, the prerequisites and selection processes for admission are exceptionally rigorous. As outlined by Collegedunia, here are some of the UK’s most formidable universities to secure admission into:

easiest universities to get into uk cambridge university

University of Cambridge

Acceptance rate: 19%

The University of Cambridge stands as a distinguished institution, celebrated for its academic distinction and storied legacy. Established in the year 1209, the university has earned renown for its unwavering commitment to pioneering research, and the provision of world-class education.

With a diverse student body comprising over 20,000 individuals hailing from 141 different countries, Cambridge University cultivates a dynamic and multicultural scholarly community. This environment promotes cross-cultural collaboration and the cultivation of global perspectives. The university offers a comprehensive array of undergraduate and postgraduate programs spanning various disciplines.

Top Subjects:

Computer Science

Engineering

Health

Social Science and Humanities

University of Oxford

Acceptance rate: 19.37%

Established in 1096, the University of Oxford proudly holds the distinction of being one of the world’s most ancient and esteemed higher education institutions. Nestled in the picturesque city of Oxford, England, this university boasts a storied legacy and a tradition of scholarly excellence that spans over nine centuries.

Earning renown for its intellectual rigour, accomplished faculty, and illustrious alumni, Oxford University presents a comprehensive array of academic disciplines and enjoys global acclaim for its groundbreaking research contributions.

Enhanced by its breathtaking historic architecture and vibrant collegiate system, the University of Oxford continues to captivate aspiring scholars from across the globe. It offers a transformative educational journey and serves as a portal to unparalleled opportunities in a multitude of fields of study.

Top Subjects:

The best university to study medicine in the world

39 subjects among the top 10 in quality in the UK

Imperial College London

Acceptance rate: 36%

Founded in 1907, Imperial College London has maintained an unwavering reputation for academic excellence, pioneering research, and technological advancement. Situated at the heart of London, this esteemed institution draws a diverse and talented student body from across the world, fostering a dynamic and intellectually enriching atmosphere.

With a steadfast commitment to scientific exploration and societal betterment, Imperial College London offers a broad spectrum of undergraduate and postgraduate programs, equipping students with the skills and knowledge to confront intricate global challenges.

Empowered by cutting-edge facilities, a faculty of world-class scholars, and robust industry collaborations, Imperial College continues to push the boundaries of scientific progress, actively shaping the landscape of future innovation.

Top subjects:

Aeronautical and Aerospace Engineering

Medical Technology and Bioengineering

Electrical and Electronic Engineering

Civil Engineering

University College London

Acceptance rate: 63%

Established in 1826, University College London (UCL) stands as a venerable institution celebrated for its academic distinction and unwavering dedication to innovation. Nestled in the bustling heart of London, UCL holds a prominent position among the UK’s foremost multidisciplinary universities, offering a comprehensive array of programs spanning diverse fields of study.

With a resolute focus on research and a heritage steeped in intellectual achievement, UCL magnetizes top-tier students and faculty members from every corner of the globe. The university’s pioneering ethos and forward-thinking educational philosophy have catalysed groundbreaking discoveries and advancements across a spectrum of disciplines, including science, medicine, engineering, social sciences, and humanities.

Top subjects: 

Education

Architecture and Built Environment

Archaeology

Anthropology

University of Edinburgh

Acceptance rate: 11.7%

Founded in 1583, the University of Edinburgh stands as a celebrated institution nestled within the historically and culturally vibrant city of Edinburgh, Scotland. Endowed with a venerable legacy of academic distinction, the university has firmly asserted itself as a worldwide frontrunner in both research and education.

With a diverse community composed of students and faculty hailing from across the globe, the University of Edinburgh presents a comprehensive array of undergraduate and postgraduate programs spanning an array of academic disciplines.

Enhanced by its impressive campuses, state-of-the-art facilities, and an invigorating urban backdrop, the University of Edinburgh delivers a distinctive and enriching educational journey, equipping students for successful careers and a lifetime of intellectual growth.

Top subjects: 

MBA

Veterinary 

Medicine

Engineering

University of Manchester

Acceptance rate: 56%

The University of Manchester, esteemed for its academic prowess and influential research endeavours, is a renowned institution. Established in its current form in 2004, it presents a comprehensive array of undergraduate and postgraduate programs spanning a wide spectrum of academic fields.

The university is celebrated for its lively campus, distinguished faculty, and a nurturing atmosphere that fosters intellectual development and innovative thinking.

Top subjects: 

Business

MBA

Marketing

king's college london hardest universities to get into uk

King’s College London

Acceptance rate: 13%

King’s College London, founded in 1829, enjoys global recognition for its exceptional education and research. It provides an extensive array of undergraduate and postgraduate programs spanning a diverse range of fields. Rooted in a storied past, the university holds its head high, emphasizing academic distinction, a worldwide perspective, and an unwavering dedication to advancing knowledge and creating a meaningful societal influence.

Top subjects:

Health Studies

Business and Management Studies

Social Policy

Anthropology

London School of Economics and Political Science

Acceptance rate: 7.6%

The London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) stands as a prominent global institution, specialising in the field of social sciences. With its origins dating back to 1895, LSE is celebrated for its demanding academic curricula and pioneering research initiatives.

Drawing students and faculty members from across the globe, LSE cultivates a diverse and intellectually invigorating milieu. It has earned distinction for its profound expertise in economics, politics, law, and social sciences, yielding substantial contributions to both academia and the formulation of public policy.

Top subjects:

Economics

Econometrics

Common questions about UK universities

What is the hardest university to get into in the UK?

The hardest UK university to get into is the University of Oxford, with an acceptance rate in 2023 of 19.37% for postgraduate students.

Which university is the easiest to get into in the UK?

The University of Aberystwyth is the easiest university to get into in the UK, with an acceptance rate of 96.1%. 

Which is the hardest university to get into in Scotland?

For undergrads, the University of Edinburgh is the hardest university to get into, with an acceptance rate of 11.7% in 2023.

What about the easiest university to get into in Scotland?

The University of Abertay in Dundee is the easiest university to get into, with an 85% acceptance rate.

Which university is the hardest to get into in Wales?

With an acceptance rate of 20%, Cardiff University is one of the hardest universities in the UK to get into.

Which university is the easiest to get into in Wales?

Aberystwyth University is the easiest university to get into in Wales, with an acceptance rate of 92.6%.