Thinking about studying biology? As one of the most popular subjects at university, you’re not alone. Most universities offer courses in biology, so that makes choosing the right university that much more complex. So we’ve decided to help you out, with our list of the best universities for biology in the UK. Our list uses research from The Complete University Guide, taking into account research quality, student satisfaction and more. So if you’re planning to study biology in 2023, you can narrow down your choices with the help of our guide to the best universities for biology in the UK. 

1. Cambridge University

Ranked: the best universities for biology in the UK

Unsurprisingly, Cambridge is the first place in our list of the best universities for biology in the UK. That’s what happens when you’re one-half of Oxbridge. It received a perfect 100% rating on the overall score and entry standards. While it may seem a little unrealistic to be getting perfect scores, Cambridge University receives a 90% rating for both research quality and graduate prospects. It doesn’t have a student satisfaction rating (unclear why). Regardless, that just goes to show that if you go to Cambridge to study biology, you’re likely to have a great academic experience. 

2. Oxford University

Ranked: the best universities for biology in the UK

As you may expect, the other half of the Oxbridge duo is number two on our list of the best universities for biology in the UK. It receives excellent marks across The Complete University Guide’s categories, with a 92% overall score, 89% for entry standards, 77% for student satisfaction, 89% for research quality and 86% for graduate prospects. A great, well-rounded academic experience that you’d expect from a university with the prestige that Oxford has. 

3. UCL

Ranked: the best universities for biology in the UK
Source: University College London

UCL (University College London) is the first London university on our list of the best universities for biology in the UK. According to the Complete University Guide’s categories, it receives a 91% overall rating, just 1% lower than Oxford. That’s pretty impressive, considering how Oxbridge usually dominates rankings. In terms of the individual categories, it gets an 84% rating for entry standards, 80% for student satisfaction, 86% for research quality and 84% for graduate prospects. UCL is definitely a Russell Group uni for a reason. 

4. Imperial College London

Ranked: the best universities for biology in the UK
Source: Imperial College London

Another London university that’s part of the Russell Group unis, Imperial College London is ranked as the fourth best uni for biology in the UK according to The Complete University Guide’s categories. It also has an outstanding overall rating of 90%, with a score of 78% for entry standards, 79% for student satisfaction and 87% for both research quality and graduate prospects. Looking at the university as a whole, Imperial College London has a large international population, with a majority of students coming from outside the UK. If you apply here, you’d likely meet people from all over the planet. 

5. Durham University

Ranked: the best universities for biology in the UK
Source: Durham University

Rounding out the top five of the best universities for biology in the UK is Durham. It has an impressive 90% overall rating, composed of 83% for entry standards, 81% for student satisfaction, 79% for research quality and 84% for graduate prospects. Another very well-rounded academic experience from one of the country’s best and most highly regarded unis. Durham University also makes the list of the best universities for reputation, so if you end up changing your course, you’re still in a good place.

6. University of York

University of York is the 6th best for biology in the uk
Source: University of York

York University came in 6th place when it comes to student ratings, but the biology department also comes in 7th in the Guardian University Guide 2023. Besides its great ranking for biology, York University is prestigious and known for its academic outcomes. York is a historic city, with plenty on offer for students. All around, the University of York is a great choice for prospective biology students.

7. University of Bath

University of Bath biology
Source: University of Bath

With courses accredited by the Royal Society for Biology, it’s no wonder the University of Bath is such a highly-recommended option for biology students. It has a joint 89% overall score with the University of York but scored significantly higher in entry standards. This might make it more competitive, but just know you’ll be in a great student city learning at one of the best unis for biology in the UK.

8. University of Manchester

University of Manchester is one of the best universities for biology in the uk
Source: University of Manchester, Faculty of Biology, Medicine and Health Facebook

The University of Manchester exceeds in biology when it comes to research quality, scoring 89% in this category. If you’re looking to do biological research as a career, Manchester University could be a great place to study. In particular, it’s a great university if you’re interested in research related to the treatment and prevention of cancer, where the city is home to Christie’s Hospital. Even if it’s not research you’re into, the University of Manchester is one of the best UK universities for biology overall, scoring 87%.

9. Queen’s University Belfast

queen's university in belfast biology department
Source: Queen’s University Belfast, Photo by Paul McErlane

Queen’s University recently invested £40 million in a new state-of-the-art teaching building for biology. It delivers world-class research facilities and a strong interest in the way that technology can play a role in biological knowledge. The university is one of the best in the UK for biology, and it’s located in a great student city too. Belfast has plenty of things to do, from theatre, nightclubs, live music and much more.

10. King’s College London

King's College London biology
Source: King’s College London

One of the best things about King’s College London is that you can study biology for a year, then choose your speciality. It offers the same curriculum across biological courses and then offers different career routes. Students can choose from anatomy, biomedical science, neuroscience, and much more. You’ll not only be studying at one of the best universities for biology in the UK, but you’ll also be in the heart of the action in London.

 

So, there you have it. These are the ten best universities for biology in the UK. While this list considers rankings based on student ratings, only you know what is the best university/course for you. Lists like these can be useful in helping to make your decision, but they should not be the only thing you use to make the decision. Visiting universities on open days, talking to friends or family that went there, finding information online, all sorts of things can help you to make the decision. 

If you’re looking for advice on how to make that big decision, check out our top tips for how to choose a university.