The UK is one of the most in-demand countries for international students. Top-notch schools, quality infrastructures, excellent education quality, and the exciting cities that you can live in are among the reasons students cherish it. However, all the schools in the country aren’t world-class.
Some universities are not worth the effort, especially if you’re an international student. These schools have just too many issues that you won’t find them too far from the bottom of the national rankings chart. Therefore, it’s best to avoid them entirely to get the best tertiary education in the UK.
This article will educate you on some of the worst universities in the UK. You’ll learn what these universities are and why they are on the list.
The Worst Universities in the UK
From Wolverhampton University to the University of Bedfordshire to De Montfort, some schools in the UK don’t meet the country’s reputed global standards.
Although some of these schools aren’t nearly among the worst in the world, you can attend better ones in the country. That said, here are some of the worst universities in the UK.
1. Wolverhampton University
Wolverhampton University was founded in 1827 as the Wolveamptom Mechanics Institute. It undertook some rebranding before getting university status in 1992. It’s one of the worst schools in the UK.
The school has been under intense scrutiny for its below-par academic quality. Students have frowned at the unseriousness of some of their lecturers. Wolverhampton University has also seen some financial challenges in years past. It reported a deficit of £4.7 million in 2019. The school had to ditch some of its staff and courses to balance its books.
It has a 17.2 student-to-staff ratio. 24% percent of its students are international students, and it has 62:38 females to male ratio. It has one of the lowest entry standards among UK universities, and only around 63% of its graduates get employed.
2. University of Cumbria
The University of Cumbria was founded in 2007 and has its headquarters in Carlisle. It has other campuses in Ambleside, Lancaster, and London. The university was ranked 127th out of 130 in The Complete University Guide’s rankings in 2022.
It offers fewer courses than most other UK universities. The state of the learning facilities and teaching quality is questionable. It has also had its fair share of financial challenges, making it difficult to change the school’s state for good.
If you’re the type who loves a vibrant social life after rigorous schooling activities, it might not be the perfect institution for you. It has many campuses in rural communities with few exciting activities. The school’s graduate job prospect is also among the lowest in the UK.
3. University of Bedfordshire
The University of Bedfordshire has never been too far from the bottom in any form of “the best” rankings. In 2022, The Complete University Guide named it the worst in the country. Fast forward to mid-2023, and it’s currently sitting unbalanced in 126th place. The Guardian ranks it last in the UK.
The reason for the low ranking isn’t far-fetched, poor education quality. It has one of the most inadequate entry standards in the UK. The school is also not among the best places for research, as its quality and intensity are low. The Guardian and The Complete University Guide gave it below-average scores in the overall scoring methodology.
The school has also had its fair share of financial difficulties, reporting a £4.7 million deficit in 2018. Its campus safety is among the worst, and students have reported multiple instances of violence in the school.
4. The University of the West of Scotland
The University of the West of Scotland has South West Scotland and London campuses. It was founded in 1992 and is one of the worst places to school in the UK. Only roughly 73% of its graduates say they’re satisfied with the teaching method. Over 70% of them also get employment soon after graduation.
It has battled financial crises, suffering a deficit of £3.7 million in 2003. While it might seem like a long time ago, the school is yet to recover from its effect. It had to take drastic actions to remedy the situation.
One such is closing two campuses in 2008, located in Hamilton and Ayr. The school’s facilities spending and student-to-staff ratio are also among the lowest in the UK. It sits two places above the last position in The Guardian University ranking in mid-2023 and three places above the bottom in The Complete University Guide rankings.
5. University of East London
The University of East London is another school that isn’t bad academically, but past challenges have affected its reputation. It was founded in 1898 and merged three schools, West Ham Technical Institute, East Ham Technical College, and South West Essex Technical College.
The school is widely renowned for its research strides in psychology and sports science. Its major problems started when it reported a deficit of £8.5 million in 2019. The university cut down on staff and numbers, and things have barely been as they used to be.
Students have also expressed concerns over campus safety, although the university has taken measures to curb it. However, if you’re an international student coming to the UK for the first time, such an environment is not the best fit for you. The Complete University Guide ranks the University of East London 123rd, while The Guardian ranks 113rd out of 121 schools.
6. Leeds Trinity University
Leeds Trinity University gained its Univesity status in 2009. However, it hasn’t been able to climb too high on the list of the best universities since its inception. The Complete University Guide ranks it 121st best in the UK, while The Guardian gives it number 113.
It scored below average in the Complete University Guide’s list and 58.7 in The Guardian’s. The school has a relatively low graduate prospect. It’s also not one of the most conducive for international students, boasting less than one percent of them.
7. University of Bolton
Bolton University is a public research university located in Greater Manchester, England. The school currently has around 11,000 students, with 9% of them international students. Complete University Guide ranked the second worst school in the UK for 2022.
Its fortune isn’t improved much but has climbed nine places higher to 120th in mid-2023. This climb shows that the school has been working hard to solve the challenges, like low research input and poor academic offerings.
Managing its finances has always been a problem, and the government was involved in 2019. Academic standards at the school have also been a massive cause of concern and have influenced the institution’s high dropout rate.
A plagiarism scandal also ravaged the school in 2018. Many international students were accused of presenting unoriginal work as theirs, which also affected the school’s reputation. The school graduate prospect is also one of the lowest in the country, and the Complete University Guide gave it 59%.
8. London Metropolitan University
London Metropolitan University is another school affected by its poor management. One of its most infamous scandals was when the BUK Border Agency revoked its license to sponsor international students.
Revoking the license affected its reputation with international students, as only around 4% of them attend the school now. In 2013, they were on the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) over academic quality. The school simply terminated the courses and ditched all the students studying them during the period.
All these past decisions contribute to it gaining a bad reputation in the UK. The Complete University Guide ranked it the worst school in the UK in mid-2023.
Surprisingly, both The Complete University Guide and The Guardian agreed that over 80% of its students are content with the education that they get in the school. However, only around 58% percent of its graduates get gainfully employed or further their education, one of the lowest in the country.
9. De Montfort University
De Montfort University is another university you should avoid if you want to study in the UK. It was founded in 1870 but gained university status in 1992. The school is located in Leicester and has its campus there.
Complete University Guide currently ranks it as the 120th, while the Guardian ranks it second to the last. It scored just a little over 50 in the overall rating of both ranking organizations.
A study of the school’s ranking shows that it has been on a downward spiral over the last five years. It ranked 65 overall in 2020 before going downwards to where it is now. This situation isn’t a good sign if you intend to seek admission to the school.
The school’s entry standards and graduate prospects are among the lowest in the UK. However, it ranks high in student satisfaction and research quality, although it’s still below most schools in the UK.
Around 89% of students who attend the school complete their programs. Although this is a high number, it’s still one of the lowest in the country. The school has a good concentration of international students, around 15%.
These are some of the worst universities in the UK. It doesn’t matter their number on the list; it’s best for you if you avoid them entirely.
Attending most of these schools would most probably not be worthwhile. Almost all of them have a poor graduate prospect, and the chances of you getting a job with their results is slim.
Lastly, consider consulting your research before choosing any school. Understand that the ranking system is dynamic. A school ranked last in a particular year can move significantly higher in the next edition. Therefore, you should look for more than an online methodology for the best or worst schools.
Sam is a brilliant young Nigerian biochemistry student and an aspiring entrepreneur. Despite facing many challenges, he has never lost his passion for learning and drive to make a difference in the world. Read more about him here.