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Top Universities for Accounting and Finance in UK. University Guide [2020]

Have you ever wondered, which is the best university for accounting and finance in the UK?

In this guide, we will show you how to select a top University in the UK for Finance and Accounting courses.

University Ranking

When selecting suitable university for your course, it is good idea to look at the subject specific ranking of the university. At a global level QS, Times Higher Education as well as ARWU are popular and provide a good guidance. But we will looking into below three local UK university ranking systems in Accounting and Finance subject areas:

  • The Complete University Guide 2020
  • Guardian 2020 UK Universities Ranking
  • The Times and Sunday Times University League Table 2020
UK Top 20 Universities Ranking Comparison 2020
UK Top 20 Universities Ranking Comparison: Accounting and Finance

For those student, who are accepted into G5 universities should definitely pursue course there if it suits them. G5 universities are Imperial College London, the London School of Economics, the University of Cambridge, the University of Oxford and University College London)

Entry Requirements

Entrance to UK universities depend upon two main criterias, Academic results and english language competency. Academic Requirement

Academic Requirements

  • Undergraduates:
    • A-levels: AAB
    • International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma: 34-36 points
    • UCAS tariff point: 160 to 180 UCAS points (what is UCAS points?)
  • Postgraduates
    • 2:1 or above (or international equivalent) in a subject with high mathematical/quantitative content.

Country and course specific detailed requirements can be found here

English Language Entry Requirement

  • Undergraduates:
    • IELTS: 6.5 (no sub-band lower than 6.0)
    • TOEFL (IBT): 93
  • Postgraduates
    • IELTS: 7.0 (no sub-band lower than 6.5)

Cost of Education

Cost of Education in UK consists of college fees and living cost. For international students, undergraduates courses fees ranges from pound 9000 to 25,000. While postgraduates usually in the range of pound 21,000 to 29,000 per annum. More details about the course fees can be found here

Cost of living really depends upon the style of living you choose. If you are coming from US, ANZ or any other western European countries, you can expect the cost of living to be similar to your country.

Overall cost varies from one region to another like living in northern England is cheaper than staying at southern England. On average a student living in UK, expects to be able to live comfortably from pound 12,000 to 15,000. This average consists of accommodation, travel, food and miscellaneous like mobile plans etc. Detail breakdown can be found here.

Map of Top Financial and Accounting Universities in the UK

University locations have its own advantages and disadvantages. Living in London expose student to life of a metropolitan but it can be expensive. Studying in countryside will be more peaceful but lack few student experiences.

Below is the map of top 20 UK universities in Accounting and Finance rankings which can give a high level overview of the universities location in UK.

Map of Top Finance and Accounting Universities in the UK
Map of Top Finance and Accounting Universities in the UK

UK can be divided into 12 regions and below table provides more details around the top universities with respect to city, employment prospect and student satisfaction.

Region City Top Rank Universities in the region* Employment Prospect (After Studies) Student Satisfaction (From CUG out of 5) Living Cost
Eastern Norwich University of East Anglia 79% 4.09 Medium
East Midlands Loughborough Loughborough University 82% 4.24 Medium
East Midlands Nottingham University of Nottingham 83% 4.09 Medium
East Midlands Nottingham University of Nottingham Trent 76% 4.16 Medium
Greater London London London School of Economics and Political Science 86% 3.71 High
Greater London London London South Bank University 82% 4.02 High
Greater London London University College London 81% No Data High
North East Newcastle upon Tyne Newcastle University 80% 4.09 High
North East Durham Durham University 84% 4.13 Medium
Northern Ireland Belfast Queen's University, Belfast 80% 4.05 Medium
Northern Ireland Coleraine Ulster University 68% 4.06 Medium
North West Manchester University of Manchester 82% No data Medium
North West Lancaster Lancaster University 85% 4.2 Medium
North West Manchester Liverpool John Moores University 73% 4.12 Medium
Scotland Glasgow University of Strathclyde 80% 3.99 Medium
Scotland Glasgow University of Glasgow 84% 4.08 Medium
Scotland Aberdeen University of Aberdeen 78% 4.08 High
South East Brighton University of Sussex 80% 4.05 High
South East Reading University of Reading 76% 3.98 High
South East Buckingham University of Buckingham No Data 4.33 Medium
South East Portsmouth University of Portsmouth 80% 4.10 Medium
South West Bath University of Bath 85% 4.11 Medium
South West Exeter University of Exeter 84% 4.11 Medium
Wales Aberystwyth Aberystwyth University 74% 4.23 Medium
West Midlands Coventry University of Warwick 80% 4.13 Medium
West Midlands Birmingham University of Birmingham 86% 4.06 Medium
Yorkshire and Humberside Leeds University of Leeds 82% 4.12 Medium
Yorkshire and Humberside Sheffield University of Sheffield 82% No Data Medium
Yorkshire and Humberside York University of York 82% 4.18 Medium

Student Visa

All the students require student visa except for European Economic Area countries and Switzerland. There are three types of UK student visa.

  1. Tier 4 (General) Student Visa is for students aged 16 and over and study at the post-secondary level.
  2. Tier 4 (Child) Student Visa is for students age between 4 and 17 and study at a secondary level and below
  3. Short Term Study Visa is for the students want to join courses that are up to 6 months long or English language courses up to 11 months long.

In terms of requirements for visa there are generally three requirements: English Language, Financial and UCAS points. Choosing the wrong visa type at a time of application is one of main reason for student visa rejection. Refer to UK Student Visa guide to avoid confusion.

UK Post Study Work Visa

In January 2019, UK Government approved the post study leave period visa for those students who have enrolled in September 2018 onwards. After completing their studies, students are eligible to change the visa from Tier 4 to Tier 2 (General Work Visa).

Bachelor and Master Degree Students can stay upto 6 months in UK after completing their studies. Students are able to work during these 6 months as well. PhD students can stay upto 12 months after completing their studies.

Recently UK universities have proposed a new visa government to allow universities to sponsor international students to gain work experience in the UK for up to two years after graduation. If agreed to this change, it will help to gain industry experience without a need to worry about visa.

Read more on why gaining industry experience in UK is beneficial to students.

Job Opportunities and Employability

UK particularly London has been major international financial hub. Studying so close to major Financial Centres does have many advantages.

Considering 3 out of 4 accounting firms are also headquartered in UK does give some indication about the job opportunities after studies. In the recent The Global Financial Centres Index, London holds 2nd position in the world only after New York.

Brexit is likely to have some implications on UK industry. But it should not impact the quality of education and experience which students will receive. Similarly employers within UK as well outside will continue to appreciate education recognition in the UK.

Professional Certification

Finance and Accounting courses from good university by itself have values and advantages. But for students who wants to increase their chances of getting job faster, by gaining professional industry certification along with or immediately after completing the courses. Top four certification which should look at are:

  1. Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA)
  2. Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA)
  3. Certified public accountant (CPA) Australia
  4. Chartered Financial Analyst® (CFA®)

More details about professional certification can be found here.

Try Short Course in UK

Taking a short course during vacation is a good idea to get familiar with student life and environment. In addition, there are additional advantages student can gain like:

  • Gain credits for your main course
  • Authentic English environment

Attending a short can also improve your chances of university application as it shows commitment from you to the university.