Best universities for business degrees in the UK

Find the best UK universities for business degrees using Times Higher Education’s World University Rankings data

January 6 2021
Businessman climbing stairs


Students with a degree in business studies are considered very employable because the  skills they learn are so transferrable. Business degrees cover a broad range of subjects, such as economics, accounting and entrepreneurial training among so much more and can set students up for a number of career paths.  

Universities that offer business studies degrees often enrich the student learning experience by providing practical teaching outside of the classroom. Partnerships with companies from the public and private sectors offer students the opportunity to learn from industry experts and network with possible future employers.   

The UK is a great place to study business because it is home to one of the world’s leading financial capitals, London. London has five major business districts and more overseas banks than any other city and is the world’s biggest currency trading centre. 

With more than 100 business schools in the UK, it can be difficult to choose the one that’s right for you. Here are the top universities for business studies in the UK according to the Times Higher Education University Rankings 2021.  

1. University of Cambridge 

The University of Cambridge is comprised of 31 colleges and 150 faculties and departments. These are organised into six schools: arts and humanities, biological sciences, clinical medicine, humanities and social sciences, physical sciences, and technology. Within the School of Technology is the Faculty of Business and Management.  

At the heart of the Faculty of Business and Management is the Cambridge Judge Business School. The school focuses on teaching students business theory that they can apply to a number of business situations. Students at the school are encouraged to develop new products and businesses to contribute to social enterprise.  

The business school has developed partnerships with companies in the private sector to facilitate collaborations. Business students are given the opportunity to work with the university’s partners on business and research projects. Students can also make the most of the nearby incubators, science parks and innovation centres.  

Accelerate Cambridge was established by the business school in 2012 to offer three-month programmes to support new ventures. Student entrepreneurs are given guidance on how to turn their idea into a business and how to develop it. The programmes are held during the autumn, spring and summer terms and provide access to a shared workspace, as well as regular mentoring.  

The business school is home to the Entrepreneurship Centre, the Centre for Business Research, and the Psychometrics Centre.  

2. University of Oxford 

Like Cambridge, the University of Oxford is a collegiate university and is divided into 39 colleges. Its roughly 100 academic departments are overseen by four divisions: medical sciences; mathematical, physical and life sciences; humanities; and social sciences.  

The study of business at Oxford goes back to 1965. The Saïd Business School was founded in 1996 when businessman and philanthropist Wafic Saïd provided a generous donation. Since then, it has become one of the world’s leading business schools.  

The business school offers 12 degree programmes in economics, management, finance and law. In-person and online open-enrolment courses are available for students who prefer more flexibility.  

Saïd Business School has two main sites: Park End Street and Egrove Park. The Park End Street site has beautiful grounds and is used for conferences, events and functions. Egrove Park is located just two miles from Oxford city centre and provides a residential business meeting venue set in 37 acres of parkland.  

The business school’s initiatives and centres, which are equipped with state-of-the-art facilities, include the Entrepreneurship Centre, the Creative Destruction Lab and the Skoll Centre for Social Entrepreneurship.  

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3. London School of Economics and Political Science 

London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) was founded in 1895. It has since become one of the world’s leading social science universities.   

The department of management specialises in business and management and has become a world-leading centre for education and research in these fields.  

The department of management offers a range of programmes at different degree levels. The BSc management degree is for undergraduate students looking to pursue the fields of business and management. There are a number of master’s programmes available for graduate students, too. The department also offers executive education to working professionals looking for further training. 

LSE’s Behavioural Lab for Teaching and Research is jointly managed by the department of management and the department of psychological and behavioural science. The laboratory was built to facilitate the study of human behaviour in a controlled environment. Fully equipped with state-of-the-art facilities, the lab enables research projects to be carried out to a world-class standard.  

Every month faculty members of the department of management contribute articles to Forbes. 

4. UCL 

UCL is organised into 11 faculties, which offer undergraduate and graduate courses. The School of Management offers two undergraduate degree programmes: BSc information management for business and BSc management science. Its master’s degree programmes include business analytics, entrepreneurship, finance and management. Online courses are also available, as are joint degree and PhD degree programmes.  

The School of Management focuses its research in five main areas: operations and technology; strategy and entrepreneurship; marketing and analytics; organisations and innovation; and finance, accounting and economics. Some of its most recent research projects include studying the effect of capital requirements on banks and analysing strategic discipline in new technology ventures.  

The school’s careers team provides students with the knowledge and skills to pursue a career in business. The careers consultant team offers careers support and guidance while the employer engagement team organises networking events throughout the year. At these events students are given the opportunity to connect with employers to learn more about recruitment processes in their chosen industry. 

The employer engagement team has developed partnerships with companies including Deloitte, Deutsche Bank, Expedia, Facebook, PwC and Unilever.  These companies have participated in previous employer engagement programmes to help students gain a greater insight into possible careers. As part of these programmes, students have had access to employer-led CV checking, mock assessment centres and mock interviews.   

5. University of Warwick  

The University of Warwick was founded in 1965. It is located on the outskirts of Coventry, England.  

Warwick Business School (WBS) was established in 1967 with three courses, five staff and 24 students. It has since expanded to become the university’s largest department with an alumni network of more than 50,000.  

The business school has developed partnerships with companies in both the public and private sectors. These companies include the Bank of England, Birmingham Airport, EDF Energy and Emirates. Its partnerships with IBM and Deloitte provide students with the opportunity to gain an insight into the world of business from an employer’s perspective.   

WBS is committed to carrying out ground-breaking research, which is published in its annual magazine, Core. The school focuses its research efforts on global energy, enterprise, international relations, healthcare, innovation, knowledge and organisational networks, and psychology. 

Top UK  universities for business and economics 2021

Click each institution to view its World University Rankings 2021 profile

UK business rank 2021  Business rank 2021  University City
1  3  University of Cambridge Cambridge
2  4  University of Oxford Oxford
3  7  London School of Economics and Political Science London
4  20  UCL London
5  22  University of Warwick Warwick
6  32  University of Manchester Manchester
7  43  University of Edinburgh Edinburgh
8  61  University of Surrey Guildford
9  65  University of Leeds Leeds
10  77  University of Sussex Brighton
11  83  Lancaster University Lancaster
12  101–125  Aston University Birmingham
12  101–125  University of Bath Bath
12  101–125  Cardiff University Cardiff
12  101–125  City, University of London London
12  101–125  University of Glasgow Glasgow
12  101–125  King’s College London London
12  101–125  University of Nottingham Nottingham
12  101–125  University of Reading Reading
20  126–150  Durham University Durham
20  126–150  University of Essex Essex
20  126–150  Newcastle University Newcastle
20  126–150  Royal Holloway, University of London London
20  126–150  University of Sheffield Sheffield
20  126–150  University of York York
26  151–175  University of Birmingham Birmingham
26  151–175  Loughborough University Loughborough
26  151–175  University of Southampton Southampton
26  151–175  University of St Andrews St Andrews
30  176–200  Bournemouth University Bournemouth
30  176–200  University of East Anglia Norwich
30  176–200  University of Exeter Exeter
30  176–200  University of Strathclyde Strathclyde
34  201–250  University of Bristol Bristol
34  201–250  Brunel University London London
34  201–250  University of Huddersfield Huddersfield
34  201–250  University of Hull Hull
34  201–250  University of Kent Kent
34  201–250  Oxford Brookes University Oxford
34  201–250  University of Plymouth Plymouth
34  201–250  Queen Mary University of London London
34  201–250  Queen’s University Belfast Belfast
34  201–250  University of Stirling Stirling
44  251–300  Anglia Ruskin University ARU East Anglia
44  251–300  Birkbeck, University of London London
44  251–300  Heriot-Watt University Edinburgh
44  251–300  University of Liverpool Liverpool
44  251–300  Middlesex University London
44  251–300  SOAS University of London London
44  251–300  Swansea University Swansea
51  301–400  University of Aberdeen Aberdeen
51  301–400  Bangor University Bangor
51  301–400  University of Bradford Bradford
51  301–400  University of Brighton Brighton
51  301–400  Coventry University Coventry
51  301–400  De Montfort University Leicester
51  301–400  Edinburgh Napier University Edinburgh
51  301–400  University of Greenwich London
51  301–400  Kingston University London
51  301–400  Manchester Metropolitan University Manchester
51  301–400  The Open University Nationwide
51  301–400  University of Portsmouth Portsmouth
51  301–400  University of the West of England Bristol
65  401–500  University of Derby Derby
65  401–500  University of Dundee Dundee
65  401–500  University of Leicester Leicester
65  401–500  University of Lincoln Lincoln
65  401–500  Nottingham Trent University Nottingham
65  401–500  University of Salford Salford
65  401–500  Sheffield Hallam University Sheffield
73  501–600  University of Central Lancashire Preston
73  501–600  Glasgow Caledonian University Glasgow
73  501–600  Leeds Beckett University Leeds
73  501–600  Liverpool John Moores University Liverpool
73  501–600  Northumbria University Northumbria
73  501–600  University of Westminster London
73  501–600  University of Wolverhampton Wolverhampton
80  601+  University of Hertfordshire Hatfield
80  601+  Ulster University Ulster


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