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UK Programs

Finding graduate programs in the UK


There is an on-line ranking of UK graduate programs specifically by discipline. This is the result of an in-depth survey done every five years; the most recent iteration was completed December 2008.

  1. Visit RAE
  2. Click on “results”
  3. Click on “view by unit of assessment.” That will produce a drop down menu of disciplines, beginning with clinical medicine and scrolling through pure science and engineering, to social sciences and humanities.
  4. Highlight the one that most closely matches your interest and click “go”.
  5. Click on “view results on-line”

The resulting list includes every institution in the UK that has a graduate degree in that subject area. The first set of numbers is the number of full-time staff, giving you a rough sense of the relative size of the program. The percentages reflect the relative amount of scholarly research from that department meeting each standard. Top programs will have 50% or more of their research in category 4 (“Quality that is world-leading in terms of originality, significance and rigour”) and category 3 (“Quality that is internationally excellent in terms of originality, significance and rigour but which nonetheless falls short of the highest standards of excellence”), preferably leaning toward more in the 4 column .

You can then consult the graduate catalogs—all will be online—to determine which of the top-ranked programs is the school to which you should apply. Within a school, you’ll probably need to find the department web site where you’ll find more specifics than is on the central school site.


  1. Visit Prospects
  2. Under the “Postgrad Study” tab, find the keyword search.

On this site you can search by keywords more specific than broad discipline areas. Narrow your search by selecting “full-time” at the bottom. This search is most useful for interdisciplinary topics or if you’re not sure what department your topics might fall into.

The Guardian is another good search engine which considers student polling results in its ratings.

More details about the British system in general as well as alphabetic links to every UK school are available on the British Council page.

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