List of universities in Wales

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There are currently eight universities operating in Wales, all of which receive funding from the Higher Education Funding Council for Wales (HEFCW).[1][2] Although university status in Wales only requires taught degree awarding powers (since 2004),[3] most Welsh universities have the power to award both taught and research degrees (research degrees at Wrexham Glyndŵr University are validated by the University of Chester[4]). University status in Wales is conferred by the Privy Council following advice from the Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education.[5][6] The criteria for university status were set by the UK government in 2004; since then higher education in Wales has become a devolved matter under the Government of Wales Act 2006 and is the responsibility of the Minister for Education & Skills in the Welsh Government.

In 2016–2017 global rankings, four Welsh universities (Aberystwyth, Bangor, Cardiff and Swansea) featured in the Times Higher Education World University Rankings (covering a total of 981 institutions, 91 from the UK);[7] the same four also featured in the QS World University Rankings (916 institutions, 71 from the UK);[8] while Bangor and Cardiff are in the Academic Ranking of World Universities (500 institutions, 37 from the UK).[9] No Welsh university features in the top 100 of any of the global tables, although Cardiff makes the top 200 in all three.

All Welsh universities are public universities funded by the Welsh Government through HEFCW, with an allocation of just under £120M in 2016–2017, covering teaching and research.[10] Welsh universities also charge tuition fees, capped at £9,000 per year for UK and EU students on undergraduate courses,[11] although international students and postgraduate students may pay more.


English Name Welsh Name Image Year of
Location Numbers of
Teaching Excellence Framework Notes
Cardiff University Prifysgol Caerdydd Cardiff University main building.jpg 1883 Cardiff 33,190 Silver Founded as the University College of South Wales and Monmouthshire.
Merged in 1988 with the University of Wales Institute of Science and Technology.
Merged in 2004 with the University of Wales College of Medicine.
University of South Wales Prifysgol De Cymru Atrium, Cardiff.jpg 2013
(origins 1841)
Cardiff, Newport and Pontypridd 22,330 Did not enter Formed by the merger of University of Wales, Newport (1975, with origins in 1841) and the University of Glamorgan (1992, with origins in 1913) in 2013.
Also incorporates the Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama
Swansea University Prifysgol Abertawe Digital Technium Swansea University.jpg 1920 Swansea 20,620 Gold Founded as the University College, Swansea
Bangor University Prifysgol Bangor UCNW, Bangor - - 39527.jpg 1884 Gwynedd 10,195 Gold Founded as the University College of North Wales
Cardiff Metropolitan University Prifysgol Fetropolitan Caerdydd Management building May10.jpg 2011
(origins 1865)
Cardiff 10,675 Silver Founded as the South Glamorgan Institute of Higher Education in 1976, formed from the merger of four earlier institutes including the Cardiff School of Art & Design (1865).
University of Wales Trinity Saint David Prifysgol Cymru, Y Drindod Dewi Sant Uwlsdb.jpg 2010
(origins 1822)
Cardiff, Carmarthenshire, Ceredigion,
London and Swansea
11,135 Bronze Formed in 2010 by the merger of University of Wales, Lampeter (1822), Trinity University College (1848) and Swansea Metropolitan University (2008, with origins in 1853)
Aberystwyth University Prifysgol Aberystwyth Aberystwyth University, East Entrance.jpg 1872 Ceredigion 7,845 Gold Founded as the University College Wales
Wrexham Glyndŵr University Prifysgol Glyndŵr Wrecsam Wrexham Glyndwr University.jpg 1887 Wrexham 5,895 Silver Founded as the Wrexham School of Science and Art

International rankings[edit]

A list of Wales top universities in 2019–20 as per four major international ranking platforms ARWU, QS, Leiden, and THE (Times Higher Education).

University ARWU (Academic Ranking of World Universities) World Ranking 2019 [13] QS (Quacquarelli Symonds) World Rankings 2020[14] THE (Times Higher Education) World Ranking 2020[15] CWTS Leiden Ranking 2019[16]
Cardiff University 101-150 154 198 271
University of South Wales - - 1001+ -
Swansea University 401-500 462 251–300 669
Cardiff Metropolitan University - - 801–1000 -
Bangor University 601-700 521-530 401–500 -
University of Wales Trinity Saint David - - - -
Aberystwyth University 801-900 484 401–500 -
Wrexham Glyndŵr University - - - -

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Higher education institutions". HEFCW. Retrieved 10 February 2017.
  2. ^ "Universities". Universities Wales. Retrieved 10 February 2017.
  3. ^ "Applications for the Grant of Taught Degree Awarding Powers, Research Degree Awarding Powers and University Title" (PDF). Department for Business Innovation and Skills. August 2004. Retrieved 10 February 2017.
  4. ^ "Studying for a Research Degree". Wrexham Glyndŵr University. Retrieved 11 February 2017.
  5. ^ "The Privy Council, Standard Note: SN/PC/3708" (PDF). The Privy Council. 5 July 2005. pp. 5–6. Archived from the original (PDF) on 27 December 2011. Retrieved 5 May 2014.
  6. ^ "A brief guide to QAA's involvement in degree-awarding powers and university title". Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education. Archived from the original on 15 July 2010. Retrieved 6 July 2010.
  7. ^ "World University Rankings 2016–2017". Times Higher Education. Retrieved 11 February 2017.
  8. ^ "QS World University Rankings 2016–2017". QS Quacquarelli Symonds Limited. Retrieved 11 February 2017.
  9. ^ "Academic Ranking of World Universities 2016". ShanghaiRanking Consultancy. Retrieved 11 February 2017.
  10. ^ "Funding Allocations 2016/17" (PDF). HEFCW. Table 6: Funding comparison 2015/16 and 2016/17. Retrieved 11 February 2017.
  11. ^ "Tuition fees in Wales frozen". Welsh Government. 23 September 2016. Retrieved 11 February 2017.
  12. ^ "Where do HE students study?". Higher Education Statistics Agency. Retrieved 1 March 2020.
  13. ^ "Academic Ranking of World Universities 2019". ARWU. Retrieved 26 November 2019.
  14. ^ "QS World University Rankings 2020". QS. Retrieved 26 November 2019.
  15. ^ "World University Rankings 2020". Retrieved 26 November 2019.
  16. ^ "CWTS Leiden Ranking 2019". Leiden University. Retrieved 26 November 2019.