niversities in the United Kingdom have generally been instituted by Royal Charter, Papal Bull, Act of Parliament or an instrument of government under the Further and Higher Education Act 1992. For new public universities, approval is required from the Privy Council, while private universities may be granted the right to use the title by Companies House. The exact criteria for University title vary between the four countries of the United Kingdom. Degree awarding powers, which are three-tiered and allow the granting of foundation degrees, taught degrees, and research degree, are granted by the Privy Council on the advice of the Quality Assurance Agency.Institutions that hold degree awarding powers are termed Recognised Bodies, this list includes universities, university colleges, colleges of the University of London, higher education colleges, and the Archbishop of Canterbury. Listed Bodies offer courses leading to degrees of a Recognised Body, this includes institutions whose degrees are validated by a recognised body, and the colleges of the universities of Oxford, Cambridge, Durham, and the Highlands and Islands. Undergraduate applications to almost all UK universities are managed by the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS)
While legally, University refers to an institution that has been granted the right to use the title, in common usage it now normally includes colleges of the University of London, including in official documents such as the Dearing Report. These include a number of institutions that feature regularly in the league tables of the world’s top universities, such as UCL, the LSE and King’s College London.
The central co-ordinating body for universities in the United Kingdom is Universities UK.Ancient universities, Third oldest university in England debate, Red brick university, Robbins Report, Plate glass university, College of Advanced Technology (United Kingdom), and Jarratt report
Universities in Britain date back to the dawn of mediaeval studium generale, with Oxford and Cambridge taking their place among the world’s oldest universities. No other universities were successfully founded in England during this period; opposition from Oxford and Cambridge blocked attempts to establish universities in Northampton and Stamford. Medical schools in London (i.e., Barts and St Thomas’s), though not a university in its own right, were among the first to provide medical teachings in England.
In Scotland, St Andrew’s, Glasgow and King’s College, Aberdeen were founded by Papal Bull. Post-Reformation, these were joined by Edinburgh, Marischal College, Aberdeen, and the short-lived Fraserburgh University. In England, meanwhile, Henry VIII’s plan to found a university in Durham came to nothing and a later attempt to found a university at Durham during the Commonwealth was successfully opposed by Oxford and Cambridge. Gresham College was, however, established in London in the late 16th century, despite concerns expressed by Cambridge. In Ireland, Trinity College Dublin was founded as “the mother of a University” by a Royal Charter from Queen Elizabeth.
The 18th century saw the establishment of medical schools at Edinburgh and Glasgow universities and at hospitals in London. A number of dissenting academies were also established. But the next attempt to found a university did not come until the Andersonian Institute (now Strathclyde University) was established in Glasgow in 1798.