Good University Guide 2023

King's College London

National rank

Firsts / 2:1s
Completion rate

Key stats

Teaching quality
Student experience
Research quality
Graduate prospects
King's College London

Contact details


Strand, London , WC2R 2LS,

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The Quad, which has been at the heart of the Strand campus at King’s College London (KCL) for nearly 200 years, is being given a new lease of life. Due for completion in 2022, the redevelopment creates a new home for the Department of Engineering and adds 3,000 sq m to the thoroughfare, framed by the historic King’s Building and the East Wing of Somerset House. The engineering facilities will include experimental laboratory space. 

The extra capacity will help to absorb rising student numbers. Applications hit a record high in 2021, when more than 67,300 students applied to the university — up 17 per cent on 2020 and the fourth consecutive year-on-year rise. More places were awarded than ever before, with 8,460 new student enrolments in 2021 — up about 7 per cent in a year. The university credits growing interest in courses across the curriculum, especially from overseas students.  

One of the oldest and largest colleges of the University of London, KCL has more than 30,000 students — a third of them from outside the UK. Four of its five campuses are within a square mile of each other near the banks of the Thames near London Bridge and Waterloo, where students mingle with tourists in the capital’s heartland. The fifth is in Denmark Hill, in south London, the base for the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience and dentistry teaching facilities.

The Strand site and the Waterloo campus house most of the university’s non-medical departments.  Facilities for film studies have been enhanced by the addition of new industry-standard equipment. The Dickson Poon School of Law has expanded into the East Wing of the striking London landmark Somerset House. Bush House, the former headquarters of the BBC World Service and another historic London building, is the latest acquisition, housing KCL’s business school, the Faculty of Social Science and Public Policy and some student services.

Nursing and midwifery and some biomedical subjects are based at Waterloo, while medicine and dentistry are mainly at Guy’s Hospital, near London Bridge, and the St Thomas’ Hospital campus, across the river from the Houses of Parliament. A £3 million upgrade to dentistry facilities at Guy’s has added 70 “phantom head” simulators for practising dental surgery and and 12 haptics technology units using virtual reality. 

More than 300 employers visit KCL each year to recruit students — including JP Morgan, Meta, Clifford Chance and PwC. King’s graduates do well in the jobs market — resulting in 11th place in our analysis of the latest Graduate Outcomes survey, which tracks the proportion of graduates in professional-level jobs or undertaking further study 15 months after leaving university. Undergraduates can attend breakfast drop-in sessions with employers as well as taking up opportunities for work shadowing and industry placements.   

KCL’s links with employers contributed to a silver rating in the Teaching Excellence Framework. The panel highlighted the “excellent” extent to which students were stretched academically and the “strong research-led culture” that requires all research staff to teach.

Fourteen KCL staff and alumni have been awarded the Nobel prize. The university continues its research-intensive tradition, climbing one place to eighth in our research quality index this year after 55.1 per cent of the work submitted to the latest Research Excellence Framework (REF 2021) was judged to be world-leading — the top category. KCL’s best results were in allied health subjects, business and management, classics, clinical medicine, sport and exercise sciences, chemistry, modern languages, engineering and theology.

The university does less well on rates of student satisfaction — in common with many London and research-led institutions. KCL has fallen to the bottom ten for how students rate teaching quality and their wider experience in the latest National Student Survey, published in summer 2022 — contributing to its disappearance from the top 20 in our main academic league table. 

A dual award master’s degree leading to registration as an adult nurse and mental health nurse has been added to the curriculum for 2022-23. Medical students are now able to pursue a chosen field in greater depth during an intercalated BSc (iBSc). A one-year cardiovascular medicine iBSc is welcoming its first cohort of students, taught by one of only six British Heart Foundation Centres of Excellence in the UK. From 2023 KCL will offer degrees in classics and the ancient world, and liberal arts (with international development). 

KCL is more successful in our social inclusion index (80th) than most other Russell Group universities, behind only Queen Mary, University of London and Sheffield. Two-thirds of students are from ethnic minorities and the university’s narrow black achievement gap is the sixth-best. Course completion rates have improved to 28th: KCL’s dropout rate is lower than expected in light of the course profile and the background of the student intake.

Contextual admissions are made to students enrolled on KCL’s schemes to widen participation and who meet other criteria. About 30 per cent of entrants in 2021 qualified for KCL’s wide range of bursaries and scholarships and the university expects to continue a similar level of financial assistance. 

KCL’s sports grounds are a train ride away in south London. There are facilities for all the main sports, plus rifle ranges, two gyms and a swimming pool.

Accommodation is guaranteed to all first-years who apply by the late May deadline. More than 1,100 rooms are at the lowest end of the rent scale (£155-£169 a week). Only 11 rooms are available at the maximum price of £465 a week. Halls are spread out across the capital but each has its own community and events.

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Category Score Rank
Ranking - 26 (18)
Teaching quality 69.6 120th
Student experience 66.3 121st=
Research quality 64.2 8th
Ucas entry points 164 19th
Graduate prospects 86.2 11th
Firsts and 2:1s 87.3 17th
Completion rate 92.6 28th
Student-staff ratio 13.9 21st=
World ranking - 37 (35)

Vital statistics











Applications/places 67,390/8,460
Applications/places ratio 8:1
Overall offer rate 52.9%


Places in accommodation 5,670
Accommodation costs £155 - £465
Catered costs £318 - £318
Accommodation contact


UK/EU fees £9,250
Fees (placement year) £1,350
Fees (overseas year) £1,350
Fees (international) £20,790 - £45,600
Fees (international, medical) £40,800
Finance website
Graduate salaries £30,000


Sport points/rank 1325.5, 29th
Sport website

Social inclusion and student mix

Social Inclusion Ranking 80
State schools (non-grammar) admissions 70.6%
Grammar school admissions 12.2%
Independent school admissions 17.1%
Ethnic minority students (all) 66.4%
Black achievement gap -5.6%
White working class males 1.9%
First generation students 38.8%
Low participation areas 4.6%
Working class dropout gap -0.5%
Mature 17.2%
EU students 14.8%
Other overseas students 24.9%

Student satisfaction with teaching quality

Psychology 80.1%
Sports science 78.6%
Accounting and finance 78.5%
Law 78.3%
Bioengineering and biomedical engineering 76.3%
Classics and ancient history 75.8%
History 74.6%
Politics 74.1%
French 73.6%
English 72%
Economics 71.6%
Philosophy 71.5%
Business, management and marketing 71.1%
Pharmacology and pharmacy 70.7%
Medicine 70.6%
Sociology 69.4%
Physiotherapy 69.3%
Food science 69.1%
Theology and religious studies 69.1%
Geography and environmental science 68.9%
Biological sciences 68.1%
Iberian languages 67.5%
Nursing 66.9%
Communication and media studies 66.6%
Mathematics 66.2%
Subjects allied to medicine 65.8%
Anatomy and physiology 65.7%
Liberal arts 65.6%
German 65.2%
Music 64.7%
Linguistics 64.6%
Computer science 62.6%
Physics and astronomy 62.1%
Chemistry 61.5%
Electrical and electronic engineering 58.5%
Dentistry 46.7%