Good University Guide 2023

University of East London

National rank

Firsts / 2:1s
Completion rate

Key stats

Teaching quality
Student experience
Research quality
Graduate prospects
University of East London

Contact details


Docklands Campus, University Way, London, E16 2RD,

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More than £20 million is being invested through the University of East London’s (UEL) Connected Campus programme to improve its three sites.

"Campus Hearts" hubs at Docklands, Stratford and University Square provide welcoming focal points for learning and socialising. The second of three strands to the development programme enhances UEL’s visual identity with new signage and the liberal application of its phoenix logo in murals. The third creates fresh destinations where students can meet and relax, including Pump House, a new vegan café/bar and student-led venue.

Investment has also gone into teaching and learning facilities, bringing them in line with its careers-focused education and including practical resources such as a mock courtroom, a trading floor and a hospital and primary care training hub. 

When the Docklands base was completed in 1999 as London’s first new campus for 50 years, its striking architecture was described as “poetry” and design plaudits followed. Free buses connect the waterside buildings with headquarters in Stratford, where UEL has taken over the University Square Stratford development, built in partnership with Birkbeck, University of London, using the extra space to add facilities for the Royal Docks School of Business and Law.

UEL became a university in 1992 but traces its history back to the establishment of the West Ham Technical Institute 100 years earlier. The forging of industry links is a point of pride for the university, which counts Amazon Web Services, Asos, Siemens and Ford among the organisations it works with. Initiatives to equip graduates for today’s world of work include the flagship Professional Fitness and Mental Wealth programme, which puts soft skills such as critical thinking and practical skills such as digital proficiency into every course. Achievements in the modules are recorded in a digital career passport and count towards undergraduates’ final results. 

UEL’s career focus has yet to translate into buoyant results in the Graduate Outcomes survey, where UEL ranks 121st. Low graduate employment rates were the main stumbling block in its failed appeal to be upgraded from bronze to silver in the Teaching Excellence Framework. UEL remains one of only a few universities in our table with a bronze rating.

UEL has introduced the hybrid teaching model Dual Delivery 2.0 to continue using remote learning to provide flexibility within courses while ensuring that face-to-face opportunities allow opportunities to collaborate with peers. 

Having fared better than most universities in the pandemic-hit National Student Survey (NSS) in 2021, rates of student satisfaction have dwindled, however. In our analysis of the outcomes of the latest NSS, published in summer 2022, UEL has slipped 21 places for student satisfaction with teaching quality (89=) and 24 for the wider experience (92=). 

As an agent of social mobility the university achieves much more success, in 12th place in our social inclusion index. Two-thirds of undergraduates are from ethnic minority populations and more than 56.7 per cent are the first in their family to go to university. The proportion of mature students (57.1 per cent) is in 14th place. UEL’s projected dropout rate, although relatively high at 11.8 per cent, is well below the expected level of 13.8 per cent based on its student and subject profile. 

Many students choose to start their course in January rather than the autumn. The university’s pre-entry programmes offer those aged 19 and above who have no formal qualifications the opportunity to convert their skills, experiences and knowledge into academic competencies during a ten-week course, accepted as an entry qualification.

Applications rose by about 17 per cent in the 2021 recruitment cycle — bringing the demand for places to its highest in eight years. A snapshot of the present admissions cycle at the end of March 2022 showed an even bigger increase of more than 34 per cent compared with the same point in the cycle the year before. The university puts the rise down to easing Covid travel restrictions for international students and targeted recruitment strategies. Enrolments have yet to experience such a turnaround however, instead decreasing a little for the second year running in 2021 to a level about 31 per cent lower than a decade before. More than a third of entrants in 2021 gained their place at East London via clearing.

The expanding curriculum gained swathes of options in 2022. New courses include airline and airport management, social media, game programming, and football business. Twenty-four degree apprenticeships are offered, in fields including nursing, teaching and digital technology. 

In the latest Research Excellence Framework (REF 2021), computer science, allied health, and social work and social policy delivered UEL’s best results in a submission spanning a broad range of subjects. Although research performance improved markedly since the previous assessment in 2014, so did many other universities: UEL falls outside the top 100 in our research rankings, slipping from 76th in 2021 to 105th.

The university’s prestigious sports scholarship is worth up to £6,000 to help talented sportsmen and women fulfil their potential. SportsDock, the multimillion-pound facility on the Docklands campus has upgraded its fitness equipment. 

Campus social life centres around the Docklands student village, while students have some of London’s hippest enclaves on their east London doorstep. Unusually for a London university, UEL has two halls of residence on campus, in standout waterside buildings. First-years who want to live in are guaranteed a room.

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Category Score Rank
Ranking - 131 (130)
Teaching quality 73.6 89th=
Student experience 69.6 92nd=
Research quality 22.8 105th
Ucas entry points 101 130th=
Graduate prospects 64.3 121st
Firsts and 2:1s 72.1 109th=
Completion rate 77.3 117th
Student-staff ratio 26.2 130th
World ranking - 801= (801=)

Vital statistics











Applications/places 18,135/3,800
Applications/places ratio 4.8:1
Overall offer rate 74.3%


Places in accommodation 1,169
Accommodation costs £148 - £198
Accommodation contact


UK/EU fees £9,250
Fees (placement year) £1,000
Fees (overseas year) £1,385
Fees (international) £13,080 - £15,720
Finance website
Graduate salaries £24,000


Sport points/rank 657, 51st
Sport website

Social inclusion and student mix

Social Inclusion Ranking 12
State schools (non-grammar) admissions 96.9%
Grammar school admissions 0.6%
Independent school admissions 2.6%
Ethnic minority students (all) 66.1%
Black achievement gap -15.9%
White working class males 3%
First generation students 56.7%
Low participation areas 6.4%
Working class dropout gap 2.7%
Mature 57.1%
EU students 3.6%
Other overseas students 8.8%

Student satisfaction with teaching quality

Drama, dance and cinematics 89.3%
Architecture 87.9%
Computer science 86.6%
Accounting and finance 86.3%
Music 84.9%
Physiotherapy 84.9%
Information systems and management 80.1%
Hospitality, leisure, recreation and tourism 78.9%
Art and design 77.7%
Business, management and marketing 77.5%
Sports science 75.8%
Subjects allied to medicine 73.9%
Civil engineering 73.4%
Mechanical engineering 71.4%
Biological sciences 70.6%
Communication and media studies 68.2%
Criminology 68%
Sociology 68%
Education 67.9%
Social work 61.2%
Psychology 60.4%
Nursing 59.3%