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A Guide to the Best Sports Universities in the UK

The UK is home to some sterling sports universities, over 105 in fact, so when it comes to choosing the best sports universities in the UK, you’re spoilt for choice.

Whatever sports course you’re looking for, there’s something for you,  and with some amazing teaching facilities on offer, the UK is a great place to study sports.

If you’re not sure about which sports university to choose, check out this brief guide we’ve put together. We’re going to have a look at some of the best sports universities for sports science in the UK, the best sports facilities and sports clubs, alongside the overall best institutions for sports courses in the UK.

Best for Sports Science:

Robert Gordon University, in Aberdeen, has an excellent reputation in general but when it comes to sports it’s top of its game.

If you’re talking about the best universities for sports science in the UK, then this university is unbeatable. According to recent student satisfaction surveys, Robert Gordon University is the number one when it comes to the quality of the sports science course and the teaching standard.

Those who had graduated from the university said that it had had a positive impact on their career prospects.

Another strong candidate when considering the best universities for Sports Science in the UK is Loughborough University. It’s not surprising when you take stock of the incredible sporting facilities on offer at the university. Amongst them you’ll find a 50m Olympic swimming pool, a stadium exclusive to the university for all field based activities such as football and rugby, a cricket centre, athletics track, squash courts, and gym.

Joining these two institutions amongst the best universities for Sports Science in the UK are Nottingham and Exeter universities.

The University of Nottingham has gained its good reputation thanks to its fantastic sports facilities and sports clubs, as well as the Sports Sciences courses on offer.

Best Sports Facilities:

We’ve already highlighted one or two of the best sports unis noted for their facilities, but let’s take a look at some more.

Not only does Nottingham University have some of the best Sports Science courses in the UK, but it also boasts an impressive 37 sports facilities! You don’t have to go very far to use them, either, as 25 of those facilities are on-campus.

Exeter University can also offer 36 sports facilities, of which 11 are based on campus and are outdoors facilities.

Now let’s take a more detailed look at some of the best sports universities in the UK…


Loughborough University is fiercely proud of its achievements as one of the most well-established and reputable educational institutions in the UK.

On top of being one of the best universities for Sports Science in the UK, it also is home to top class facilities, some of which have already been listed in this article.

Those sports facilities make Loughborough the ideal host for sports competitions. The university has played host to the UEFA European under 17 championships, BUCS Super Rugby Showcase games and many other high profile events.

With its cricket centre, athletics track, strength and conditioning gym, artificial pitches, squash, tennis and table tennis courts, if you study sports at Loughborough you’ll never be caught short for places to practice.

What’s more, in the years to come, Loughborough University will be investing a further £130 million in sporting facilities.

The quality of the courses and cutting edge test equipment is sterling too, which is why Loughborough University ranks 5th overall in the UK for the study of Sports Science by The Complete University guide, and 1st overall for sports related courses by QS World Rankings.

Here you can study:

While studying at Loughborough you have the chance to compete in the British Universities and College Sports (BUCS).These include football, rugby, rowing, various athletic teams and water based sports, alongside American sports practises.


Founded in 1832, Durham University opens its doors to over 17,000 students annually.

The university is the proud bearer of over 13 titles across multiple sports in the acclaimed BUCS championship finals held in Nottingham 2018 and its 11 sports teams are led by professional coaches. Here you can participate in

Basketball (Men’s & Women’s), Cricket (Men’s & Women’s), and Fencing (Men’s & Women’s), to name just a few.

There are some magnificent sports facilities at Durham University, some of the best sporting facilities in the UK, in fact. At these facilities British rowing, first class county Cricket, Lacrosse, and British fencing teams have honed their skills and raised the British sporting reputation.

Amongst the array of facilities available, the Graham Sports Centre includes a fitness suite, athletics track, squash courts and a mixture of field turf facilities for hockey and rugby teams.

At Durham you also have access to the Fencing Salle, the only one of its kind in the country. There’s also a £1m powered indoor rowing tank,  one of only three in the UK.

An extended sports hall allows for increased indoor cricket provision and a range of bowling machines. You can perfect your technique in the performance analysis suite, get the most out of the multi-purpose dance studio and x-bike training room, improve your technique in the watercraft simulator, or enjoy the three dedicated physiotherapy treatment rooms.

As for sports courses, there are plenty to choose from at Durham. Amongst them are:

In 2015, the Complete University Guide named Durham the number 1 university for its multi-disciplinary BA (Hons) sport, Exercise and Physical activity (SEPA) degree.

There are over 50 different sports teams and societies for Durham students to get stuck into, whether it be rowing or water polo, to ultimate Frisbee and mountaineering.


The sixth oldest University in the English speaking world and one of Scotland’s ancient Universities, the University of Edinburgh is the second most popular university by volume in the UK.

Not only that, it’s a member of the prestigious Russell Group University, and has strong links with businesses which means that alumni have very strong career prospects.

The University of Edinburgh has previously ranked third in the British University and Colleges Sports championship, competing against 144 higher education establishments in the UK, so its reputation bears fruit.

The University of Edinburgh is one of the best sports universities in the UK thanks to its multiple facilities, which include a state-of-the-art centre for sports in the Pleasance, where the All-Blacks train.

Here you can benefit from the two multi-purpose sports halls to practise a range of indoor sports including basketball and indoor football. There are also dance studios, martial arts areas, archery and rifle ranges, and climbing and bouldering walls.

Amongst the sports courses at Edinburgh, you can choose from:


In 2019, the University of Bath ranked 158 by the QS World University Rankings, 6th overall in The Guardian University Guide 2019, and in 2017 won the Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF).

You only need to look at the University’s excellent facilities to understand why. It boasts a £30 million Sports Training Village, and the Claverton Down campus provides a wide range of sporting facilities. The Claverton Down campus was named The Times and Sunday Times Best Campus University of 2014.

At the University of Bath you can take part in over 50 different student-led sports, including:

Take a look at some of the great sports courses on offer at Bath University here.


Birmingham University has won many awards over the years. In  2014 it was named the University of the Year in the Times Higher Education awards,  and it has also attained 6th place in the QS World University Rankings for sports-related subjects. It is also a Gold-rated university in the Teaching Excellence Framework.

The facilities here are so good that the  It is no surprise that team Jamaica chose the Universities complexes to train for the London Olympics, with training sessions from Usain Bolt and Johan Blake later saying that Birmingham was their best pre-Olympic training base to date.

The sports courses at the University of Birmingham are taught by highly qualified fitness professionals, and you have the privilege of training in the £55 million sports complex located in Edgbaston.


Exeter University is one of the best sports universities in the UK, and also has a good reputation internationally.

It has won a plethora of awards, amongst them the Green Flag Awards, owning a spot in the Times Top 150 in the World, and Research Excellence awards, not to mention having been named winner of the What Uni? Student Choice awards.

There’s a large variety of sports courses on offer at Exeter University, all taught by experts in their field. It’s the quality of the courses that truly has earned Exeter its sterling reputation. The Complete University Guide, as well as The Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide both ranked Exeter as number 1 for the study of Sports Science in 2019.

Exeter University works hard to maintain its Russell Group status by giving students a great learning experience. It has some of the best sports facilities in the country and aims to accommodate all of the needs of student athletes.

That’s why Exeter university invested over £20 million in sports facilities in the last decade.

The sports facilities include:

Leeds Beckett

This university can be found in the Northern Powerhouse city of Leeds, the biggest financial district in the UK outside of the city of London, with all sports courses being taught in the Headingley campus.

The courses on offer are diverse and exhaustive at both graduate and postgraduate level. Leeds Beckett is undoubtedly one of the best sporting universities within the UK for providing variety in sports related studies.

The facilities are also excellent. They include laboratories, animation and music studios, and the latest computing labs for all sports science needs. Not only that, but there are ample facilities for practice in the city centre and Headingley campuses.

As for sports clubs, Leeds Beckett hosts 40 Athletic Union Clubs with more than 80 teams with sports including Rugby, Netball, Hockey, and Gymnastics, as well as American Football, Surfing and Tchoukball. Plenty to get stuck into!

That just about rounds up our guide to the best sports universities in the UK. The great news is that Britain is home to some of the best sports universities in the world. So whichever UK city you decide to live in, you’re guaranteed to have a great learning experience.

To enhance that experience, check out our comfy, modern student accommodation at Yugo- the perfect base from which to kick off your sporting career!