There are currently eight universities operating in Wales, all of which receive funding from the Higher Education Funding Council for Wales (HEFCW). Although university status in Wales only requires taught degree awarding powers (since 2004), 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). University status in Wales is conferred by the Privy Council following advice from the Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education. 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); the same four also featured in the QS World University Rankings (916 institutions, 71 from the UK); while Bangor and Cardiff are in the Academic Ranking of World Universities (500 institutions, 37 from the UK). 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. Welsh universities also charge tuition fees, capped at £9,000 per year for UK and EU students on undergraduate courses, although international students and postgraduate students may pay more.
|English Name||Welsh Name||Image||Year of
|Teaching Excellence Framework||Notes|
|Aberystwyth University||Prifysgol Aberystwyth||1872||Ceredigion||8,040||Gold||Founded as the University College Wales|
|Bangor University||Prifysgol Bangor||1884||Gwynedd||9,705||Gold||Founded as the University College of North Wales|
|Cardiff University||Prifysgol Caerdydd||1883||Cardiff||33,510||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.
|Cardiff Metropolitan University||Prifysgol Fetropolitan Caerdydd||2011
|Cardiff||11,435||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 South Wales||Prifysgol De Cymru||2013
|Cardiff, Newport and Pontypridd||23,150||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||1920||Swansea||21,465||Gold||Founded as the University College, Swansea|
|University of Wales Trinity Saint David||Prifysgol Cymru, Y Drindod Dewi Sant||2010
|Cardiff, Carmarthenshire, Ceredigion,
London and Swansea
|14,795||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)|
|Wrexham Glyndŵr University||Prifysgol Glyndŵr Wrecsam||1887||Wrexham||7,485||Silver||Founded as the Wrexham School of Science and Art|
The below lists the outcome of the latest UK Research Excellence Framework undertaken in 2014 (the next REF was scheduled for 2021). The quality of research was rated 4* (world leading) to 1* (recognised nationally). The rankings are out of 128 institutions.
|Quality profile % |
|University||4*||3*||2*||1*||Uncategorised||GPA ranking (UK)||Research power ranking (UK)|
|University of South Wales||12||38||40||9||1||93||92|
|Cardiff Metropolitan University||25||55||18||2||1||41||115|
|University of Wales Trinity Saint David||11||35||40||13||2||97||118|
|Wrexham Glyndŵr University||3||33||42||22||1||112||120|
A list of Wales' 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 ||QS (Quacquarelli Symonds) World Rankings 2020||THE (Times Higher Education) World Ranking 2020||CWTS Leiden Ranking 2019|
|University of South Wales||-||-||1,001+||-|
|Cardiff Metropolitan University||-||-||801–1,000||-|
|University of Wales Trinity Saint David||-||-||-||-|
|Wrexham Glyndŵr University||-||-||-||-|