Campus or city university - which is right for you?

We have two types of university in the UK – city and campus universities.

As the name suggests, city universities are often located in the city-centre, spread across town. Campus universities are further out and self-contained, often in the English countryside.

When choosing a university, location is a key factor. As your home-away-from-home your university needs to make you feel safe and welcome.

Deciding between a city or campus university could have an impact on your uni experience. So, which is better?

Take a look at the key considerations when choosing a university, the pros and cons of city universities and the pros and cons of campus universities.

What is the difference between a city and a campus university?

A city university can offer a buzzing social calendar, culture and variety – which sometimes requires a little travel between university buildings and accommodation.

Campus universities have an all-in-one community feel, with all the facilities on your doorstep.

If going from your bed to the lecture hall in under five minutes is important to you, you might want to look at campus living.

But, if you’re more interested in culture and nightlife, a city university might be preferable.

iQ Student Accommodation East Court building exterior. City university accommodation in Mile End, London.
iQ East Court - city university accommodation in East London. 

The pros and cons of city universities

PRO - Variety

Studying in vibrant towns, such as London, Liverpool, Manchester or Sheffield, means a fast-paced, ever-evolving cultural hub on your doorstep.

With events, festivals, club nights and galleries - there’s always something new to entertain you and meet like-minded friends.

PRO – Social Scene

Not only are you sharing the city with all your university colleagues, but you’re also living and studying with students from a variety of universities.

With around 300,000 full time students in London, 96,200 students in Manchester and 60,000 students in Sheffield, the pool for finding and making friends runs deep!

CON – Convenience

Lecture theatres, accommodation and even friends might be spread out across the city, so you’ll need to factor in a little extra time and budget for travelling.

Like most iQ buildings, student accommodation will often be within walking distance of a tube, train or bus stop – so it makes travelling around that bit easier!

iQ Bloomsbury building exterior. Sidewalk with trees and pedestrians.
iQ Bloomsbury - city university accommodation in the heart of London. 

The pros and cons of campus universities

PRO – Convenience

Everything is within walking distance at campus universities. Everything. The student union, the shops, lecture halls, accommodation, library, friends will all be a stone’s throw away.  

If you’re looking for convenience – and a lay in – the campus university has everything in one place.

PRO – Community

With the student’s union, sports teams and all socials on campus, you become familiar with all your colleagues pretty quickly. Having everything – and everyone – in one place fosters a strong sense of community.

CON – What else?

Having everything and everyone in one place can also be… a bit of a negative!

Once you’ve met everyone, been to the union a handful of times and joined all the social clubs you may find yourself asking - what else?

But this is entirely down to your preferences. And if this sounds like a likely scenario, perhaps a city university if more your vibe.

iQ Fletcher and Hollingworth buildings in Manchester
iQ Fletcher and Hollingworth House - city university accommodation in Manchester. 

Is city or campus better?

Both city and campus universities have their pros and cons, but it comes down to what style of student life suits you better.

There are also many other factors to consider – proximity to home, course and subject authority, price and more! The best thing you can do is visit the universities you’re interested and figure out if it feels like a home-away-from-home.

iQ has accommodation across 27 cities in the UK. Know what city you want to study in? Book a viewing to your most convenient iQ student accommodation property. 


Location inspiration

If you're not sure where you're heading yet, take a look around our properties in all corners of the UK.

Stephenson House, Newcastle

Shoreditch, London