Universities in the United Kingdom

Universities in the United Kingdom have generally been instituted by Royal Charter, Papal Bull, Act of Parliament or an instrument of government under the Further and Higher Education Act 1992. For new public universities, approval is required from the Privy Council, while private universities may be granted the right to use the title by Companies House. The exact criteria for University title vary between the four countries of the United Kingdom. Degree awarding powers, which are three-tiered and allow the granting of foundation degrees, taught degrees, and research degree, are granted by the Privy Council on the advice of the Quality Assurance Agency.

Institutions that hold degree awarding powers are termed Recognised Bodies, this list includes universities, university colleges, colleges of the University of London, higher education colleges, and the Archbishop of Canterbury. Listed Bodies offer courses leading to degrees of a Recognised Body, this includes institutions whose degrees are validated by a recognised body, and the colleges of the universities of Oxford, Cambridge, Durham, and the Highlands and Islands. Undergraduate applications to almost all UK universities are managed by the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS)

While legally, University refers to an institution that has been granted the right to use the title, in common usage it now normally includes colleges of the University of London, including in official documents such as the Dearing Report. These include a number of institutions that feature regularly in the league tables of the world's top universities, such as UCL, the LSE and King's College London.

The central co-ordinating body for universities in the United Kingdom is Universities UK.