By Granit Sadiku

Although the number of Nigerian students fell largely by 41% between 2014/15 and 2017/18, Nigerians still remain the largest group of African students enrolled in UK universities, according to

Latest enrollment statistics collected from 183 recognized universities show that as of 2017/18, a total of 27,815 students from Africa were attending universities in the UK. Nigeria ranks first in the list of the most popular countries of origin for African students in the UK despite a large decrease in student enrollment in recent years.

During 2017/18, a total of 10,540 Nigerian students had been studying in the UK. Expressed in percentage terms, it meant that Nigeria contributed 38% of all African students attending British universities.

By the academic level at which they were studying, most of them were postgraduate students. Of the total of 10,540 Nigerian students during 2017/18, 5,925 of them were postgraduate students while the remaining 4,615 were undergraduate students.

However, statistics reveal a worrying decrease in the number of African students who are studying in UK universities. In 2014/15, the UK universities accounted for 35,070 African students, three years later their number dropped to 27,815 students.

A similar decrease was also noted in the number of Nigerian students, but they still remain the largest group of African students in the UK, according to statistics. In contrast to 10,540 Nigerian students as of 2017/18, three years ago during 2014/15, the UK universities were home to a total of 17,920 Nigerian students. In other words, their number decreased largely by 41% in three academic years.

Further statistics show that Business and Engineering are the most favourite study subjects for Nigerian students in the UK. Based on statistics, during 2017/18 a number of 2,525 students were studying for a Business degree and some other 2,080 were studying for a degree in Engineering and Technology.

Other popular degrees were Law (1,350 students), Computer Science (865 students) and Social sciences (830 students).

Universities in England are the most desired study destination for Nigerians students in the UK. During 2017/18, a total of 8,900 Nigerian students were enrolled in English universities whereas Scottish universities accounted for some 1,115 students, Welsh universities, on the other hand, had 450 students and universities in Northern Ireland had only 70 students.

Based on enrollment data at individual higher education providers, the following list contains the most popular universities for Nigerian students

  • Coventry University
  • University of Hertfordshire
  • The Robert Gordon University
  • Anglia Ruskin University
  • University of Bedfordshire
  • University of Birmingham

The UK is known as a global leader in higher education and it is not hard to see why so many students from Africa and Nigeria prefer to go there to study. Global recognition, outstanding career development opportunities, international experience and future prospects are among reasons that encourage African students to go to study in the UK.


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