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Campus vs city uni Which is better?

The main difference between campus and city universities is that campus universities often have a closer community feel, with easier access to amenities. City universities, on the other hand, are associated with more vibrant nightlife and often have improved transport links.

Campus and city universities give students very different living, learning and teaching experiences. Choosing one or the other may completely change your time at university. So which is the right one for you?

Let’s break down the differences between campus universities and city universities as well as their pros and cons.

What is the difference between city and campus universities?

Campus universities are based around cities and towns and their grounds are typically maintained by university staff. Their buildings are generally all within walking distance of each other and have more custom-built facilities.

City universities are usually located within city and town centres, enabling students to live and work around a city centre. City universities will generally only maintain their buildings and the immediate surrounding areas rather than a wider area.

Is Edge Hill a campus or city university?

Edge Hill University is campus based and can offer things such as state-of-the-art facilities, historic architecture, lakes, a beach and even hedgehogs, ducks, rabbits and campus cat.

The advantages of a campus university

A campus university, like Edge Hill, is not typically based in the centre of a city but on the outskirts of one. Campus universities have multiple advantages, including improved safety measures for students and reduced travel costs. The complete university guide rated Edge Hill’s campus the safest in the UK six years in a row.

All in one place (no travel costs)

Campus universities are usually built and designed by universities, allowing them to cater for students’ evolving needs. For example, Edge Hill recently added more facilities to campus, the Catalyst and Sports centre, both state of the art facilities at our Ormskirk campus.

With a campus university, you have all the amenities on your doorstep. Not only is it extremely convenient for rolling out of bed just before a lecture, but it also eliminates the cost of travel.

A standard student in Liverpool could save £426 per year by not having to buy a term-time Travel pass from Mersey Travel.

Improved safety

On a campus university, students can benefit from a safer environment, particularly during the night. Fewer members of the public, and having on-campus security, mean lower rates of vandalism, littering and increased student safety.

A community feel

Communities on campus are everywhere – from students who like to hang out at the Student’s Union to those who like getting involved in a wide range of societies. This can be great for creating a supportive environment. It fosters a community within the campus. It becomes a place to belong.

At Edge Hill we have a range of resources that contribute to our outstanding student experience.

● We have two theatre spaces and weekly cinema programming as a part of our arts and culture community.
● We offer an eclectic range of societies to build a well-rounded community from Cheerleading all the way to E-sports.
● On campus we currently have eight different places where hot food is served, places to buy groceries, a post office and the all important Students’ Union bar and club.

If you’re less outgoing, the busy and active environment of a city could be a challenge – but campus universities will have plenty of quieter spots like coffee shops and walking trails to enjoy a more chilled hangout with friends.

Campus universities are visually stunning

Campus universities have a slight advantage over city universities: they allow for more aesthetic control over the grounds.

Having more control over grounds can mean a couple of things:

● access to more open green spaces – We even won a Green Flag award
● a cohesive atmosphere throughout campus
● more purpose-built facilities
● ample study spaces across campus
● lack of rubbish thanks to groundskeepers

Being on campus doesn’t mean being in the middle of nowhere

Many campus-based universities have plenty of amenities all around them as well as in their grounds. Usually, there are bus services, trains and other forms of transportation ready to take you to wherever you need to go.

Across the UK, there are instances of campus universities being on the outskirts of cities or in their suburbs.

Edge Hill University is located just outside of Ormskirk town centre, Close to Liverpool with a direct train. You can easily enjoy a night out in the city.

International experience

International students might find it easier to adjust to life on a campus university as everything they need is in one place. Campuses tend to be safer than city universities which is a big advantage for students moving to a new country.

The disadvantages of a campus university

All in all, campus universities don’t have too many disadvantages, except for more limited travel and a different set of activities. We are firm believers that the advantages of a campus university outweigh the disadvantages.

Limited nightlife

As mentioned above, campus universities tend to have a slightly limited nightlife with it predominantly running out of the Students’ Union.

However, Students’ Unions are generally cheaper than the typical nightclub and cater specifically for students. This is not just great for your bank account, it’s also about belonging and community, so you will catch up with your friends and make new ones really easily.

Some student unions are even set up as charities to ensure they are not for profit and serve their community as best possible.

The advantages of a city university

City universities also have their advantages. The hustle and bustle of a city university can provide a much needed change of pace for some students. Attending a city university usually means that their facilities and amenities are spread out across the city and city centre.

A broader university experience

Attending a city university usually means you’ll be able to commute from a shared house, halls or a flat. This could provide a broader experience for some students due to meeting people from different walks of life.

Closer job opportunities

Some students decide to take up a part-time job during their time at university to fund their studies and extracurricular activities. While there are plenty of job opportunities in a campus university, being based near a city centre means that there could be a wider variety of job opportunities. This could be in retail, pubs, clubs or weekend admin roles.

However, there are still ample opportunities for jobs within a campus university setting.

Great transport links

Living in the heart of a city is great for transport links. Students from further afield can commute to universities more easily.

That being said, students looking to commute shouldn’t rule out campus universities. Most universities ensure there are good transport links. At Edge Hill there is a dedicated bus service connecting the campus to the railway and bus stations as well as newly created cycling routes around Ormskirk.

Depending on the city university you are looking to attend, transport links could include: coach and bus stations, train stations and even airports.

International experience

nternational students are a pivotal part of any university. If you’re looking to attend a UK university, you can enjoy the experience of a different culture and get to share your own culture with new friends.

Travelling to a new country and working out transport systems can be no easy feat. Attending a city university mean there may be easier transport links to your destination, but a campus location means once you’ve arrived, everything you need is in one location.

Both city and campus universities will provide support and guidance for students in welcome packs when places have been accepted.

Here at Edge Hill University, we’ve provided a range of different advice to parents and students over the years, including how to get to us and how to prepare for university.

City universities can also make it easier for you to get out and explore more of the UK while you’re here. With more bus and train links, you can get to other cities more easily.

Although it’s worth noting that many campus universities also run trips and days out from the Student’s Union to different cities and attractions around the UK.

Better nightlife

Nightlife in city universities will always be more diverse and vibrant, this is mainly to do with the fact that nightclubs in a city cater to more than just students, they cater to the wider city.

In a campus university, you’ll likely find a Students’ Union, and potentially a pub or bar, running themed nights throughout term-time. However, in a city university you’ll find a wider range of pubs, clubs and bars. They will usually have dedicated nights for students with a discount on drinks and activities, particularly during freshers’ week.

City universities generally offer better entertainment than campus universities due to their central location.

The disadvantages of a city university

City universities are great for an abundance of reasons, but they do come with some disadvantages too.

One key disadvantage of city universities is limited security for students. A city university cannot monitor the security of their students when travelling between lecture buildings, for example, whereas a campus university can.

Travel and safety

Living in a busy city can be brilliant for students, but having to travel to different parts of the city can be intimidating, especially for your wallet. The cost of a travel pass can be make or break for some students.

Combined with it getting dark early in the winter months, this means that students could potentially be safer on campus rather than in a city.

Fewer green spaces

The big advantage that campus universities have over city universities is that campuses usually have more open, green spaces. Some city universities do have designated gardens, but they can’t provide the same wildlife, commons or lakes as campus universities can. At Edge Hill University we even have a beach and wildflower meadows to relax in.

Where you’ll study is just as important as the course

In the battle of a campus vs city uni, both tend to offer similar courses and facilities. Taking into consideration where you’ll study is a big factor in your whole university experience.

When you decide, you could consider outside factors such as: is there a lecturer you’d really like to be taught by, where are your friends going, do you make friends easily, and how often do you intend on visiting home?

If you’re considering our university please visit our beautiful spacious campus so you can see why we’re so proud of our location and community. We are currently offering virtual and in-person tours of our campus.

An image of multiple people sat around various small tables in The Hub on the Edge Hill University campus. One set of these groups of people are looking at an iPad that is placed on the table.

June 8, 2022