By Study Inn

Voted 6th in StudentCrowd’s Best Student Cities UK 2023, Nottingham continues to be one of the UK’s most highly regarded university cities and is home to two major universities: the University of Nottingham (UoN) and Nottingham Trent University (NTU). Both have their own history and appeal, but which is right for you? This article will identify the differences and help new students to compare the two institutions.

History and reputation

University of Nottingham: A Legacy of Excellence

University of Nottingham shot from across the river on an autumnal day
University of Nottingham

The University of Nottingham was established in 1881 and is known for world-class research, particularly in its specialisms including Veterinary Medicine, Pharmacology, Nursing, Agriculture, Education and Literature. It is also known for being a member of the prestigious Russell Group of 24 research universities.

UoN has a strong global reputation and consistently features in the QS World University Rankings, placing at #=100 in 2024.

Famous UoN graduates include:

  • DH Lawrence (Author)
  • Sir Clive Granger (Winner of the 2003 Nobel Prize for Economic Science)
  • Sir John Sawers (Head of MI6)
  • Sir Robert Phillis (Deputy Director-General of the BBC)

Nottingham Trent University: Progressive and Dynamic

Exterior shot of the Nottingham Trent University, with students walking past its frontage
Nottingham Trent University

With around 40,000 students across five sites, Nottingham Trent University is one of the UK’s largest higher education institutions.

Founded in 1843, NTU continues to pride itself on innovation and a focus on practical and vocational learning. It was also the first university to sign up to the Government’s social mobility pledge to support the development of people from disadvantaged backgrounds.

Famous NTU graduates include:

  • Varun Dhawan (Actor)
  • Shane Meadows (Director)
  • Matt Berry (Actor)

Campus Life

University of Nottingham

UoN’s main campus, University Park, is an architectural marvel, combining historical buildings with modern facilities. The sprawling green spaces and serene lakes create a tranquil learning environment. The Jubilee Campus, known for its award-winning sustainable buildings, reflects UoN’s commitment to innovation and environmental responsibility.

Nottingham Trent University

NTU’s City Campus, in contrast, offers a dynamic urban experience. Its integration into Nottingham’s city centre provides students with immediate access to a bustling metropolitan life. The campus itself is a blend of historic and contemporary architecture, reflecting NTU’s ethos of blending tradition with modernity. 

Academic Offerings

Diverse Disciplines at UoN

UoN boasts a wide array of courses, ranging from the sciences and engineering to the arts and humanities. It’s particularly noted for its research-led teaching, offering students the opportunity to engage with cutting-edge discoveries and innovations.

NTU’s Career-Focused Approach

NTU emphasises career-oriented education through a largely vocational approach. Its courses are designed with employability in mind, offering practical experience and industry connections, particularly in creative arts, law, and business.

Student Experience

Student life at University of Nottingham

UoN offers a holistic university experience. Its diverse student body, numerous societies, and clubs foster a vibrant community. The sports facilities are among the best in the UK, and its global campuses offer unique opportunities for international exposure.

Student life at Nottingham Trent University

NTU is known for its inclusive and supportive community. It places great emphasis on student welfare and engagement, offering a range of services and activities. Its strong community links provide students with numerous opportunities for volunteering and local engagement.


Clifton Campus

Nottingham Trent’s Clifton Campus is a modern facility that is home to the Schools of Arts and Humanities, Science and Technology and also the Nottingham Institute of Education (NIE). However, the site does not have enough accommodation available for the thousands of new students studying there each year. This makes high-quality private accommodation essential to maximise the number of students who access the world-class education facilities of both Nottingham universities.

Nottingham Trent University Clifton Campus exterior shot on a sunny day
Clifton Campus, Nottingham Trent University

Study Inn

Both universities are complemented by Study Inn’s Talbot Street and Triumph House accommodations, providing a comfortable and convenient living environment. These facilities offer modern amenities and a supportive community, ensuring students have a true home away from home.

Study Inn Triumph House student accommodation building in Nottingham
Study Inn Triumph House, Nottingham

Research and Innovation

UoN’s Research Impact

UoN is a powerhouse in research, contributing significantly to fields like medicine, engineering, and sustainability. Its global research partnerships and state-of-the-art facilities place it at the forefront of academic discovery.

NTU’s Innovative Edge

NTU, while more focused on teaching, has made notable strides in research, particularly in areas like art and design, social sciences, and technology. Its approach to research is deeply intertwined with industry needs, ensuring practical relevance and innovation.

International Outlook

UoN’s Global Reach

UoN has a strong international presence, with campuses in China and Malaysia, facilitating a global academic exchange. This international dimension offers students a global perspective, preparing them for careers in an increasingly interconnected world.

NTU’s Diverse Community

NTU, though primarily UK-based, boasts a diverse international student body and partnerships with institutions around the world. This diversity enriches the learning experience, providing students with a broad cultural understanding.

Sustainability and Social Responsibility

UoN’s Green Initiatives

UoN is recognized for its commitment to sustainability, with initiatives like green campuses and research in environmental sciences. It actively promotes sustainable practices, reflecting its responsibility towards the environment.

NTU’s Community Engagement

NTU excels in its commitment to the local community. Its projects and programs often involve students in addressing social issues, emphasising the role of academia in societal development.

UoN or NTU: making your decision

Choosing between the University of Nottingham and Nottingham Trent University depends on your personal and academic preferences. If you lean towards a research-intensive, globally-recognized institution with a broad range of courses, UoN is an excellent choice. Alternatively, if you are drawn to a more vocational, industry-aligned education with a vibrant city experience, NTU will likely be more appealing.

In essence, both UoN and NTU offer distinct and enriching experiences. Your decision should align with your career aspirations, academic interests, and the kind of university experience you desire. Whether you choose the historic and globally connected University of Nottingham or the dynamic, industry-focused Nottingham Trent University, you’re set for an unforgettable journey in one of the UK’s most student-friendly cities.

With top-tier accommodation options like Study Inn’s Talbot Street and Triumph House available for students of both universities, your experience in Nottingham is sure to be comfortable, exciting, and fulfilling. Contact us to learn more.