United Kingdom

Partner Institutions we represent in United Kingdom

Overview

Boasting over 150 higher education institutions – including some of the world’s most prestigious and top ranked universities – the United Kingdom (UK) attracts a diverse array of international students from all over the world every semester.

Centrally located between Europe and North America, the UK is one of the world’s most popular study abroad destinations. With a study culture steeped in heritage as well as strong research credentials, it offers international students an enticing range of higher education institutions and programs.

Together England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales form the UK. The UK’s parliament (located in London) hosts representatives from each nation, and helps forge a common British identity. However, the English, Scottish, Welsh and Northern Irish cultures are and remain distinguishable from one another.

Each nation has their own traditions in music, cuisine, language and education. This not only helps to reinforce national identity (as well as fuel intense rivalries on sports fields and across dinner tables), but also makes each nation a must-visit destination in their own right.

Entry Requirements for Universities

Depending on your level and program of study, the application process for studying in the UK can vary.

Undergraduate admissions 

For undergraduate admissions, the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) handles  all applications in the UK. For most undergraduate programs, you should submit your applications  via UCAS before January 15th for entry in September (the next academic year). The application process takes place online, and you can choose up to five different courses with  some restrictions on how they may be combined. There is a fee for making an application via  UCAS. The amount depends on the number of courses and universities you apply for. Check the  UCAS website for more details. 

If you’re applying to Oxford or Cambridge, or to most medical, dentistry or veterinary courses, you  should submit your application before October 15th for entry in September (the next academic  year). 

Graduate and postgraduate admissions 

For graduate and postgraduate admissions, some courses and programmes work through UCAS,  but most require you to apply directly to the university or college. You need to make sure that you  meet the entrance requirements of your chosen degree. 

There are varying requirements for each study level. The requirements align with the academic  ability needed to successfully complete your intended course. UCAS may ask for information  about completed or ongoing qualifications, which can be given in an international equivalent to the  UK system of GCSEs and A Levels. 

If you’re studying at the graduate level and can’t find your institution or course requirements in the  UCAS system, visit the university’s or college’s website to find out the specific application process  that applies to your intended course.

Clearing 

Clearing is a way for universities to fill unclaimed places in their courses after secondary school  exam results are released to UK students. In 2018, over 60,000 students were accepted to  university in the UK using clearing. 

To be eligible for clearing, you need to have applied for a place at a UK university through UCAS  and not received any offers, or changed your mind about your top choice and rejected any offers  you’ve received. If you’re eligible, your UCAS profile will automatically reflect that your application  is “in clearing” once the clearing period has begun. 

You can also use UCAS’ Search Tool to find specific courses that have clearing places available.  Most clearing vacancies are published in August. UCAS will provide you with the university’s  contact information, including a number if you’re calling from outside the UK, and you should  contact the university you want to apply to by phone. Have your clearing number and UCAS ID  number at the ready so the university can identify you in their system. 

In the conversation, the university may ask you about your previous academic qualifications,  English proficiency, visa status and other details about qualifying for study at their institution. They  may also ask you more specific questions about why you want to study your course of choice, so  be prepared with all the relevant information. If the university would like to accept you, they’ll give  you a verbal offer on the phone and you can go back into UCAS to add that university as a  clearing choice. The institution will confirm the choice with UCAS, and you’ll receive a confirmation  letter! 

English language ability 

If English is not your first language, most universities will require you to prove your English  language ability. You can do this by taking a Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or  the International English Language Testing System (IELTS). This is to help make sure that you  can fully participate in your course and get the most out of your degree. 

Personal statement 

Universities also often ask for a personal statement to set you apart from other candidates. If  you’re applying as an international student, we advise including your reasons for wanting to study  in the UK in your personal statement. 

If you need some inspiration to get you started, we’ve put together some advice on what  international students should include when writing personal statements.

Writing Your Motivation Letter for Studies  Abroad

When required, the motivation letter, or the letter of intent, as it is sometimes called, can seem like  an unnecessary challenge for applying to a school. Depending on whether the program faculty  provides specific details of what they are looking for in the letter or, as is more frequently the case,  if they have left it up to the prospective student, it is important to recognize that either way it  comes with its own advantage and disadvantage. 

Too specific, and you may miss out on a chance to demonstrate your creativity, but too open ended and you risk going in the opposite direction of what the staff is looking for. Therefore, many  students express not knowing what exactly it is they are supposed to write about. 

Adding to the stress, students who wish to study abroad have additional concerns about writing  effectively for an international audience.

However, the good news is that there are some general characteristics international higher  education recruiters are looking for when considering potential new, international students. Along with some common points that should be made no matter where you are sending your  motivation letter (qualifications, goals, interests/passions related to your studies), there are also  some important details to add when applying to schools abroad. 

Of course, the first question you should be prepared to explain is the reason why you want to  study abroad and not in your home country. It may seem obvious, but your reasons for studying  abroad make a big difference to universities. 

Don’t Say:

  • I just wanted to get out of my country.
  • I want to meet and marry someone “international.”
  • My friend tried it, and it sounded fun.

Instead, Say: 

  • I anticipate developing both personally and professionally from an international experience. ∙ I have a deep interest in the culture, history, and language of the country, which I am excited  to continue to explore and experience.
  • As someone who prides themselves on their ability to communicate across cultures, I  believe I would be the perfect fit for a program that incorporates students from around the  globe.

By showing universities that you have taken your choice to study abroad seriously, you also show  them that you are ready to take your education seriously. 

Do you have any experience abroad already?

When selecting international students, most recruiters are aware that it is not the right experience for  everyone. By selecting someone who has no experience being a far distance from home, universities run  the risk of selecting someone who is not ready to live abroad and may quit the program soon after it begins. 

Don’t Say: 

  • I have never travelled or lived abroad, but I think I will like it.
  • Every time I have travelled it was a bad experience, but I’m hoping this time will be different.

Instead, Say: 

  • Although I have never lived or studied abroad before, I love to travel and experience new  cultures, and therefore, I’m looking for an opportunity to expand my horizons while doing  something I love.
  • Although I have never been abroad, I have done a lot of research to make sure this country is  the right match for me. I also look forward to the challenge of living and studying  independently abroad, which I am sure I am ready to handle.

Universities don’t expect that everyone applying to an international program has had study abroad  experience before. However, by letting them know you are up for the challenges that may arise,  you set yourself apart from other students who may choose to ignore the subject entirely. 

Why is your personality conducive to study abroad?

Naturally, some people are better suited for the experience of living and studying abroad.  However, it may be for different reasons than you think. 

Don’t Say: 

  • I’m always the life of the party or the loudest in the room, so I know I will make friends easily.
  • I plan on keeping to myself so that I will not upset or offend anyone.

Instead, Say: 

  • I am the kind of person who gets along well with others due to being open and considerate of  people and their beliefs.
  • Above all else, I pride myself on my cultural sensitivity when I find myself in the company of  others who do not share a similar background as mine. 

Chances are that you will not be the only international student in your program. Therefore, it’s  important to demonstrate that you get along well with others. Note that this is not the same as  saying you are the most social or friendly. Whether you are intro- or extroverted, recruiters just  

want to know you are capable of maturely handling multicultural interactions. That being said, with these improvements to your motivation letter, you are increasing your  chances of getting noticed by international universities. 

So, now that your study abroad essay is complete, it’s time to start thinking about where it is you want to  go! Whether you want to study under the Eiffel Tower in Paris, next to Big Ben in London, or you’re still not  sure, we’re here to help!

Study in England: the higher education system

Unlike the rest of the United Kingdom, England expects everyone between the ages of 16 and 18  years to be engaged in full-time or part-time education or training. 

So, the higher education phase only really begins from the age of 18. 

Higher Education (HE) colleges, university colleges, universities and private colleges are all  charged with delivering higher education across a broad range of vocational and academic  qualifications, including certificates, higher national certificates, diplomas, higher national diplomas  as well as a variety of foundation, undergraduate, graduate, and postgraduate degrees. 

Generally, the following timeframes apply to higher education studies in England: 

Programme  Duration
  National Certificates (NC)  1 year  
Higher National Certificates (HNC)  NC + 1 year
Diplomas  2 years
Higher National Diplomas  HNC + 1 year
Foundation Degrees  2 years
Bachelor’s Degrees  3 years
Master’s Degrees  Bachelor’s degree + 12 months
PhDs  Master’s degree + 3-4 years

Quality standards for English universities are among the best in the world and credentials from  English institutions are well respected internationally. So no matter your level or length of study – studying in England is a surefire way to make a positive step towards your prospective career in  any field. 

In England, you can also find exceptional business-related degrees. An MBA in the UK will grant you  access to the world’s best career opportunities as it is sought after the biggest companies internationally.

Study in England: Tuition Fees

EU students are required to pay the same fees as (local) English students. Tuition fees are  capped at £9,250 per year with 76% of institutions charging the full amount. International students (non-EU/EEA nationals) pay the same international fees across the whole  UK. These fees are higher than those for local and EU students. 

In general, an undergraduate degree in the humanities or social sciences can range from £10,000  to £17,000, a science or engineering degree from £10,000 to £20,000, and clinical degrees up to  £38,000. 

Fees can fluctuate to even higher levels, and tuition fees for graduate and postgraduate degrees  also vary, depending on your institution and program of study. 

While UK tuition costs are higher than elsewhere in the world, remember that undergraduate  programmes in England generally last three years (instead of four) and most master’s programs  last one year (instead of two). 

If you are a local or EU student, you can find out more about your funding options throughout the  UK by visiting the UK Council for International Student Affairs or student finance UK.

Study in England: Living Costs

While tuition fees are often at the top of students’ minds when choosing their study abroad destination,  there are other costs to keep in mind when figuring out the financial resources necessary to make your  study abroad dreams into a reality. 

So we’ve compiled a list of the average prices for some typical expenses in England. You should  still factor in the availability of student discounts for some of these items: 

MealGBP £22.50 

CoffeeGBP £2.37 

Beer  : GBP £3.00 

Cinema Ticket  : GBP £9.50 

Monthly rentGBP £822 

Monthly TransportGBP £60 

If you’re looking at higher education options, use this handy calculator to see how costs of living compare  in the cities or towns you’re considering!

Study in Northern Ireland: The Higher Education System

Northern Ireland requires all people to attend compulsory schooling up to the age of 16. However,  most institutions require some form of qualification as a precondition to entry into higher  education. 

So, the higher education phase effectively begins from the age of 18 after students have attained  either their A levels or a vocational qualification equivalent to A levels (such as NVQs – National  Vocational Qualifications or BTECs – Business and Technology Education Council qualifications). In Northern Ireland, three universities and two university colleges are charged with delivering  higher education. The Queen’s University Belfast, Ulster University, the Open University in  Northern Ireland, St Mary’s University College Belfast and Stranmillis University College all  provide a broad range of vocational and academic qualifications, including certificates, higher  national certificates, diplomas, higher national diplomas as well as a variety of foundation,  undergraduate, graduate, and postgraduate degrees. 

Interested in studying business? An MBA in Ireland equals affordable tuition fees and numerous career  opportunities for personal and career growth not only in the United Kingdom, but also globally. 

Generally, the following timeframes apply to higher education studies in Northern Ireland: 

Programme  Duration
  National Certificates (NC)  1 year  
Higher National Certificates (HNC)  NC + 1 year
Diplomas  2 years
Higher National Diplomas  HNC + 1 year
Foundation Degrees  2 years
Bachelor’s Degrees  3 years
Master’s Degrees  Bachelor’s degree + 12 months
PhDs  Master’s degree + 3-4 years

Quality standards for Northern Irish universities are among the best in the world and credentials  from Northern Irish institutions are well respected internationally. No matter your level of study,  studying in Northern Ireland is a surefire way to make a positive step towards your prospective  career in any field.

Study in Northern Ireland: Tuition Fees 

EU students are required to pay the same fees as (local) Northern Irish students. Tuition fees are  capped at £4,160 per year with 76% of institutions charging the full amount. International students (non-EU/EEA nationals) pay the same international fees across the whole  UK. These fees are higher than those for local and EU students. 

In general, an undergraduate degree in the humanities or social sciences can range from £10,000  to £17,000, a science or engineering degree from £10,000 to £20,000, and clinical degrees up to  £38,000. 

Fees can fluctuate to even higher levels, and tuition fees for graduate and postgraduate degrees  also vary, depending on your institution and program of study. 

While UK tuition costs are higher than elsewhere in the world, remember that undergraduate  programmes generally last three years (instead of four) and most master’s programs last one year  (instead of two).

Study in Northern Ireland: Living Costs 

While tuition fees are often at the top of students’ minds when choosing their study abroad  destination, there are other costs to keep in mind when figuring out the financial resources  necessary to make your study abroad dreams into a reality. 

So we’ve compiled a list of the average prices for some typical expenses in Northern Ireland. You  should still factor in the availability of student discounts for some of these items: 

Meal : GBP £20 

Coffee : GBP £2.67 

Beer  : GBP £4.20 

Cinema Ticket : GBP £7.00 

Monthly rent : GBP £550 

Monthly Transport  : GBP £59 

Study in Scotland: The Higher Education System 

The Scottish education system is very different from the rest of the United Kingdom. Scotland  requires all people to attend compulsory schooling up to the age of 16. 

Most young people in Scotland move into higher education at the age of 17 (rather than 18). This  may be because first degree students from Scotland (or the rest of the EU) studying in Scotland  do not pay any direct course fees for their first undergraduate degree. 

In Scotland, 15 universities and three other higher education institutions are charged with  delivering higher education across a broad range of vocational and academic qualifications,  including certificates, higher national certificates, diplomas, higher national diplomas as well as a  variety of foundation, undergraduate, graduate, and postgraduate degrees. Scotland is also home to four “ancient universities” whose origins can be traced back earlier than  the 1600s. They are St. Andrews University – founded in 1413 – together with Glasgow, Aberdeen  and Edinburgh universities. 

Generally, the following timeframes apply to higher education studies in Scotland:

Programme  Duration
  National Certificates (NC)  1 year  
Higher National Certificates (HNC)  NC + 1 year
Diplomas  2 years
Higher National Diplomas  HNC + 1 year
Foundation Degrees  n/a
Bachelor’s Degrees  4 years

 

Master’s Degrees  Bachelor’s degree + 12 months
PhDs  Master’s degree + 3-4 years

 

Quality standards for Scottish universities are among the best in the world and credentials from  Scottish institutions are well respected internationally. So no matter your level or length of study – studying in Scottish is a surefire way to make a positive step towards your prospective career in  any field. 

Study in Scotland: Tuition Fees 

Scotland is unique in that tuition the Student Awards Agency for Scotland (SAAS) pays the fees  for local students. Tuition fees for EU students are effectively covered by SAAS. International students (non-EU/EEA nationals) pay the same international fees across the whole  UK. These fees are higher than those for local and EU students. 

In general, an undergraduate degree in the humanities or social sciences can range from £10,000  to £17,000, a science or engineering degree from £10,000 to £20,000, and clinical degrees up to  £38,000. 

Fees can fluctuate to even higher levels, and tuition fees for graduate and postgraduate degrees  also vary, depending on your institution and program of study. 

While UK tuition costs are higher than elsewhere in the world, remember that undergraduate  programmes generally last three years (instead of four) and most master’s programs last one year  (instead of two). 

Study in Scotland: Living Costs 

While tuition fees are often at the top of students’ minds when choosing their study abroad  destination, there are other costs to keep in mind when figuring out the financial resources  necessary to make your study abroad dreams into a reality. 

So we’ve compiled a list of the average prices for some typical expenses in Scotland. You should  still factor in the availability of student discounts for some of these items: 

MealGBP £25 

CoffeeGBP £2.87 

Beer  : GBP £3.50 

Cinema TicketGBP £10.00 

Monthly rentGBP £560 

Monthly TransportGBP £55

Study in Wales: The Higher Education System 

Wales requires everyone to attend compulsory schooling up to the age of 16. However, most  institutions require some form of qualification as a precondition to entry into higher education. So, the higher education phase effectively begins from the age of 18 after students have attained  either their A levels or a vocational qualification equivalent to A levels (such as NVQs – National  Vocational Qualifications or BTECs – Business and Technology Education Council qualifications). Under Welsh law, only certain higher education institutions have the right to use the title  ‘university.’ There are, however, eight higher education institutions charged with delivering higher  education across a broad range of vocational and academic qualifications, including certificates,  higher national certificates, diplomas, higher national diplomas as well as a variety of foundation,  undergraduate, graduate, and postgraduate degrees.

Generally, the following timeframes apply to higher education studies in Wales: 

Programme  Duration
  National Certificates (NC)  1 year  
Higher National Certificates (HNC)  NC + 1 year
Diplomas  2 years
Higher National Diplomas  HNC + 1 year
Foundation Degrees  2 years
Bachelor’s Degrees  3 years
Master’s Degrees  Bachelor’s degree + 12 months
PhDs  Master’s degree + 3-4 years

Quality standards for Welsh universities are among the best in the world and credentials  fromWelsh institutions are well respected internationally. So no matter your level or length of study  – studying in Wales is a surefire way to make a positive step towards your prospective career in  any field. 

Study in Wales: Tuition Fees 

EU students are required to pay the same fees as (local) Welsh students. Tuition fees are capped  at £9,000 per year with 76% of institutions charging the full amount. 

International students (non-EU/EEA nationals) pay the same international fees across the whole  UK. These fees are higher than those for local and EU students. 

In general, an undergraduate degree in the humanities or social sciences can range from £10,000  to £17,000, a science or engineering degree from £10,000 to £20,000, and clinical degrees up to  £38,000. 

Fees can fluctuate to even higher levels, and tuition fees for graduate and postgraduate degrees  also vary, depending on your institution and program of study. 

While UK tuition costs are higher than elsewhere in the world, remember that undergraduate  programmes generally last three years (instead of four) and most master’s programs last one year  (instead of two). 

If you are a local or EU student, you can find out more about your funding options throughout the  UK by visiting the UK Council for International Student Affairs or student finance UK.

Study in Wales: Living Costs 

While tuition fees are often at the top of students’ minds when choosing their study abroad  destination, there are other costs to keep in mind when figuring out the financial resources  necessary to make your study abroad dreams into a reality. 

So we’ve compiled a list of the average prices for some typical expenses in Wales. You should still  factor in the availability of student discounts for some of these items: 

Meal  : GBP £20 

CoffeeGBP £2.67 

Beer  : GBP £3.50 

Cinema TicketGBP £6.00 

Monthly rentGBP £590 

Monthly TransportGBP £52.80

Student Visas

A note on Brexit 

The UK has left the EU and a new points-based immigration system has been introduced. Visit the  websites for the UK Government and the British council to stay updated with the latest information  and for advice on how this will affect students from the EU and the EEA (including Iceland,  Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland) studying or planning to study in the UK, or participate in  the Erasmus programme. 

EU nationals who already live, work or study in the UK can continue to enjoy the exact same rights  as they do now as long as they register under the EU Settlement Scheme before 30 June 2021.  To be eligible for this scheme, you must have moved to the UK no later than 31 December 2020. However, from 1 January 2021, the new ‘points-based immigration system’ will apply to all  international students entering the UK to study for the first time, including those from the EU the  EEA, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland. Applications under the new Student route  open from 5 October 2020. 

Exceptions have been created for nationals from the Republic of Ireland. 

International students from all other countries continue to require a study visa to enter the UK. Generally, international students enter the UK on a “Tier-4 Visa” for a full study program. Students  studying English or training courses can apply for a short-term study visa.

UK Visas and Immigration handle all visas and immigration matters. You should apply for a UK  study visa through their website. You can apply for a visa up to three months before the start date  of your course. However, the process is complex, so start the process early to give yourself plenty  of time to properly complete your application. 

The UK awards student visas according to a points-based system. To obtain the required number  of points, you will need supporting information and documents. Generally, this entails the  following: 

  • Passport details and a recent photograph 
  • A ‘Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies’ (CAS) from your institution of study, which will be  sent to you by your university once you fulfill the conditions of your acceptance If you are a non-native speaker, proof of proficiency in the English language as demonstrated  by a ‘secure English language test’ (SELT) 
  • Proof that you have the financial means to support yourself for the duration of your study in  the UK, documented by a bank statement 

The types of visa you’ll need depends on the duration of your study program. Find out more  information below! 

Short-Term / Study-visit Visa 

Students from outside the EEA who are 18 years old and older planning on undertaking a short  program of study may apply for a short-term / study-visit visa. This applies to students planning on  studying English language or training courses, or pursuing a short research period as part of a  study abroad program. 

A short-term / study-visit visa is valid for up to six months (costing 97 GBP) or 11 months (costing  186 GBP). 

Once it expires it cannot be extended. This visa does not permit you to work in the UK or study at  a state-funded higher education institution. 

Tier 4 (General) Student Visa 

Students aged 16 and older who have been offered a place on a longer-term course at an  accredited institution may apply for the Tier 4 general student visa. 

It allows you to stay for a longer period of time than a short-term visa. It also permits the holder to  work most jobs, and to extend the visa should you choose to study at a higher level. The visa costs 328 GBP, and if you are staying for longer than 6 months you will be required to  pay a 150 GBP ‘health surcharge’ in order to gain access to the National Health Service. The UK government has published a detailed guide on what is required for the Tier- 4 student visa  application, including documents to submit and the amount of financial resources you will require  to have your student visa approved. 

Once you’ve made your online application, you will have to submit your biometric details and  information in your home country for the UK government to begin processing your application.  Find your local visa application center where you will submit your biometrics here. 

Tier 4 (Child) Student Visa 

Students aged 17 or under who wish to attend an independent school in the United Kingdom may  apply for the Tier 4 (Child) Student Visa. This visa allows you to stay in the UK for up to 6 years,  depending on your age and the length of your course. It also permits those aged 16 or over to  work part-time during term, and full-time during holidays.

Housing

As a student, it’s important to find the right kind of accommodation. This will vary depending on  how much travelling you plan to do, and whether you are able to find part-time work. Fortunately, students (especially international ones) are often eligible for student housing and, if  you pick a student-friendly city, can benefit from a number of student discounts. 

University Accommodation 

Across the UK, most universities have accommodation known as ‘student halls’ or ‘halls of  residence’ which they rent out to students. First year students typically live in student halls to ease  their transition to campus life and independence. 

Student halls typically resemble studio-sized rooms with communal kitchens and living and  bathroom areas. Often a canteen will provide meals at an extra cost. The rooms in halls may be a  little basic, but they offer more opportunity to socialize with other students outside of your study  program. 

Self-catering flats are usually separate units with fully equipped kitchens and private living  spaces/bathrooms. These are slightly more expensive but offer more privacy and calm if that’s  your preference. 

Most university accommodation is located on campus or close to lecture theatres and other  facilities, but this is variable – you can save significantly on rent by living a little further away. There is always competition for housing so it is worth applying as early as possible. However,  some universities offer international students a guaranteed place in student halls for their first  year. 

Contact your university to find out the housing options they offer. 

Private Rentals 

If you’re looking to rent on the private market, you can find an apartment through an estate agent  or private landlord. 

The cost of rent fluctuates greatly depending on the location and standard of the house/flat but  sharing with roommates can ease the pressure on your budget, and many choose to live with a  group of friends. 

For many students this is their first taste of living on their own and it’s always an exciting  experience! Check out some of these great student accommodation

Scholarships

Most institutions, even the most prestigious ones, generally charge the same tuition fees. As an  international student, you can expect to pay around £20,000 on average. Programs that require more  equipment and contact time, like clinical degrees, cost almost double that amount. 

Three scholarships are available specifically for international  students to study in the UK: 

Chevening Scholarships 

These scholarships are available to outstanding students to fund a one-year master’s degree. Use  the Chevening course finder to make sure your institution and program of study are Chevening  partners. To be eligible for this award, students must demonstrate leadership and decision-making  skills across a range of areas, including business, media, politics and academia.

Commonwealth Scholarships and Fellowships 

These funding opportunities are offered by Commonwealth Scholarship Commission  UK. Over 900 scholarships and fellowships are available each year for students of Commonwealth  countries to help them fund their postgraduate education. 

Marshall Scholarships for American Students 

These scholarships are offered to 40 graduates from the US. Students must have a minimum GPA  of 3.7 to apply and their degree must have been awarded within the past three years. This  resource includes university fees, living expenses, travel costs (flights and daily commute) and  entails a contribution towards the support of a dependent spouse. 

The list doesn’t end there! 

Many UK institutions offer their own scholarship and funding schemes. Contact your university to  find out the funding options available to you. Furthermore, country and field-specific funding  schemes are available depending on your country of origin and program of study.