Study in the UK
Degree courses at UK universities
Study in the UK
With world renowned universities, university pathways to suit all academic abilities, as well as a wide variety of multicultural towns and cities, the UK is a great place to study.
You can find out much more below or if you have a specific query jump to the section by clicking on a link below:
- Why study in the UK?
- UK university degree courses
- Choosing a UK university
- When to apply
- How to apply
- University English language requirements
- Tier 4 student visa UK requirements
- How much does it cost to study in the UK?
- EU students studying after Brexit
- After graduation
- Help and support applying to UK universities
Why study in the UK?
Second, only to the US for attracting international students, the UK welcomes nearly half a million students every year and offers a world-class education. As well as the opportunity for unrivalled life experience within the rich welcoming culture of modern Britain, it has cosmopolitan university cities.
The UK is also the gateway to Europe, where, with just a short flight, you can explore some of the oldest and most beautiful cities in the world.
UK university degree courses
University degree courses are recognised around the world for the quality of teaching and research. Before you look at different UK universities there are a wide variety of degree options to choose from. We can help you to understand which UK university or degree pathway is best for you. Degrees in the UK include:
Foundation degree (Fd) - Not to be mistaken with a (foundation year). Most foundation degrees are two years long and are usually focused on a particular job or profession. For example, you can study a FdSc in Veterinary nursing. Many foundation degrees will provide the option to do a further year to gain a full honours degree.
Honours degree (B (hons)) - Studying an honours degree at a UK university is how many students start their university journey. UK universities offer a huge choice of degrees, which when you start looking might seem quite overwhelming. We are here to help you navigate the wide variety of UK universities and courses.
Masters degree (M) - With an increasingly competitive graduate jobs market, having a Masters degree is now seen as essential for many jobs. The UK offers a wide variety of specialist masters degrees. Most of these courses have a large taught component (e.g an MSc or MA). However, if you are looking to follow an academic career but you don't feel quite ready for a PhD, a research focused masters could be right for you (MPhil).
Doctorate (PhD) - If you are looking for the ultimate academic accolade, then a PhD should be a part of your university journey. With UK universities having world renowned research, there is no better place to do your PhD. In the UK, there are two main routes to securing a PhD. You can either apply directly for an advertised PhD or you can approach a research group with a proposal who work directly in your area of interest.
As well as UK degree programmes, there are also lots of other training opportunities in the UK that might better align with your future career goals.
What is different about a UK university degree?
One of the main differences in UK university degrees is that they tend to be more specialist from the outset. So, if you have a good idea of what you want to study a degree in Great Britain means you will start learning your subject from day one.
Of course this doesn't mean you can't change your mind, as you always have the option to change your course if you are not enjoying it. Or if you are less sure, you can undertake a joint honours degree or do a foundation year.
One of the main advantages of the UK higher education system is that you will get an honours degree in 3 years. With many institutes now offering a more intensive 2 year honours degree. Some universities that offer fast track degrees are:
- Falmouth University
- University of Essex
- University of Buckingham
- Anglia Ruskin University
- University of Law
With Masters degrees in the UK usually being only one year, you can be qualified to a Masters level in just 3 years which is less time than it takes to get an honours degree in many other countries.
Choosing a UK university
Are you wondering what is the best UK university to study at?
There is of course no simple answer. You should consider a number of different things. We will work with you to consider which university is the best for you, however, to get you started, here are some things to consider:
What type of university should I study at in the UK?
UK universities offer a broad range of learning environments, from historic Russell Group universities such as Oxford and Cambridge, to more modern specialist universities, such as Falmouth University.
You should also consider the location you would like to study in. UK universities can be found in big cities or university towns. Also, have a think about what you like to do to relax. For example, would you like to be close to nature or live by the sea?
Comparing UK universities
Now it is time to narrow down what will be the best UK university for you. The most important thing to do here is to look at the courses on offer at each of your university choices. Courses with the same name often vary a lot between UK universities. You should consider if the course content and assessment style are right for you.
Have a look at the university rankings. There are lots of league tables out there and the UK also has something called the Teaching Excellence and Student Outcomes Framework (TEF). Make sure you choose a university that has a good score.
If you would like more information on which UK university to study at. You can find more resources here.
Or if you would like to find out more about the best universities in your subject area:
When to apply?
There are two main routes to apply to study at university in the UK.
Most undergraduate students apply through a centralised system called UCAS where you can apply to up to 5 universities. There are a series of UCAS deadlines throughout the year and we have produced a helpful infographic to explain them. The main UCAS deadlines to consider are:
- You can submit your UCAS application from September
- UCAS closes for most applications on the 15th January, but is much earlier (15th October) for for Oxford and Cambridge and courses like medicine and dentistry.
The other way you can apply to university in the UK is directly to the university. For undergraduate applications this is only possible at some universities. Direct applications are, however, the only way to apply for all postgraduate degrees in the UK.
UK universities don't normally set deadlines for direct applications but you should consider two main things.
- Firstly, courses start filling up early in the year, so the earlier you get your direct application in, the better chance you have on securing your place.
- Secondly, you need to leave sufficient time to get your visa before your course starts.
How to apply for university in UK?
The UK offers one of the most diverse range of study opportunities of any country. Your academic pathway and choice of university is the all important first step. We have an in-depth knowledge of all the options there are to study in the UK, helping you to find the right university and degree course.
Applying for university in the UK is a very competitive process. Courses require students to stand out from the crowd. We will support you to understand how to apply for university in UK and help you make the best application you can. We will ensure you to get the course you want, at the best university for you.
UK university English language requirements
All of our international students who apply to study in the UK, with English as a second language, need to consider the UK university English language requirements. Undertaking an English language course as an international student is often essential.
We can advise you on likely IELTS UKVI requirements. We will recommend academic English courses to help you improve your English language skills, so you meet the language requirements. Ensuring you attain the IELTS level, as a condition of your offer, is an essential part of you gaining your place to study in the UK.
Improving your English language
We can recommend places that will assess your English language level. We can then support you with intensive IELTS preparation, through to booking your IELTS tests in the UK or in Europe. Homestay and accommodation options can usually be arranged for you at English language centres. Which further helps you improve your language skills further through conversing with your host family.
Opportunities exist for you to improve your English language skills in your home country or to undertake an online ESOL and IELTS preparation course. If you would like to find out more, please contact us to speak to one of our advisors. They can work with you to help you understand the UK university English language requirements.
There are also options to undertake an English pre-sessional course directly at a university depending on your overall proficiency.
Tier 4 student visa UK requirements
International students will require a Tier 4 student visa UK (Tier 4 visa). Other European countries will have similar student visa requirements. The UK government is committed to keeping the universities open to students throughout the world.
The UK government is committed to ensure the UK retains an inclusive and welcoming approach, encouraging international students to study in the UK. They recently announced a commitment to double the number of international students and allow international students to stay to find a job for 2 years after graduating. There is no better time to get a UK student visa.
UK student visa application process
To apply for a Tier 4 student visa UK, you need to be able to demonstrate you have the finances in place to support yourself through your degree course. For studying in London, the student visa requirements mean you need to show you can afford living costs estimated at around £1,000 a month. Elsewhere it is around £800 a month. You will need to provide evidence that you have the tuition fees and maintenance fees (living costs) in your bank account. This needs to be in your bank or a minimum of 28 days before you apply for your UK student visa.
In the UK, for a student visa, you first have to apply for a degree course and obtain a confirmation of acceptance of studies (CAS) number from a university approved by UK Visa and Immigration (UKVI). Some colleges can also issue CAS numbers. Colleges will make you aware of their status and ability to take on international students.
Your UK student visa will allow multiple entries into the UK. Students on a Tier 4 student visa UK have the right to work in the UK for a maximum of 20 hours a week on a part-time basis.
How much does it cost to study in the UK?
One of the biggest considerations when deciding which course to study in the UK, is the costs. Your university education being one of the biggest investments you will make. Different universities and courses charge a wide range of fees. We can discuss the costs of each course when exploring your options, but below is a rough guide:
- Tuition fees can be as low as £12,000 per year for international students, although you should expect to pay between £14,000 - £16,000 for most courses (All European students are eligible for good scholarships at a number of universities offering significant fee reductions). For some specialist courses such as Medicine, you can expect to pay fees in excess of £40,000.
- You should budget at least £1,000 per month for living costs if you are studying in London and around £800 in the rest of the UK.
These will be your main two expenses when studying in the UK and are important for your visa. You will need to demonstrate you have enough funds in your bank account to cover these costs for one year. This is usually a minimum of £24,000.
Other costs to consider are your travel back home during your university holidays. The good news is, unlike many other countries, visa costs and access to world class healthcare are both less than £500.
The UK allows students to work part time for up to 20 hours whilst they study. This can go a long way to ensuring studying in the UK is affordable.
If the costs of studying in the UK are too high, but you would still like a degree from the UK, you might want to consider an online degree. There are some great options available including:
Undergraduate scholarships for international students in UK are highly competitive. Whilst we can support you with your university application, we do not support undergraduate students in finding and applying for a university scholarship. However, we can direct you other organisations that can give you information on this. If you have secured a university scholarship from your home country that will pay for your education in the UK, we can help you identify suitable universities to that offer your choice of degree course.
For EU students, we can advise on a number of our partner universities who are offering tuition fee discounts.
We can support prospective PhD students who require help applying for a PhD university scholarship to study in the UK.
To help you identify different scholarship opportunities, below are some useful resources to get you started:
The British Council advertises a number of scholarship and funding schemes. There are a number of scholarship schemes run by governments, charities and other organisations. Ask your Ministry of Education, your local British Council office, or your teachers, if they know of any schemes for students in your country. There are a few global schemes you may want to have a look at: Chevening UK government university scholarships, Erasmus scholarships and Royal Society grants. Scholars 4 Dev advertise UK scholarships, grants and fellowship opportunities for international students.
If you are looking further afield, this is a great site providing information on scholarships across Europe.
Undergraduate scholarships for international students in UK, nearly always still require to pay some costs yourself towards your university education. Make sure you find out what is and is not covered by your scholarship or financial support scheme.
Study in the UK Brexit, what does it all mean?
If you are thinking about how to apply for university in UK, you may be unsure about how the UK leaving the EU might affect you.
If you are an international or EU student looking to study in the UK and Brexit is concerning you here is a quick guide:
If I am an international student coming from outside the EU/EEA. Will Brexit affect me?
In short, no, Brexit will not affect your rights to study in the UK, nor your chances of making a successful application. In fact, there are a couple of positives for international students. Firstly, in order to encourage more international students the UK government has announced an increase to two years that graduate students can stay in the UK to find a job post-Brexit. Secondly, Brexit has resulted in a re-alignment of the value of the pound. This means it is cheaper for you to work and study in the UK.
I am an EU student. Does Brexit mean I will have to get a visa and pay more to study in the UK?
If you are from the EU/EEA, then things have changed now the UK has left the EU. You will need to get a visa now to study in the UK. However, the process is straightforward and as an EU national there should be no issues. Furthermore, as with international students, a student visa allows you to stay for 2 years after your studies to find a job. The biggest change is that students from the EU/EEA now have to pay international tuition fees. This means that whilst the UK remains a great place to study, fees have now gone up for students from the EU. The good news is that the UK universities are still very keen to encourage EU students to study in the UK and are offering some really good scholarships to ensure tuition fees are either at the same level or close to what UK students pay.
So what do we advise here at Uni Direct on your Brexit study plans for the UK?
If you are an international student and are worried, don't. There is nothing to worry about. We are, however, more than happy to talk things through with you if you want to find out more.
If you are an EU/EEA student, don't be put off by the changes. The UK still remains a great and welcoming place to study with a wide range of courses to suit most academic and financial requirements. As above we are more than happy to talk things through with you if you want to find out more.
If you want to continue to study in the UK after graduation, the UK offers a wide range of postgraduate study options. If you are, however, looking to stay a little longer and gain some work experience, to encourage more talented people to stay, recent changes mean that graduates can stay in the UK for two years to find work.
Help and support applying to UK universities
We hope this quick guide has answered some of your questions about studying in the UK. You will no doubt have many more questions and that is where we can help. Uni Direct has been helping students from around the world with very diverse educational backgrounds for many years. We are here to ensure you make the right choice of UK university and undergraduate or postgraduate course and then help you all the way through the application process. We will help you in the following areas:
- Mentoring sessions throughout the process
- Course and UK university research aligned to academic ability and personal requirements (including ensuring courses meet future career aspirations)
- Personal statement development and guidance - including discussing existing and future work experience
- Help in producing a great CV for postgraduate applications
- Application support either as a direct application or through UCAS (we will ensure that everything is correct and in place and are a UCAS registered centre)
- Ensuring your grades are appropriately translated into the UK system to ensure all your hard work is fully recognised.
- Support you in obtaining suitable references
- Interview preparation support (if required).
If you would like some application tips and to hear what some of Uni Direct's previous students thought about our help, take a look at our testimonials page.
Are you ready to take the next step and start your application or are just looking for some more information before you make up your mind? Please don't hesitate to contact us.
You can find out more about some the requirements need to secure a place on your undergraduate degree below:
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