UK institutions consistently rank among the best in the world and UK qualifications are internationally valued and recognized. When you study in the UK you meet people from different nationalities, sharing their multicultural backgrounds. UK universities are monitored regularly to ensure that they uphold the high standards of teaching, learning and research set by the Government.

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Undertaking an education in the United Kingdom will not only mean the opportunity to experience this extraordinary country, but also the broad spectrum of educational opportunities offered there. The UK represents a convergence of tradition and innovation that spills over into its education system – the accredited reputation of UK universities is a product of their rich heritage and stream of research output. The universities of the Russell Group continually fare well in international rankings, whilst Oxford and Cambridge are some of the most ancient and prestigious institutions in the world. There are more than a quarter of a million international students residing in the UK at any one time, fostering a richly diverse and open-minded student culture that you too can be a part of by choosing to undertake an education in the United Kingdom.

Capital: England, Scotland, Wales & Northern Ireland

Currency: Pound sterling (£)

Population: 65 million

Area: 242,495 km²

Students: 2, 600,000 (420,000 international)

Academic Year: September - May

Languages: English

Call code: +44

Time Zone: UTC+1

Education System

There are more than 3000 institutions that welcome international students to study abroad in the United Kingdom. The range of options available to you means that you are free to choose from a variety of routes through the education and training system, combining different types of course according to your personal requirements.

All UK universities are independent bodies maintained by tuition fees, research output and government funding. The country operates the same three-tier higher education system as does much of the rest of Europe, which is divided into undergraduate and postgraduate study. Undergraduate degrees usually last three years (four in Scotland or with a placement in industry or overseas) and normally result in a Bachelor's degree. In Scotland, a four year undergraduate degree will result in a Scottish Master's, which is not equivalent in value to a Master's elsewhere in the UK. Two-year career based and pre-university courses also fall into the category of undergrad higher education, though these are less common.

For a more specialized education, postgraduate study gives you the opportunity to pursue your interest in a specific field. Master's and Doctorate (PhD) courses are generally shorter in length than a Bachelor’s, but can range between a duration of one and five years for vocational degrees such as medicine, veterinary and law. At postgraduate level you will be expected to develop original research under the supervision of academics at the top of their field.

Mention intakes - September & January
Rolling Intakes - February, May, July, November

Tuition Fee & Study Cost

Tuition fees for the United Kingdom vary depending on where you are from and where you are studying. EU students are required to pay the same fees as home students, which fluctuate across the country. Tuition fees in England are capped at £9250 per year, with 76% of institutions charging the full amount. In Wales the cap is £9000, and in Northern Ireland it is £4,030. Scotland is unique in that tuition fees for home students are paid for by the Student Awards Agency for Scotland (SAAS). Therefore, university is free for Scottish and EU students alike.

International students (residents of countries outside of the EU and EEA) will mostly be required to pay full tuition fee costs. In general, a degree in a humanities or social science can range from £10,000–£17,000, a science or engineering degree could be around £10,000–£20,000, and clinical degrees between £20,000–£30,000. Although the cost of study might appear higher than elsewhere, it is important to remember that programs offered by UK universities are generally shorter than those of other countries such as the US, with undergraduate degrees taking three years instead of four, and Masters programs taking two years instead of three. Although funding and scholarships for UK universities are mainly available to home and EU citizens, the UK Government lists three scholarships made available specifically for people from international countries:

  • Universities also scholarships for International students ranging between 1000 - 6000 GBP
  • These scholarships are available to overseas students to help fund a one-year Master’s degree. 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 in 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.

Visa Information

The facility for undergraduate admissions in the UK is The Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS). Students should submit their applications to the UCAS website before the 15th January for entry in the next academic year, or 15th October for Oxford and Cambridge as well as most medical, dentistry and veterinary courses. At postgraduate level, students apply directly to the university or college which runs their chosen course.

Every course has varying requirements which must be satisfied to gain entry at that level – these reflect the academic ability that will be required to successfully complete the course. Therefore, UCAS asks for information about completed or ongoing qualifications, which can be given in an international equivalent to the UK system of GCSEs and A Levels. Universities also ask for a personal statement to set you apart from other candidates – as an international student, it would be advisable to include your reasons for wanting to study in the UK in your personal statement. Finally, if you are a non-native speaker, you may be asked to prove your proficiency in the language by taking a Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or International English Language Testing System (IELTS). Half of UK universities now have courses that also require an entrance examination.

Students from countries within the EU/EEA need not apply for a visa for studying in the UK, however all other international students will require one. Visas and general immigration enquiries are handled by UK Visas and Immigration – online application forms can be found on their website and should be submitted there. The process can be stressful, so be sure to leave plenty of time for your application – you can apply for a visa up to three months before the start date of your course.

There are three different types of student visas for different durations of study, as detailed below:

Short-Term Visa: This visa is for students who are over 18 years old planning on undertaking a short program of study, including an English language or training course, or a short research period as part of a study abroad program. The short-term visa is valid for up to six months, and once expired cannot be extended. Obtaining this visa does not allow you to work in the UK, including placements or work experience.

Tier 4 (General) Student Visa : This general visa is for students aged 16 or over who have been offered a place on a longer-term course, and allows you to stay for a greater duration of time than a short-term visa. It also permits the holder to work in most jobs, and to extend the visa should they choose to study further.

Tier 4 (Child) Student Visa : This visa is for students aged 17 or under who wish to undertake school-level education in the United Kingdom. Depending on your age and the length of the course, this student visa could allow you to stay in the UK for up to 6 years. It also permits those aged 16 or over to work part-time during term, and full-time during holidays.

Career Prospects

The UK economy is one of the most powerful in Europe and possesses a workforce of around 32 million people. The country's unemployment rate currently stands at a relatively low 4%, and the graduate labour market remains robust and by some measures is as strong as it has been for some time. Competition for graduate jobs is fierce but candidates with the right qualifications, skills and experience stand a good chance of employment.

Language skills are increasingly important, making many foreign nationals desirable candidates. As a foreign worker you'll be in good company. The UK has many international communities, with 3.55 million non-UK nationals currently working in the country.

With the UK's diverse job sectors, good working conditions and numerous employment opportunities it's no surprise that it's a popular destination for international graduates wanting to kick start their careers.

The UK is highly globalized which means that the job market is competitive. Major industries in the UK include:

  • Accounting, banking and finance
  • Education
  • Engineering
  • Healthcare
  • Marketing
  • Recruitment and HR
  • The services sector dominates the UK economy with banking, insurance and business services all key drivers of the country's growth. Other important industries include metals, chemicals, aerospace, shipbuilding, motor vehicles, food processing, textiles and clothing, design, the arts and electronic and communications equipment.

    UK universities offers placements at UG and PG level for students which allows a student under take a Internship of 8 - 12 months during/after study which helps students by adding Industry experience to their profile.

Work Rights

In recent years, the UK immigration rules have become very strict and stringent. This applies to even non-immigrant visas like the Student Visa. In case any international student doesn’t comply with the rules laid down by the UKBA, they risk facing deportation. Following are the restrictions on working part-time while on UK student visa (Tier 4):

  • Maximum of 20 hours per week of paid/unpaid work for those studying at degree level or more
  • Maximum of 10 hours per week of paid/unpaid work during course term for language center students
  • Full-time work is allowed during vacations
  • You can’t work full time until you have received a work permit (Tier 2)
  • Self-employment is not permitted, like any freelance or consultancy work
  • Before taking any part-time job, work placement, internship, unpaid or volunteer work check that your tier 4 (general) visa status allows you to work in the UK. Working for too many hours can make you feel tired and stressed, which will directly affect your studies. That’s why many universities and colleges recommend international students work for a maximum of 15 hours per week. The reasoning behind this is maintaining a study-life balance. You need to think about how a job will affect your daily life, and seek help from your tutor or international student support officer if you have any concerns.

    The Graduate Immigration Route

    On 11 September 2019 the UK Government announced the creation of a new immigration route which will enable international students to remain in the UK for two years after they have completed their studies.

    Key Points

    The Graduate Immigration Route will be available to international students who have completed a degree at undergraduate level or above at a Higher Education Provider with a track record of compliance and who have a valid Tier 4 visa at the time of application.
    Successful applicants on this route will be able to stay and work, or look for work, in the UK at any skill level for a maximum period of two years. Graduates will be able to switch into skilled work once they have found a suitable job.
    The new route will be launched in the summer of 2021, meaning that any eligible student who graduates in the summer of 2021 or after will be able to apply for the route. This includes students who have already started their courses. Universities will also be able attract students starting in the 2020/21 academic year on the basis that they will benefit.
    The launch of the route demonstrates the government’s support for our education sector, and commitment to the International Education Strategy, which sets out our ambition to increase education exports to £35 billion and the number of international higher education students to 600,000 by 2030.
    The graduate immigration route will require a new application.
    It will include the payment of a visa fee and the Immigration Health Surcharge. The exact fee will be set out in due course.
    Those who graduate and whose Tier 4 leave expires before the route is introduced will not be eligible, however, most of these students will have had no expectation of benefitting from such a route when they applied to study in the UK.

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