The UK has a worldwide reputation for academic excellence. It is also a fantastic place to live with a rich history and vibrant culture.
No matter what course you decide to study, there are plenty of reasons why you should consider studying it in the UK.
UK qualifications are recognized all over the world, and there are plenty of opportunities for further study and career progression once you have completed your course.
For international students, studying in the UK offers you the chance to master the English language. You’ll also be able to learn more about British history and culture by experiencing it first hand, and can travel both within the UK and to the rest of Europe during your free time
The benefits of studying in the UK
- The UK institutions consistently rank among the best in the world and qualifications are internationally valued and recognized.
- The UK undertakes 5 per cent of the world’s scientific research and produces 14 per cent of the world’s most frequently cited papers.
- UK institutions offer flexibility of choice and enable you to blend academic and vocational courses of your choice.
- The teaching and study methodology used in the UK give you the freedom to be creative and develop skills sets and confidence.
- As a student you get the opportunity to be taught by the world’s leading academics and experts; you also benefit from their constant academic support.
- UK degrees can be tailored to your interests and often include specialized modules.
- The UK is the home of English hence an ideal place to develop language skills and enhance employment prospects.
The UK education system
In the UK, there are 161 higher education institutions (not including private institutions) to choose from. To explore thousands of postgraduate courses at these institutions, search courses and research.
The majority of postgraduate degrees are taken at universities or colleges, and there are numerous types of study available, including Masters programmes and PhDs. For more information, visit postgraduate qualifications.
All subjects in the UK can broadly be categorised into the following faculties:
- Arts and Humanities.
- Business and Social Sciences.
- Technology, Science and Engineering.
Universities have numerous departments covering a wide range of subjects in these faculties. Some universities specialise in selected subject areas, such as University College Falmouth, which is recognised as a specialist arts college.
To study a postgraduate course in the UK, you need to have gained a Bachelors degree (usually completed over three years, except in Scotland where it takes four years) or an equivalent qualification in another country. Professional awards such as law, medicine and veterinary medicine take longer to complete as they involve compulsory periods of industry placement.
In some cases, work experience may count towards entry on to a postgraduate course.
You need to ensure you can meet the required level of English language to participate fully on your chosen course. For information on language tests, see test your English language skills.
The National Recognition Information Centre for the United Kingdom (UK NARIC) provides information and advice about qualifications and skills to individuals from overseas with services that are designed to assist you when applying for jobs and courses in the UK.
If you are applying for a course, or a job in the UK and have qualifications from another country, for more information and guidance on how to satisfy the necessary requirements, go to UK NARIC (National Recognition Information Centre for the United Kingdom) .
These vary across all institutions so it is important to contact each university individually. Studying medicine or dentistry will cost considerably more than other courses, and fees for an MBA (Master of Business Administration) will be more still.
Information on fees across all levels and types of degrees for students coming from inside and outside the EU is available at both:
- UCAS – The cost of study
- UKCISA (UK Council for International Student Affairs) Fees and Finance
Funding to study in the UK
As an international student, you can fund your study through savings, family support and loans. You could also secure grants from your home government to pay for fees and living costs.
Scholarships and awards from institutions and charitable trusts can help, and these vary depending on the university and your personal circumstances. To find grants and scholarships for UK courses, search for postgraduate funding.
Make sure you cover all of your costs when applying and speak to your international office about postgraduate tuition fees and scholarships, which are specific to you.
UK exchanges and placements
International students may find it useful and cost effective to find placements in the UK, while studying here. These can be organised with independent research and with help from your university careers service.
Students attending a UK university can take part in the EU’s education training and youth support programme Erasmus+ . The scheme replaces its predecessor ‘Erasmus’ and aims to offer study, training, work experience and volunteer placements to millions of students. Opportunities last from three months to one academic year in EU countries.
Financial support is available to UK organisations through the Erasmus+ scheme.
Your university must have a formal agreement with a partner university in another EU country. Check that your university is involved in the programme and offers the Erasmus+ scheme in your subject.
It isn’t always necessary to speak the language of your host country, although you can arrange intensive language courses before you go and when you arrive. Speak to the Erasmus+ coordinator at your university about available opportunities.
As an EU citizen, you are permitted to live in any EU country while studying as long as you:
- are studying for more than three months;
- are enrolled at an approved university or other educational institution;
- have sufficient income (from any source) to live without needing income support;
- have comprehensive health insurance cover.
In the UK, student visas are part of the tier 4 visa category and you will need to show:
- proof of sufficient funding;
- a Confirmation of Acceptance to Study (CAS) reference from a tier 4 highly trusted university or institution sponsor;
- English language proficiency to level B1 of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR).
International students coming from outside of Europe will have to meet these requirements when applying to institutions. For a list of institutions that sponsor migrants under tier 4 of the visa category, go to GOV.UK – Register of Sponsors (Tier 4) .
As an international student coming to the UK, the Home Office also advises you to:
make sure you are familiar with the conditions of your visa, including the number of hours you are allowed to work; declare any sums of cash of €10,000 or more (or the equivalent in another currency) if you are travelling from a country outside the European Union.