Study inUnited Kingdom
Read through our one-stop guide for international students about pursuing higher studies in the United Kingdom
The four countries that make up the United Kingdom are England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. Each of the country is very distinct in terms of culture, lifestyle and even weather. The mostly pleasant climate in the UK is varied and unpredictable. England is sunniest of the lot, although there are abrupt rains throughout the year and the temperature may go down 0 degree Celsius in winter. On the other hand Scotland is the coldest on average with temperatures settling in the negatives during winter. Northern Ireland faces cool summers and mild winters, and Wales sees an average of 23 degrees Celsius to 12 degrees in summer and may go down 1 degree Celsius during winter.
The United Kingdom is an exceptionally safe country for international students, with very low crime rates and an inclusive, multicultural environment. Additionally, the healthcare is almost entirely free of cost.
The United Kingdom has a reputation for being the one of the best places in the world for higher education and home to top tier universities like the University of Cambridge and University of Oxford. Furthermore, London School of Economics, The University of Edinburgh, University of Manchester, Imperial College London and Queen Mary University are some of the best in the world.
London is naturally the most popular city for international students in pursuit of higher education mostly due to the sheer number of reputable universities in the city. Followed by Manchester, Oxford, Cambridge and Edinburgh.
The most popular streams of study chosen by international students are Law, Business Management, Communications/Media, Sociology and Social Studies, and Computer Science.
Students always have a choice on where to live, whether it be university managed accommodation or private housing. Usually, university accommodation may also include a catered option. The advantage of catered accommodation are obviously the cooked meals and the foreknowledge of the costs. However, students may to choose to manage meals for themselves as well.
Wherever you prefer to live, the university accommodation office is there to help. Like most students, if you choose university managed rooms for your first year of stay, the accommodation office will be able to inform on the availability of their lodging facilities. However, if your preference is to rent from a private landlord, or there isn’t any availability left at your university of choice, then the accommodation office should be able to provide you with a list of privately owned properties in the area.
Whatever your choice may be, it is always essential to be aware of your contractual privileges and obligations. In most cases you will be required to sign a tenancy contract, it is crucial that you read it thoroughly and understand all of the terms before you sign it.
The requirements for admission differ according to university, programme and level of study. But, by and large, the need to meet a minimum score in an English language test is a requisite in all cases. The most popular is the IELTS exam; the minimum score for undergraduate applicants is 6.0 (with no band less than 5.5) and postgraduate applicants 6.5 (with no band less than 6.0). GMAT (Graduate Management Admission Test) and PTE (Pearson Tests of English) are pretty standard alternatives to IELTS. A minimum academic grade may be a requirement depending on the university and programme of choice. All of these will need to be proven through submission of related documents.
The required documents for applying are as follows:
- Copies of SSC and HSC or O Level and A level certificates
- Bachelor’s degrees (for postgraduate applicants)
- Two Letters of recommendation (this may be academic or professional)
- Statement of Purpose
- Scoresheet of English language test (IELTS/PTE/TOEFL)
- Portfolio (if applicable)
- Proof of funds
- Medical tests
- Any other documents stated specifically by the university of choice
For universities in the UK, the primary intake is in September, but there are a few universities that have January intakes as well.
If your objective is to start studying in September, the most ideal time to begin applying would be the October of the year before – that is usually when the call for applications begin. It is advisable that you begin your research and preparation much earlier. Deadlines for applications are usually in January/February, but can be later as well. It can take up to 7 weeks for your application to be processed by the university after which you can expect a response. An Offer of Admission letter will always come with a rigid deadline, on accepting this offer you will be sent a confirmation of acceptance for studies (CAS), after which you become eligible to start applying for your visa/study permit.
It is also important to note that, university and college applications will involve paying a fee. The application fee will vary from institute to institute.
The most common steps of the application process are listed below:
- Explore university and course options
- Contact the shortlisted institutions for relevant information
- Register for and take the requisite entrance exams (IELTS/PTE/GMAT/SAT/GRE, etc.)
- Write your Statement of Purpose (SOP)
- Acquire the Letters of Recommendation (LOR)
- Begin applications
- Partake in video/phone interviews
- Once accepted by an institution, start applying for your visa
Just like everywhere else, the tuition fee and living costs are entirely dependent upon where you end up going to study and where you will be living. Due to significant differences in both going from university to university and city to city, it is quite a challenge when it comes to predicting the how much one must expect to spend. However, our rough estimates will present a range of these costs to give you an idea of what to expect.
With a numerous universities offering a vast range of study and course options to pick from the tuition fees too range from very high to moderate. For undergraduate courses, international students on average can expect tuition fees in the following range according to subject area:
- Clinical and Medical Subjects: £23,000 – £26,000
- Engineering and Sciences: £10,200 – £13,800
- Social Sciences and Humanities: £9,000 – £10,800
For postgraduate courses students may expect the diverse range of £8,100 – £33,100 across all subject areas and universities.
In addition to the tuition fee, the other major expense students need to bear is the rent for accommodation during their stay in the UK. Whether you opt to live in on-campus accommodation or off-campus ones you should expect the rent to be between £150 – £400 per week, and that too including most bills. In case, bills are not included in the rent you should keep in mind a budget of around £100 per month.
It goes without saying, but you must be able to produce evidence showing you have the tuition fee and a year’s worth of living expenses when applying for a visa.
In order to be eligible for the required Tier 4 (General) Student Visa to study in the UK, you’ll need to:
Complete the tier 4 visa application form.
Have received a CAS. A confirmation of acceptance for studies will be given to you once you accept an offer of admission to a course in a UK university and paid at least the first instalment of the tuition fee.
Have proof of funds. This is usually in the form of a bank statement, unless stated otherwise, through which you need to show that you have at your disposal the tuition fee and maintenance (living costs) for at least a year. It is important to note that the money you show need to be held by you for at least 28 days.
Additionally, you’ll need to compile the following prior to your visa application:
- A completed and signed copy of your visa application form
You’ll receive access to a tier 4 visa application form once you register for and create an account on the official UK Visa website. Once you complete the application form online, you have to print it out and sign it. During the process, you’ll need to check the available dates and book online for an appointment with the visa application (VFS Global).
- A valid passport
The validity of your passport must extend beyond your intended stay period by at least 6 months.
- Passport sized photos
The photos for required for UK visa applications must be 35mm wide and 45mm high. The background needs to be light coloured, for instance light grey, white, or plain cream. The photos cannot be older than a month.
- Any and all previous passports
- Receipt of health surcharge payment
You are required to pay a surcharge in order to be covered by UK’s healthcare plan. You have to make the payment using your credit or debit card online as part of the application process.
- Letter from your financial sponsor
In the event that your tuition fee and maintenance funds are being paid by someone other than you, be it a parent, a legal guardian, or any other person, you will need to produce a signed letter of declaration from them stating their intent and consent to pay for your studies.
It must be noted that any document submitted that is not in English must be accompanied by verifiable, fully translated copies. There is an application fee of £348, which is usually paid at the visa application center (VFS Global), unless you opt to pay it online using your credit or debit card during the online application.
Important things to ensure before leaving for Canada:
- Book airline tickets
- Purchase travel and health insurance
- Arrangement of accommodation on arrival to Canada
- Arrangement of transport to home in Canada from the airport
- Check baggage and customs policy
Documents that you must have on you before leaving for the airport:
- Airline tickets
- Insurance certificates
- Letter of Acceptance (the one sent by the university or college)
- Key addresses and phone numbers
- The bank statement evidencing the required funds
- Prescriptions for any medication you might be carrying
- Cash or traveler’s cheques
- Medical and immunization records
- Past certificates and transcripts evidencing previous education