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Study Guide > United Kingdom

Five Reasons To Study In The UK

  • World Class Teaching & Research
    British universities enjoy a world class reputation for teaching and research. Many institutions are hundreds of years old and feature prominently in the World University Rankings. With only 1% of the global population, the UK produces 15% of the most highly cited academic papers.
  • A Truly International Experience
    The UK is a top study destination for overseas students and some British campuses boast an international student population of more than one in five. This provides a great opportunity to experience new cultures, meet people from different backgrounds and build a personal network that will serve you throughout your career.
  • Value For Money
    UK tuition fees are much lower than the US and a UK bachelor's degree takes only three years to complete. If you choose to study outside London and the South East, you will also benefit from a relatively low cost of living.
  • Learn Advanced English Skills
    If English is not your first language, you will develop your English communication skills to an advanced level during your studies.
  • Strengthen your CV
    Degrees from the UK are recognised and valued by employers around the world. Your potential employers will know you have the personal qualities to succeed in one of the finest higher education systems in the world!

The Higher Education System

Pre-University Studies

Compulsory education in the UK ends at Year 11. Most British students who want to go to university study A Levels for a further two years, graduating at the end of Year 13. A Levels are accepted for entry by all UK universities, subject to grades.

University Studies

There are approximately 120 universities in the UK, the vast majority of which are publicly funded. Some universities excel in research and have a clear academic focus, particularly older "Red Brick" universities such as Birmingham, Bristol, Manchester, Liverpool, Leeds and Sheffield. Modern universities usually focus on career oriented or vocational courses.

Undergraduate Degrees

A standard bachelor's degree takes three years (four years in Scotland). Degrees in vocational subjects (e.g. business, engineering, fashion etc.) often include an optional placement in industry, which adds one year. Degrees in some subjects (e.g. Architecture, Dentistry, Medicine, Pharmacy etc.) take longer.

It is usual for students to study a single subject for their degree, though some universities allow dual honours. There is no formal system of credit transfer, which means that transferring between universities is difficult. So it is very important to choose the right university at the start!

Postgraduate Degrees

Master's degrees take 12 - 18 months. The minimum entry requirement is a second class bachelor's degree in a relevant subject, but most MBA programmes also require 2+ years' professional work experience.

International Pathways

Undergraduate Pathways

For most non-EU students (and some EU students too), a high school qualification is not sufficient for direct entry to a UK bachelor's degree. For these students, the most popular route to a UK university is a University Foundation Course. These courses take less than one year to complete and often provide guaranteed progression to the first year of a degree. However, A Levels are mandatory for Dentistry, Medicine and Veterinary Medicine or for access to elite institutions like Oxford and Cambridge.

Postgraduate Pathways

A bachelor's degree (second class) from a recognised international university is the minimum entry requirement for a master's degree. Students who are academically qualified but do not have the necessary English level should consider an Academic English Course.

Students with only a third class degree can still get entry to a master's degree by studying a Pre-Master's Course first.

Further Information