Studying in the United Kingdom
Updated last year

 The United Kingdom has always been one of the most popular destinations in the world, whether for work, studies, or anything else. Today, many of its prestigious universities and colleges rank in the top 50 of global rankings like Times Higher Education.

To study in the United Kingdom, you are expected to have GCE A-Level. This is equivalent to the European Baccalaureate diploma or SATs in the US. You must have a good command of English and equivalent grades issued in your home country to match the requirements of the chosen university.

University rankings are essential in the UK as they are a good indicator of quality education as well as fees (which range hugely). Obtaining a diploma from one of the highly ranked universities makes it easier to find jobs with attractive salaries.

There are two types of universities in the UK:
The Red Brick/Russel Group
The Metropolitan University

Metropolitan universities are stronger in practical courses, and they also accept lower grades and are generally low-ranked. With practical courses, getting a job in specific industries is possible, especially when practical knowledge is required.

On the other hand, you need high grades to get into the Redbrick/Russel group; even though this depends on the university and the subject you are taking. The competition is fierce tight due to the large number of applications and limited seats. Some universities like Cambridge and Oxford select students according to the applicant's school records, submitted essays, or the result of the interview.

University admission in the UK

Application for undergraduate courses in the UK is made online on the UCAS (Universities and Colleges Admission Service) website. Along with the application form, you will also get complete information about registration procedures. To find the right subject codes and fill in your form correctly, check out the directory of courses which is classified by subjects.

When choosing your university, you are advised to consider the following:
Which courses apply to your study path?
What are the grades needed to be accepted?
Is an interview or an essay required?
Can you afford the tuition fees?
What is the cost of living, especially in terms of accommodation?
Are there any available grants and bursaries for international students?
The location of the university

You will have better chances of being admitted into the UK when applying to the maximum possible institutions (five). Make sure that at least one of them is a contingency university (accepting students with lower grades) especially when you meet the requirement. However, there will be stiff competition if you don't have the expected grades.

Application forms have to be returned on or before September 1st and January 15th of the year preceding the start of a new academic calendar (October 15 for University of Cambridge and Oxford, or if you are taking medical studies)

If you are yet to receive your grades, you can still apply via UCAS, and if you are accepted, you will receive a provisional offer provided you have the required grades. Postgraduate students can register directly with the chosen university if they meet the set requirements.


Since EU/EEA nationals do not need a student visa, they can apply in the same format as British students.

Non-EU/EEA students in the UK

Citizens that are from outside the EEA-EU country need to apply for a student visa at the British embassy or consulate in their home country. They are also expected to have valid admission before applying for a student visa and specific documents.

The student visa is valid for a year. In a situation where the duration of the course is long, the length of the course will be the duration of the visa.

Tuition fees and student loans in the UK

As expected, tuition fees are quite high in the United Kingdom. EU-EEA nationals enjoy the same privileges as British citizens in the UK. This is in regards to the payment of registration fees; they can also benefit from all scholarships offered by universities or government-funded student loans.
Presently tuition fees can be as high as £38,000 per year for a full-time international student and £6,750 for part-time students. EU-EEA students also have access to accommodation allowance and loans if they reside in the UK for at least five years.


You must have lived for at least three years in the UK before day one of your first academic year or course if you are:
Applying for 2019 to 2020 academic year
Taking postgraduate courses and correspondingly applying for a Disabled Students' Allowance.

If you think you are eligible, you may apply for help regarding your living cost like a UK citizen. Seek more information from the university administration.

The ERASMUS Programme

EEA-EU citizens can also benefit from the ERASMUS programme which is a student exchange programme where EEA-EU students can choose any Erasmus affiliated university or college in the EEA-EU region and transfer any grades, diplomas and degrees obtained abroad back to their home university via the European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System (ECTS). ERASMUS grants are also available to students who carry out studies in another European country.

Work for students and graduates in the UK

When your student visa expires, you can apply for a work visa provided you can get a sponsorship from an employer.

Good to know:

A student visa in the United Kingdom allows you to work for up to 20 hours per week.

Useful links:

UK Student Visa
EU student rights

We do our best to provide accurate and up to date information. However, if you have noticed any inaccuracies in this article, please let us know in the comments section below.