Did you know that…
Half of the world's top eight universities are in the UK (World Rankings, QS).
93% of postgraduate students rate the UK's quality of teaching positively (Postgraduate Taught Experience Survey, HE Academy).
The rate of student satisfaction among international undergraduates is 91% – higher than any other major English-speaking education destination (UK HE International Unit, December 2015).
The UK has for decades been one of the most popular destinations for those choosing to study abroad; around 250,000 students from 180 countries come to the UK each year.
At many museums and art galleries, student entry is free.
The UK higher education sector offers you inspiring teaching, excellent facilities and a world-class research environment.
UK education is all about giving you the inspiration to help you develop your skills, the freedom to be creative, and the support you need to achieve your best.
UK universities and colleges invest in excellent facilities – from libraries, computer and science labs to sports centres, theatres and art studios. Class sizes are restricted to ensure that you have access to equipment and enough time to talk to your tutors and lecturers.
Why study in the UK?
There are many possible study destinations to choose from, so why should you choose the UK? Whether you want to kick-start a successful career, gain world-recognised qualifications or have an adventure, find out what the UK has to offer.
The UK education system
UK higher education students are generally aged 18 or over (17 in Scotland), and have usually already achieved further education qualifications, such as A-levels, the International Baccalaureate, Scottish Highers or an equivalent qualification from the UK or another country. Many have completed a foundation or access course too.
UK higher education is split into two levels:
Capital cities: The capital city of the UK is London, which is also the capital of England. The capital of Wales is Cardiff, Scotland’s capital is Edinburgh and Northern Ireland’s is Belfast.
Heritage: The UK has a fascinating history dating back to 6,500 BC. All over the UK you will find monuments marking its history, from Stonehenge to Buckingham Palace. The UK is also home to over 28 cultural and natural UNESCO World Heritage Sites and Heritage Cities including Edinburgh, Bath, Canterbury, Chester, Durham, Oxford, Stratford-upon-Avon and York.
Economy: The UK is one of the world’s leading business locations and the number one destination for inward investment in Europe. The UK is one of the top ten manufacturers in the world and has the largest industries in Europe for life sciences, ICT and the creative industries.
Language: English is spoken throughout the UK, but there are other official languages too, such as Welsh, Scots and Gaelic.
Money: The currency of the UK is pounds sterling.
Religion: The main religion in the UK is Christianity. However, the UK is a multi-faith society where other religions are widely welcomed and accepted.
Before you apply to study in the UK, we strongly recommend that you research how much it is likely to cost, to make sure you can afford it and to help you plan. Course fees are likely to be one of your biggest expenses, but don’t forget day-to-day living costs as well.
To help you plan your living costs, have a look at our prepared case study. This will help you work out how to manage your money and build a budget for living and studying in the UK.
International students need to obtain the correct UK student visa before
arriving in the UK. Without this, you won’t be allowed to enter the country.
The type of visa you need depends on your nationality. Find out if you need a
visa to study in the UK here: www.gov.uk/check-uk-visa.
The most important thing is to have a valid passport. If you don’t have one, it
is a good idea to apply for one at the same time as you apply to university.
You can apply through the official government website at: www.gov.uk (Note: if you are from Zimbabwe, North Korea or Cuba, you must apply in person in your own country).
It costs £328 to apply for this visa from outside the UK.
The typical process for visa application
When should I apply for a visa?
It is important to prepare and apply well before you intend to begin your course. Many students do not realise how long the process will take, and do not leave enough time. You can apply for a visa up to three months before the start of your course, but it is a good idea to do your research and plan what you need to do before that, if you can.
When you apply for the visa you must provide:
-a current passport or other valid travel documentation.
-proof that you can support yourself and pay for your course – this will vary, depending on your circumstances.
-proof of parental or other legal guardian consent if you are under 18.
-proof you have attended an interview and/or enrolled your biometric information and taken an English language test.
-your tuberculosis test results if you are from a country where you have to take the test.
-you may also need to provide additional documents, depending on your circumstances.
You will usually get a decision on your visa within three weeks. Check the UK Visas and Immigration guide to processing times to find out how long it might take to get a visa in your country.
Most applicants for the Tier 4 Adult visa will be required to attend an interview in their home country at a visa application centre. Here, a Home Office staff member will ask you a few questions about your plans to study in the UK. Be honest and don’t be too nervous.
Possible interview questions
Please note that these are examples only — in the short interview, only a selection of questions will be asked.
Why do you want to study in the UK?
What are the benefits of studying in the UK compared to your home country?
Why did you choose this college/university?
Which other colleges/universities did you consider?
Where is the university?
Do you know anyone who has already studied there?
Do you know how large the university is, how many students?
How long does your course last?
How is your chosen course assessed?
Did you consider any other course?
Does this course offer any professional recognition?
Are you planning to stay in the UK on completion to study for a higher award such as a master’s degree?
What’s the Tier 4 visa application process really like?
To find out, we asked students from India and China to share their experiences as they applied for visas to study in the UK. Follow their journey in these videos:
UK immigration and visas are managed by the UK Government. Please check the UK Visas and Immigration website for more information.
The DESK team is always ready to help you out and walk you through your visa application process.