Study in UK: A complete guide for international students

Study in UK: A complete guide for international students

Study in UK: A complete guide for international students
Rojina Raut

The UK is one of the most preferred study destinations for international students. The world-class universities, safe environment, well-compensated career, and multicultural experience are some irresistible factors the UK offers to global students. 

As a result, “Studying in the UK for international students” has been and will continue to be a trend and an intelligent decision for international students. Here we have explained in detail the study in the UK complete guide.

UK education is known for both its practical approach and robust research. According to the classification made by Research Excellence Framework (REF), 46% of UK universities are internationally excellent, and 30% of UK universities are world-leading. 

Additionally, the UK is one of the most beautiful countries in the world, with high quality of life. 

Incomparable beauty of UK

For students seeking an affordable English language education and location, the UK is one of the best options, if not the best. 

In this blog, students will find the top reasons to study in the UK, the best universities in the UK, the Cost of study in the UK for international students, the visa for study in the UK, and the main requirements to study in the UK for international students. 

Why study in the UK?

For decades, the UK has remained one of the top destinations for international students. Ever wondered why the UK allures more than 300,000 international students every year? 

Below are some main benefits of studying in the UK and why international students flock there. 

Internationally recognized universities and degrees

British education, universities, and degrees are among the best in the world. The top-notch universities like Oxford University, University of Cambridge,  Imperial College London etcetera. Top companies in the world respect UK degrees. So, with a UK degree- management, science, engineering, arts, law and any other- in your portfolio, you are more likely to get placed with massive enterprises. 

Countless courses of different disciplines. 

UK universities and colleges provide several courses for international students willing to pursue their interests. Some of the UK's top university degrees for international students are computer science, law, psychology, modern language, health & medicines and management. 

The course-based and research-based coursework in the UK makes up for the remarkable quality of education. By the end of their education, the students will have a degree and optimal skills and education to pursue a meaningful career. In most UK universities, the lecturers and teachers are qualified; research standards are met, and teachings and learnings are assessed. 

Furthermore, students are put into placements and internships so that they can learn practically too. 

Work while you study

Students can indulge in part-time job opportunities (Maximum 20 Hours Per Week). This will sharpen their language skills and also add some experience. Students can earn some decent money in the UK while studying (1000 to 1500 pounds per month).

 Students can work full-time (40 hours a week) during the term break. Furthermore, you must ask your university or college for the term break reference letter to show to the employer.

This will help needy students with living expenses and also university tuition fees. 

You are allowed to work if your visa or Biometric Residence Permit (BRP) states any of the following (Or Similar)-

  • Work must be authorised
  • Able to work as authorised by The Secretary of State
  • Work Limited 20hrs P/W term time

Note that you are not allowed to work if your visa or BRP states 'No Work' or 'Employment Prohibited’while studying in term time in the UK. 

Affordable fees structure

Generally, the tuition fee structure of UK universities and colleges will be different for UK-born students, European Union (EU) students, and international students. 

The tuition fees for international students (not holding the nationality of UK and EU nations) are comparatively higher. 

Nevertheless, the tuition fees of UK universities are lower when compared with the fee structure of other countries (Up to USD 15,000 a year and sometimes more depending on the university and more specialized courses). 

Work after study

After completing your degree in the UK, you stay back for a year and more and gain some valuable experience. 

The rich British culture

Who wouldn’t want to be a part of the vibrant British culture? Studying in the UK will make you a part of that rich tradition. Since the UK is a famous hub for international students, you will likely meet diverse people of diverse cultures. 

Perhaps, you will learn a new language. Or, maybe you will pick up a thing or two about a new culture. 

Best-ranking universities in the UK

The UK boasts some of the best universities in the UK for international students. These universities are: 

  1. University of Oxford
  2. University of Cambridge
  3. Imperial College London
  4. Universal College London
  5. The University of Edinburgh
  6. The University of Manchester
  7. King’s College London
  8. The London School of Economics and Political Science
  9. University of Bristol
  10. The University of Warwick
  11. University of Glasgow
  12. Durham University

These universities are known for the best and up-to-date curriculum of subjects like law, business management, language, economics, etcetera. To know more about these universities’ UK and global rankings, check out these top-ranking UK universities in 2023. 

100,000+ students achieved their study abroad dreams with us.  Start your journey today.

Quick facts about studying in the UK

  • According to QS world rankings, the UK has 4 of the 10 world’s best universities.
  • London Business School is considered the best institute to study business
  • There are over 400,000 international students in the UK.
  • The UK is utterly safe for international students.
  • The UK has a friendly VISA acceptance rate (more than 85%).

Best and Low-cost universities in the UK for International students

  1. Coventry University (About  £14,000 per year)
  2. The University of Sunderland (About £11,000 per year)
  3. Leeds Trinity University (About  £12,000 per year)
  4. London Metropolitan University (About  £14,000 per year)
  5. York St John University (About  £17,250 per year)
  6. University of Cumbria (About  £10,500 per year)
  7. Plymouth Marjon University (About  £11,000 per year)
  8. The University of the West of Scotland (About  £10,600 per year)
  9. Royal Agricultural University (About  £10,000 per year)
  10. Staffordshire University (About  £14,000 per year)

How to apply for the UK? 

  1. Find an appropriate course and university
  2. Check the requirements
  3. Develop a personal statement
  4. Arrange your documents and apply to the university or college (Pay the application fees)
  5. Wait for an admission letter from the university
  6. Arrange finances
  7. Apply for Visa
  8. Ace the Visa Interview
  9. Arrive in the UK for further studies
Representation of UK process for international students
Representation of UK apply process for international students

Requirements to study in the UK for International Students

The entry requirements for UK study depend on the student's nationality and study levels. Nevertheless, these requirements can be more or less summarized in the following points. 

Academic documents and SOP

The academic documents are required to authenticate your qualifications and grade. The documents are academic transcripts, character certificates, and provisional certificates. 

The demanded percentage or GPA can fluctuate depending on the courses and levels you are applying for. 

You will need the most basic score of 2.4 GPA or 45%. 

In competitive universities, students are required to present academic excellence. 

For some universities, SOP is also a requirement. You must develop a well-presented SOP listing your academic endeavours, accomplishments, and why you chose the UK. 

Entrance tests: 

Some excellent UK universities demand a student to appear on an entrance test. Based on the results of these tests, the universities select the most eligible students. 

Every UK university does not seek out these tests. 

Nationality, acceptance, and ID documents

Personal ID, recent photograph, citizenship, and passport are needed. You will also require evidence from Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) from the course provider- college or university. 

English Proficiency Tests like IELTS or PTE

Students should present their English capabilities. The IELTS/ PTE score requirement is higher for masters in science and MBA courses. IELTS is more widely accepted in the UK since British academics developed it, British Council to be more precise.

But, a few universities also accept TOEFL. 

References, experiences, and additional exams like GRE or GMAT

Again, this one is also not mandatory to study in the UK. Only a handful of universities and programs (like MBA) require students to sit the GRE or GMAT exam. Some top-notch and competitive universities also ask students to provide a reference from their past professors, supervisors, and employers. 

If students have a long gap between their education levels, they must justify that with necessary gap fulfilment or experience letters. 

Financial documents

University fee payment documents and other proof of adequate financial support so that the respective authorities know you have financial support throughout your stay.  

Visa for study in the UK

Students will require a general student visa- Tier 4- to study full-time in the UK. To apply for a Tier 4 Visa, students must pay £348. 

To apply for a student visa in the UK, students need to meet the following criteria: 

  • You need an admission letter from the course provider/ course confirmation
  • English proficiency test
  • Necessary financial documents
  • Necessary academic documents.
  • Immigration health care service charge
  • Police clearance documents
  • Visa application
  • Medical assessment reports

Courses in the UK

Concerning quality education, job and popularity, the most popular courses in the UK are: 

  • Law
  • Engineering
  • Computer Science
  • Media and Communications
  • Business and Management
  • Arts and Design
  • Medicinal Science
  • Sports Science
  • Tourism and Hospitality

Major intakes in the UK

The UK welcomes international students thrice a year. These intakes signify the beginning of a course. The three intakes in the UK are as follows- 

1. Winter intake or January to February intake

Winter intake is a significant intake for UK universities. Nevertheless, some universities might not provide all the programs during this intake. 

2. Autumn Intake

Autumn intake, also called September/October intake, is one of the major intakes for UK universities. The general application for the program of Autumn intake opens in February. The admission deadline is May. 

However, this might differ depending on the programs and universities. Visiting the university website and looking at the details of the program will provide you with authentic information on this. 

3. Summer intake

Some UK universities provide courses in the Summer or May/June intake. This is off-time, and only a few selected programs are available for the summer intake.  

Best cities to study in the UK

1. Edinburgh


2. Manchester

3. London

4. Nottingham

5. New Castle

6. Brighton

Cost of living in the UK

Generally, living costs add up to about 1100 pounds per month. This cost of living incorporates the rent, utilities, food, travel card, and recreation cost. 

London's average cost of living is higher than in other UK cities. For instance, the average living expense in London is an average of  £ 1,265 per month. 

Living expense in UK

Likewise, if you live an extravagant lifestyle in the UK, this average expense cannot cover you up. 

Post-study work permit in the UK

The UK government has announced a new Graduate Route Post-Study Work (PSW) visa from the 1st  of July 2021. 

The students should apply for the Graduate Route visa before the expiration of the current student visa, which will require a new visa application charge of £700 and the Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS) at the full charge of £624 per year. 

According to this new Graduate Route, 

  • Bachelor and master's graduates can stay and work for 2 years after completing their degree.
  • PhD graduates can stay and work in the UK for 3 years after completing their degree.

You can do any work with no minimum salary bar during this time. Your nationality or field of study won’t matter for the graduate route visa. 

After these 2 years, students should either leave the UK or apply for a general work visa-Tier 2 visa. To apply for the Tier 2 visa, you should show an employment offer and exceed the minimum salary bar. 

Scholarships to study in the UK

UK government scholarships

Chevening Scholarships

Chevening scholarships are provided to brilliant students, and it covers tuition fees, living expenses, economy-class airfare to the UK and some extra stipend to cover essential expenses. Chevening scholarships are generally for a year-long Master’s degree. 

Scotland Saltire Scholarships

This scholarship is for full-time master's applicants from Canada, China, India, the USA, Japan, and Pakistan. It covers several faculties like science, healthcare, energy and technology. However, the courses are delivered in Scottish universities. 

The Commonwealth Scholarships

It was founded by the UK Department For International Development (DFID) to help deserving master's applicants from developing commonwealth countries. It covers arrival allowance, tuition fees, maintenance fees, thesis grant and other necessary expenditures. 

100,000+ students achieved their study abroad dreams with us.  Start your journey today.

UK university scholarships

Bristol University Think Big Scholarships

There are scholarships for both undergraduate and postgraduate levels for deserving students at Bristol University. The scholarship amount is from £5,000 to £20,000. 

Gates Cambridge Scholarships (UK)

This scholarship covers tuition fees while providing additional and discretionary funding to brilliant international applicants. It is for any postgraduate degree at Cambridge University. 

Clarendon Scholarships at the University of Oxford (UK)

Provides 140 scholarships every year to deserving national and international graduate students. The deciding factor is academic excellence, leadership attributes and all-around potential. Clarendon Scholarships covers tuition fees and also helps students with living expenses. 

Edinburgh Global Research Scholarships

The global research scholarships at the University of Edinburgh cover the additional or extra charge that international students have to pay compared to UK/EU graduates. The global research scholarship award does not cover living expenses. 

Warwick Chancellor’s International Scholarships

This scholarship is awarded to 42 excellent PhD applicants of Warwick Graduate School. This scholarship covers tuition fees and also provides a maintenance stipend.  

University of West England Chancellor’s Scholarships

This scholarship covers the total tuition fees of outstanding students for an academic year. As a part of this scholarship, students must intern within the International Development Office and other departments. 

University of West London International Ambassador Scholarships

Scholarships worth  £5000 for deserving 50 students pursuing a full-time undergraduate or postgraduate degree at the University of West London. 

Developing Solutions Scholarships at the University of Nottingham

The University of Nottingham offers 105 scholarships for international students from developing countries like India and Africa at the master's level. 35 of the 105 scholarships cover the full tuition fees of deserving students and 75 covers half of the tuition fees. 

Top 5 tips for international students moving to UK

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