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Study in the UK: Overview for International Students

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Boasting over 150 higher education institutions – including some of the world’s most prestigious and top ranked universities – the United Kingdom (UK) attracts a diverse array of international students from all over the world every semester. 

Centrally located between Europe and North America, the UK is one of the world's most popular study abroad destinations. With a study culture steeped in heritage as well as strong research credentials, it offers international students an enticing range of higher education institutions and programs.

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Together England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales form the UK. The UK’s parliament (located in London) hosts representatives from each nation, and helps forge a common British identity. However, the English, Scottish, Welsh and Northern Irish cultures are and remain distinguishable from one another. 

Each nation has their own traditions in music, cuisine, language and education. This not only helps to reinforce national identity (as well as fuel intense rivalries on sports fields and across dinner tables), but also makes each nation a must-visit destination in their own right.

That’s why we’ve expanded this guide to include separate country-sections for:

 

Select the country-section that you want to explore to find out key features about each nation’s higher education system, useful information about each country’s language and culture alongside important details like tuition fees and costs of living to help you finalise your study abroad plans.

Before moving onto the individual country-sections, here are some quick facts and figures about the UK:

Countries

England, Scotland, Wales & Northern Ireland

Language

English

Population

66 million

Area Size

242,495 km²

Students

2.34 million (458,000 international)

Academic Year

September - June

Currency

Pound sterling (£)

Calling Code

+44

Time Zone

GMT (UTC+0)

A small church in the Wales countryside

More about the United Kingdom

English is of course the UK’s primary language, as well as the native tongue of 360 million people worldwide. It is spoken as a second language by half a billion people, and - thanks to the relative ease with which it can be picked up - has become the language of international business, travel and entertainment.

Studying in the UK is an excellent way to enhance your English skills. There’s no shortage of accredited institutions in the UK - with over 600,000 learners per year choosing specialized language schools, colleges of further education, or universities to improve their proficiency in English.

Read more: TOEFL® vs. IELTS™ - Which Language Test Should I Take?

A note on Brexit

The UK has left the EU and a new points-based immigration system has been introduced. Visit the websites for the UK Government and the British council to stay updated with the latest information and for advice on how this will affect students from the EU and the EEA (including Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland) studying or planning to study in the UK, or participate in the Erasmus programme. 

Learn more about studying in the UK:

Student Visas for the UK 

What kind of study visa do international students need to study abroad in the UK? UK student visas are awarded on a points-based system, obtained by submitted certain information and documents.

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Housing in the UK

Most UK universities own accommodation which they rent out to students, commonly called ‘halls’. But many other housing options also exist if university halls are not your thing.

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Scholarships

Tuition fees for the United Kingdom vary depending on where you are from and where you are studying. Find out more about costs as well as scholarship opportunities for international students.

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Meet the English Requirements

Make sure you're ready to start studying abroad in the UK. UK schools will normally want to see evidence of your English-language abilities. The TOEFL® test is accepted by 100% of UK schools, including the Russell Group® and Oxford and Cambridge. Find out more about the TOEFL® test and how it can help you.

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ETS, TOEFL and TOEFL iBT are registered trademarks of ETS.

Entry Requirements for UK Universities

The Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) helps facilitate undergraduate admissions in the UK. There are two rounds of applications each year. Find out more here.

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Programs

Ready to look at studying abroad in the UK? Use our search engine to find and compare top programs in the UK today!

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Sources:

Last update: 27 May 2021

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