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The United Kingdom is one of the prominently celebrated study-abroad destinations that attracts millions of international students representing over 86 countries across the globe. Often counted in the list of the 3 most coveted countries for international candidates, including Canada and USA, the UK is renowned for its undisputed reputation in the field of education and has over 150 top universities in the UK ranking globally for their curriculum and research methods.
India was amongst the second-highest nations that made up the student body of the UK in 2019 after China (23.2%). As per the survey results of India Today 2020, UK ranked amongst the most preferred international destinations among Indian students. Beating Canada and USA to lead at #1 with nearly 28% of the total votes, the country has managed to gather a huge fascination among global applicants.
Why Study in UK?
From globally reputed institutes to remarkable research alternatives, diverse population and amazing jobs, the UK as a country never disappoints its aspirants. Along with this there are other factors which are responsible for influencing students to study in the UK which includes:
- Internationally Recognized Universities: Universities in the UK have a remarkable international reputation. According to QS World University Rankings, 4 of the top 6 universities in the world are in the UK.
- Two-year Stay Back: Since the UK Government has allowed a standard stay-back time of 2 years in the UK for international students which allows them sufficient time to explore a range of opportunities and apply for jobs post completing their degrees adds to the credit of studying in the UK.
- Shorter Duration of Courses: With over 60,000 courses to choose from some of the top universities in the UK have some great courses fit for the needs of every individual. The short duration courses in the UK that can be completed in the span of 6 to 11 months will not only help reduce the tuition fee but also the accommodation costs.
- Lower Tuition Fee: An average fee for a master’s program in the country is comparatively lower to its other competitors like the US with 17,392 and 38,380 GBP, respectively as the standard fee for most of the graduate courses.
- Strong Research Infrastructure: The latest Research Excellence Framework (REF) classifies 30% of UK university research as ‘world-leading’. About 46% is considered as ‘internationally excellent’.
- Scholarship and Financial Aid: The UK offers up to 100% Scholarship on tuition fees in some of the most renowned institutes and allows a fair chance to all to be a part of the UK education system.
- Employment/Job Opportunities: With a globally renowned curriculum and research-oriented skills, candidates having studied from the UK have a high employment rate of over 90% for most of its universities.
Popular Courses in UK.
For all the prospective applicants, the country offers a plethora of diverse study abroad programs in the UK ranging from STEM programs to Humanities and a varied variety of non-conventional courses. The fascinating part about these thousands of courses is that they are offered from a duration as small as 6 months to a program of 5 to 6 years and fit the criteria of best courses to study for jobs in the UK.
Some of the highly popular programs for masters(MS) in UK comprise Business and Natural Sciences, Engineering and Technology, Medicine, Law, Social Sciences, Media and Communication, Arts, Hospitality and Tourism, among others. The details of some of the conveyed choices in the list of programs for international students are as tabulated below.
15 to 21 months
Masters (MS) in Law
5 to 6 years
MS in Psychology
Masters (MS) in Architecture
International students form a highly significant part of the student body in the UK. According to the survey results of Higher Education Statistics Agency UK, nearly 127,335 of the international candidates in the country are engaged in Business programs with 22,045 and 32,890 students respectively in the stream of Medicine and Creative Arts. A graph depicting the distribution of international students across major fields of study across the country are as depicted below.
How to Study in UK: Application Process.
Since you have reached this section of the article reflects that you have made up your mind to apply to an institute in the UK. To help you in the process of application, let’s begin with a few simple steps:
- Research your options: Choose from the globally renowned institutes and over 60,000 courses you wish to apply to in the UK and check eligibility criteria for the same.
- Financial Planning: As per the current UK visa requirements, an international applicant must have a minimum of 12,180 GBP in his/her account as proof of funds and financial stability to be eligible for studying in the country anywhere except London. For London, the cost rises to 15,180 GBP per year.
- Plan your application in advance: Collect all the relevant documents and keep a close track of deadlines. Plan your application at least 2 months in advance to allow sufficient time and avoid last-minute hurdles.
- Submit application and wait for acceptance letter: For all the universities in the UK, students have to apply via the UCAS portal.
- Apply for study in UK visa: Once you have received your offer letter, waste no further time and reach your nearest British embassy along with relevant documents and an acceptance letter to apply for a Tier 4 General Student Visa to study in UK.
Admission requirements to Study in UK.
Some basic information regarding the admission process is as tabulated below.
20 GBP for one course with 26 GBP per additional choice (2021 fee)
Transcripts, Standardised tests for studying in the UK
Valid Visa, Statement of Purpose, Reference letter
English Language Requirements (IELTS, TOEFL etc.)
IELTS: 6.0-6.5 and 6.5 to 7.0 for undergraduates and graduates, resp.
Where to apply
Note: Process for admission into Oxford and Cambridge vary vividly and thus, students seeking enrollment to these universities must get in direct contact with the admissions office of these institutes.
When to study in the UK?
International aspirants must note that there are different deadlines for applying to diverse courses and institutes in the UK and thus it is highly important to keep a close track of all the relevant dates of the program and organization you are interested in. All the complete application forms must be submitted by the first week of September to UCAS.
Final Deadline for Entry applications:
- Mid of October: Deadline for most of the courses at Cambridge and Oxford. Mostly for medicine, veterinary medicine, and dentistry and other institutions.
- Mid of January: Deadline for majority of undergraduate courses.
The international students shall be shortlisted by colleges. Documents must be uploaded timely and applications should be submitted before November. Admission decisions are notified by the college usually around the month of April.
Study in UK Cost.
The cost of living in the UK for an international student comprises a range of factors like basic tuition, food, travel, accommodation etc. The estimate of this cost to help you plan your finances is compiled as follows:
The fee for the range of programs available in the country will vary as per different external and internal factors, primarily upon the level of program and the choice of university.
15,000 to 24,000
14,096 (21,767 and 18,914 for clinical and MBA courses, respectively)
10,000 to 26,000 (58,600 for medical programs)
Level of program
Estimated Fee (in GBP, per year)
Some of the highly renowned universities in the UK along with their tuition fee trends for the past 2 years at undergraduate level.
Cost of living in UK.
The cost of accommodation and other expenses in the country will highly depend upon your personal choices and the city you live in. For instance, While the average student accommodation price in the UK is approximately 125 GBP per week, a similar rental will cost a student living in Northern Ireland around 91 GBP while to the one living in London it will be nearly 182 GBP which is exactly double.
Thus, while it is hard to calculate the exact amount, an estimated average cost of living and other expenditures for a student hoping to study in the UK is as follows:
Types of Expenses
Cost (in GBP, per month)
Bills (electric/ gas/ water)
12.56 (or 150.50 per year)
Clothes and Leisure
Books & supplies
Visa Application Fee (international candidates)
348 (one-time fee)
How to study in UK with Scholarship?
For studying in the UK, international applicants can avail the use of scholarships and awards to up to 100%. While the UK government provides a wide array of its own awards and studentships to provide financial support for international students to study in the UK, the individual universities in the country also offer merit-based and additional awards for such aspirants. Scholarships for post-graduate and doctoral courses in the UK are not open for all the candidates, as they have strict eligibility criteria.