Universities and Colleges in the UK

Higher education in the UK varies depending on the constituent state (England, Wales, Scotland or Northern Ireland), though the systems are fairly similar. Undergraduate degrees at universities in the UK typically last three years, although courses in Scotland are usually a year longer. Some UK universities also offer fast-track undergraduate courses which can be completed in as little as two years. You could also choose a vocational-based ‘foundation degree’, which typically lasts one or two years and is similar to the US associate’s degree.

Students in the UK start their higher education with a bachelor’s degree, although for some subjects you can enroll on an undergraduate degree that leads directly into a master’s program – usually a total of four years long. Taken separately, master’s programs last one or two years, and PhDs at least three. Courses are taught in English at most universities in the UK, with some Welsh-language programs offered in Wales and Scottish Gaelic-language programs in Scotland.

In terms of numbers of international students, the UK overall lags only behind the considerably larger US – and this popularity is unsurprising given the strong global reputation enjoyed by UK universities. An impressive 71 UK universities feature in the QS World University Rankings® 2015/16, with four currently ranked among the world’s top 10.

The University of Cambridge is currently ranked joint third in the world, while the University of Oxford is sixth, followed by UCL (University College London) at seventh and Imperial College London at eighth place.

King's College London (KCL) and the University of Edinburgh are also in the global top 25, while the University of Manchester and London School Of Economics And Political Science (LSE) are within the top 40. A total of 18 UK universities appear in the top 100, and another 12 make the top 200. A shortage of exciting options will not be an issue if you’re looking to study in the UK.

Recommended UK Universities and Colleges
Bellerbys College, Brighton, Cambridge, and London (also medical degree pathways)
Cardiff University International Study Centre, Cardiff, Wales
Condé Nast College of Fashion & Design, London, UK
Coventry University International Study Centre London
Durham University International Study Centre, Stockton-on-Tees, Durham
Istituto Marangoni, London (fashion degrees)
Kingston University London
Lancaster University, Lancaster, Lancashire
Royal Holloway University of London, Egham, Surrey
Univeristy of Aberdeen International Study Centre, Aberdeen, Scotland
University of Huddersfield, Huddersfield, West Yorkshire
University of Leeds International Study Centre, Leeds, West Yorkshire
University of Lincoln, Lincoln, Lincolnshire
University of Sheffield, Sheffield, South Yorkshire
University of Strathclyde, Glasgow, Scotland
University of Sunderland, Sunderland and London
niversity of Surrey International Study Centre, Guidlford, Surrey
University of Sussex International Study Centre, Brighton, Sussex

Our UK University placement partner
University Direct, UK

UK tuition fees

The level of UK tuition fees varies depending on your home country. EU students are charged the same as students from within the UK, while those from outside the EU typically face higher fees. Maximum undergraduate tuition fees at public universities in the UK also vary depending on the region: for England and Wales, universities can charge up to £ 9,000 per year, for Northern Ireland it is £ 3,805 and Scotland does not charge tuition fees at undergraduate level for domestic or EU students (except those from the other three parts of the UK, who will pay up to £ 9,000 a year).

International students (those from outside the EU), can expect significantly higher tuition fees, varying between about £ 7,000 and £ 35,000 per year depending on the course. At postgraduate level, there’s no set maximum amount, and for both domestic/EU and international students, tuition fees tend to be higher than at undergraduate level. Again, this varies depending on the degree and university.

Student Cities

Combining countryside and cosmopolitan cities, the UK has plenty to please both nature lovers and culture vultures. British filmmakers, actors, musicians, designers and writers are known and respected across the globe, and this is reflected in strong arts and cultural scenes across the country, with a huge range of galleries, museums and venues to match. At the ‘lower’ end of the culture spectrum, you can embrace the national passion for sport (especially football/soccer) or the classic British pastime of just going to the pub.
Universities in the UK are also microcosms of entertainment in themselves, full of opportunities for getting involved in sports, theater, volunteering – and just having a good night out. Most major UK cities and universities are highly multicultural, providing opportunities to get to know not only British culture and people, but also to encounter people and traditions from around the world. 

Student accommodation in the UK

Most international students who study in the UK live in accommodation provided by the university, with main accommodation types being halls of residence, student houses and student flats. These can be catered or self-catered, with home stays (staying with a UK family) being fairly uncommon.

You can also choose from a range of private accommodation, either living by yourself or sharing with a group of friends. Try to secure your student accommodation before you arrive in the UK. International students are usually given preference for places in student halls, while there are plenty of websites to help with house-hunting. The Student Union and the Student Housing Office at your university should also be great sources of information on how to find accommodation.

UK university application requirements

All students are required to write a ‘personal statement’ explaining their reasons for wanting to study their chosen subject. If you are applying to more than one institution (as is usual), make sure not to mention any by name, as they all will receive the same personal statement. 

University-Direct partner of StudyGroup EU

University Direct provides independent specialist advice and support to help prospective students to UK universities, make the right choice and submit a successful application to university. Whilst support in applying to university is our most popular service, we recognise that this is just the start of your academic journey and we are able to support you throughout your time at university in the United Kingdom.

Information from the QS TopUniversities web site For more information, please contact StudyUnitedKingdom EU <- click for e-mail