Study in UK: Introduction
One of the most preferred choices for Indian students who wish to go abroad for higher education is to study in UK. With a legacy of excellence in quality of education, the European country made up of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland hosts a number of globally top-ranking Institutions, including the University of Cambridge, University of Oxford, University College London and Imperial College London.
The Island country has as many as 9 universities in the list of top 50 Universities, as per the latest QS Ranking. The advanced research facilities in different disciplines and scientific teaching methods result in a significant share of world’s most frequently cited papers.
To ease the cost of education for foreign students, UK universities offer a number of scholarship opportunities to international students. Some of the top scholarships available for international students include Commonwealth Scholarships, The Chevening Scholarships, Rhodes Scholarship etc. Further, the students enrolled for six months or more also get free medical treatment.
The total number of non-UK students studying in the UK in 2016-17 was 442,375. Interestingly, 42% of students studying at the postgraduate level in the UK are from outside the European Union. In terms of the inflow of international students in the UK, India is among the top three countries including China and the USA.
Study in UK: Top UK Universities
The QS Ranking places as many as 6 universities from UK in the list of top 25 universities worldwide, with as many as 16 in the top 100. No wonder it attracts students at different levels of higher education including undergraduate, postgraduate and PhD.
All renowned world ranking agencies carry at least 10 universities of UK in their list of top 100 universities. Below is the list of top UK Universities along with their position in international ranking tables of Times Higher Education (THE), Quacquarelli Symonds (QS), and Academic Ranking of World Universities (ARWU). The most sought-after institutions in UK – the University of Cambridge, the University of Oxford, University College London and Imperial College London, dominate top positions in different rankings.
List of top Universities to study in UK
|S. No.||University||QS Rank 2018||THE Rank 2018||ARWU Rank 2017|
|1||University of Cambridge||5||2||3|
|2||University of Oxford||6||1||7|
|3||UCL (University College London)||7||16||16|
|4||Imperial College London||8||8||27|
|5||King’s College London||23||36||46|
|6||The University of Edinburgh||23||27||32|
|7||The University of Manchester||34||54||38|
|8||London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE)||35||25||151-200|
|9||University of Bristol||44||76||61|
|10||The University of Warwick||57||91||101-150|
|11||University of Glasgow||65||80||101-150|
|13||The University of Sheffield||82||104||101-150|
|14||The University of Nottingham||84||147||101-150|
|15||University of Birmingham||84||141||101-150|
|16||University of St Andrews||92||143||301-400|
|17||University of Leeds||101||139||101-150|
|18||University of Southampton||102||126||101-150|
|19||Queen Mary University of London||127||121||151-200|
|21||University of York||135||137||201-300|
|23||The University of Exeter||158||130||151-200|
|24||University of Aberdeen||158||185||201-300|
|25||University of Bath||160||251-300||—|
|27||University of Liverpool||173||177||101-150|
|28||University of Reading||188||201–250||201-300|
|29||Queen’s University Belfast||202||201–250||301-400|
|30||University of Sussex||228||147||201-300|
|32||University of Leicester||238||159||301-400|
|33||Royal Holloway University of London||259||197||—|
|34||University of Surrey||264||251–300||301-400|
|35||University of Dundee||267||187||201-300|
|36||University of East Anglia (UEA)||274||188||301-400|
|37||University of Strathclyde||277||401–500||—|
|38||SOAS University of London||296||401–500||—|
|39||Birkbeck, University of London||308||301–350||—|
|41||City, University of London||343||351–400||—|
|42||Brunel University London||346||351–400||401-500|
|43||University of Essex||347||251–300||—|
|44||Oxford Brookes University||361||401–500||—|
|45||University of Kent||373||301–350||—|
|47||Goldsmiths, University of London||398||301–350||—|
|50||University of Stirling||451-460||301–350||—|
University of Cambridge: The University of Cambridge has a total of 31 autonomous colleges and 150 departments, faculties, and schools, among other institutions. The residential university offers programmes in multiple disciplines at both the undergraduate and postgraduate levels.
University of Oxford: The University of Oxford has a total of 38 colleges besides the central university. The university which is consistently placed on top in most of the international rankings has as many as 70 departments accommodating over 3,000 undergraduate students and 5,500 graduate research students.
University College London (UCL): University College London is one of the most popular universities in England for international students. The international student community is as much as one-third of the student population in the university. The university has a total of 11 faculties covering different disciplines like medical sciences, engineering, and social sciences, among others.
Imperial College London: The Imperial College London offers programmes around four main disciplines – management, science, engineering, and medicine. All the programmes are research focused. The university is home to over 14,000 students.
The University of Edinburgh: The University of Edinburgh is ranked among the top 20 universities in the world. The university has three colleges – College of Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences, College of Medicine & Veterinary Medicine, and College of Science & Engineering, apart from 20 schools covering disciplines including Business, Arts, and Economics.
King’s College London: Established in 1828, the King’s College London ranks among the top 25 universities in the world. It has eight faculties covering different disciplines including Humanities, Social Science, and Medicine. The university boasts of more than 27,000 students from over 150 countries.
The University of Manchester: The University of Manchester is ranked among the top 30 universities in the world. The university has three major faculties – Faculty of Biology, Medicine and Health; Faculty of Science and Engineering; and Faculty of Humanities.
London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE): Ranked among the top universities in the UK, the London School of Economics is one of the most popular universities for international students from South Asia. The university with over 26 departments has about 10000 students from more than 140 countries. The 120-year old university majorly focuses on social science subjects like politics, anthropology, and economics.
University of Bristol: The University of Bristol offers more than 200 UG and PG programmes under its different faculties – Arts, Engineering, Science, Biomedical Sciences, Health Sciences and Social Sciences, and Law.
The University of Warwick: The 50-year old university is known for its research-intensive programmes. The university has about 25000 students of which more than a third are international students. The major faculties at the University of Warwick includes Faculty of Arts, Faculty of Medicine, Faculty of Science, and Faculty of Social Sciences.
Study in UK: Admission Cycle
When do universities start their admission process? What is the timeline for different stages of admission? How long does it take for the admission process to get completed?
Generally, the application for admission begins in the month of September-October and it closes by February. Many Universities, however, take admissions in two sessions with the admissions for the latter closing in the month of September. Though most of the universities begin their classes in the month of September, the process for international students takes almost a year owing to multiple factors like visa processing, fund management, etc.
Thus, if you wish to get enrolled in the academic session starting in September 2019, you should start applying to the institute of your choice by August- September 2018 along with the required test results like IELTS.
UK Admission Timeline – A Snapshot
|July- August (previous year):||Research your options|
|August||Register for standardised test and take test|
|September||Prepare the application package and get you test scores.|
|September- October||Start applying|
|October- November||Applications close|
|Jan- Feb||Colleges start replying to applications|
|March||Prepare your finances, explore scholarships and apply for education loans.|
|May- June||Apply for the Students Visa|
|September- October||Session starts|
Below are the tentative dates for the admission cycle of top UK Universities:
|Institute||Level of study||Application deadline|
|Oxford University||UG||October 15th of every year|
|PG||18th November of previous year & 20th Jan of session year (Sept intake)|
|Imperial College London||UG||15th January (for all courses)
15th October of previous year for Medicine (October intake)
|PG||15th January of session year (for all courses)
15th October for previous year for Medicine (October intake)
|University of Cambridge||UG||15th October of previous year|
|PG||7th December of previous year (those who wish to apply for funding)
(Varies as per programme)
|University College London||UG||15th Jan & 30th June of session year (for September intake)|
|London School of Economics||UG||15th January of session year
(for Sept intake)
|PG||Rolling admission- starts in October every year|
|University of Edinburgh||UG
|6th September of previous year
One month before the entry month.
|The University of Manchester||UG
|15th October of previous year (session year intake)
No closing dates
|King’s College London||UG
|January 2017 (it may vary)
|University of Bristol||UG
19th September of previous year
|The University of Warwick||UG
|15th January (Sept intake)
31st July (for session year)
Source- University’s official website
The timeline in the table above is tentative and may vary as per specific timeline for different courses of the universities. Many Universities also offer admission on a rolling basis. Therefore, you must check the concerned university department for which you wish to apply for.
Study in UK: Top Courses
The UK is popular among the international students’ community for quality education offered across disciplines of Management, Engineering, Law, Social Studies, etc. Being one of the most happening business destinations in the world, the universities in the UK offer management programmes which carry significant exposure to industry. Also, the country is popular for its rich history in legal education. To help students track the top courses in the UK, we bring here a brief of the most sought-after courses in UK universities. Take a look.
Top Business and Management Courses to study in UK
|Universities||Popular Management Degrees|
|London Business School||MBA, Executive MBA, Masters in Management|
|Saïd Business School – University of Oxford||MBA, Executive MBA|
|London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE)||Master’s in Management, MSc International Management|
|Judge Business School – University of Cambridge||MBA, Executive MBA|
|Warwick Business School -The University of Warwick||MBA, Executive MBA|
|Alliance Manchester Business School – The University of Manchester||MBA, Executive MBA|
|Imperial College London||Imperial MBA|
Top law universities to study in UK
|Universities||Popular Law Degrees|
|University of Cambridge||English law, Civil (Roman) law, EU law and International law|
|University of Oxford||BA in Jurisprudence, MSc in Law and Finance|
|London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE)||LLB, LLM|
|UCL (University College London)||LLB|
|Kings College London||LLB, LLM|
|The University of Edinburgh||LLB, LLM|
|The University of Nottingham||LLB, BA Law, LLM|
|Queen Mary University of London||LLB (Hons), BA (Hons), LLM|
Top Social Science and Humanities universities to study in UK
|London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE)||UG, Master’s and Doctoral|
|University of Oxford||UG, Master’s and Doctoral|
|University of Cambridge||UG, Master’s and Doctoral|
|UCL (University College London)||UG, Master’s and Doctoral|
|The University of Manchester||UG, Master’s and Doctoral|
|The University of Warwick||UG, Master’s and Doctoral|
|Kings College London||UG, Master’s and Doctoral|
Top Engineering Universities to study in UK
|University of Cambridge||UG, Master’s and Doctoral|
|Imperial College London||UG, Master’s and Doctoral|
|University of Oxford||UG, Master’s and Doctoral|
|The University of Manchester||UG, Master’s and Doctoral|
|University College London (UCL)||UG, Master’s and Doctoral|
|The University of Edinburgh||UG, Master’s and Doctoral|
|University of Birmingham||UG, Master’s and Doctoral|
Study in UK: Cost of Study and Living
(Note: All prices have been converted from GBP to USD for your better understanding)
With an annual cost of over USD 35,000, the United Kingdom is one of the costliest countries in the world for international students. Of the above average figure, the tuition fee and living expenses are usually in the ratio of 2:1.
Here, we will give you a break-up of various expenses that students incur while pursuing education in the country.
Tuition fee: According to the UK Council for International Student Affairs, annual tuition fee for international students in the UK range between USD 5000 to USD 27000, depending on the level of study and choice of university. The clinical courses are a little more expensive and range between USD 30000 to USD 50000 annually.
Accommodation: Accommodation in the UK is another major expense head for international students. While a university hostel would cost anywhere between USD 500-USD 1500 per month, depending on single or shared accommodation, private flats or homestay facilities are available for a monthly rent of USD 300 to USD 700.
Living expenses: The living expenses like that on food, grocery, electricity bill, internet connection, transport etc may also cost around USD 300 to USD 400 depending on the place of living.
Study in UK: Scholarship Options
As cost becomes a major constraint for many deserving students towards pursuing their study from top universities in the UK, a number of available scholarships for international students in general, and Indian students in particular, hold the prospect of bringing the expenses down considerably. With rising cost of education, depreciating rupee, and a tough economy, it becomes very important for you to know key scholarships which you can pursue to fund your education in the UK. Sponsored by individuals, public authorities and public-private organizations, different scholarships carry specific criteria for scholarship award.
Below is a list of important scholarship available for International students.
Key Scholarships for study in UK:
|Scholarship Name||Specific elements||Application Opens|
|Dr Manmohan Singh Scholarships
|Age below 35 years; For doctoral degrees in subjects like Science & Technology, Economics and Social Sciences||Mid –January|
|For candidates wishing to pursue six months of clinical training OR One Year Taught Master’s Course OR Doctoral Degree of up to three years duration||July/August|
|Charles Wallace India Trust Scholarships
|Grants towards final year of Doctoral study in UK; Long term awards generally from 2–3 months to a maximum of one year, covering accommodation, living costs in the UK, fees and a contribution to international fares
|For one-year full-time Master’s degree in an English Language Teaching related subject in the UK||November -February|
|Oxford and Cambridge Society of India Scholarship||For Indian students of not more than 30 years of age wishing to pursue an undergraduate, second undergraduate, graduate study, or research in any subject at the Universities of Cambridge or Oxford||Between 1st February and 30th April|
|For Indian students pursuing specific programmes like research, training or professional improvement||September- October|
|For Indian students wishing to pursue their postgraduate education at the University of Oxford, the University of Reading, or the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), part of the University of London in the UK||November – January|
|Scotland’s Saltire Scholarships
|For tuition fees for a one-year full time Undergraduate, Masters or PhD programme at any of Scotland’s higher education institutions||April-May|
|The Gates Cambridge Scholarships
|For UG and PG students||September -December|
|The Rhodes Scholarships India
|For outstanding PG students at the University of Oxford; Age limit of 18 to 28 years for both women and men||May-July|
|Chevening UK Government Scholarships
|Funded by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and partner organizations; For international Students||Summer|
Study in UK: Visa Process
To pursue higher studies in the UK, one needs to essentially secure a study visa. The country allows two types of study visa – Short Term Visa and Tier 4 Visa. While the Short-Term Visa is for those entering the country for educational programme of less than 6 months, the Tier 4 Visa is specifically for international students admitted to educational programmes of more than 6 months. For Tier 4 visa, the educational institutions where admission is being offered have to sponsor the visa for students to study in UK. The visa is issued for a particular course at the institution.
Tier 4 Study Visa for Indian Students
To be able to apply for a Tier 4 Study Visa, you need to have an offer from a university or college that has been approved by the UK government as a ‘licenced Tier 4 sponsor’. You will then be able to obtain a document called a ‘Confirmation of Acceptance of Studies (CAS)’ from your university or college. Once you receive the said document, you can apply online for your study visa at www.visa4uk.fco.gov.uk. You must then take an appointment at the nearest visa application centre of the UK embassy to submit the application and biometric information. You should ideally apply for the visa at least three months before the start date of your course. Please also note that the CAS statement is valid for six months only. Therefore, the application should not be made later than six months after it was issued.
Short-term Study Visa Route
The short-term study immigration route allows Indian students to enter UK to undertake a short course of study. Students are supported under short-term study where the course duration is less than six months, or a part-time course where attendance is only required for short periods. For this, students are required to possess a letter to support entry to the UK as a short-term student.
There are, however, a few restrictions under the short-term visa where one cannot take employment in the UK either part-time or full-time. Also, a work placement/internship (paid/unpaid) as part of the course of study is also not allowed. Further, those on short-term visa must leave the UK within 30 days after the end of their study period or before the visa expires, whichever is earlier.
Requirements for possessing UK visa
- Students coming to study at degree level will need to speak English at an ‘upper intermediate’ (B2) level, rather than the current ‘lower intermediate’ (B1) requirement.
- UK Border Agency staff can refuse entry to students who cannot speak English without an interpreter, and who therefore clearly do not meet the minimum standard.
- Only postgraduate students at universities and government-sponsored students will be able to bring their dependants.
Visa for work opportunities
With high tuition fees and living cost in the country, many students also pursue work after study opportunities to reduce their financial burden. Below is the type of visa one can get for work opportunities post study in UK.
Visa types to apply for post-study work in UK:
|Visa Type||Synopsis||Sponsorship requirement||Maximum duration||Switching from Tier 4 inside the UK||What do I need to qualify?||Are dependents allowed?|
| Tier 4 Doctorate
|For students who have nearly completed their PhD and want to remain in the UK for a further 12 months to work, look for work or set up a business||Need sponsorship from the university||12 months from course completion date||Yes (but students can apply only from inside the UK)||A CAS from the university.||Yes|
|Tier 2 (General)||The primary route for working in UK. This visa is granted for a specific job and employer||Yes, from the Tier 2 licensed employer||5 years||Yes||Job offer from Tier 2 sponsor||Yes|
|Tier 1 Graduate
|A scheme for graduates who have genuine and pragmatic business ideas||No (instead need endorsement from the university or UK Trade Center and Investment)
|12 months with the scope of renewal for an additional 12 months||Yes||Investment of Â£200,000 or Â£50,000||Yes|
|Tier 5 Temporary Worker||Short time visa for work experience or to do training||Yes||Up to 2 years||–||Tier 5 sponsor||Yes|
Health and Insurance facilities
The international students who pursue studies in UK universities can also avail the public health care system of the UK – National Health Services (NHS). The students are also offered emergency services for free. Additionally, universities in the UK mandate that students get registered with a General Practitioner (GP) in accordance with the country’s study abroad health insurance policy.