Universities in the UK are preparing to welcome students for the start of the new academic year in September 2021. Find out more about the impact of Covid-19 on international students on the Study UK website.
The course search function on the StudyUK and UCAS websites make it very easy to search for courses at many levels by subject or place of study. If you want something even simpler, the Study UK study options pages explain the different course levels available in the UK, such as postgraduate, undergraduate and pathway courses.
When you are ready to apply, check our Study UK how to apply page for a step-by-step guide and a video that explains the process. The basic rule is: apply for undergraduate courses through the UCAS website, apply for most postgraduate courses directly through the university (although some UK universities now use UCAS for postgraduate too, so it is best to check the university website first). UCAS is the UK’s official university admissions platform for undergraduate degrees. To simplify your application process, you do not need to fill out lots of different applications, just one form for up to five universities!
International students pay overseas fees, which vary depending on the university and the course of study. To find out the exact costs of the course you are interested in, please check the website of the university – remember to look at the cost of your specific course at that university, as there can be big differences!
As well as paying the tuition fees, you will need to cover your living costs while in the UK. Be aware that some areas of the UK are more expensive than others! We recommend that you talk to the universities’ International Offices (you will be able to find their details on the ‘International’ or ‘Contact’ section of their website). The Student Budget Calculatoris also a useful tool to get an estimate of what your monthly living costs will be while at university.
Our Study UK website includes a database of scholarships under Scholarships and funding and lots of details about how to find financial support while in the UK.
The good news is that many UK universities have scholarships, bursaries or financial support schemes that international students can apply to. You can find out more from your chosen university or from specialist websites such as Postgraduate Studentships and Prospects. Our tip: Even if you don’t spot anything on the university’s website, don’t be afraid to contact them and explain your circumstances and see what they have to offer!
The UK government does offer scholarships, bursaries and financial support to students from a variety of countries, but these are in high demand and not available for all students. We recommend you to visit the UKCISA (UK Council for International Student Affairs) website to check if you are eligible for a UK government scholarship or financial support.
Most international students do not have access to the UK’s government-funded student loan system. However, international students can access loans from private providers, please check what is available in your country.
You will need a Student visa if you are interested in studying a course which is longer than six months. For courses shorter than six months, international students need a visitor visa. However EU/EEA or Swiss nationals do not need a visa. For more details about visas and how to apply for one, visit our Study UK visa section.
A UK Student visa costs £348 if you apply for it from outside the UK (it costs more if you’re applying from within the UK – for example, if you’re switching from another visa). You will also be asked to pay the Immigration Health Surcharge - this means that you’ll get full access to the UK’s National Health Service on the same basis as someone who lives full-time in the UK. This costs £470 per year and you need to pay it in full when you apply for your visa… however, you might be able to get it refunded! If you don’t do any paid work while you’re in the UK and you have a European Health Insurance card, you’ll be able to get a full or partial refund. For more information see the GOV.UK website.
The average time is three weeks – but it’s important to realise that it can sometimes take longer, so don’t leave it until the deadline! We recommend applying six weeks before you’re due to go to the UK.
If you are planning to study less than six months you will need to apply for a ‘Standard Visitor Visa’. There’s more information on the GOV.UK website.
Yes, it’s still possible to do this. Your university in your home country might have an exchange agreement already set up for you to do a semester or longer at a partner university in the UK. Alternatively, you might be able to set up your own study abroad semester or year placement at a UK university independently, meaning you would pay fees to the UK university directly. Check if your home university has a partnership agreement with a UK university. Remember, if you go to the UK for longer than six months, even on an exchange, you will need a visa.
Many but not all students on a Student visa can work – it depends on what you’re studying and the type of visa you have. Students on a full-time undergraduate or postgraduate course are allowed to work:
However, remember that if you do work while you’re in the UK, you will not be eligible for a refund of your NHS healthcare surcharge (see Question 5). If your course is less than six months long and you want to work, you’ll also need to check what type of visa you should apply for. Find out more about working in the UK on a Student visa on the UKCISA website.
Yes. If you’ve completed a degree at a UK university, you can apply for a Graduate Route visa. This means that you can stay in the UK for up to two years if you finished a degree at undergraduate level or above (such as a bachelor’s or master’s degree) or up to three years if you completed a PhD. During that time, you can work or look for a job. If you do find a job during that period, you’ll be able to switch to a work visa. For more information on the Graduate Route visa, see here.
No visa is needed for any EU citizens coming to the UK to visit for up to six months. That means that your friends and family can come and visit you visa-free (and do whatever sightseeing they want to do in the UK at the same time!). It also means that students can do a course that is less than six months long without needing a visa.
If you’re a UK national and you live in an EU country (for example, you have a UK passport), you can still claim ‘home fee status’ if you start your studies in the UK before 1 January 2028. This means that you’ll be charged the same fees as a student from the UK and be able to take UK student loans (check with the student loan company in the part of the UK where the course is located for exact fees and loans in England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales).
The first place to check for UK visa information is theGOV.UK website, as there is lots of information there about UK visas and a simple tool that lets you check what kind of visa you need. If you can’t find what you’re looking for there, or you want to speak to someone in your country, please contact your local Visa Application Centre.
If you need to contact UKVI (UK Visas and Immigration) about a current application, visit GOV.UK. For travel advice, check the website of your local British Embassy or High Commission.