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.
UK education is all about giving you inspiration to develop your knowledge and skills, freedom to be creative, and support to help you achieve your best. UK schools, colleges and universities offer you a world-class education – the chance to follow your passion for learning and gain qualifications that are respected by employers and academics worldwide.
On a UK course you’ll benefit from excellent teaching and facilities. In order to accept students, UK education centres must meet strict quality standards set by the UK government and education bodies.
Click on the tabs below for more information about top universities in the UK, popular student cities, and practical information about applications, costs and student visas.
Find out more about:
Combining countryside and cosmopolitan cities, the UK has plenty to please both nature lovers and culture vultures. British film makers, 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, theatre, 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.
The UK’s capital city ranks among the london_0, and has an impressive World University Rankings. Home to nine million people, this vast metropolis is the financial, cultural and political centre of the country. London life is busy and fast-paced, so if you don’t like crowds or noise, it might not be the place for you! It has a (deserved) reputation for being expensive, so may also not be the best choice for those on a tight budget – but most of those who do study in London will agree that the city is worth every penny in the opportunities for culture, fun and networking on offer.
Home to many of the best libraries, museums, art galleries, nightclubs and theatres in the UK, and the hub of many of its most competitive professional sectors, London has more to see and do than you’ll have time to get to the end of – even if you stay long enough to complete a PhD. Indeed, there are few places in the world which can guarantee as exciting and diverse an experience – both academically and otherwise.
Manchester is famed for its music scene – few cities have produced as many prominent bands and acts (such as the Sex Pistols and Oasis) in the past 30 years. The city is home to an eclectic range of music venues, large and small, and ensuring the city’s music scene is as vibrant and fast-moving as ever. The Northern Quarter is popularly considered the cultural and musical heart of the city, while the Canal Street area – the center of the city’s gay community – is among its liveliest nightspots.
While Manchester is undoubtedly something of a party town, it’s also big on sports – especially football (soccer). The global fame of Manchester United is difficult to beat, while local rival Manchester City is one of the wealthiest clubs in the world. Manchester should also be on your short-list if you’re a fan of architecture – you’ll find an interesting variety of styles, from Victorian and Gothic to contemporary skyscrapers. Meanwhile Chinese students may be interested to know Manchester has the third-largest Chinese population in Europe, along with a thriving Chinatown area.
Among universities in Manchester, the top ranking institution is the University of Manchester (home to Manchester Business School). If you want to get more of a feel for the university, you could tune in to its student radio station, Fuse FM, or perhaps listen to MMU Radio, run by students from nearby the Manchester Metropolitan University. Also just outside the city center is the University of Salford, not far from the BBC’s new Media City complex, and a cluster of cultural venues including the Lowry Mall and the Museum of Science and Industry.
The UK’s second-largest city, Birmingham rose to prominence during the industrial revolution. Today Birmingham (or Brum, as it is known affectionately to locals) is a thriving commercial hub, home to the UK’s largest shopping area outside of London, and one of the most multicultural places in the UK. It offers thriving art, music and literary scenes, including the prestigious City Of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra and a range of other cultural institutions.
Birmingham’s six universities also make it the UK’s largest center of higher education and academic research in the outside of the capital, while the ongoing ‘Big City Plan’ aims to make Birmingham one of the top 20 most liveable cities in the world within 20 years. The highest ranking of universities in Birmingham is the University of Birmingham, along with Aston University (within the global top 350) and four other universities, including the Open University’s West Midlands regional center.
It may have lived for many years in the genteel shadow of Edinburgh (which, incidentally hosts the UK’s sixth highest-ranking university, the University of Edinburgh), but Scotland’s largest city has in recent years shaken off its former gritty reputation to emerge as one of the UK’s most dynamic up-and-coming cities.
With historic architecture, distinctive local traditions and museums to rival any city in the UK, Glasgow now also has enough trendy bars, restaurants and gig venues to keep even the most hardened hipster entertained (plus the world’s tallest cinema). PETA has declared the city to be the most vegan-friendly in the UK. And, while Glasgow is the largest city in Scotland, it is not as overrun by tourists as Edinburgh and has a significantly lower cost of living. It is perhaps because of this that Glasgow has the largest student population in Scotland (and the second largest in the UK, after London).
In keeping with the city’s general upwards trajectory, universities in Glasgow have been climbing the rankings in recent years.
Oxford and Cambridge
Yes, Oxford and Cambridge are two separate cities, each with a distinct history and character. But the two halves of ‘Oxbridge’ are also bound together in the collective imagination as semi-mythical academic enclaves with a profound historic affinity, as well as an ever-so-slightly tongue-in-cheek rivalry. Both are old medieval towns, built on rivers and situated towards the south of England not far from London, both are relatively quiet and peaceful, and both are completely dominated by their universities – the two oldest in the Anglophone world.
Oxford and Cambridge are both collegiate universities, and their constituent colleges loom large over the city centers, which you’ll also notice are teeming with the bright young attendees (usually on bicycles when they’re not relaxing on the river in a punting boat). While Cambridge is home to a large cluster of high-technology industries such as software and bioscience, earning it the name ‘Silicon Fen’ (a play on Silicon Valley), Oxford has a long history of brewing and has been an important center of motor-manufacturing for years, with the main production site for Mini cars, now owned by BMW, based there.
UK Universities 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 British Poundsthose 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 (~US$13,700) per year, for Northern Ireland it is £3,805 (~US$5,800) 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 (~US$10,600) and £35,000 (~US$53,000) 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./p>
Types of UK Student visa
If you’re doing a short course or an 11-month English language course, and are over 18 years old, you may be eligible for the student visitor visa. This is valid up to 6 months for short courses and can be extended for a stay of up to 11 months for English language courses. If you’re doing a longer course, you’ll need to make sure your chosen institution is on the UKBA list of trusted sponsors. You can either apply for a Tier 4 (Child) student visa (if you’re aged 4-17) or a Tier 4 (General) student visa for those aged 18 and over.
You may also apply for entry to the UK as a prospective student. To do this you must prove you have been in touch with some UK universities. This visa will be valid for six months, during which time you may study – though it is advisable to upgrade to a full student visa sooner rather than later.
Making an Application Study in UK
You can apply for a Tier 4 (General) student visa to study in the UK if you’re 16 or over and you:
You can apply if
- Have been offered a place on a course (known as CAS Letter)
- Meet the English Eligibility Requirements
- Have enough money to support yourself and pay for your course – this will vary depending on your circumstances
- Are from a country that’s not in the European Economic Area (EEA) or Switzerland.
Your education provider will send you a reference number called a confirmation of acceptance for studies (CAS) once they’ve offered you a place on a course. You’ll need to enter this on your visa application.
You must apply for your visa no more than 6 months after you receive the CAS
You will need enough money to pay for your course fees and your living costs while you are in the UK. The Home Office refers to this as the maintenance (funds) requirements.
Maintenance must be in the form of cash funds. You cannot use evidence of other types of finances, such as shares, bonds or a pension fund. You also cannot use an overdraft facility.
The amount of money that you need to have for your maintenance will depend on:
- How long your courses lasts AND
- Where you will be studying in the UK
Maintenance Funds for Applicants
- Inner London £1,265 per month. Therefore, if your course lasts for nine months or more you will have to show £11,385.
- Outer London £1,015 per month. Therefore, if your course lasts for nine months or more you will have to show £9,135.
Amount of Money Required for Dependants
If your dependent applies on or after 12 November 2015, then the amount of money that each defendant must show is as follows:
- If you will study in London, £845 for each month of your course, up to a maximum of 9 months (that is, a maximum figure of £7,605). The definition of ‘London’ for these purposes is complicated, so check with your college or university whether or not you will be considered to be studying in London.
- If you will study somewhere other than London, £680 for each month of your course, up to a maximum of 9 months (that is, a maximum figure of £6,120).
Note: There is no reduction in cases where students already have an ‘established presence’ in the UK (provision for this was abolished on 12 November 2015).
How long it can take ?
- You can apply for a visa up to 3 months before the start of your course.
- You should get a decision on your visa within 3 weeks.
- Check the guide processing times to find out how long getting a visa might take in your country.
f you are willing to study English, Foundation, Undergraduate, Postgrad or a PhD degree our British Council trained staff is available to help with your application in more than 90 UK Universities.
Meet Us Today
If you are interested in learning more, arrange your free consultation.
University of Leads
The University, established in 1904, is one of the largest higher education institutions in the UK. We are a world top 100 university and are renowned globally for the quality of our teaching and research. The University of Leeds is acclaimed world-wide for the quality of its teaching and research. One of the largest universities in the UK, we have 8,000 postgraduate students from 136 countries. The strength of our academic expertise combined with the breadth of disciplines we cover, provides a wealth of opportunities and has real impact on the world in cultural, economic and societal ways. The University strives to achieve academic excellence within an ethical framework informed by our values of integrity, equality and inclusion, community and professionalism.
University of Sheffield
We offer over 300 courses for undergraduate students, covering a wide range of subjects. The University of Sheffield was founded over a hundred years ago, founded on the aspirations and financial support of the people of Sheffield. They wanted to establish a university which would benefit their economy, health and children. These far-sighted men and women could only have wondered at what would follow. Today we are a global community and our citizenship stretches around the world into over 150 countries. Like our city, our staff and students have roots and connections all over our planet. What we continue to do is based on our values and rooted in our founding principles. Our approach inspires innovative collaboration across subject areas and with individuals, businesses and organisations to solve the more pressing problems we face, both close to home and around the world. Being a civic university means that we are a place for open debate, for working together to solve problems and making partnerships which challenge and inspire new thinking. We are open to people, to change and to possibility.
University of Liverpool
The University of Liverpool is one of the UK’s leading research institutions with an annual turnover of £465 million, including £89 million for research. Ranked in the top 1% of higher education institutions worldwide, Liverpool is a member of the prestigious Russell Group of the UK’s leading research universities. The University has 31,000 students, 7,700 of whom travel from all over the world to study here, and 195,000 alumni in 200 countries. Its global focus has led the institution to establish a university in Suzhou near Shanghai, in partnership with Xi’an Jiaotong University, as well as a campus in London. The University is the largest provider of 100% online postgraduate degree courses in Europe with over 10,000 students studying for Liverpool degrees around the world.
University of Surrey
At the University of Surrey, we share our knowledge and make new discoveries through our innovative research, business collaborations and teaching. We inspire people to do wonderful things, and help them to acquire the tools they need to make a meaningful contribution to the world.
The University of Surrey, named as University of the Year by The Times/Sunday Times Good University Guide 2016, has risen in all major league tables for UK universities in the past few years. Ranked in fourth place in the Guardian University Guide 2017, eleventh place in the Complete University Guide 2016 and achieved eighth position in The Times/Sunday Times Good University Guide 2016. In the recent National Student Survey we attained fifth place out of 139 institutions (excluding specialists) across England, Scotland and Wales, and the QS World University Rankings place us in the top 1% of the world’s universities.
Personal and professional development is embedded at the heart of our students’ learning experience. Exceptional teaching and knowledge is put into context through our pioneering Professional Training placements. We are proud to be No 2 for graduate employability compared with other chartered Universities in England.
London South Bank University
Established as the Borough Polytechnic Institute in 1892, the original aim of London South Bank University (LSBU) was ‘to promote the industrial skill, general knowledge, health and well-being of young men and women’, which remains remarkably similar today. Our continuous focus on vocational education and professional opportunity allows us to produce graduates who can meet the challenges of today’s workplace.
We’re always thinking of new ways to improve our campus facilities. In the past 10 years alone we’ve spent well over £60m in new buildings, location infrastructure, improved teaching facilities and enterprise initiatives. Read what’s planned in our latest campus developments.