Have you considered applying to an international university in the United Kingdom, one of the most popular academic study destinations in the world?
If the answer is yes, we have created an easy-to-use and extensive guide with key information that will help you successfully get through the application process for your dream university in the UK.
Prepare to apply
1. Make sure you choose the right degree. UK Bachelors and Masters are very specialised, answering diverse student interests.
2. Take into consideration course tuition fees:
- International students outside the EU (European Union) and EEA (European Economic Area) pay full tuition at UK universities. Also, non-EU/EEA students will not be eligible for loans and grants.
- Students from the EU/EEA used to pay the same fees as British nationals. But 2020 (and the first half of 2021) is the last year when they will have this benefit as well as the option to apply for student loans. Learn more about tuition fees in the UK after Brexit.
4. Check the university entry requirements, especially discover if you need to take any language test, such as IELTS or TOEFL.
5. Consider hiring an experienced adviser to guide you through the application process.
How to apply to a university in the UK
All applications for Bachelor’s degrees in the UK are submitted using the UCAS application website (Universities and Colleges Admissions Service). The majority of universities will only accept your application through the UCAS system.
Follow these easy steps to apply through UCAS:
- Register and create your application on the UCAS website
- Apply for up to five programmes, at the same or different universities in the UK
- Complete personal information
- Include previous educational qualifications
- Add financial information
- Write a personal statement
- Some universities may require additional tests such as the UCAT or BMAT for Medicine, or the LNAT for Law degrees
You can save your application and return to it as many times as you like before submitting the final version.
1. Future Master’s and PhD students can apply directly to their chosen university. Most universities allow you to send your application throughout the year, but some degree courses have specific deadlines. It’s best to contact your chosen university to find out specific details about their graduate application process.
2. Apply via the UKPASS system. You can fill in all your details online and scan and upload any required documents such as a copy of your passport and previous Bachelor’s degree certificates.
3. For PhD programmes, applicants are usually expected to also choose a suitable supervisor from the university.
Language requirements for the UK university application
At UK universities, you have a plethora of degrees taught in English you can choose from. For this reason, unless you come from an English-speaking country, you will have to deliver proof of advanced English language proficiency. Accepted language tests are:
Required university application documents
Along with your personal information, you will need to submit photocopied evidence confirming your identity and academic history. These may include:
- Birth certificate
- Passport, national identification card
- Reference letters, if required
- Evidence of English competency
- Copies of degree/diploma certificates
- Academic transcripts
- Graduate applicants may also be required to submit a research proposal
Most or all of the document copies will have to be certified by a professional authority, which will confirm their authenticity. If a document/statement is not in English, an official notarised translation may be required.
In some cases, universities may ask for additional documents after you have submitted your application. To avoid delays or missed deadlines, send your evidence with plenty of time in advance.
University application deadlines in the UK
Here are some of the most important deadlines to consider when applying for a university in the UK:
- mid-October: deadline for all Medicine, Dentistry and Veterinary Medicine courses
- mid-January: UCAS deadline for EU/EEA students. High ranking universities will not accept Bachelor’s applications after the UCAS application deadlines
- end of June: deadline for international students from a non-EU/EEA country
- Many universities have different deadlines for international students (especially for graduate applicants). Check specific university deadlines on the university websites
- August: The UCAS Clearing process. Universities open up all their remaining places for late university applicants who still want to start their degree studies in the current academic year
Final steps after receiving your university acceptance letter
Studying in the United Kingdom means a few extra steps after the application process:
- Settle your health insurance. If you come from an EU/EEA country, you can use the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC). If health insurance is not valid, you will have to pay 80–160 EUR per month to cover it.
- Apply for the UK student visa if you are coming from outside the EU/EEA.
- You might need to register at a police station within seven days after your arrival in the UK (this is only required if your visa sticker in your passport states ‘Police registration’).
- Some UK universities require you to pre-enrol online on the university website before arriving in the UK.
If you’re interested in an undergraduate degree, here’s a step-by-step guide to your Bachelor’s studies in the UK.