Education

Choose your option

The UK has a long history of welcoming international students for study. The universities are generally multicultural and diverse places. You will have the opportunity to enhance your English language skills and a UK degree is respected and recognised throughout the world. There are over 35,000 courses available, so plenty to choose from.

Foundation Courses

Foundation Courses are designed for those who do not have sufficient qualifications or correct A-Level (or equivalent) mix to obtain a place on an Undergraduate Degree Course. Or, foundation courses can also be useful if you are not quite sure if you want to commit to a full undergraduate degree yet. They will give you grounding in a subject, and then you can decide if you would like to commit to further study.

Usually, the foundation course for a degree lasts for one year (full-time study) and two years (part-time study). Passing the foundation course guarantees you entry into the relevant undergraduate degree.

You will usually study for your undergraduate degree course at the same university that accepted you for your foundation course. Therefore, it is worth doing a lot of research into that particular university. Make sure you read independent reviews for your specific course within that university. There is no standard rating system for UK universities. So, reviews are based on third parties and actual students. Make good use of the internet and make sure you are happy with your choice. If you can, visit the university as well.

Fees for a course vary, so it is worth contacting your chosen university and making sure you can afford to pay before applying.

Undergraduate Degrees

An undergraduate degree in the UK is usually taken at a university and lasts 3-4 years full-time study, depending on the course (with the exception of medical degree, which lasts five years).

The most common type of undergraduate degree in the UK is a bachelor’s degree (also known as undergraduate or first degree). These involve study including lectures and seminars, with some personal research. They are usually divided into modules, which add up to a full degree.

Applicants must apply for their chosen course before the 30th June of the year they wish to begin study. UK terms start in September. You should take into account the tuition fees. Studying for an undergraduate degree in the UK is not free, but there is no standard charge. You should check with your university the fees for the course you wish to study and make sure you can afford it. You will usually hear if you are successful the august before study begins.

Some universities will have minimum English language requirements, so you should make sure to check.

When choosing your university, make sure you conduct independent research. If possible, visit the university before attending. You can conduct research into which type of degree you would like to study, universities that offer it, and see if you qualify for it on the main UCAS website.

There are six parts to the application that you have to submit to a UK university.

  • Personal Details
  • Choices – you need to make a list of five universities you would like to study at in priority order
  • Education – Your qualifications and pending accreditations
  • Personal Statement – this part gives you the chance to tell the university why they should choose you. It’s a very important part of the application and there is further advice on filling this out available on the UCAS website.
  • Reference – In the UK, universities are usually applied to through an organisation called UCAS. If you are doing this, they will carry out the referencing part for you. If not, you will require a teacher or appropriate person to write a reference.

Once you have completed the application, you will receive confirmation of application. Your application will then be processed and sent to the university.

A university may offer you an unconditional place, meaning that you can definitely attend that university. They may also make you a conditional offer. That is, your entrance to the university depends on certain things such as pending exam results.  They may also reject your application, especially on very popular course where competition is high. In this case, you may find another university in the list you have chosen accepts you, so don’t worry.

Postgraduate Degrees

After completing an undergraduate degree, there is the option for further study in the form of a postgraduate degree. Typically, these will be in the form of a Masters Degree or MBA (Masters in Business Administration). Chosen carefully, a postgraduate degree can improve your job prospects vastly. It can be a specific specialisation that will directly relate to a job, or a continuation of your undergraduate degree that will broaden your knowledge and provide you with a better qualification.

Masters Degree – this will demonstrate to employers that you have advanced knowledge in a particular field, which make you a more attractive prospect.

MBA – An MBA degree will prepare you for a successful career in business, leading to management positions.

In the UK, a Masters degree usually lasts for 1 year, and an MBA for 2 years on average.

It is not always necessary to have studied in the same field as your postgraduate degree, depending on the subject you choose. However, you must be a graduate to apply for a postgraduate course. You will also be required to demonstrate proficiency in the English language to apply. IELTS will be useful, but if you have already studied an undergraduate course in English, this may not be required. Other than these main requirements, the application process is similar to that of an undergraduate degree.

To complete a postgraduate degree, you will need an enhanced, more independent learning style. Although postgraduate courses are still taught by lectures and seminars, there is much more emphasis on independent learning by the student. Courses can be delivered at a very fast pace from the start, you should ensure you are prepared for this method of learning.

The UK is an attractive place to study your postgraduate course, with some of the top ranked universities in the world. However, as always, make sure you research your chosen institution and get independent feedback to make sure the course you have chosen is taught well at this particular university.

Research Degrees

A research degree is the highest level of degree usually awarded by a UK university. They involve the independent establishment of a thesis, which will require a substantial amount of research by the student. The thesis, when written up, is usually between 50,000 to 80,000 words. There is an oral presentation of this work in addition to the written portion. This degree is vastly different to a taught Masters or MBA as the degree is awarded solely on the independent research carried out by the student.

The student will need to take responsibility for their own work. You will not only require an advanced knowledge of your chosen field, but you will also be making a contribution to your discipline. Although you can use the work of others as a starting point, your eventual research thesis must be original.

Although you must possess at least an upper second class honours degree in your chosen field, the application process for a research degree is vastly different than for other courses. You are essentially asking the university to sanction your research project, therefore you must have a clear understanding of what you are trying to achieve, what you will learn from it and how this will benefit your chosen field. This is what the university will base their decision on. The fees you pay for using the university equipment and campus can vary from course to course, so check the website for your chosen university.

To study a research degree in the UK, you must be FLUENT in English.

After submitting your application to the university, it generally takes 6-8 weeks for a reply. You will also be asked to provide academic references in the form of teachers and lecturers who have previously taught you.

Completing a research degree will demonstrate an advanced proficiency in your chosen field; along with the ability to work independently; carry out research; manage a given timeframe; problem solving; organisation; clear thinking; and good communication skills.

You will also have an internationally recognised qualification.

In addition to this, your research findings may be published, earning you respect in your chosen field, or possibly money if it has commercial value.

If you wish for a career in the academic world, a research degree is the perfect way to prepare.