United Kingdom

Application Procedure In The UK

The basic steps for applying are:

  • Choosing your required programme
  • Identifying Universities
  • Health documents, if required
  • Taking various required tests like IELTS, TOEFL, GMAT, etc.
  • Arranging and preparing essays and recommendation letters
  • Completing and sending application forms along with required documents
  • Applying for VISA after obtaining unconditional offer from the universities

In case of postgraduate programmes, applications can be made directly to the respective universities and colleges. There is no cut-off date to receive applications, but students are advised to apply in advance as some of the popular courses will get filled up fast.

Master’s Degree

Master’s Degree is conferred after one or two years study following the Bachelor’s Degree. Study is in a specialized field. In some cases, the degree is awarded solely after a written examination but candidates must usually submit a dissertation. At Oxford and Cambridge, the Master of Arts is conferred automatically after a certain period of time on all holders of Bachelor’s Degrees. In other fields, it is awarded under the same conditions as in other universities.

Master of Philosophy, Doctor of Philosophy

The third stage is that of pure research. At a university, it leads, after two years of additional study and the successful presentation of a thesis, to the Master of Philosophy (M.Phil) Degree. After usually three years’ further study beyond the Master’s Degree, the candidate may present a thesis for the Doctorate of Philosophy (D.Phil. or Ph.D.)

Higher Doctorate

A further stage leads to Higher Doctorates which may be awarded by a university in Law, Humanities, Science, Medical Sciences, Music and Theology after a candidate, usually a senior university teacher, has submitted a number of learned, usually published, works.

Students wishing to apply for an undergraduate programme should apply through the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS). Its functions are to organize and regulate the process of entry to full-time and sandwich bachelor’s degree courses in all the UK universities (except the Open University) and most other colleges.

The UCAS application allows the students to indicate a maximum of 6 institutions of their choice. The deadline to receive applications at UCAS is 15th January for the following academic year. However, late applications received between 15th January and 30th June will also be considered. If Cambridge or Oxford University is included, the deadline will be 15th October of the previous year and they should apply simultaneously to these universities.

Bachelor’s Degree

This stage lasts for three or four years and leads to the award of a Bachelor’s Degree in Arts, Science or other fields (Technology, Law, Engineering, etc.). In some Scottish universities the first degree is a Master’s Degree. The Bachelor’s Degree is conferred as a Pass Degree or an Honours Degree where studies are more specialized. The Bachelor’s Honours Degree is classified as a First Class Honours, a Second Class Honours or a Third Class Honours.

Studying for your first degree can take three years for an honor degree. Some degree courses take four years to complete and some even longer than that. A course that includes study overseas (e.g. a language course) is likely to take more than three years. A course that includes a significant amount of work experience is likely to take more than three years.

The following are the examples of Bachelor’s Degree

  • Bachelor of Arts (BA)
  • Bachelor of Education (BEd)
  • Bachelor of Engineering (BEng)
  • Bachelor of Law (LLB)
  • Bachelor of Medicine (MB)
  • Bachelor of Science (BSc)

The Degrees are classified in the following ways

  • First-class degree
  • Upper second-class degree
  • Lower second-class degree
  • Third-class degree
  • Pass class degree

Reasons to Study in UK

Requires only 15 years of education for direct entry into postgraduate programme.

International students studying at UK institutions are not required to obtain permission from the job centre to take spare time and vacation work.

One centralized application form for six undergraduate courses and generally no application fee for postgraduate courses.

In UK, most undergraduate degrees take only 3 years while postgraduate degrees take one year; you spend less time away from home and less money on course fees

Educational institutions are constantly monitored and reviewed to ensure that courses offered are of high quality.

Qualifications from the UK are some of the most recognized and respected worldwide.

There is a high success rate for international students in the UK education system. Health insurance is free to students who are studying in UK for 6 months of more.

There are many routes into education in UK, so chances of accessing the British system are high.

UK is the gateway to Europe, rich in history and has welcomed international students for hundreds of years.

International Baccalaureate

The International Baccalaureate was created as an international qualification for students aged between business 16 and 18 at schools around the world. It is accepted as an entry qualification for higher education by most countries, including the UK. Three subjects must be offered at A-level equivalent standard and three at AS-level equivalent during this two-year course. Students must also complete an extended essay on one subject and take part in a course on the theory of knowledge, as well as extra-curricular activities. Award of the diploma depends on the student gaining at least 24 points from these subjects.

Career-based Courses

These qualifications tend to be more work-related than academic and can put you on a fast-track route within your current career, into a new career or on to a degree course. Career-based courses in the UK often involve strong links between institutions and industry. This ascertains the continuing relevance of these qualifications to the world of work, which, in turn, improves the career prospects of the students who take them.

Courses at this level tend to be particularly flexible. Many do not have specific entry requirements, so, no matter what qualifications you currently have, you can find a course that will let you get a foot on the educational ladder. And, as you will see from the table below, some of these courses meet the entrance requirements for degree courses, allowing you to supplement your newly found practical skills with academic knowledge.

These courses involve classroom instruction, essays, projects and practical work. Class sizes tend to be relatively small, so students benefit from personal contact with tutors. There is continuous assessment of coursework plus examinations. Some career-based/professional programmes are offered only as degree courses – e.g. Medicine, Dentistry, and Law – so it is best to also check the degree section of the chapter as well.


The most popular undergraduate qualifications are the Bachelor’s degrees (also called undergraduate or first degrees), which are now required for entry into a wide range of careers in the UK and other countries. British degree programmes incorporate the most up-to-date subject developments, and are underpinned by world-class research and links with business and industry. At Oxford, Cambridge and the ancient Scottish Universities, the first degree in Arts is a Master of Arts (MA).

Many universities and colleges now co-operate to deliver degree courses, and this has further increased the number and variety of courses and study environments. The new two-year foundation degrees, introduced in England in September 2001, will widen the range of options still further, offering an innovative blend of academic and career based study. Many degree courses are now offered via distance learning. This allows you to study from home with course materials provided by the institution. These can be paper-based, on CD-Rom or provided through the Internet. Institutions provide special systems of support to help you through the course.

If you don’t currently meet the standard entrance requirements for a degree programme, you can begin with an access or foundation course instead and then move smoothly on into degree work – studying English language courses alongside it if you need to.


There are two main types of taught postgraduate course: Master’s programmes, which normally are classes and seminars plus a dissertation; and diploma or certificate courses, which consist of classes and seminars, but with no dissertation. Some diploma courses enable you to transfer to a Master’s when you have successfully completed them.

A research degree is the ultimate opportunity if you want to pursue your own specialist interests. You will be expected to initiate and develop your topic under the supervision of one or possibly two academics. To be successful, you will need to demonstrate intellectual independence

Taught Masters

Qualifications Offered Entrance Requirements Teaching Methods Assessment Methods Duration
MA , MSc , LLM , MEd , Others British or recognised overseas undergraduate degree in a relevant subject plus English language proficiency (e.g. IELTS band six or above). Programmes are intensive and you should be prepared for a heavy workload. Postgraduate students attend classes and lectures, do a great deal of independent reading and/or experimental work between classes, complete regular written assignments, and write a substantial dissertation. Taught elements are assessed by continuous assessment and/or final exams. The dissertation forms a major part of the total assessment. One Year

Research Masters

Qualifications Offered Entrance Requirements Teaching Methods Assessment Methods Duration
M.Phil. , MA/M.Sc. by research , M.Res. British or recognised overseas undergraduate degree in a relevant subject, at 2.1 Honours or above plus English language proficiency (e.g. IELTS band six or above). Students are expected to work on their own under the guidance of a supervisor..The first two-thirds of the programme are spent researching the topic and planning the dissertation. The remaining time is spent writing the dissertation, which describes in detail the research. Dissertation – typically 30,000 to 40,000 words. One to three years

Research Doctorates

Qualifications Offered Entrance Requirements Teaching Methods Assessment Methods Duration
Ph.D. , D.Phil. Taught or research Masters degree in a relevant subject plus English Language proficiency (e.g. IELTS band 6 or above). An outstanding academic record is expected. Students will be expected to work on their own to a large extent, under the guidance of a supervisor. The research is usually written during the third year. The first two years are spent researching the topic and planning the dissertation. Dissertation – typically of 70,000-100,000 words. Three years minimum


Business studies are increasingly popular with students from all countries and the MBA (Master of Business Administration) is the most popular business qualification. MBA programmes are designed to develop management skills, knowledge, the ability to analyze complex problems and the ability to make decisions. There are many MBA programmes to choose from in the UK, from those that teach principles of general management to highly specialised programmes tailored to careers like, banking and finance, construction, oil and gas, health care, hospitality, transport, and technology. Many have pipeline to relevant industries to ensure their direct relevance to the working world.

Many postgraduate courses – particularly MBA’s where people tend to need to continue working – are now offered through distance learning. This allows you to study from home with course materials provided by the institution. These can be paper-based, on CD-Rom or accessible on the Internet.

Qualifications Offered Entrance Requirements Teaching Methods Assessment Methods Duration
MBA (Master of Business Administration) Both general and specialised versions are available. British or recognised overseas undergraduate degree or a professional qualification plus a good GMAT score plus English language proficiency (e.g. IELTS band six or above). Projects, practical work and simulations or games are important elements. Lectures (sometimes involving guest speakers from industry) and seminars are also used. Continuous assessment plus dissertation and exams. About one year.
  • Contact your local British Council office at www.britishcouncil.org
  • Visit Education UK Scotland at www.educationukscotland.org for everything you need to know about studying in Scotland. Or try one of the following for a direct link to the university, college or school of your choice
  • A full list of links to UK university or College is available.
  • For accredited independent further and higher education institutions, see the British Accreditation Council web site at ull list of links to www.the-bac.org
  • For English language courses, try the English in Britain site at www.englishinbritain.co.uk
  • HERO is the national web site for higher education in the United Kingdom, and can be found at www.hero.ac.uk
  • Hot courses are the team who designed and built the Education UK site. They also operate the UK’s largest database of courses, which they collect for the national learn direct database. Visit them at www.hotcourses.com to search their course database by region or cities of the UK. Alternatively you may contact them about any aspect of this or other sites they operate by sending a feedback email to feedback@hotcourses.com
  • The GoStudyUK web site at www.gostudyuk.com provides information about studying in the UK and about UK universities and colleges.
  • The DfES (formerly DfEE) International Student web page at www.dfes.gov.uk/international-students contains up to date information and advice on Chevening Scholarships, working in the UK and visa and entry requirements to the UK.
  • Links to over 300 specially selected Education UK related sites are maintained by the British Council at www.britishcouncil.org/education/dir
  • The National Grid for Learning portal at www.ngfl.gov.uk brings together a vast and growing collection of sites that support education and lifelong learning.
  • UK Student Life is a website with practical information for international students about all aspects of living in the UK as a student. It also contains ideas about ways of studying British English either in the UK or abroad. You can find it at www.ukstudentlife.com
  • City & Guilds is the leading provider of vocational qualifications in the United Kingdom and can be found at www.city-and-guilds.co.uk
  • A guide that provides information about studying English and living in the UK at www.worldstudysolutions.com