How to get a place on a course

Getting a place on a course can involve a combination of meeting entry requirements and conditions, taking English Language tests and attending interviews.

Check entry requirments in our course search tool, and discuss international applications with course providers you are interested in.

What you need to do

  1. Check the entry requirements – usually previous qualifications (or international equivalents) you should have, as well as whether you are suitable for the course.
  2. Demonstrate your English language skills – proof you will be able to study in the UK (this is also required for some visa applications).
  3. Possibly have an interview, audition or provide a portfolio – some course providers like to speak to you in person before deciding whether to make you an offer.
  4. Meet any conditions of an offer – if you are still studying for a qualification you need in order to get on a UK higher education course, the course provider might make you a conditional offer.
  5. Apply to a range of courses with different requirements – this way if your results are better or worse than expected, you will have more than one choice.

Remember you might need to arrange a student visa too, as well as accommodation with the course provider.

Previous qualifications needed

Courses usually ask you to have gained particular qualifications or subjects earlier in your education already. For international students this can involve alternative, equivalent qualifications, as well as checking the different policies course providers have for which qualifications they accept.

  • We advise you to look for courses in our search tool, then click through to the course provider's website to find their specific information for international students.
  • If you are not sure whether they accept your qualifications or not, contact them to find out more.
  • You can get a statement about how your qualifications compare to UK equivalents from UK NARIC (the UK's National Recognition Information Centre) – this will be recognised by course providers and employers throughout the country.
  • Contact the UCAS Qualifications Hotline on +044 371 468 0472 (or 0371 468 0472 if you are calling from inside the UK) or

Read general information on entry requirements here, and you can check details on offers, interviews and conditions within the different application areas – undergraduate, performing arts, postgraduate, and teacher training.

English language ability

There are different ways you can demonstrate your written and spoken English – if it is not your first language, most course providers require you to have a qualification in English or to take a particular English language test.

  • Check with the course provider's admissions or international office to find out if you should take a specific test.
  • If you need a student visa you might have to take an English language test approved by UK Visas and Immigration (but some course providers with Highly Trusted Sponsor status can assess English in other ways, like an interview in person or on Skype).
  • If you do not need a visa, you might be able to do a different test or interview.

You need to meet these requirements to get a place on a course, and possibly to apply for a student visa as well.

Then after you arrive in the UK, many course providers provide English language courses and support to help you with your English. Also, the British Council has advice on English language support, and EnglishUK offers English classes.