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FAQs for international students

Thinking about postgraduate study in the UK can give international students a lot to consider. To help, here are answers to the most common questions.
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  • What are the requirements for postgraduate study in the UK?

    You’ll find specific details alongside individual course outlines. Generally, however:

    • for a taught master's, you'll need a qualification that’s comparable to a UK undergraduate degree, normally to 2.1 standard or above. Also, you’ll need to demonstrate enthusiasm, skill and knowledge of your discipline (and possibly relevant work experience), particular if your first degree is in another topic
    • for a PhD or a Master's in Research (MRes), entry requirements can be higher. You may be turned down if your first degree is not in a relevant area, and you may also need a master’s degree to study at doctorate (Phd) level 
    • you may need to pass an entrance test for some types of course, for example the GMAT (Graduate Management Admission Test) for the MBA
    • if you want to be a PhD student, you usually need to create a research proposal

    If you’re still not sure whether you meet the course requirements, please contact the course provider.

  • Will I have to take a test of my ability in the English language?

    This may depend on where you were born or where you studied your undergraduate degree. It can make a difference if your first degree was taught in English. But with many courses, if you do not speak English as your first language, you may be required to prove your skills. This can take the form of a globally recognised English language test such as the IELTS (International English Language Testing System. The pass level will differ according to your study topic. Entry requirements  are usually listed under each course.   

  • Can I apply to more than one university or course in the UK?

    There are no rules against applying to more than one university. Rather, it’s smart of you to do so – providing their courses are similar – as it extends your chances of being accepted. Some universities will let you nominate a second course 'in reserve' if you feel it also meets your needs.

  • What can I do to increase my chances of getting on a postgraduate course in the UK?

    You need to take time to write your application. But before you get to that stage, it’s essential to find a course that matches your skills and your needs. Particularly, if you’re not certain which postgraduate programme is right for you, do research the possibilities and think about your requirements (as well as those of the university) before making your final list.

  • How much are tuition/course fees for international students who study in the UK?

    The average cost per year of study in the UK for international students is around £11,000 per year in tuition fees plus living expenses, which can be £8,000 to £11,000 a year. 

    However, course fees can vary, and some are around £30,000 a year. For more on fees and funding, please go to our funding FAQS.

  • What are the stages of applying for a postgraduate course in the UK?
    • Completing an application for each university you want to consider you.
    • Writing a personal statement that explains why you want to study, and why they should want you as a postgraduate student. What have you done in the way of relevant study, thinking or work experience to prove your ability and commitment to the course?
    • Supplying written references from two former tutors or employers who know how you perform in an academic or professional setting. Your choice of referee will depend upon the course.
    • Supplying official transcripts and records that prove your achievements to date. You may also need to supply proof of your English language proficiency 
    • Paying a fee for your postgraduate course application, if required. 
  • When should I apply?
    • You’ll need to apply by June or July for many of the postgraduate courses that start in September and October, in the same year. However, don’t wait until the last moment to apply – you’ll also need time to sort out your finances, travel arrangements, accommodation, and possibly your visa.
    • To be safe, apply at least six months in advance – so around March for a course that starts in the September or October. And maybe add an extra four months or more if you apply for funding from organisations in your own country, as you will be asked for proof of finance at application stage.
    • Finally, some courses start at different times of the year so please check with the course provider.  
  • I don’t know much about the reputation of most British universities. How can I find the best university and course for me?
    • First of all, read our advice on choosing a university and choosing between similar courses.
    • You’ll find useful tips and information on reputable league tables about UK courses and universities.
    • Many UK research departments also publish statistics from the RAE (Research Assessment Exercise), which is carried out independently.
    • University and course rankings are useful but shouldn’t be your only reason for choosing. Location, course content, structure and the feel you have for the university and studying there are also important. There is no substitute for carefully researching your options and taking time to make the right choice.
  • What’s it really like studying in the UK?

    The UK has a long reputation for having very good academic standards in higher education and for being a welcoming place to study. It’s also a diverse place with a range of natural and other attractions. Our guides to the regions of the UK and its universities can help you make the right choices.

  • Can I study a part-time postgraduate course in the UK?

    If you need a visa to study in the UK, you will only be allowed to study full-time courses on a Tier 4 student visa.