Higher Education in the United Kingdom
Because of its excellent universities, higher education in the United Kingdom is sought after, not only by residents of the UK, but people around the world. Typically, students enter university starting at age 18. Most residents will attend a state-financed school for their undergraduate degree, to help control costs.
In the UK, the first degree is a bachelor's degree. Most students spend about three years studying for this degree, and during this time they are known as undergraduates. Upon graduate from an undergraduate or other first degree program, eligible students may choose to pursue postgraduate education. A master's degree, which typically takes one year, is the first option. Doctoral programs will take about three years. Admissions to graduate programs are highly competitive, and these are not state financed.
In addition to these three basic degrees, students in the UK can pursue specialist qualifications through its various boards and guilds. These specialist qualifications may include Psychology, Law, Medicine, Education or Business.
Studying in the UK provides you with the benefit of a degree from one of the world's most prestigious schools. The country values education, and you will be living in the midst of excellent thinkers and researchers. If your degree of choice includes a strong research focus, you will find that studying in the UK gives you the opportunity to join excellent research programs.
As you consider studying in the UK, understanding the cost will help. In the 2012 to 2013 school year, undergraduate degrees in England specifically were set at a max of £9,000 per year, with a cost of £6,000 being more common. Postgraduate degrees had higher costs than undergraduate programs, but this varied tremendously between schools. Students who studied outside of England paid a range of £5,000 - £20,000 per year for their degrees.
Graduating with a degree received in the UK opens the door to many employment opportunities. Because these universities are so highly regarded around the world, you will have the option to pursue employment in international locations, and also within the UK should you choose to settle there.
The UK offers a national healthcare system called National Health Service. Students who are taking at least six months of courses in the country may qualify for free or subsidized treatment in the UK. Those who are residents of the EEA or already live in the UK automatically qualify for NHS services, no matter how long they intend to study in the UK.
Obtaining a Visa to the UK
The types of student visas to the UK include:
- Tier 4 General – This visa applies to adults over the age of 17 coming to the UK to study.
- Student Visitor – This visa applies to students taking a short course and not planning to work during their stay.
- Prospective Student – This visa applies to students who need to make final arrangements before beginning Tier 4 study.
As you prepare to study in the UK, remember that several universities and specific programs are highly competitive. Get your application in early to ensure you can get a spot, and apply to more than one school to improve your chances of being approved. Find affordable housing near the university or on campus, and consider sharing a loft or apartment with another tenant to maximize your financial investment. With these tips, you will be able to study in the UK with minimal hassle, taking advantage of a country with a rich educational heritage and an international reputation for producing quality graduates.