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       Higher Education in U.K 


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Higher Education structure in UK.

Universities in the UK have long been known for their excellence both in terms of course quality and student welfare. The UK has enormous higher education options to offer to both domestic and international students who enroll in  various universities to
pursue different programs. The UK has more than 250 Universities and Higher Education Institutions spread across England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales.

Course Structure

The minimum age for a student to begin his undergraduate course is 18 years and in Scotland it is 17. Various qualifications offered by the UK universities can be broadly classified as:


Diplomas and HNDs

These are very popular courses as it can be completed within 2 years. Students even add on to these courses and make it a degree qualification by staying on an year extra.


Bachelor/Undergraduate degrees

These are three-year degree courses after the completion of which a student is awarded a Bachelor of Arts (BA) or a Bachelor of Science (BSc) degree. These are undergraduate (or ‘first degree’) courses.

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Masters/Postgraduate degrees

Masters degrees are four-year degree courses, often sandwich courses involving one year in industry or one year study abroad. You can also get a masters degree by doing a one-year course after completing an undergraduate degree. These are classed as postgraduate degrees.



Another type of masters degree is the MRes, (Masters in Research) which prepares students for doctoral research. Doctorate is the next highest qualification which can be completed in three to four years.


Taught or Research

In the UK, there are two types of postgraduate courses : Taught and Research based. While taking up a postgraduate course in the UK, you must know whether the course that you have opted for is taught or research based. Taught courses are have fixed number of contact hours which will be less  compared to the undergraduate level but you would still be attending classes. Taught courses are divided into a number of modules for which you are assessed at the end of the term.

In a research based course, a student has to keep track of his or her own study route, though a tutor is provided for help. A research student however has access to all the aids within the campus. Postgraduate research courses take much longer time than taught courses (three to four years as opposed to one), and carry a higher level qualification. 



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Admission in UK Universities

Apart from subject specific qualification, an international student is also required to have a minimum band score of 4.5 in the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) examination. The Universities and Colleges Admissions Services (UCAS) is the central organization in the UK that processes admissions for entry  

Under graduation courses :

  • British students undergo thirteen years of pre-university academics when compared to twelve of Indian students.
  • Students from Asian Countries are required to either outperform in their class twelve exams or undergo a course called the bridging course or foundation course or access course to enter into any college in Britain for under graduation. This is compulsory for entry into Oxford, London or Cambridge universities.
  • To avoid the one-year course, students can also write an examination called the 'A' level examination in India itself. These exams are conducted twice a year and require early enrolment. Excellent written and spoken English is essential; exam syllabus can be obtained from the nearest British council.
  • A score of six is the minimum requirement in this exam and the exam can be written in the nearest British council itself and will cost approximately Rs. 3000.
  • Applications for all colleges are available from Universities and College Admission Services (UCAS). By completing a single form, students are eligible to try admissions in six colleges. Applications are available at the British council offices.
  • Filled UCAS applications must be submitted by 15th of December the preceding year, applications will be processed till June 30th after which forms are handled by a system called the 'clearing process'. For admissions into the Oxford or Cambridge universities, filled forms have to be submitted before the 15th of October the preceding year and a student cannot apply for both the universities for the same academic year. Application forms are different for these universities are different form the rest of the universities.


Post graduation courses :

  • For entry into post graduation courses, a three year degree in any stream in the Indian universities is sufficient and is recognized in Britain as equivalent to their British Bachelor (ordinary) degree.
  • For admission into few postgraduate courses in Britain, a four year degree much like a B.E., B.Tech etc is required and this recognized as equivalent to their British Bachelor (Honors) degree. Completion of post graduate degree like M.A., M.Sc etc from any Indian university is also accepted.
  • Post graduate degrees such as M.Tech, M.E. from institutes such as IIT are considered as equivalent to their British Master's degree.
  • Admission forms can be obtained from the university web site by downloading them or by filling and sending them online.

Details required for application forms.

Post graduation applicants.

  • Application forms will require details on completed academic records from the respective institutions or universities in English. All details regarding stream of specialization, details of the course and subjects, details of credits etc have to be kept in a sealed envelope and attested by the registrar.
  • Test such as IELTS (International English Language Test) conducted by the British Council is mandatory for all international students seeking admission to any university in the UK. Alternately TOEFL scores are accepted by most of the universities, few universities waive these tests if they are convinced that the student's medium of instruction has been English throughout.
  • To procure admission into any management course, GMAT scores are very essential; GRE scores are not considered for postgraduate courses in the UK.
  • Any work experience, very relevant for a MBA degree has to be submitted.
  • A letter of reference, preferably from a person who has taught you in the subject that is related to the course you are applying for will be essential. The positive and negative aspects, strength and weakness of the student should be listed and the author should strongly speak on why and how the student would excel in this particular stream of study. This letter speaks volumes in securing admission for a foreign student seeking admission in the UK.
  • A statement of purpose (SOP) given by the student should clearly speak on why he has chosen a particular stream of academics and how he will manage financially during the academic stay in the UK.

Undergraduate applicants :

  • Same as post graduate application requirements.
  • Test such as IELTS (International English Language Test) conducted by the British Council is mandatory for all international students seeking admission to any university in the UK. Alternately TOEFL scores are accepted by most universities.
  • Letter of recommendation - same as post graduate application requirements.
    Statement of purpose - same as post graduate application requirements.

Visa requirements for students :

  • Visa applications should be made on IM2A forms that are available in the British Embassy free of cost.
  • Forms should be duly filled by the student and submitted at the embassy with visa fees.
  • Following documents are compulsory for students who wish to study in the UK.

    1. A letter of acceptance on the course given by the university that the student has opted to study in, detailing the course the student has been selected for and the tenure of the course.
    2. Evidence to support that the student can support himself and his education while studying at UK. Evidence of UK government sponsorship if applicable or bank statement to prove that the individual can support himself during his stay has to be submitted.
  • To wind up, all students have to face a personal interview and should be very clear about their study and accommodation plan while speaking up in the interview.
Admission procedure

Check out the admission procedure for UK universities. It is essential to arm yourself with adequate information on necessary paperwork and details needed for under graduate and post graduate courses.......Learn more about study in U.K
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