Information for international students

The choice of a subject to study (from over 50,000 degree courses) and of a university or college (from more than 150 institutions) is a major task for students living in the UK. For overseas and EU applicants it is even greater, and the decisions that have to be made need much careful planning, preferably beginning two years before the start of the course. NB Beware that there are some private institutions offering bogus degrees: check to ensure your university and college choices are legitimate.

Here you can find out about:


In addition to submitting your application through UCAS a new Points-based Immigration System is now in operation for overseas students. The main features of this system include:

  • Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) number When you accept an offer the institution will send you a CAS number which you will need to include on your visa application.
  • Maintenance Students will need to show that they are able to pay for the first year’s tuition fees, plus £1,265 per month for accommodation and living expenses if you are studying in London (which includes the University of London, instiutions fully or partially in London, or in parts of Surrey, Hertfordshire and Essex), and £1,015 per month if you studying in the rest of the UK. Additional funds and regulations apply for those bringing dependants into the UK.
  • Proof of qualifications Your visa letter will list all the qualifications that you submitted to obtain your university place and original proof will be required for these qualifications when submitting your visa application. These documents will be checked by the Home Office. Any fraudulent documents will result in your visa application being rejected and a possible ban from entering the UK for 10 years.
  • Attendance Once you have started your course, your attendance will be monitored. Non-attending students will be reported to the UK Border Agency.

Full details can be obtained from


The first reason for making early contact with your preferred institution is to check their requirements for your chosen subject and their selection policies for overseas applicants. For example, for most Art and some Architecture courses you will have to present a portfolio of work or slides. For Music courses your application often will have to be accompanied by a recording you have made of your playing or singing and, in many cases, a personal audition will be necessary. Attendance at an interview in this country is compulsory for some universities and for some courses. At other institutions the interview may take place either in the UK or with a university or college representative in your own country.

The ability to speak and write good English is essential and many institutions require evidence of competence, for example scores from the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) or from the Trinity College London tests (see and For some institutions, you may have to send examples of your written work. Each institution provides information about its English language entry requirements and a summary of this is given for each university listed below. International students should note that the recommended threshold for minimum English language requirements is IELTS 6.5–7.0 and an overall score of 5.5 (including 5.5) in each of the four skills is a requirement for the visa application. Recent research indicates that students with a lower score may have difficulty in dealing with their course.

Most universities and colleges in the UK have an overseas student adviser who can advise you on these and other points you need to consider, such as passports, visas, entry certificates, evidence of financial support, medical certificates, medical insurance, and the numbers of overseas students in the university from your own country. All these details are very important and need to be considered at the same time as choosing your course and institution.

Your course searches will provide a comprehensive picture of courses on offer and of comparative entry levels. However, before making an application, other factors should be considered, such as English language entry requirements (see above), the availability of English language teaching, living costs, tuition fees and any scholarships or other awards which might be offered. Detailed information about these can be obtained from the international offices in each university or college, British higher education fairs throughout the world, British Council offices abroad and from websites: see;

University information accessible through the course search feature of this application also provides details of the arrangements made by each university in the UK for students aiming to take a full-time degree programme. Click on the course search tab and either browse by university - clicking on the institutions of interest to you - or perform a full course search to fnd the institutions offering the courses you are interested in studying. Clicking on the institution name should take you to the institution information that includes details for international students. Insitution information will include some or all of the following details relevant to international students:

  • Institution.
  • International student numbers.
  • English language entry requirements for degree programmes, shown in IELTS scores. These vary between universities and courses, and can range from 5.5 to 7.5. For full details, contact the university or college.
  • Arrangements for English tuition courses.
  • International Foundation courses.
  • Annual tuition fees (approximate) for full-time undergraduate degree courses. Tuition fees also usually include fees for examinations and graduation. These figures are approximate and are subject to change each year. EU students currently pay ‘home student’ fees, except for those from the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man; students from an Overseas Territory may be eligible to pay home fees at universities and other institutions of higher education, provided that they meet any residence requirements. More information for international students is available at the UK Council for International Student Affairs, In the wake of the UK's decision to leave the EU, EU students starting their course in September 2017 will pay 'home student' fees for the duration of their course. EU students starting their courses in September 2017 also remain eligible to apply for student funding under the current terms. Fees for EU students starting their courses in the UK beyond 2017 are to be negotiated as part of the exit proceedings with the EU, which will be taking place over the course of the next two years. Therefore, for the time being, until it is announced otherwise, EU students will contine to pay the same fees as home students.
  • Annual living costs. These are also approximate and represent the costs for a single student over the year. The living costs shown cover university accommodation (usually guaranteed for the first year only), food, books, clothing and travel in the UK, but not travel to or from the UK. (Costs are likely to rise year by year in line with the rate of inflation in the UK.) Overseas students are normally permitted to take part-time work for a period of up to 20 hours per week if they are studying at degree level in the UK.
  • Scholarships and awards for non-EU students (most universities offer awards for EU students).


Students from British Overseas Territories are now treated as home students for fee purposes at universities and other institutions of higher education in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, provided they meet residency requirements. The territories to which this policy applies are:

British Overseas Territories Anguilla, Bermuda, British Antarctic Territory, British Indian Ocean Territory, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Falkland Islands, Montserrat, Pitcairn, Henderson, Ducie and Oeno Islands, South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands, St Helena and its Dependencies, Turks and Caicos Islands.

Overseas Territories of other EU member states Aruba, Faroe Islands, French Polynesia, French Southern and Antarctic Territories, Greenland, Netherland Antilles (Bonaire, Curaçao, Saba, Sint Eustatius and Sint Maarten), the Territory of New Caledonia and Depdnecies, St-Barthélemy (St Barth), St Pierre et Miquelon, Wallis and Futuna Islands.