Many of the most prestigious universities in England have excellent postgraduate programs as well. Many people will do their bachelor’s work in their native country and then travel to England.
There are a variety of reasons that you should consider studying in England. Some of these reasons involve your academic life, but they also include your life in general. Let’s take a look.
Your Education Will Be Recognized Wherever You Go
If you decide to get your education in England, your degree will be recognized and respected, no matter where you end up being employed. The education will provide you with a solid foundation and boost your potential for having a higher salary and finding exactly what job you want. Every English university is recognized worldwide for having creative and challenging environments that help their students to push themselves to the extreme. Their standards are incredibly high, and year after year, the universities are tested for how well they are meeting modern challenges. The higher education system in England has been the basis for higher education standards in other countries for years.
England Educational System
The English higher education system is very well known for its high standards and intelligent graduates; many people who have obtained high honors such as Nobel Peace Prizes have attended English universities. Like many higher education institutions, most students will start going to university from age 18 on, and study for some sort of academic degree.
Most undergraduate education (other than the University of Buckingham and BPP University College, both private institutions) is state-financed with some top-up fees to cover costs. Those who study in England know of the hierarchy within the universities. The Russell Group, which is a network of 24 British public research universities, contains some of the most prestigious universities in the country. This prestigious group includes universities such as the University of Birmingham, the University of Oxford, the University of Cambridge, and the University of York. All of these are well-known universities and many people, both citizens of England and international students, aspire to attend university at one of these schools.
Most syllabi are set by the universities which are offering them, and are not controlled by the government. The only exception to this are teacher education programs, which the government has a lot of say over. The English government has established the Office for Standards in Education, Children’s Services and Skills (Ofsted) to maintain those standards. Most countries have specific regulations for their teachers, so this isn’t any different than studying teaching in your home country. Because of their strict regulations and high standards for teacher education programs, England is considered to have some of the best teacher education programs in the world.
Even though the syllabi are set by universities, the Office for Fair Access (OfFA), has a lot of say on the admission procedures of each university. This office was created so that everyone who wishes to attend university in England has the ability to do so. They also promote fair access to higher education, even for those who are attending university as international students. Fair access also includes those of different cultures, different races, different nationalities, and those who have disabilities.
All English universities offer a first level of degree, known as a bachelor’s degree. This takes you approximately 3 years to complete. Some institutions in England may also offer a Master’s Degree at the undergraduate level, which takes a total of 4 years to complete; many people are finding this to be a great option because it costs a lot less money than returning for a postgraduate Master’s degree, and there appears to be no difference between the credentials this type of degree gives you. Other universities offer vocational degrees known as “foundation degrees.” These take approximately 2 years to complete. They are also very flexible; you can continue to work full time while going to school.
Some of the more prestigious universities in England offer postgraduate degrees. If schools offer postgraduate degrees, they offer Master’s Degrees (typically one year, sometimes two years if your degree is research-based) and/or Doctorate degrees (three year degrees). These are only available if you have obtained a bachelor’s degree at an accredited university (not necessarily one in England).
England has a rich history of quality higher education and each university has great options for any student. If you would like some more information about England’s educational system, there is plenty of information available for international students at all of the following links.
Higher Education Funding Council for England website – http://www.hefce.ac.uk/
The UK Council for International Student Affairs – http://www.ukcisa.org.uk/
The Guardian (UK)’s site on Higher Education- http://www.theguardian.com/education/higher-education
The British Council’s page on Higher Education – http://www.britishcouncil.org/higher-education
Universities in England
England is known for quality education, and it has a learning institution for anyone who wants to travel there for university. Unlike other countries, England’s most well-known universities are somewhere other than the capital. With so many different universities scattered throughout the country, where do you start? Here are some of the universities that you can consider if you wish to attend university in England.
University of Oxford. When you think of English universities, Oxford is likely one of the first ones to come to your mind. The University of Oxford is a research university located in Oxford in England. The university is the oldest in the English speaking world, with evidence of instruction being done then as early as 1096. Like many of the older English universities, there is not one “campus” per se, but rather colleges, departments, living accommodations, academic buildings, and other important buildings are located throughout the city of Oxford. There are over 22,000 students at Oxford, including 11,832 undergraduates and 9,857 postgraduates. The University has over 16,500 people employed, and 94% of Oxford students are employed or go on to graduate studies after they leave Oxford. Over 80 Nobel Prize recipients have been associated with Oxford at one time in their lifetimes.
University of Cambridge. The University of Cambridge is another popular university that comes to mind when people think of universities in England. It is a public research university found in Cambridge, England. It was founded shortly after Oxford was, making it the second oldest university in the English-speaking world. The university currently has 31 colleges with six academic schools. Cambridge has a similar layout to Oxford, and currently has over 20,000 students attending the university yearly. About 10% of their undergraduate population consists of international students.
University of London. The University of London includes several well-known colleges and completes the “triangle” of prestigious universities in England. The buildings and “campuses” of the University of London are scattered throughout the large city of London. The nine largest colleges at the University of London are University College London, Birkbeck, Goldsmiths, King’s College London, the London Business School, Queen Mary, Royal Holloway, the School of Oriental and African Studies and London School of Economics and Political Science. It was created by the Royal Character of 1836 by bringing together two already-established universities (London University and King’s College). The university is a federal public university that has over 180,000 students attending the university yearly (135,000 on campus, over 50,000 distance learning).
The University of Manchester. The University of Manchester is located in Manchester, England. It is a newer university, formed by the joint efforts of the Victoria University of Manchester and the University of Manchester Institute of Science and Technology in 2004. Much of the University if found south of the city centre, and like most English Universities, has its buildings scattered throughout the city proper. Approximately 39,000 students and 10,400 staff are at the University of Manchester.
University of Essex. The University of Essex was established in 1963. Unlike most English universities, it has one main campus located in Wivenhoe Park, in Colchester, England. There is also a well-known acting school (East 15 Acting School), located in Loughton, which is also affiliated with the university. There are approximately 11,000 students (8,000 undergraduates) who attend the University of Essex yearly.
These are not the only universities in England. Others that you may consider include the following:
Anglia Ruskin University
University of the Arts at London
University of Bath
University of Birmingham
University of Bolton
University of Bradford
University of Brighton
University of Bristol
University of East London
University of Huddersfield
University of Hull
Imperial College London
University of Kent
University of Warwick
University of Reading and many, many more.
There are literally hundreds of universities located in E If you are looking for a more complete list with more information about schools in England; you can find an excellent one at The Guardian’s (UK newspaper) website. Their university guide also includes schools from around the rest of the United Kingdom (Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland) but you can sort and search accordingly. Good luck with your university search!
Costs of Living in England
As a student, one of the questions that you are asking about studying is England is how much it will cost to live there. Of course you have to worry about the cost of college, but what about the other costs you may have to deal with there? Let’s take a quick look at the cost of living in England and how it may affect your budget if you study in England (all USD conversions are based on a £1 to $1.55 conversion rate).
The cost of living in England is going to vary depending on what part of the country that you live in. If, as a student, you decide to live in London, you will be paying much more than you would in other parts of the country. In March of 2012, London was ranked the 25th most expensive city to live in. Of course, there are ways to get rid of some of the costs, but it will still be quite pricey. It’s also much cheaper to live in the northern part of England than in the south. In general, the costs vary greatly over the whole of England, which makes it difficult to set a cost of living in stone.
Much of this information comes from 2011, so you may have to adjust for inflation and such depending on where you live. These numbers are based on what the public sees as a socially acceptable standard of living. As a single student living in England, your weekly budget including rent should be approximately £240.89 ($370 USD). You can certainly live off of less than that depending on the flat you are renting, but that average (which comes out to £15,000/$23,000 USD).
Where does that calculation come from? Let’s take a closer look.
Rent: The average rent that you will pay in England varies depending on where you live. A one bedroom flat averages at £650 (~$1000 USD) per month if you’re in the city; £550 (~$850 USD) if you’re outside of the city. It may be more if your energy costs are included in the rent.
Council Tax: If you live in England, you have to pay council tax. They calculate how much you should pay per year based on where you live and how many people live with you (if you live alone, it’s much less). This tax helps pay for trash collection, police forces, and street maintenance. It usually averages about £25 ($40 USD) per week.
Other utilities: If these aren’t included in the rent, the total for gas, electricity, and water per week is about £40/$60 USD. If you live alone or are not home that often due to sightseeing, socializing, or studying, those costs may be less. Heat may also make utilities vary, but that estimate should at least help you budget throughout the year.
Television license: In England, you must pay for a television license if you’re watching TV at all, even if it’s on a computer or tablet. The cost of the license is £150 ($230 USD) per year for a color television. Luckily, this is per home and not per person, so if you have roommates, you just split this cost.
Travel costs: Many people in England will buy passes instead of having a vehicle. It makes the commute faster and you can travel much further for much less. A monthly pass for most services. averages at £55, but students can get some great discounts. The International Staff website has a lot of resources available for every type of public transportation you can use in England.
Other Miscellaneous costs: such as food, internet, books, toiletries, and other items and services you may need. Make sure that you also save a certain amount of cash for potential health care issues that come up, excess school costs that you weren’t expecting, and general emergencies.
Would you like an idea of how much other items cost in England? Here’s a quick overview of some items that you may purchase as a student.
Meal at a pub or restaurant: £10 (15.50 USD).
Combo meal at a fast food restaurant: £5 (7.75 USD)
Liter of milk: £1 (1.55 USD)
1 kg (2.2 lbs) of chicken breast: £7 (10.85 USD)
A pair of jeans: £51.25 ($80 USD)
Half of a liter of beer £3 ($4.65 USD)
1.5 liter bottle of water £1 (1.55 USD)
Produce per kg: £1 to £2 (1.55 to 3.10 USD)
As you can see, the prices in England are very similar to buying most of those same things in the United States or Australia. Some of them are much cheaper (for example, produce). That’s primarily due to the climate and the availability of those products in England as compared to their availability throughout the year in other countries. In general, the cost of living is fairly average in England, and it won’t take much of an adjustment to your current budget in order to live and thrive there.
It will take even less of a budget adjustment if you decide to work while studying in England. Many students decide to work in England while they are attending university; most employers will be flexible with your university schedule as well. Even if you’re only working five to ten hours a week, a job can help alleviate some of the costs you may accrue while you are studying in England.
If you are looking for a more comprehensive list of budgeting information and more information on the cost of living in England, then check out the Numbeo report on the cost of living in the United Kingdom and the Joseph Rowntree Foundation’s 2011 Income Standard Report, which are where much of the information for this guide was gathered.
Health and Medical Treatment in England
If you are going to study in England, then one thing that you have to consider is health insurance. Sure, you may be insured in the United States, but what will that do for you if you study overseas? If you are looking to study in England, then you will have to work with what is known as the National Health System, or the NHS.
What is the NHS?
The NHS is the organization that provides the majority of healthcare in England. The NHS came into play in 1948 and is, for all intents and purposes, a national health care system that provides mostly free care for residents of England. There are charges associated with eye exams, dental care, medications, and some parts of personal care as well. Primary care, in-patient services, long-term health care, eye care, and oral care are all part of the NHS.
There is still a private health care sector in England as well, and sometimes the private sector is used to help the NHS with subcontracted facilities and certain types of care. The private sector is still largely uninvolved, and much of the public wishes for it to stay that way as well.
How is the NHS Organized?
The NHS is divided into primary care and secondary care, and both parts each have their own trust that helps with care of that specific level. There are two types of trusts in the NHS as well: commissioning trusts are to help provide care for the local population, whereas provider trusts help the health care practices that provide the services.
The trusts are used to purchase services from both private and public practices. There are a variety of things that these trusts can purchase, here is a list of the most prominent:
Mental health services
Basically, the money goes where it needs to go in order to provide for the English citizens. Most NHS funding goes to hospitals (because they also do a majority of the care). Hospitals are better able to buy new equipment and hire more employees because of the money. Doctors can identify a need in their communities and receive some trust money as well. In short, if there’s a need, the NHS has funding on hand that is meant to help meet those important needs.
As you can imagine, the NHS has a lot of employees. It’s actually the largest health service in the world and is the fourth-largest employer. The Chinese People’s Liberation Army, Indian Railways, and Wal-Mart are the only other organizations that employ more people than the NHS. There are a lot of administrative costs associated with the NHS, but overall, the system seems to work quite well.
So What Does This Look Like For International Students?
As an international student, you actually do receive some of the benefits of the NHS. But you will not have all of them – you may be charged for some treatments and you may also have to pay for some of your costs before you receive care (unless it’s urgent, of course).
Special note for EEA Citizens Who Have EHIC. If you are a student from the European Economic Area (EEA), then you need to make sure that you have your European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) with you. This will help to cover some of the charges you may have accrued otherwise. Now, because England has a different system than those in the EEA, you may still be charged. The EHIC is also not an alternative to travel insurance; there are some very expensive costs (most including transportation and theft) that travel insurance will cover that EHIC does not. Make sure you have both before leaving for England to study.
There are several categories of health services that you need to be aware of when looking at the NHS. Here are some of the things that you will have to consider.
General Practitioner Services. These services require you to register with a general practitioner (GP) as a patient. If you are only staying in the UK for a semester (up to three months), you can register as a temporary patient. They do not have to take new patients, and you may have to try a few practices before you find one that will take you. If you cannot register, there are also walk in centers and GP-led health centers, which are usually open 365 days a year and for extended hours. Many GP services from NHS providers are free, even if you’re a citizen of another country. If you need to find a GP practice or walk-in clinic, the NHS has a specialized search that you can use.
Hospitals. This is where your NHS benefits as an overseas student may get confusing. Hospital treatment is free if you are a citizen of England. There are also cases where an overseas student can get treatment free of charge:
Any treatment for sexually transmitted infections (STI’s).
Treatment for most infectious/contagious diseases.
Accident and emergency department care.
Minor injuries care.
Emergency care at a walk-in clinic.
Compulsory psychiatric treatment
Treatment imposed by court orders
Family planning (not including abortion and maternity treatment)
Now, you may be able to get other health care for free as well, but it is dependent on your paperwork. If you are living in England for an extended period of time (for example, your entire university career), then you may be eligible for more than what is listed above. If you are in England for at least 6 months and/or you work for a employer based in the United Kingdom, you can be eligible for free hospital treatment as well. To be eligible, make sure that you have your paperwork on hand to prove that you will be in the country for more than six months (rental agreement, visa, passport, etc).
If you are admitted to the hospital for an extended period of time or you have to have a procedure of some type, you may have to pay some charges. This will be settled by you and the hospital during your time of admission. If you don’t pay, then you can have immigration issues later on (you may be denied visas and such). Pay as quickly as you can and make sure everything is settled.
It sounds really confusing, but once you get into it, you’ll find that it’s not so bad. If you are having issues navigating through the ins and outs of the National Health System, then you can check out their general website at http://www.nhs.uk or you can check out the England-specific site at http://www.england.nhs.uk/. You can also look at specific legislation at the U.K. Government website.
Emergency Care Information
Every country has its own emergency number, and England is no exception. The emergency phone number throughout the United Kingdom is 999. If you are in another part of the European Union, you can also use 112 (it also works in the United Kingdom). There are dozens of great hospitals throughout England that will make sure that you are getting the urgent care that you will need.
The English health system and the NHS aren’t especially hard to navigate, but it may take some time to figure out what services you are eligible for as an international student. Either way, make sure that you have some money set aside for your health care, just in case. Your international student affairs office should also have information available about the services that you are eligible for.
- 18 years of age
- In good standing at your home school
- 3.0 GPA or better on a 4.0 scale
- Sophomore, junior, or senior standing when program begins
- Home School Authorization
Email to email@example.com OR receive electronic home school approval through IES Abroad PartnerPortal. Your on-campus study abroad advisor will instruct you on approval for this program.
- Official Transcript(s) for each college/university you have attended since high school.
Email official electronic transcripts to firstname.lastname@example.org
ADDITIONAL REQUIREMENTS IF CUMULATIVE GPA IS BELOW 3.0:
- Professor Recommendation Letter
Although there is no length requirement, the recommendation must indicate a professor’s opinion of the applicant’s academic ability to pursue university-level coursework in a foreign country, in addition to any information that would help IES Abroad gain a better understanding of the applicant.
Email to email@example.com
- Personal Academic Essay
Although there is no length requirement, the essay must address GPA, any particular academic challenges faced, and goals for studying abroad in your selected location.
Email to firstname.lastname@example.org
How To Apply at a University in England
So, you’ve made the decision to study in England. This wasn’t a difficult for you to decide, but now you’re at the hard part – how do you apply to attend university in England? What do you need to do in order to make sure that you can go exactly where you want to go?
We want to help you figure out the application process! Here are some general guidelines that can help you to determine exactly what you need to do in order to study in England.
General Application Requirements
No matter where your home country is, there are general application processes that you will have to go through in order to study in England. As you will see, it’s not very different than the application process for other countries. Keep in mind – even though the following guidelines apply for almost every English university, each university may have its own requirements that you have to follow in order to get into a specific program or area of study. Contact the university you wish to attend for these sorts of details.
See if the university that you wish to attend has specific requirements for admission. This is fairly common, considering some universities (such as Oxford) have very high expectations for their students. Because of the high influx of international students attending university in England, most English universities actually have lists of requirements for each country that may wish to attend their university (Check out this example from Oxford). If you do not meet these requirements but would still like to apply, contact the university and see what you can do in order to try and meet those requirements.
Finish any applications that you are planning on completing. If you would like some help doing this, the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) can help you apply to each of the institutions that you would like to apply to attend. Most English Universities will use the UCAS application as part of their application process. Many English Universities will have their own individual online applications you can fill out as well. Keep an eye on application due dates. If you don’t fill out your applications on time, you may be charged a fee or your application may be discarded.
No matter where you apply, you will notice that many of the questions are the same. Give as much information as you are able to, because the more complete your applications are, the quicker they will get processed. Incomplete applications may be completely ignored. Also be sure to do any essays that you may be assigned to do as part of the application process; they do matter and skipping them can be detrimental to your acceptance to the university. Pay any fees associated with the application process.
Make sure that you send your high school transcripts (or equivalent, depending on the country you live in) and transcripts from other higher education institutions off to the universities that you are applying to. These are required as part of the application process so that they can determine if you’ve met their admission requirements. Most times, you will just need to contact the secondary school or university that you attended and ask them to send or fax the transcripts to the English University (sometimes a fee is required to send transcripts). You can also keep copies of official transcripts on hand and just send them off or fax them yourself.
Lastly, make sure that you do anything in regards to financial aid. There are literally millions of dollars available for those who are studying in England, and some of it goes unclaimed. This even applies for those who are international students; some of that money is allocated just for international students. You just have to know where to look. The UK Council for International Student Affairs can help you to figure out what aid you may be eligible for. Make sure that you go through any processes you need to in order to obtain financial aid – contact the financial aid office at your potential institution for more information.
If English Is Not Your First Language
If English is not your first language, you will have to prove your proficiency in the language. You may have to take a placement test, or the university may require another kind of test in order to prove your proficiency in the language. One of the tests that you may have to take is called the Test of English as a Foreign Language exam (TOEFL), which is the most recognized English as a second language test in the entire world.
Some universities may also conduct an interview in order to determine your competency in speaking and understanding the English language. Many people who study abroad will know several languages to start with, so this may not be of concern to you.
What You Need to Do if You Are An EU/EEA/Swiss Applicant
If you are a student who already lives in the European Union, the European Economic Area, or Switzerland, you will just have to go through the process listed above. You will then have to deal with any visa and/or immigration requirements as determined by the UK Border Agency. A list of these countries can be found on this page (writer note: link to Visa and Entry Requirements) or at the UK Council for International Student Affairs website.
Depending on which university that you decide to attend, you may have other requirements as an EU/EEA/Swiss student. The international student affairs office or the admissions office at the universities you are applying to will inform you of these requirements as necessary.
If you are not from the EU, the EEA, or Switzerland, there are some processes that you will need to go through in order to be accepted into a university in England. Here are some of the most common things you will have to do:
You will need to provide a copy of your passport and a passport size photograph to the university during the application process. If you are planning to stay for more than a semester, you will also have to prove that you have the appropriate paperwork completed (visa application, etc).
You must provide a copy of your birth certificate and a certificate showing the birthplace of both of your parents in order to be considered for admission to an English university.
You must also provide proof that you will be able to afford your education and other expenses that may come up as a result of your education. This is because, if you are not in the EU/EEA or Switzerland, you will be very far away from home. This isn’t as much a “requirement” as it is the English university ensuring that you will be comfortable while you are studying in England.
As you can see, even if you aren’t from the European Union, the European Economic Area, or Switzerland, the process isn’t much different. The additional parts of the application are due to the country’s requirements for immigration, and the university wants to make sure that those sorts of things are squared away before you even apply to attend their university. If you are having issues or do not know how to do some of these things, the international student affairs office and/or the admissions office at your potential university can help you through the process.
Overall, applying to attend university in England is not a difficult thing; it will just take some extra time because you’re applying as an international student. England welcomes international students with open arms, and when you start the application process; your potential admission will be viewed as an asset to the university. If you utilize your resources properly and do everything you are asked of by the government and your university, the process should not be difficult at all. Good luck with the application process!