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MASTERS IN THE UK

United Kingdom or the UK is an island nation in the North-western Europe. It is made up of four nations: England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Although most famous for its bustling cities such as London and Manchester, UK is a popular tourist destination for people across the globe. However, that’s not all. Apart from offering a picturesque countryside, UK’s higher education system is world famous.

In fact, the UK is second only to the USA as the most popular study abroad destination in the world.

masters in the uk

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Why study in the UK?

why study in uk

With a long and bright history of academic excellence, the UK is one of the top destinations to study abroad for international students. The country is home to over 480,000 international students pursuing higher education and the number is only steadily growing with each passing year. However, what makes this country such a hotspot for international students? What factors differentiates the UK? And why should you consider pursuing a Masters in the UK?

Well, the United Kingdom has much to offer international students that other English-speaking countries does not. Here are some of the key factors:

Worldwide recognition:

Several of the UK universities consistently perform well in both national and international rankings. A degree from any UK higher education institution are known around the world as high quality and is globally recognized by top employers and government bodies.

Quality Education:

The quality of the UK’s education system is considered to be the best in the world. In fact, many countries like to follow its footsteps. India being one of the countries whose education system is based on that of the UK. Also, UK universities are inspected regularly by QAA to assess the standards of teaching, learning and research to ensure that set benchmarks are met.

Lower Education Costs:

The UK is comparatively cheaper than other English-speaking study abroad destinations such as the US and Australia because completing a degree is less time-consuming in the UK. Also, tuition fees in the UK sit between at least £2,000 and £3,000 cheaper than the United States and Australia.

Availability of Scholarships:

Study abroad journey can be intimidating and expensive. However, to help you fund your masters in the UK, most universities offer merit-based scholarship programs and funding opportunities to international students. However, to be eligible to apply for any kind of scholarships, you will first need to gain acceptance to the course of study.

Free Healthcare:

If you are student in the UK studying a program which is 6 months or longer, then the UK provides you access to free healthcare. The UK’s national Health Service (NHS) takes this charge. Although, you still have to pay for the medicines, the prices are fixed (11.50 USD) irrespective of the type of medication or the quantity you require per treatment.

Top Universities in the UK:

universities in uk

There are several universities in the UK offering high quality education. Going by the numbers, there are over 150 higher education institutions in the UK. However, in order to decide which university to apply to, you need to know which are the most top-ranked universities. UK university rankings are highly competitive and there are various facts that are considered.

There are 11 British universities in the top 100 of the latest Times Higher Education World University Rankings. Below is a list of some of the leading institutions in the country:

 

1. University of Oxford

One of the oldest universities in the English-speaking world, Oxford has no clear date of foundation but teaching here began in 1096. The university is consistently ranked as one of the best in the world. In fact, it is ranked first in the world in the Times Higher Education (THE) World University Rankings for 2017, 2018 and 2019. There are over 24,000 students at Oxford, including 11,813 postgraduates. Students come to Oxford from more than 150 countries and territories and thereby international students make up almost 43% of the student body.

2. Imperial College London

Founded in 1907, Imperial College London is a globally ranked university with a world-class reputation in science, engineering, business and medicine. It is the highest-ranked university in the capital and takes the ninth place globally for academic reputation. It is home to 17,000 students attracting from more than 125 countries. Also, Imperial is home to the greatest concentration of high-impact research of any major UK university.

3. London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE)

Established in 1895, The London School of Economics is a public research university located in London, England, and a member institution of the federal University of London. It is seventh in the world for international students, making it the most diverse UK university in the ranking. Home to about 11,960 students from across 148 countries, LSE has over 100 languages spoken on campus. Also, the school maintains a life outside the classroom with 200+ student societies and 48 sports clubs.

4. University College London (UCL)

Founded in 1826 in the heart of London, UCL was the first university in England to welcome students of any religion and the first to welcome women on equal terms with men. It is one of the largest, most diverse universities in the UK with over 120,000 students in London, and a further 50,000 studying across 190 countries for a University of London degree.

5. London Business School (LBS)

Founded in 1964, London Business School is a leading global business school and is one of the few in the world to have the triple crown accreditation (AACSB, EQUIS, AMBA). The School was ranked the best business school in Europe for three years in a row by the Financial Times. Students are given the opportunity to travel the world as part of their studies through international exchanges to over 30 top business schools and internships. Also, students are benefitted from the vast network of alumni (42,000) who provide industry expertise.

Applying for Masters in the UK:

masters in uk application

If you have planned to study a masters in the UK from any of the higher education institutions, you need to apply directly to the prospective university for your preferred program.

All applications are completed through an online portal. An application is considered complete and eligible when you submit the following:

  • An application form
  • Resume
  • Application essays or a Personal Statement clearly stating your motivation to pursue a particular program
  • Certified copies of your degree and academic transcripts
  • Academic and/or professional letters of recommendation
  • Research proposal (if you’re applying for a research Masters like an MPhil or MRes)
  • Proof of English language proficiency (If English isn’t your first language, you’ll normally have to supply proof of your proficiency in English when making a Masters application. The four main types of English language test widely accepted by universities are TOEFL, IELTS, Cambridge Academic English and PTE)
  • Application fee (Non-refundable)

Also, after submitting an online application, most universities call for an interview if the Adcoms think that you might be a good fit for the university. The interview can be conducted online via skype or in person at any of the college centres.

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How to apply for the student Visa in the UK:

To be eligible to enter the UK as an international student for studying Master’s program in any of the universities, one needs a Tier 4 (General) student visa. It allows you to arrive in the UK at least 1 week before, if your course lasts 6 months or less and at least 1 month before, if your course lasts more than 6 months.

However, to apply for the visa, you must fulfil the following:

  1. Have an unconditional offer of a place on a course with a licensed Tier 4 sponsor
  2. Have enough money to support yourself and pay for your course
  3. Be able to speak, read, write and understand English

Documents required for tier 4 Student Visa:

 

documents for uk student visa
  1. Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) reference number and documents used to obtain CAS 
  2. A current passport or other valid travel documentation
  3. Passport-sized colour photographs
  4. Proof of the English Language
  5. Evidence of funds to provide your living expenses for the duration of your course
  6. Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS) clearance certificate
  7. Tuberculosis screening (if required)
  8. Assessment documentation
  9. A completed student visa application form
  10. Biometric residence permit (BRP)

Note: If any of your supporting documents is not in English, you will need to have it translated. Each translated document must be dated, and include the translator’s name and signature and confirmation that it is an accurate translation of the original document.

When to apply for the student visa?

The earliest you can apply for a Tier 4 (General) student visa is 3 months before the start of your course.

Visa Fee:

As an international student applying for a masters in the UK, it costs about £348 to apply for the student visa.

How to apply?

You must apply online for a Tier 4 (General) student visa. You will need to register and create an account on the official UK Visa website.

When you have completed your online application form, you will need to print and sign your completed form. You must use the online appointment calendar to book an appointment at the visa application centre. When you have completed your online application, you will receive an email message containing your application number. Visit the visa application centre on the appointed date. You must book and attend an appointment at the visa application centre to submit your application and facial photograph and fingerprints.

Working in the UK with a student Visa:

work in uk

As an international student, if you hold a Tier 4 visa, you can work in the UK for 20 hours a week during term time and an unrestricted number of hours during the holidays. However, if you’re an EU, EEA or Swiss national, you can work in the UK without any restrictions during your Masters.

Also, there is a restriction on the type of jobs that you can do. You are not allowed to engage yourself in business, self-employment or provide services as a professional sportsperson or entertainer. Also, you cannot pursue any full-time or permanent roles.

So, you can undertake part-time jobs or internships while studying a masters in the UK if it is an integral part of your full-time Masters programme and doesn’t comprise more than half of your degree.

 Additionally, you will have to pay taxes and national insurance. In fact, in most cases, your employer will usually deduct Income Tax and National Insurance from your wages through Pay As You Earn (PAYE) policy.

Working in the UK after graduation:

UK has introduced a new post-study work visa policy- known as the Graduate route through which international students graduating in summer 2021 or later can work full-time in the UK once they have completed their master’s degree.

Under the new scheme, with a Tier 4 visa, you are allowed to stay in the UK after graduation for up to two years in order to look for work with absolutely no restrictions on the work you do or the salary level. However, once this two-year period comes to an end, you’ll need to apply for a Tier 2 visa to continue your employment in the country.

Academic intakes in the UK:

Unlike Indian Universities who offer a single intake, UK universities offer two intakes- Fall intake that is usually in September and Spring Intake that starts in March or April.

But how do you decide which intake to go for? Well, there are certain factors that you can consider like the acceptance rates, our academic records, entrance test scores and your readiness to join the program.

Living Expenses in the UK:

living expenses in the uk

Pursuing a masters degree in the UK is an exhilarating journey. However, it can be a costly ride. So, you need to plan your finances well in advance. Also, you need to track your expenditures so that you do not overspend. Here is a list of some of the general costs associated with living and studying in UK:

Bills (electric/ gas/ water)

£40 – £50

Food and housekeeping

£160 – £200

TV licence (mandatory with TV or watching BBC online)

£12.56 (or £150.50 per year)

Mobile phone

£15 – £50 

Clothes and shoes

£25

Leisure & sports

£10 – £20 

Books & stationery

£21

Socialising

£120 

Travel & transport

£32

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