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UK Life

UK life  Managing your money  Study costs in the UK

Study costs in the UK 

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One of your main concerns when thinking about studying in the UK might be the cost. However, this is unlikely to be the barrier that you expect it to be.

Financial assistance and scholarships are available and it is worth finding out early on in the process what you will be able to receive.

But of course you will want to be clear what scale of investment is needed before you commit yourself.

Fast facts

Do not buy all the items on a reading list. You may be able to use library books, share expenditure with a friend, or buy used books for less money than new ones.  

Fees for UK college and university programmes are generally lower than in the US and Australia. UK degree programmes last three rather than four years, so you save a whole year’s worth of fees and living costs.

Postgraduate Master’s courses are also shorter, lasting only one year compared with two in the USA and Australia.

If you are from a European Union (EU) country, you may qualify for ’home’ fees. The following are examples of average tuition fees for international students who do not qualify for reduced ’home’ fees:

Fast facts

Some of the cost advantages of studying in the UK:

Degrees are often shorter, which means that you can spend less on study and start earning sooner.

You are eligible for free healthcare from the UK’s National Health Service (NHS) if you are enrolled on a course that lasts at least six months.

UK students are eligible for a whole range of discounts on items such as clothes, books, drinks and events.

UK universities have great facilities and you can save money on books by using their well-stocked libraries.

Level of study

Average cost

English language:
£150–£300 per week

(pre-degree level):
£3,300–£4,150 per year

Undergraduate level
Arts, business, social
science courses:
£7,000–£7,900 per year

Science (lab based):
£7,000–£10,400 per year

£17,400–£18,710 per year

Postgraduate level
Arts, business, social
science courses:
£5,000–£12,000 per year

£6,500–£10,000 per year


If you’re hoping for a scholarship to help pay for your studies, then start making enquiries and applications at least a year in advance.

Fast facts

Application deadlines may be sooner than you think and you may need an offer to study at the University before you can apply for a scholarship.

Spend time on your application, scholarships are fiercely competitive and you are more likely to be successful if you submit a carefully worded application.

Most scholarships are merit-based and competitive. The deadline to apply for a scholarship can be up to 12 months before your course starts, so it is best to see what scholarships are available as early as possible.

It is a good idea to contact those organisations that offer scholarships directly, as well as to ask your chosen university what scholarships are available. If you have a study abroad adviser at your school, they will also be able to help you find out about financial assistance.

You could also start by enquiring with your own Ministry or Department of Education. Your local British Council office can also provide details of awards available, including those offered by UK institutions themselves.

Find out more about scholarships and bursaries for UK study

Think you may need a part-time job during your study? Go to Working during study in the UK.


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