Undergraduate degrees: practical details
UK universities decide which qualifications and grades they’ll accept for entry to their degrees. A-levels, Highers, vocational qualifications at N/SVQ level 3 or higher, Foundation and Access courses, and many other qualifications are accepted.
Admissions Officers are experienced in handling applications from abroad, and they assess whether qualifications obtained overseas meet entrance requirements.
England, Wales, Northern Ireland
Standard entry requirements are two or three A-levels with AS-levels, GCSEs or equivalent and English language proficiency (5.5,7.0 IELTS or 550,650 TOEFL)
Standard entry requirements are four or five Higher passes or the equivalent.
However, if you do not meet the requirements, there are flexible access routes that can bridge a gap to your undergraduate course.
Find out more about foundation and access courses, or English language courses.
Costs and funding
The amount charged in the university sector varies among institutions, and from course to course.
You are likely to have to pay a fee between £6,000 and £9,000 for each year for an undergraduate programme of studies. Science degrees as a rule cost more – some courses based in laboratories or studios can cost up to £11,000 each year.
Study abroad courses can vary in length from one semester to one year, and prices vary according to how long your course is. As a general guide, fees for a one-semester study abroad course start from around £2,500.
Other costs you will incur:
- everyday living expenses for the whole time that you are in the UK, including accommodation, food, heat, light, clothes and travel
- course books and equipment
- travel from and to your country.
If you are British or an EU citizen, you may be able to get a student loan and other help with you fees.
How to apply
If you want to apply for a full-time degree, HND or foundation degree course, you’ll have to fill in a UCAS form. This can be done online through the UCAS website.
UCAS is the University and Colleges Admission Service and it deals with all higher education applications centrally.
This means that you only have to fill in one form, even if you want to apply for several courses. UCAS will forward your application to all your chosen universities and co-ordinate their replies.
There will be a small application fee: £5 if you apply to only one institution and £15 if you apply to more than one.
Your school, college or local British Council office can help you with your application.
When you apply through UCAS, your A-level/Higher grades/the equivalent are converted into points. The better your grades, the more points you’ll have. Colleges and universities will then use these points to compare candidates and decide whether to offer you a place. Some courses will specify a minimum number of points for entry instead of minimum grades.
You may also hear employers asking for a minimum number of UCAS points, even if you go on to get a degree.
You can work out your UCAS points by visiting the UCAS website.
The deadline for applications is mid-December of the year before you want to go to university (eg December 2010 if you want to start in September 2011).
Your school or college will often deal with your application and send it to UCAS for you. In this case, they may set an earlier deadline to help them get all the forms in on time. You can also apply online, but it’s better to stick to the method your school or college uses.
Art and design courses have a different application procedure and different deadline dates. For more information, see the UCAS website.
Note that for some courses, it may be some time before a final decision is made on your application. Apply early to avoid missing out.