UK Higher Education System Demystified

study in uk

Okay, HSB is all about USA and yes, it is 100% accurate that USA is undeniably the dream destination for international students.

Not only for superiority education and known as land of opportunities, but also World’s leading economy where visions comes true; makes it a perfect choice.

Now, Europe and particularly UK also has a pretty cool significance when it comes to international students.

According to UK Council for International students (UKCISA) there are 428,225 international students in UK for 2010-11 intake that started in September 2010.

International students mean those who are outside from Europe. Now it may seem a small number if you compare it to USA student intake, but in a country where there are only around 62 million people lives in 94,000 sq. mile area, 17% students in UK are international, is really a fascinating stat.

Why UK for Higher Education

Why this choice for UK?

I forget to mention that this stat came as 6% increase from last intake.

First of all you’d be amazed to know that there is almost everyone in UK; okay let me rephrase it, here you can find almost every nationality crammed in one place, London.

So don’t be amazed if you walk on street and hear Beatles, Justin Biebar and Shahrukh Khan’s song playing one-by-one.

That’s a true multicultural experience I believe you only can get in two cities of World, London and New York.

Again, UK has a significant number of Indian, Bangladeshi, Chinese and Pakistani communities in place; in fact 10% British have grandparents/parent born in those countries, so you’ll never miss home.

You can get Kebab and tikka being sold, all over London.

I have been places like SouthHall and Whitechapel where you feel that you’re home, not abroad.

Education System in UK

Apart from all this, UK has a great education system, until recently if you write top 10 universities of world that’d certainly feature Oxford, Cambridge, Imperial College and University College London.

Most of the international students come here to pursue Master’s degree and further.

An interesting fact for those who don’t know, you will only need IELTS to get into most of the universities of UK, and unfortunately that’s the reason universities don’t offer much scholarships even in PhD level.

That means most of the universities in UK is similar of what USA calls a private school.

There are external opportunities for funding, though. But almost nothing in MS level, few partial scholarships available though.

1 Year Degree Programs

On positive note, MS in UK is 12 months, unlike the rest of the world where it is at least 2 years.

That means a more compressed and exhilarating course in place. So while you save one year, you have to be complete sane to bear all the materials just as half the time.

The study structure is same like USA, you have courses, labs and personal and group project work, all in 1 year.

MBA programs are also 1 year and some runs for 18 months.

Post Work Study Visa in UK

Now let me come to the point where I thought I should start writing from.

Previously I have seen a post on UK and a comment there which really inspired me to write about the myths and stuffs of UK/Europe.

Visa is a great aspect where international students see for their future. I mean you come to abroad and spend a good fortune on education and all, so I believe everybody wants to stick in after education is complete, get a job and at least repay the loan.

That perfectly makes sense.

Yes, as you already know Post Study Work (PSW) Visa is now closed.

So it makes harder for international students to get a job and stay in UK after studies.

However, I half agree that UK is no longer an attractive option for international students.

Post Study Work Visa in UK – Before Changes

An international student earlier with PSW can stay in UK for 24 months provided they have got £800 in bank for 90 days and have finished at least a bachelor’s degree.

They don’t need to have a job, and they are free to search for one in these 24 months.

Now from 6th of April 2012 this route is closed, and now graduates have to find a company who is willing to sponsor them.

This is known as Tier 2 Work Permit.

And there’s a £20,000 per year salary cap as well, this is not to make things harder but actually protect the international students.

Sometimes, it had seen that companies offer employment to international students but as the companies have to offer work permit as well, they offer a lower salary.

Over in UK salary is considered as a highly confidential info, and for a same level of responsibility can land you way to different salary bands cause it all depends upon your negotiation skills in interviews (not the case if you’re a fresher or graduate without any or a minimal experience, their salaries are open secret).

So actually Tier 2 Work Permit and £20,000 may seem bad, some would see it as a challenge to compete.

How? Let me explain Tier 2 Work Permit.

When I was a student, I saw many opportunities which matched my experience and skills.

I applied but all of them came back saying you have restricted visa so we can’t take you.

That means I am only eligible to start applying for job when I have PSW visa in place, and then they will go for rest of the stuff like degrees, experiences.

But now that all the companies will know they will have to sponsor international students.

A student while still in the university can apply and say in the application itself that they’ll need a work permit to work.

So students won’t be rejected at least of visa issues. Remember I said there’s 6% international student increase in 2010-11 than 2009-10 according to UKCISA?

Now why I said I half agree.

Yes, it’s true that the path is tough but all is not lost.

People who think to come to UK just after their Bachelor’s to study Master’s or for their Bachelor’s, if you’re taking a bank loan or using your parent’s whole savings, refrain yourself from coming here.

But if you’re a person with 5+ years of experience in fields like IT (not as a developer), Pharmacy, Heavy Engineering and Management, looking for a dream move to abroad and think you can go back to school for a while before working again, UK is actually lacking qualified people like you.

The third kind would be whom, who are happy to get back to home after studies, and don’t have funding problems, easily you can come here.

For those of you who got that entrepreneur flow in you, there’s actually a new route for guys like you.

Yes, its hectic, I’ll give you that without hesitation.

But moving abroad and possibly staying abroad since 2001 and after 2008 is all the way hectic that it was before, but don’t let that stop you pursue your dreams.

So my question is, are you game enough?

Andy recently completed his Master’s degree from Royal Holloway, University of London. He will be sharing his experiences about UK. He is now looking to pursue his PPh.D.in USA/Canada/Germany and already started his applications to German universities so can expect a few articles on that as well.

 

25 Comments

  1. Pri311 on May 25, 2014 at 2:07 AM

    Keen to read your next blog post as I am planning to pursue masters in UK this year. Hence, need your views.

  2. Sankalp on April 27, 2012 at 6:45 AM

    Hi Guys,
    I got admit from Imperial college london,University college london and university of sheffield. Could anybody tell me what is the status of funding in UK institutions for a PhD student?
    Thank you. 🙂

  3. dewangi on April 9, 2012 at 1:05 PM

    hi andy, i read the info on uk edu sys for ms n abt post study visa . i want prsue ms in pharmaceutical sciences so should consider australia, germany which should i prefer?

    • gaurav on April 28, 2012 at 11:21 AM

      hi dewangi,
      i am also from the same field
      u shod give ur first preference to US, then uk, then germany and finally to australia.

      for US scope is good specially if you want to go for PhD, but costly and little difficult admission.
      for UK post study visa is a major issue, but take less time and less money for masters. if money is not an issue go for UK only
      for Australia i m not sure but my Councillor told me that it is very costly for pharmacy student, reason i don’t know.
      for Germany, tuition fee is very low, living is costly and German univ req ur German language proficiency. At least A2 for the admission.
      also go for some publication, seminars and conferences for USA
      kindly tell me ur credentials which will allow me to help you more.
      good luck

      • HSB on April 28, 2012 at 11:24 AM

        So you are asking to post only a rosy good picture about USA not the reality?

      • dewangi on May 4, 2012 at 11:09 AM

        hi gaurav i got ielts results n i got 6.5 bands overall , n my bpharm % is 65

      • dewangi on May 4, 2012 at 11:11 AM

        THANKS FOR THE INFO U GAVE ME

  4. RAHUL on April 5, 2012 at 1:05 PM

    TO HSB:
    THANKS A LOT FOR TRYING TO DEMYSTIFY THE UK EDUCATION SYSTEM.
    FIRST, I WAS REALLY SHOCKED TO LEARN LONDON SCHOOL OF ECONOMICS & POLITICAL SCIENCE WAS MISSING FROM THE LIST. ITS NOT ANDY’S FAULT. THE ROT LIES WITH THE PEOPLE. PEOPLE DO NOT SEE LONDON SCHOOL OF ECONOMICS AND POLITICAL SCIENCE AS A CENTER FOR ADVANCED LEARNING. I HAVE LOTS OF FRIENDS- PAST & PRESENT- WHO HAVE PASSED WITH FLYING COLORS. THEY BAGGED REALLY GOOD JOBS- IN THE UK & AROUND THE WORLD. I AM NOT PATRONIZING. ANYWAY, THUMBS UP FOR ANDY’S POST.

    • Andy on April 6, 2012 at 7:25 AM

      Hi Rahul,

      Hey thanks for reading the post.I appreciate your feedback on this.However I am unable to process your idea in these sentences ‘I WAS REALLY SHOCKED TO LEARN LONDON SCHOOL OF ECONOMICS & POLITICAL SCIENCE WAS MISSING FROM THE LIST. ITS NOT ANDY’S FAULT. THE ROT LIES WITH THE PEOPLE. PEOPLE DO NOT SEE LONDON SCHOOL OF ECONOMICS AND POLITICAL SCIENCE AS A CENTER FOR ADVANCED LEARNING’

      Please do clarify about what you meant here.We may all learn something new,isn’t it?

      • RAHUL on April 7, 2012 at 5:12 PM

        HI ANDY,
        THIS IS WHAT WAS IN YOUR ARTICLE:

        “UK has a great education system, until recently if you write top 10 universities of world that’d certainly feature Oxford, Cambridge, Imperial College and University College London.”

        CLARIFICATION:

        I WENT THROUGH NUMEROUS WEBSITES AND JOURNALS THAT RANK UNIVERSITIES [MIND YOU I HAVE DONE THAT FOR A WHOLE YEAR]. IT HAS BECOME A BUSINESS TO MAKE A LIST FOR THE SO CALLED “TOP RANKING UNIVERSITIES IN THE WORLD”. NAMING THESE JOURNALS/WEBSITES WILL BE LIKE FEEDING PETROL TO A BUSHFIRE. GETTING TO THE POINT: IF YOU GO THROUGH SO CALLED RANKINGS, CHANCE IS YOU WILL NEVER FIND L.S.E NAME ANYWHERE. I DON’T KNOW WHAT METHODOLOGY THESE JOURNALS/WEBSITES USE BUT NORMALLY PREFERENCE IS UNIVERSITY SHOULD HAVE BIG CAMPUS, BIG STADIUMS FOR EXTRA CURRICULAR ACTIVITIES ETC ETC AND ALL THESE THINGS ARE MISSING AT THE L.S.E AS IT IS IN DEAD CENTER OF THE CITY. PEOPLE, WHEN THEY ARE APPLYING, THINK ABOUT BIG CAMPUS ETC ETC. THEY DON’T THINK ABOUT THE QUALITY OF THE COURSE OR HOW GOOD THE FACULTY IS, THEY, NORMALLY, DON’T RESEARCH ABOUT UNIVERSITIES….. THEY JUST WANT TO LIVE THE SO CALLED “BIG CAMPUS LIFE”, SHARING DORMS WITH NEXT DROPOUT BILLIONAIRE…… OR MAYBE THIS IS WHAT I HAVE OBSERVED LOOKING AT STUDENTS WHO ARE APPLYING TO UNIVERSITIES. SO I THINK THIS IS THE REASON WHY USED THOSE WORDS.

        WHAT DO YOU THINK? WAS THE REPLY SATISFACTORY?

        WAITING FOR COMMENTS!

        • Andy on April 8, 2012 at 7:19 AM

          Hiya Rahul,

          Well thanks for the big clarification. Please will you refrain yourself next time from using all ‘CAPS’ ? it’s an eye-soar.Thanks.

          Back to the talk, I guess you have missed the little caveats in those sentences, there was ‘until recently’ and ‘top 10 universities of world.’ I would make myself clear with a very simple example.

          Some IIT’s are known as best technical institutes for Engineering,but even then they failed to come within ,forget top 10,even in top 50 or 100 in any rankings.Why? I found the reason that they are not,what Western World calls,’University’. But If you go for subject matter ratings, I believe for Engineering they are at par with any world renowned universities out there.

          I agree totally your opinion that LSE is a very wide known reputed institution,but unfortunately that’s only in the areas of Social Sciences.I would place it within top 3 institutes in the world in terms of Economics and/or Business studies,but ,the caveat, this is an IIT of Economics/Business studies and not a full fledged university offering wide range of subjects (like Engineering) like Oxford,Cambridge and excelling all of the subjects.I hope I made myself clear 🙂

          Oh and to add something, I never took any decision based upon newspaper/websites/journals rankings when I was preparing myself to come to UK or when I was writing for HSB.As you said you are doing it for a year,I believe you know something about Research Assessment Exercise report 2008? if yes,well and good.If no,may I please suggest you to look at it?

          My office was in a building right next to the Holborn campus of LSE. 🙂

        • RAHUL on April 8, 2012 at 11:53 AM

          Hi Andy,
          Thanks for the reply. it was a bulls eye. that was exactly what i wanted to convey. I didn’t know about the RAE but I have gone through the report.

          Thanks again. Great post. Looking forward to pick your brain.

          Thumbs up.

  5. tapan acharya on April 5, 2012 at 8:17 AM

    waiting for next post asap

  6. sowmya on April 5, 2012 at 2:02 AM

    I am sowmya, I got offer from 5 universities from UK, please suggest me to choose the university,
    Brunal University,
    Herdfore shore
    kindston university
    middlesex university
    university of greenwich

    • Andy on April 6, 2012 at 7:27 AM

      Hi Sowmya,

      Before anything,please read my next post.Oh and a quick tip, I won’t choose to come to any of these if I fall in the first or second category mentioned in my next post.

  7. VIJAYABHARATHI on April 5, 2012 at 12:36 AM

    Nice post regarding the UK’s system of education and bilingual attire. what about Australia as it got big land mass & strong economy. And I need a guidance from the you guys as it will be quiet useful for me. Thank you.

  8. Vignesh on April 4, 2012 at 7:38 PM

    In UK, the cost of living is very high and definitely not good for first priority in terms of study abroad.

    It can be third or fourth choice. I believe that is better. what say?

    – Vignesh

  9. Jana on April 4, 2012 at 5:53 PM

    I’m finishing my master in Finland. The whole master is in English and I don’t need to speak Finnish to live here. They have good teaching quality and great technological resources. Visa is easy to get, the economy is good right now, and there are good opportunities if you are interested to stay. Finally, the education is FREE, even for international students (until now, they want to change it…). This means no tuition fees and just worry about living expenses. It’s a quite expensive country, but if you are interested you can find ways to work or a scholarship.
    Just thought that I could share this, cause it’s a not a place that people know much about…

  10. MRIGANKA KAUSHIK on April 4, 2012 at 4:36 PM

    Hello

    I have been following HSB since a long time….It is needless to say that you people are doing a great job…

    After much consideration I decided to pursue my graduate studies in Germany..So visa is done and course is starting from April 16th,2012…

    It will be great to see some articles on German Universities…

    Regards
    Kaushik

    • HSB on April 4, 2012 at 7:14 PM

      Folks like you should share information about Germany. You have first hand experience now. Do you want write for HSB?

      • RKA on April 6, 2012 at 3:45 AM

        Yes, Germany is really a good place for International students to study. I got admission for Microelectronics in a Top ranked university with “No” tuition fees. Job opportunities are plenty in German. But only one problem is getting admission is very difficulties.
        Some universities keeping online technical test and 2 interviews before giving admission to the students.
        First I too applied for US, but due to my financial state. I changed my mind and applied for the Germany. But I didn’t know how will be salary when comparing to $US$…

  11. bhavika trivedi on April 4, 2012 at 11:51 AM

    UK has options of 2yrs University degree with one year of guaranteed paid placement. This feature still attracts students as they do not have to face interview during visa application here…..

    • Nithin on April 4, 2012 at 3:52 PM

      Hello Bhavika,

      If you can share the information about those universities then it would be very helpful. I have already got offer from 4 universities and none of them have this option. Although Staffordshire does have this option but they dont give it now itself. You need to apply while studying and i think if everyone applies then there is a possibility that many miss out.

      Many thanks and Best Regards,
      Nithin.

  12. Laav on April 4, 2012 at 11:31 AM

    I’ve heard from my prof that after a 1 year Master’s, some companies (especially top ones) don’t consider you qualified enough unless it’s from the above mentioned unis? If anyone has an opinion on this, please share.

    • bhavika trivedi on April 4, 2012 at 12:14 PM

      UK Education system and UK degrees area accepted globally. Hence most of the companies do consider UK degrees from a authentically registered University. So do a good research on University history before taking admission.

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