As well as providing you with a world-class education, studying in South West England can offer you much more. Whether you enjoy sport, art, theatre, film, music or literature, there is something here to suit everyone.
Each university offers its own support network for international students, including services such as student clubs and societies, advice lines, counselling services, health provision, careers offices and language support. General information for international students wishing to study in the UK can be found on the British Council website and UK Council for International Student Affairs (UKCISA) website. The British Council and UKCISA both produce a range of useful downloads on studying and living in the UK.
UK education system and study options
International Students PhotoThe UK’s education system is renowned and benefits from an excellent reputation worldwide. The universities in South West England provide higher education at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels. Undergraduate degree programmes last a minimum of three years and postgraduate degree programmes usually last one to three years.
In addition, some universities run short-term visiting student programmes, such as summer schools, English as a Foreign Language (EFL) programmes and study abroad programmes. If you are currently studying at an international university your institution may have an exchange link with one of the South West England universities, allowing you to come here as a visiting student for a short period.
Entry requirements, including academic ability and English language requirements, differ between universities and between courses, so you will need to contact the relevant university to gain more specific details.
Most universities will ask non-native English speakers for formal proof of their English language proficiency and the most recognised qualifications are the TOEFL, IELTS and Cambridge ESOL language tests. Each country has official test centres which administer these English tests and you can find your nearest test centre by using the search facilities on the TOEFL, IELTS or Cambridge ESOL websites.
If you are a national of an EEA (European Economic Area) state or Switzerland you are entitled to study in the UK without need for a visa. Anyone else needs to acquire the relevant visa in order to study and stay in the UK. To gain a student visa you must meet various entry requirements, which are detailed on the UK visas website. Your family may also be eligible to come to the UK with you for the duration of your studies and you can find more details about eligibility by reading the UKCISA advice sheet.
Fees and funding
English as a Foreign Language (EFL) courses can cost anything from £200 – £1,000 per week depending on the nature of the course. Some EFL programmes include accommodation and social events so you will need to do some research to find a course that suits your needs.
For undergraduate degree courses, if you are a national of an EEA state or Switzerland then you qualify as a ‘home student’ and your course fees are usually around £3,200 per year. Anyone else classifies as an ‘overseas student’ and for undergraduate and postgraduate courses, overseas students should expect to pay fees of around:
£8,000 - £11,000 a year for arts, humanities and business courses
£10,000 - £14,000 a year for science courses
£10,000 - £20,000 a year for clinical courses
£8,000 - £25,000 for a Masters in Business Administration
Various scholarships are available to provide some international degree students with financial support. Details of national scholarships and eligibility requirements can be found on the British Council funding webpages. You should refer to each individual university’s webpage for their specific course fees and for details of any scholarships they offer at institutional level.
Your living expenses will vary depending on where you study and lifestyle choices, but it is estimated that international students in South West universities spend on average £650 a month for accommodation, food, clothes and basic needs. Before you arrive, the university you will be studying at should be able to give you clear guidance on the cost of living in the local area.
Working in the UK
South West England will provide you with plenty of opportunities to work and earn extra money during your studies. However, in order to be granted a student visa you must be able to show that you have sufficient funds to cover your costs without relying on employment. If you are registered on a full-time course of 6 months or longer, then you will be eligible to work for a maximum of 20 hours per week during term time. Many universities have a dedicated careers service where you can find information on searching for part-time work during your stay.
After finishing your studies you can apply to one of the UK Government schemes which allow graduates who meet certain eligibility requirements to stay on and work in the UK. The UKCISA advice sheet on working in the UK after your studies will give you useful information on the different options and the links below show the main schemes available to international graduates, as well as details of eligibility.
If you obtain the relevant graduate visa you can use the free online regional Gradsouthwest service to help you secure a job.
As an international student you may be entitled to free or subsidised health treatment in the UK under the National Health Service (NHS), if you are registered on a course lasting at least six months. You will, however, have to pay for some services, such as prescriptions, travel vaccinations, dental care and optical treatment. If you are in the UK for less than six months you will only receive free emergency treatment and are therefore strongly advised to take out adequate medical insurance before leaving your home country to cover your health care requirements.
Many international students choose to live in university housing and the main accommodation types are halls of residence, student houses and student flats. These can be catered or self-catered and vary in price from £60 - £120 a week.
Alternatively,you can choose to rent private accommodation in hostels, lodgings, bedsits, houses or flats and again prices vary significantly depending on location and quality. Where possible, you should try to secure your accommodation before you arrive in the UK. The best source of information on accommodation is the Student Housing Office at the university you will be attending.