Requirements for study in UK

Requirements for study in UK

Admission into British independent schools and higher education institutions is generally based on the student’s past academic performance and English language proficiency. However, exact admission requirements and deadlines frequently vary from institution to institution and from program to program. Prospective students should begin reviewing the admission requirements far in advance to give themselves sufficient time to satisfy the admission requirements. This might include taking prerequisite courses they need, collecting required documents, writing applicable tests, and completing any other steps required to gain admission.

Admissions Requirements

Universities and colleges set their own entry requirements for higher education courses, and these vary widely depending on the study programme, the specific course, and the course provider. Admission is typically based on a student’s past academic qualifications. Some courses also require supplementary information from the student, such as an admission test, personal statement, resume, references and/or an interview to further assess a student’s suitability before making their admission decision. International students from non-speaking countries also need to demonstrate their English language skills through an English test.

Academic Entry Requirements

Education providers require students to have successfully attained prior levels of qualifications to ensure they will have the right skills and knowledge to complete their chosen higher education course. Students need to provide transcripts/marksheets to show they meet the academic requirements for admission.

For admission into undergraduate level university courses, prior completion of A-levels, Advanced Higher or equivalent-level qualifications is required. The marks that are considered acceptable varies by course and by institution. Higher marks are usually needed to gain admission into more competitive or in-demand courses. Most courses will also expect students to have some pre-16 qualifications, such as GCSE English and math, or their equivalents. Students will also need to have taken subjects related to their chosen higher education course, known as prerequisite courses. For example, a student seeking admission into an Engineering program will need to have completed Grade 12-equivalent math courses.

Admission into a postgraduate Master’s program is dependent on prior completion of an undergraduate degrees. Students applying for a Masters or Doctorate program must have a Bachelor. Many PhD programs also require students to have a Master’s degree first.

Personal Statement

Many colleges require students to demonstrate their suitability for a specific course through a written personal statement. A personal statement should discuss:

  • Interest in the Course. Why has the student chosen the particular course? Why do they think they are suitable for the course?
  • Skills and Achievements. Any awards won, any positions of responsibility held, achievements student is proud of, attributes that make them interesting. Universities like to know the skills a student has that will help them on the course, or generally with life at university.
  • Hobbies and Interests. Students can use these to demonstrate their personality, skills and abilities. Try to link them to the skills required for the course(s).
  • Work Experience. Include details of placements, work experience, voluntary work, or jobs, especially if it is relevant to the chosen course(s).
  • Gaps in Education (if applicable). Explain what the student was doing since leaving education.
  • Future Plans. What does the student want to do after their graduation? How will they use the knowledge and experience they’ll gain through the course? How does the course relate to what you want to do in the future?
  • Why UK? Why does the student want to study in the UK?

Personal statements are a great way for a student to make themselves stand out over other applicants. To find out how to create the perfect personal statement, click here.


References should ideally come from someone who knows the student academically and can talk about their work ethic, interaction with other students and their suitability for higher education or a future career. These include teachers, principals, tutors or coaches. Past or current supervisors can also provide references if a student left education years ago, or if students are applying for programs related to their work, such as if a student applying into a medical program was working or volunteering at the hospital, or if a student is applying for an MBA program. Referees who supervised or coached a student in their volunteer positions or extracurricular activities, and can speak about the student’s work ethic, leadership, teamwork and intrapersonal skills are also often accepted. Friends and family members, on the other hand, cannot be used as references.


Many education providers will also invite shortlisted students for an interview before making their admission decision. Interviews can take place over telephone, video call, or in-person if a student is able to travel to the institution. A lot of British institutes also have overseas teams, which hold interviews in major countries around the world. Interviewers will ask questions relating to the student’s background, current study plans, and future career aspirations. The interview also helps the university ensure that the student is coming to the UK for genuine study purposes and has a realistic prospect of returning home once their studies have finished.

English Language Requirements

Since English is the primary language of instruction in the UK, students applying from a non-English speaking country need to demonstrate English proficiency through an English language qualifications test as part of the admission process. Standardized English language tests evaluate students on their reading, listening, speaking and writing skills.

The following tests are commonly accepted for entry into degree-level courses:

  • International English-Language Testing System (IELTS) - Academic and UKVI
  • Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) - Internet-Based Test (IBT)
  • Trinity College’s Integrated Skills in English (ISE)
  • Pearson Test of English (PTE)
  • Cambridge Advanced Certificate in English (CAE)
  • Cambridge Certificate of Proficiency in English (CPE)
  • English Language GCSE, A-Level or IB

Language test scores required for admission vary by institution and by program. Some institutions only look at the overall grades, while others have cut-offs for scores in each of the four skills sections. Typically, students applying to an undergraduate course need:

  • IELTS scores between 5.5 and 6.5 (usually 6.0), with no band less than 5.5 or 6.0
  • TOEFL (internet-based test, iBT) scores between 60.0 and 90.0 overall
  • PTE Academic score between 50 to 64 overall
  • CAE or CPE score between 169 to 176 overall, with no less than 169 in each category. Minimum language requirements are often stricter for postgraduate and professional programs (e.g. IELTS score of 7.0). Foundation and pre-sessional English courses, on the other hand, usually require lower minimum language test scores than undergraduate courses.

You can always refer look up admissions requirements for a specific course on the ApplyBoard platform.

Requirements for admission in the UK for international baccalaureate students

The student must pass the international diploma at a rate of not less than 30 and the required rate varies from one university to another and from one specialization to another. The universities may specify the name of the required materials to pass the application in addition to the required rate. The International Baccalaureate allows students to enter universities in UK in the first year.

Requirements for studying medicine in UK

If you’re looking to study medicine at a UK university, you must pass the UKAT test. This test is conducted through the Internet and its purpose is to determine the scientific ability of the student. The test is divided into several parts through which the student can be evaluated whether to be accepted or not. These tests are divided into:

  • A verbal logic test that aims at knowing how to think logically and using the information correctly.
  • Quantitative testing aims to solve some numerical problems at a specific time.
  • The abstract logic test aims at acquiring relationships by gathering information through different means of thinking.

Application Deadlines

An academic year typically begins in September in the UK, and includes three terms: Autumn/Fall (September to December), Spring (January to April) and Summer (May to August). Since the calendar year begins in Autumn, most institutions offer admission for entry in September, but selected undergraduate programmes also accept students for Spring and Summer intakes. Additionally, some institutions also offer courses at multiple times during the year, and therefore have varying deadlines for each start dates.

Application deadlines are based on start dates to give students sufficient time to prepare themselves, get their visa and come to their chosen university or college. Much like admission requirements, application deadlines are also set by individual education providers, and can also vary from course to course. Students should always review the application deadlines for the specific courses and institutions they’re interested in to avoid missing a deadline.

In general, admission deadlines (for September intake) for undergraduate courses are:

  • Mid-October: for course at the universities of Oxford and Cambridge, and for most courses in medicine, veterinary medicine/science, and dentistry.
  • Mid-January: for the majority of courses
  • End of June or Until Course Fills Up: recommended final deadline for international students to ensure they’ll have enough time to apply for and obtain a visa after receiving their confirmation of acceptance (CAS).

Postgraduate degree programmes often have a lengthier application process and stricter applications deadlines. Postgraduate diploma and certificate programs follow similar deadlines as those outlined above.

Want to Study in UK? Contact us

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