Study in UK Universities, living expenses, Visa and Scholarships

Study in UK – One of the most preferred choices for Indian students who wish to go abroad for higher education is to study in UK. With a legacy of excellence in quality of education, the European country made up of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland hosts a number of globally top-ranking Institutions, including the University of Cambridge, University of Oxford, University College London and Imperial College London.

The Island country has as many as 9 universities in the list of top 50 Universities, as per the latest QS Ranking. The advanced research facilities in different disciplines and scientific teaching methods result in a significant share of world’s most frequently cited papers.

To ease the cost of education for foreign students, UK universities offer a number of scholarship opportunities to international students. Some of the top scholarships available for international students include Commonwealth Scholarships, The Chevening Scholarships, Rhodes Scholarship etc. Further, the students enrolled for six months or more also get free medical treatment.

The total number of non-UK students studying in the UK in 2016-17 was 442,375. From April 1, 2018 to March 31, 2019, 21,165 Indian students were granted Tier 4 (student) visas for the UK in the year ending March 2019, up from 15,161 for the year ending March 2018, which is a 40% increase. Interestingly, 42% of students studying at the postgraduate level in the UK are from outside the European Union. In terms of the inflow of international students in the UK, India is among the top three countries including China and the USA.

Study in UK – Top UK Universities

The QS Ranking places as many as 6 universities from UK in the list of top 25 universities worldwide, with as many as 16 in the top 100.  No wonder it attracts students at different levels of higher education including undergraduate, postgraduate and PhD.

All renowned world ranking agencies carry at least 10 universities of UK in their list of top 100 universities. Below is the list of top UK Universities along with their position in international ranking tables of Times Higher Education (THE), Quacquarelli Symonds (QS), and Academic Ranking of World Universities (ARWU). The most sought-after institutions in UK – the University of Cambridge, the University of Oxford, University College London and Imperial College London, dominate top positions in different rankings.

List of top Universities to study in UK

S. No. University QS Rank 2018 THE Rank 2018 ARWU Rank 2017
1 University of Cambridge 5 2 3
2 University of Oxford 6 1 7
3 UCL (University College London) 7 16 16
4 Imperial College London 8 8 27
5 King’s College London 23 36 46
6 The University of Edinburgh 23 27 32
7 The University of Manchester 34 54 38
8 London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) 35 25 151-200
9 University of Bristol 44 76 61
10 The University of Warwick 57 91 101-150
11 University of Glasgow 65 80 101-150
12 Durham University 78 97 201-300
13 The University of Sheffield 82 104 101-150
14 The University of Nottingham 84 147 101-150
15 University of Birmingham 84 141 101-150
16 University of St Andrews 92 143 301-400
17 University of Leeds 101 139 101-150
18 University of Southampton 102 126 101-150
19 Queen Mary University of London 127 121 151-200
20 Lancaster University 135 150 301-400
21 University of York 135 137 201-300
22 Cardiff University 137 162 99
23 The University of Exeter 158 130 151-200
24 University of Aberdeen 158 185 201-300
25 University of Bath 160 251-300
26 Newcastle University 161 175 201-300
27 University of Liverpool 173 177 101-150
28 University of Reading 188 201–250 201-300
29 Queen’s University Belfast 202 201–250 301-400
30 University of Sussex 228 147 201-300
31 Loughborough University 234 301-350
32 University of Leicester 238 159 301-400
33 Royal Holloway University of London 259 197
34 University of Surrey 264 251–300 301-400
35 University of Dundee 267 187 201-300
36 University of East Anglia (UEA) 274 188 301-400
37 University of Strathclyde 277 401–500
38 SOAS University of London 296 401–500
39 Birkbeck, University of London 308 301–350
40 Heriot-Watt University 312 351–400 401-500
41 City, University of London 343 351–400
42 Brunel University London 346 351–400 401-500
43 University of Essex 347 251–300
44 Oxford Brookes University 361 401–500
45 University of Kent 373 301–350
46 Aston University 373 351–400
47 Goldsmiths, University of London 398 301–350
48 Swansea University 431-440 251–300
49 Bangor University 441-450 301–350 401-500
50 University of Stirling 451-460 301–350

Study in UK – Details on top UK Universities

University of Cambridge: The University of Cambridge has a total of 31 autonomous colleges and 150 departments, faculties, and schools, among other institutions.  The residential university offers programmes in multiple disciplines at both the undergraduate and postgraduate levels.

University of Oxford: The University of Oxford has a total of 38 colleges besides the central university. The university which is consistently placed on top in most of the international rankings has as many as 70 departments accommodating over 3,000 undergraduate students and 5,500 graduate research students.

University College London (UCL): University College London is one of the most popular universities in England for international students. The international student community is as much as one-third of the student population in the university. The university has a total of 11 faculties covering different disciplines like medical sciences, engineering, and social sciences, among others.

Imperial College London: The Imperial College London offers programmes around four main disciplines – management, science, engineering, and medicine. All the programmes are research focused. The university is home to over 14,000 students.

The University of Edinburgh: The University of Edinburgh is ranked among the top 20 universities in the world. The university has three colleges – College of Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences, College of Medicine & Veterinary Medicine, and College of Science & Engineering, apart from 20 schools covering disciplines including Business, Arts, and Economics.

King’s College London: Established in 1828, the King’s College London ranks among the top 25 universities in the world. It has eight faculties covering different disciplines including Humanities, Social Science, and Medicine. The university boasts of more than 27,000 students from over 150 countries.

The University of Manchester: The University of Manchester is ranked among the top 30 universities in the world. The university has three major faculties – Faculty of Biology, Medicine and Health; Faculty of Science and Engineering; and Faculty of Humanities.

London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE): Ranked among the top universities in the UK, the London School of Economics is one of the most popular universities for international students from South Asia.  The university with over 26 departments has about 10000 students from more than 140 countries. The 120-year old university majorly focuses on social science subjects like politics, anthropology, and economics.

University of Bristol: The University of Bristol offers more than 200 UG and PG programmes under its different faculties – Arts, Engineering, Science, Biomedical Sciences, Health Sciences and Social Sciences, and Law.

The University of Warwick: The 50-year old university is known for its research-intensive programmes. The university has about 25000 students of which more than a third are international students. The major faculties at the University of Warwick includes Faculty of Arts, Faculty of Medicine, Faculty of Science, and Faculty of Social Sciences.

Study in UK – Admission Cycle

When do universities start their admission process? What is the timeline for different stages of admission? How long does it take for the admission process to get completed?

Generally, the application for admission begins in the month of September-October and it closes by February. Many Universities, however, take admissions in two sessions with the admissions for the latter closing in the month of September. Though most of the universities begin their classes in the month of September, the process for international students takes almost a year owing to multiple factors like visa processing, fund management, etc.

Thus, if you wish to get enrolled in the academic session starting in September 2019, you should start applying to the institute of your choice by August- September 2018 along with the required test results like IELTS.

UK Admission Timeline – A Snapshot

July- August (previous year): Research your options
August Register for standardised test and take test
September Prepare the application package and get you test scores.
September- October Start applying
October- November Applications close
Jan- Feb Colleges start replying to applications
March Prepare your finances, explore scholarships and apply for education loans.
May- June Apply for the Students Visa
September Departure preparations
September- October Session starts

Below are the tentative dates for the admission cycle of top UK Universities:

Institute Level of study Application deadline
Oxford University UG October 15th of every year
PG 18th November of previous year & 20th Jan of session year (Sept intake)
Imperial College London UG 15th January (for all courses)


15th October of previous year for Medicine (October intake)

PG 15th January of session year (for all courses)


15th October for previous year for Medicine (October intake)

University of Cambridge UG 15th October of previous year
PG 7th December of previous year (those who wish to apply for funding)


(Varies as per programme)

University College London UG 15th Jan & 30th June of session year (for September intake)
London School of Economics UG 15th January of session year
(for Sept intake)
PG Rolling admission- starts in October every year
University of Edinburgh UG



6th September of previous year


One month before the entry month.

The University of Manchester UG



15th October of previous year (session year intake)


No closing dates

King’s College London UG



January 2017 (it may vary)



University of Bristol UG



September intake


19th September of previous year

The University of Warwick UG
15th January (Sept intake)


31st July (for session year)

Source- University’s official website

The timeline in the table above is tentative and may vary as per specific timeline for different courses of the universities.  Many Universities also offer admission on a rolling basis. Therefore, you must check the concerned university department for which you wish to apply for.

Study in UK – Top Courses

The UK is popular among the international students’ community for quality education offered across disciplines of Management, Engineering, Law, Social Studies, etc. Being one of the most happening business destinations in the world, the universities in the UK offer management programmes which carry significant exposure to industry. Also, the country is popular for its rich history in legal education.  To help students track the top courses in the UK, we bring here a brief of the most sought-after courses in UK universities. Take a look.

Top Business and Management Courses to study in UK

Universities Popular Management Degrees
London Business School MBA, Executive MBA, Masters in Management
Saïd Business School – University of Oxford MBA, Executive MBA
London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) Master’s in Management, MSc International Management
Judge Business School – University of Cambridge MBA, Executive MBA
Warwick Business School -The University of Warwick MBA, Executive MBA
Alliance Manchester Business School – The University of Manchester MBA, Executive MBA
Imperial College London Imperial MBA

Top law universities to study in UK

Universities Popular Law Degrees
University of Cambridge English law, Civil (Roman) law, EU law and International law
University of Oxford BA in Jurisprudence, MSc in Law and Finance
London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) LLB, LLM
UCL (University College London) LLB
Kings College London LLB, LLM
The University of Edinburgh LLB, LLM
The University of Nottingham LLB, BA Law, LLM
Queen Mary University of London LLB (Hons), BA (Hons), LLM

Top Social Science and Humanities universities to study in UK

Universities Level
London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) UG, Master’s and Doctoral
University of Oxford UG, Master’s and Doctoral
University of Cambridge UG, Master’s and Doctoral
UCL (University College London) UG, Master’s and Doctoral
The University of Manchester UG, Master’s and Doctoral
The University of Warwick UG, Master’s and Doctoral
Kings College London UG, Master’s and Doctoral
Top Engineering Universities to study in UK
Universities Level
University of Cambridge UG, Master’s and Doctoral
Imperial College London UG, Master’s and Doctoral
University of Oxford UG, Master’s and Doctoral
The University of Manchester UG, Master’s and Doctoral
University College London (UCL) UG, Master’s and Doctoral
The University of Edinburgh UG, Master’s and Doctoral
University of Birmingham UG, Master’s and Doctoral

Study in UK – Cost of Study and Living

(Note: All prices have been converted from GBP to USD for your better understanding)

With an annual cost of over USD 35,000, the United Kingdom is one of the costliest countries in the world for international students. Of the above average figure, the tuition fee and living expenses are usually in the ratio of 2:1.

Here, we will give you a break-up of various expenses that students incur while pursuing education in the country.

Tuition fee: According to the UK Council for International Student Affairs, annual tuition fee for international students in the UK range between USD 5000 to USD 27000, depending on the level of study and choice of university. The clinical courses are a little more expensive and range between USD 30000 to USD 50000 annually.

Accommodation: Accommodation in the UK is another major expense head for international students. While a university hostel would cost anywhere between USD 500-USD 1500 per month, depending on single or shared accommodation, private flats or homestay facilities are available for a monthly rent of USD 300 to USD 700.

Living expenses: The living expenses like that on food, grocery, electricity bill, internet connection, transport etc may also cost around USD 300 to USD 400 depending on the place of living.

Study in UK – Scholarship Options

As cost becomes a major constraint for many deserving students towards pursuing their study from top universities in the UK, a number of available scholarships for international students in general, and Indian students in particular, hold the prospect of bringing the expenses down considerably. With rising cost of education, depreciating rupee, and a tough economy, it becomes very important for you to know key scholarships which you can pursue to fund your education in the UK.  Sponsored by individuals, public authorities and public-private organizations, different scholarships carry specific criteria for scholarship award.

Below is a list of important scholarship available for International students.

Key Scholarships for study in UK

Scholarship Name Specific elements Application Opens
Dr Manmohan Singh Scholarships Age below 35 years; For doctoral degrees in subjects like Science & Technology, Economics and Social Sciences Mid –January
Commonwealth Scholarships For candidates wishing to pursue six months of clinical training OR One Year Taught Master’s Course OR Doctoral Degree of up to three years duration July/August
Charles Wallace India Trust Scholarships Grants towards final year of Doctoral study in UK; Long term awards generally from 2–3 months to a maximum of one year, covering accommodation, living costs in the UK, fees and a contribution to international fares September- November
Hornby Scholarships For one-year full-time Master’s degree in an English Language Teaching related subject in the UK November -February
Oxford and Cambridge Society of India Scholarship For Indian students of not more than 30 years of age wishing to pursue an undergraduate, second undergraduate, graduate study, or research in any subject at the Universities of Cambridge or Oxford Between 1st February and 30th April
Inlaks Scholarships For Indian students pursuing specific programmes like research, training or professional improvement September- October
Felix Scholarships For Indian students wishing to pursue their postgraduate education at the University of Oxford, the University of Reading, or the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), part of the University of London in the UK November – January
Scotland’s Saltire Scholarships For tuition fees for a one-year full time Undergraduate, Masters or PhD programme at any of Scotland’s higher education institutions April-May
The Gates Cambridge Scholarships For UG and PG students September -December
The Rhodes Scholarships India For outstanding PG students at the University of Oxford; Age limit of 18 to 28 years for both women and men May-July
Chevening UK Government Scholarships Funded by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and partner organizations; For international Students Summer

Study in UK – Visa Process

To pursue higher studies in the UK, one needs to essentially secure a study visa. The country allows two types of study visa – Short Term Visa and Tier 4 Visa.  While the Short-Term Visa is for those entering the country for educational programme of less than 6 months, the Tier 4 Visa is specifically for international students admitted to educational programmes of more than 6 months. For Tier 4 visa, the educational institutions where admission is being offered have to sponsor the visa for students to study in UK. The visa is issued for a particular course at the institution.

Tier 4 Study Visa for Indian Students

To be able to apply for a Tier 4 Study Visa, you need to have an offer from a university or college that has been approved by the UK government as a ‘licenced Tier 4 sponsor’. You will then be able to obtain a document called a ‘Confirmation of Acceptance of Studies (CAS)’ from your university or college. Once you receive the said document, you can apply online for your study visa at You must then take an appointment at the nearest visa application centre of the UK embassy to submit the application and biometric information. You should ideally apply for the visa at least three months before the start date of your course. Please also note that the CAS statement is valid for six months only. Therefore, the application should not be made later than six months after it was issued.

Short-term Study Visa Route

The short-term study immigration route allows Indian students to enter UK to undertake a short course of study. Students are supported under short-term study where the course duration is less than six months, or a part-time course where attendance is only required for short periods. For this, students are required to possess a letter to support entry to the UK as a short-term student.

There are, however, a few restrictions under the short-term visa where one cannot take employment in the UK either part-time or full-time. Also, a work placement/internship (paid/unpaid) as part of the course of study is also not allowed. Further, those on short-term visa must leave the UK within 30 days after the end of their study period or before the visa expires, whichever is earlier.

Requirements for possessing UK visa

  • Students coming to study at degree level will need to speak English at an ‘upper intermediate’ (B2) level, rather than the current ‘lower intermediate’ (B1) requirement.
  • UK Border Agency staff can refuse entry to students who cannot speak English without an interpreter, and who therefore clearly do not meet the minimum standard.
  • Only postgraduate students at universities and government-sponsored students will be able to bring their dependents.

Visa for work opportunities

With high tuition fees and living cost in the country, many students also pursue work after study opportunities to reduce their financial burden.  Below is the type of visa one can get for work opportunities post study in UK.

Visa types to apply for post-study work in UK:
Visa Type Synopsis Sponsorship requirement Maximum duration Switching from Tier 4 inside the UK What do I need to qualify? Are dependents allowed?
Tier 4 Doctorate


Extension Scheme

For students who have nearly completed their PhD and want to remain in the UK for a further 12 months to work, look for work or set up a business Need sponsorship from the university 12 months from course completion date Yes (but students can apply only from inside the UK) A CAS from the university. Yes
Tier 2 (General) The primary route for working in UK. This visa is granted for a specific job and employer Yes, from the Tier 2 licensed employer 5 years Yes Job offer from Tier 2 sponsor Yes
Tier 1 Graduate



A scheme for graduates who have genuine and pragmatic business ideas No (instead need endorsement from the university or UK Trade Center and Investment) 12 months with the scope of renewal for an additional 12 months Yes Investment of £200,000 or £50,000 Yes
Tier 5 Temporary Worker Short time visa for work experience or to do training Yes Up to 2 years Tier 5 sponsor Yes

Health and Insurance facilities

The international students who pursue studies in UK universities can also avail the public health care system of the UK – National Health Services (NHS). The students are also offered emergency services for free. Additionally, universities in the UK mandate that students get registered with a General Practitioner (GP) in accordance with the country’s study abroad health insurance policy.

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