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Universities : UK Education System

Education in the UK is internationally recognised for its quality and variety. The UK's top priority is to pursue the highest possible standards and to ensure access to good education for every child, young person and citizen. EU and overseas students from all over world come to the UK for an first-class education. The welcome, the culture and the richness of experience that comes from living in the UK is an education in itself.

Each year, hundreds of thousands of international students come to study in the UK because we offer such outstanding opportunities. There is a huge range of degree courses offered by more than 180 institutions - the University of London alone has more than 40 institutions. You can study towards internationally-recognised qualifications in medicine, law, accountancy, architecture and other professions; or in the arts, media, humanities, business, science and technology. There is a spectrum of research and postgraduate degrees where students are guided by academic supervisors with world-class reputations. For families from the EU and overseas living in the UK, each community is served with a choice of state-run and independent schools. There are also international schools, boarding schools and specialist schools which provide education from nursery to university.

  • English language courses
  • Independent schools and colleges
  • Career-based and pre-university courses
  • Undergraduate degree courses
  • Postgraduate programmes
  • MBAs

English language courses

The UK – as the home of the English language – has a long tradition of teaching English to speakers of other languages and English language schools have much experience of working with students from all over the world. Courses are available at all levels, providing as much or as little support as you need. And class sizes are small so teaching staff can pay close attention to your learning needs.

Our English language teaching style is mainly practical and you’ll be encouraged to communicate from the moment you enter the classroom. The wide range of creative teaching methods includes games, role-playing exercises, problem-solving and group discussions. You will also be able to use technology and language laboratories to study independently.

Independent schools and colleges

Independent boarding schools in the UK are well-known for the quality of their teaching and their excellent facilities. You can expect to be taught in a small group, where your teacher will give you all the individual attention you need to help you achieve your academic goals. Independence, sociability and a love of learning are all gained from studying at independent schools.

UK schools regularly welcome many international students like you and make special arrangements such as providing English language support.

Career-based and pre-university courses

If you are on a career-based course you’re encouraged to take responsibility for your own studies with extensive support from tutors and lecturers. You might find yourself working on projects with other students, spending time in college libraries and being assessed through practical demonstrations, as well as through essays and examinations. Your course will combine practical skills with a sound academic underpinning, all geared towards a particular career or job.

Most students on career-based courses study at further education colleges. At these colleges you will be assigned a personal tutor who will monitor your academic progress and can advise you on how to improve your study skills or tackle particular academic problems. Most colleges also provide English language support.

Undergraduate degree courses

During degree programmes, some specific elements will be compulsory but others will be optional, allowing you to tailor the course to your interests. The core topics of your course will be outlined to you through lectures.

More in-depth analysis will take place in smaller tutorial and seminar groups where you’ll prepare topics in advance and discuss them with the other students and the tutor. You will be assigned your own personal tutor with whom you can review your individual progress and discuss any problems. You’ll need to read extensively around the subject and you’ll be encouraged to form your own ideas and opinions. The close contact between students and tutors is a particular strength of UK degree courses.

If you choose a technical subject, you are likely to spend a large portion of your time in supervised laboratory work, designed to develop necessary technical skills.

UK institutions also provide excellent English language support for international students like you. Many have language centres where you can use language-learning materials. Many also offer in-sessional English classes for international students. In-sessional courses provide support tailored to your needs, focusing on the language and study skills to help you in the work for your main course.

Postgraduate programmes

All postgraduate programmes require you to do a great deal of work on your own initiative. On taught courses, postgraduate tutors and lecturers will provide the framework of the course and, within this, you will be able to pursue your own interests. On research programmes, the principal teaching method is original research, which you complete under academic supervision. Writing a dissertation about your research forms a substantial part of the programme. Many UK research programmes now begin with introductory taught courses that provide training in research skills to help you prepare for the advanced research you’ll need to do.

Close contact between students and tutors is a particular strength of all UK degree courses, with opportunities to review your individual progress and discuss any problems. As with undergraduate degrees, UK institutions also provide excellent English language support for international students. Many have language centres where you can use language-learning materials. Many also offer in-sessional English classes for international students, focusing on the language and study skills you will need for the work on your main course.


Master of Business Administration (MBA) courses are a particularly intensive, challenging and rewarding form of taught postgraduate course. You’ll be expected to work through a very large amount of material, complete projects and assignments and give regular presentations. Teaching methods characteristic of MBAs include case studies, simulations and business games.

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