England is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Wales to its west and Scotland to its north. The Irish Sea lies northwest of England and the Celtic Sea to the southwest. England is separated from continental Europe by the North Sea to the east and the English Channel to the south.

The UK is a country with rich history and culture, stunning countryside, paired with world-leading modern art, design, culture, fashion and sport. A UK education offers something for everyone. 

From bustling cities to snow-capped mountains, rolling green hills to highlands and islands, the UK is beautiful and exploring is a must. Its relatively small size and good transport links mean that you can see a lot while you are here. There are four nations that make up the UK: England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. 


The largest of the four countries of the UK, England also contains the most universities, so there are plenty of options if you want to study here.

The UK’s academic reputation is world-renowned. Built on a heritage that is now centuries old, UK approach to education applies the very latest learning theory through universities that routinely top international tables. UK innovative teaching methods produce successful, versatile graduates who are sought-after by employers around the world.

World-ranked universities

UK universities have featured strongly in world rankings ever since they began. In 2021 the Times Higher Education World Rankings  honoured UK  with two of the world’s top ten universities, including the world’s top university – the University of Oxford . This high quality can be found right across the country, with seven of the top 50, and 26 of the top 200 universities found here in the UK. 

Quality that’s government-guaranteed

The UK’s 162 higher education institutions are all held to strict standards by the government, so you know you are getting the best teaching, support and resources available.

A full list of ‘recognized bodies’ – universities and colleges that can award degrees – is published every year, to make it easy for students to see the comparative quality on offer up and down the country – and ensure they’re qualification will have credibility overseas.

Student Visa

Most international students need a student visa to study in the UK. Your student visa will allow you to live and study in the UK throughout your course.

If you attend a pre-departure briefing in your home country, you will pick up more handy tips on your visa application.

The UK Education System

The UK education system is divided into early years, primary education (upto Year 6), secondary education (Year 7-11), pre-university or further education (Year 12-13), and higher education consisting of undergraduate and postgraduate studies.

Early, Primary and Secondary Education

In the UK, primary and secondary education encompasses Reception/Kindergarten to Year 11. Students begin their education at age 4, and typically graduate at age 16 with a General Certificate of Secondary Education (GCSE). GCSE is earned once students complete a set of standardized exams for their chosen subjects at the end of Year 11.

  • Prospective international students can apply to study at independent schools. State schools do not accept international students, except for the dependant children accompanying an adult international student.

Further Education

Full-time education is compulsory until age 18 in the UK. After completing secondary school at age 16, British students go on to attend a Further Education (FE) college for two years, referred to Year 12 and Year 13 of their education journey. Students can choose to attain academic qualifications which are required for admission into a university, or pursue vocational qualifications to go directly into the workforce. Admission is based on one’s GCSE scores.

Higher Education

Higher Education refers to degree education, and includes both undergraduate (Bachelor) and postgraduate (Masters and Doctoral) studies.

  • Bachelor’s degrees are typically awarded after three (3) years of full time study in the UK. It will take four (4) years if the student adds a year of work experience in between their study terms, referred to as a sandwich year. Professional degrees, such as medicine, veterinary and architecture degrees, require five (5) years of study.
  • Students can earn a Master’s degree in one year, while a Doctorate is typically completed in three to five (3-5) years.
  • Students can also pursue an Integrated Master’s degree, a four-year that combines undergraduate and graduate studies. Students are admitted after A-levels (further education), and do not receive a Bachelor’s degree in the process.

Higher Education is typically offered by universities, though some Further Education colleges and institutes also award degrees and foundation degrees (a two-year degree) in partnership with a recognized body. A recognized body is a higher education institution that is recognized by British government through legislation, and authorized to award degrees in the UK.

Levels of Study and Qualifications 

With over 50,000 courses to choose from, there is a wide variety of study options and qualifications that students can pursue in the UK to prepare themselves for their desired careers. The qualifications that students can earn fall into one of the eight levels that are established by the government based on the difficulty level.

Qualifications that are commonly pursued in the UK, and the levels they are at, are specified in the Ofqual Register of Regular Qualifications and outlined below