British higher and further education provides value for money by offering shorter, more intensive courses than are available in many other countries, thereby reducing living expenses and time spent away from home. Closely supervised study in an intellectually and culturally stimulating environment, together with an emphasis on student welfare and close contact between staff and students also ensures that individual students get maximum support and, as a result, pass rates are high and the drop-out rate for international students is very low.
Britain has long been a popular destination for Indian students. With more than 150 institutes of higher education to choose from, all equipped with extensive facilities, Britain is able to offer a broad spectrum of subjects from the highly academic to the purely practical in anything from architecture to zoology.
Details about various Qualifications offered by UK Colleges and Universities:
First Degree Courses in Arts and Sciences (Bachelor's degree) are normally of three or four years' duration and are largely taught courses, sometimes including the preparation of a short written thesis.
Sandwich Courses are where the coursework is accompanied by practical work. A student could either complete 2 years of college, then a year of commercial training before returning for a final year in college. Or, he/she could do a 4-year course with 3-6 months' training interspersed each year. The main advantage is that the student gets real experience while in the learning mode. Most universities offer this type of education.
Higher National Diploma (HND) is awarded by Vocational and Technical Educational Councils. They offer a 2-year course in a vocational subject like scientific and technical business subjects. Great emphasis is placed on work experience. It is often seen as the first step towards a degree course as the credits can be transferred.
Vocational Courses offer an opportunity to enter the university system slowly. Business and Technology Education Council (BTEC), General Vocational Qualifications (GNVQ), General Scottish Vocational Qualifications (GSVQ) offer recognized courses in a range of disciplines. Most students opt to take 1-2 years of, for example, BTEC courses before being transferred to a degree programme. BTEC national certificates/diplomas are usually accepted as an alternative to A-Levels.
Postgraduate study may take the form of an independent piece of research under supervision or a taught course, and leads to a variety of degrees and awards. The taught courses normally last for one or sometimes two years. Completion of a doctorate normally takes a minimum of three years. Many post-experience courses are also available, either leading to a qualification or providing a refresher course for graduates wishing to update or extend their knowledge. Occasional students are admitted by some institutions in limited numbers. They attend courses or undertake research, possibly for a period of one or two years. These courses do not lead to any formal qualification or 'credit' although certificate of satisfactory attendance may be given.
International Students Issues
This section discusses the various issues faced by international students applying to the U.K. for education. We discuss here eligibility criteria for UK colleges, accommodation, health insurance and rules for taking up employment while studying.
Undergraduate (Bachelor Level)
British students undergo thirteen years of pre-university education as compared to twelve years in India. Outstanding marks from one of the two Central Boards (CBSE or ICSE) or their equivalent, or the first year of an Indian degree programme are therefore usually required for direct entry into an undergraduate programme in UK.
For those who do not, as yet, have these qualifications, there is a range of access or foundation courses available. Foundation courses range from four months to a year.
Applicants must satisfy both general and course requirements for admissions :
A specified number of subject passes at both GCE "A" Levels and GCSE at grade C minimum is required for admissions in UK educational system. An equivalent Indian qualification such as a good score in the CBSE and ICSE etc.
Course requirement details can be obtained from prospectuses of institutions which are available at the Education Counselling Service located in the British Council offices or Libraries.
For Entry into Oxford, Cambridge and London University, ‘A' level results are required. This in Indian context would mean one year in a college after 12 years of education.
Post Graduate (Master's & Doctorate level)
Most UK universities accept the Indian graduation system of three years for entry into most postgraduate courses. An Indian bachelor degree like B.A., B.Com. or B.Sc. is equivalent to a British Bachelor (Ordinary) Degree.
However, some courses and universities may require a qualification equivalent to British Bachelor (Honours) Degree, which requires 16 years of formal education, which would mean another year after graduation or a four year degree course like B.E., B.Tech or other such courses.
For most Universities, a good first degree from a leading university in India or its equivalent is essential.
For more details on British Degrees and their Indian equivalent, check out the table below:
Indian Equivalent Degree
British Bachelor (Ordinary) Degree
| A three-year Indian Graduation Degree like B.A. or B.Sc. and other such courses.
British Bachelor (Honours) Degree
| A four-year Indian graduation course like B.E. or B.Tech. or other such courses.
A post graduate degree, from Indian university, like M.A., M.Sc. or other such courses.
British Master's Degree
| A post graduate degree like M.Tech. or M.E. from I.I.T. or I.I.Sc. and other such colleges
There are various options available for living in UK. Most universities have rooms in their halls of residence where international students can rent a room. But usually if you accept a room in a university, you would be required to sign a binding arrangement to remain in hall for the full academic year. This policy varies with each university.
Alternately, you could also take private accommodation. This could be either with a British family or sharing a flat with other students. Usually universities have an accommodation office, which can help you with this.
Most international students take up independent accommodation close to the university along with other international students. This turns out to be cheaper and convenient.
You need not worry about accommodation in UK. There are several options. You would get a good idea when you join the university. Of course, it always helps to be in touch with students already studying there.
| International Student Health Insurance ^ TOP
Britain has a subsidized health service which provides free health care and treatment for people who are resident in Britain.
Students who are enrolled on a programme which will last for more than six months are also entitled to NHS treatment.
If a doctor prescribes any medicines these are subsidized but there will be a charge made for each prescription - currently 5.75 UK Pounds per item.
Dental treatment is subsidized by NHS but everyone has to pay something towards the cost of their treatment.
| Part-Time Work & Jobs ^ TOP
U.K. is one of the few countries that allows international students to work even outside the campus. Students can work upto 20 hours per week during the semester and full-time during vacations.
Contrary to popular belief, students are able to obtain part-time employment quite easily in bigger cities like London and Birmingham. Students are entitled to work full time during the holidays. There is no permission required for most international students to take part-time and vacation work. Students can take up placements or internship placements, which are part of a ‘sandwich course'.
Usually, most jobs are minimum wage jobs like work in fast food joints and department stores. The higher paid jobs involve working in call centres. You should also explore opportunities available in your university. You can earn approximately around 4 - 5 Pound Sterling per hour.
Please note that You should not plan on earning substantial money from a part-time job to help pay for your studies.
For further details, contact the foreign student adviser at the university, after you are enrolled.
Student Visa Information
Visa applications have to be made on IM2A forms, which are available free of cost at the British Embassies. This form has to be filled up by the student and submitted to the embassy, along with the Visa application fee and the required documents as mentioned below.
Immigration Rules for Students
You must intend to study at a publicly funded university or college, a bonafide private institution or a fee-paying independent school.
You must be able to and intend to follow a full time degree course, or a weekday, full time course at a single institution involving at least 15 hours of organized, daytime study per week.
You must be able to pay for your course and the living expenses of your husband or wife and children (if they are with you) without working in UK or claiming public funds.
You must not intend to work in UK unless you are accepted for a course lasting longer than six months, when you may work part-time or during vacations.
You must intend to leave UK at the end of your studies.
Documents Required For a Student Visa
- A letter of acceptance on the course
This will be a letter from your institution confirming that a place has been offered to you and that the course is full-time as defined by the immigration law. The letter should state how long the course will last. Where your course is more advanced and specialized, the letter should also state what level of English is needed for the course (giving minimum test marks, if appropriate) and confirm that you satisfy this requirement.
- Evidence that you can pay the course fees and support yourself and your family, if applicable
Depending on your circumstances, this could include evidence of government sponsorship, a letter from a sponsor in UK confirming they can support you, together with evidence that they can do this, and/or your own bank statements. You should also provide a letter from your place of study stating the full cost of the course, what arrangements are acceptable for payment and whether you have already paid fees or a deposit.
Although the immigration rules do not require unaccompanied students to show that accommodation has been arranged, your place of study may have given you information about its availability, and you should bring this to the attention of the ECO. If your family is coming with you to the UK, you will need to show that there will adequate accommodation for them. If your place of study cannot confirm that family accommodation will be available, you may have to consider travelling to the UK alone and making arrangements for your family to join you when you have found somewhere to live.
Interview is a part of your visa application process.
The interview is to give you the opportunity to clarify for the ECO certain parts of your application. The ECO will be aiming to satisfy him or herself that your study plans are genuine and workable.
The interview is a normal part of the process, but you may feel quite nervous before it and find it an uncomfortable experience. ECO's are trained professionals who will try to make the process as painless as possible, but the questions are necessarily very direct and personal.
You should prepare for such an interview carefully. In particular :
Be familiar with all your study plans; why you chose the particular institution and course; how the course will help your future career;
Be clear about the cost of living and the course and your finances: do you have enough money to complete the course? Can you prove it?
Be as clear as you can about your likely future career in your country: what are you going to do on your return.
What Money Do I Need ?
what money you need to have to cover your course fees and monthly living costs at the time you submit your application for your adult student visa.
You need to get 10 points for your money, which is also known as the maintenance requirement.
The money that you need depends on where you are studying and how long for. You may be allowed to show that you have a lower amount of money to cover your monthly living costs if you have completed in the past four months, or are about to complete, a course of study in the United Kingdom that was at least six months long.
You must show that you have held the money for at least 28 days. But there are transitional arrangements in place if you are applying before 1 October 2009.
How Long Can I Stay For ?
The time you are allowed to stay for is the same if you are applying for a new student visa or if you are applying to extend your student visa.
You are allowed to stay for the full length of your course, and for some time after your course, before you leave the United Kingdom. The time you are allowed to stay for after your course depends on the type of course you study.
If you are 18 years old or over and studying below degree level, you will only be allowed to study for a total of three years in the United Kingdom. (This does not include any time that you have spent studying below degree level under the student rules that were in place before 31 March 2009.)
If you have financial sponsorship, and your sponsor limits the time you can study in the United Kingdom, we will limit your stay to the same time as your sponsorship.
Type of Study or Work Placement I Can Do
You must study a course at an acceptable level, and you should check to see what the requirements for each type of course are.
You can do a work placement if it is not more than 50% of the length of the course in the United Kingdom, and you can do a Student Union sabbatical officer job for up to two years.
Postgraduate doctors and dentists can do a recognised Foundation programme for up to three years.