Each level of education in the UK has varying requirements which must be satisfied in order to gain entry at that level - learn more about the education entry requirements for the UK.
Entry Requirements to Study in the UK
Depending on what program you are looking at, the entry requirements will vary for international students. Although this page will provide you with some useful information with which to arm yourself about what is needed to gain entry into UK courses, you should inquire specifically to any course that you are considering.
What you will find in common throughout all courses and schools is that you will need to show competency in the English language.
For most schools and courses, your level of understanding and competency in English will be key to your acceptance in a major program such as a degree program. You will need to make sure you have a good level of English understanding and you can do this by taking one of the following commonly accepted tests of English ability:
If you need assistance with locating an English as a Second Language school (ESL School) please see the ESL directory for a comprehensive listing of schools around the world.
GCSE Entry Requirements
Entrance to take your GCSE's will depend very much on the school with which you are attending as you will generally need to register with a school for your GCSE education years (14 to 16 years old). Apart from the school’s requirements, the main requirements by the exams boards in the UK is that you have a good level of english ability as the exams will be taken in English - see English requirements above.
A-level Entry Requirements
Like with GCSE's it will be very dependent on the school you wish to attend as to what the requirements are to study A-levels there. For example, a 6th Form College may require that you have at least 5 GCSE pass grades of C or above, compare this to an independent school who may require 10 GCSE pass grades of B or above. So this will be very much dependent on the school.
You also need to consider that A-levels are a much higher level of work and so a very good understanding of the English language will be needed to work at this level. Some people say that A-levels are harder than most degrees programs as they prepare you for higher education.
Vocational Course Entry Requirements
As with GCSE's you will generally not need any formal qualifications to enter basic vocational course. Literacy skills and proficiency in the English language would be the only requirements, but again you should check with the school or institution that is running the program as they may have their own requirements.
University Entry Requirements
Each course in the UK sets it own entry, so they vary considerably. Most degree programs in the UK will require that the student have passed either A-levels and attained certain grades, for example 4 B grades, or equivalent grades in a BTEC or GNVQ. So within a university different courses will have different requirements and universities as a whole may have certain requirements that all students will have to meet. For example, the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge generally require all students to attend an interview, other universities will not require this.
Also, as an international student coming to the UK you can still attend University even though you may not have taken A-levels and have not been educated in the UK system, but you will need to contact the administrator of that program to find out what credentials from your home country you will need to provide.
So, how do you keep track of what is required for a course and how do you apply? In the UK, this is done through the University and Colleges Admission Service (UCAS) which processes and takes all applications for university admission in the UK. However, if you would like to first explore and compare universities in the UK you can start in our UK School Search.
You will need to apply through UCAS and work with their program which is as follows:
- September 1st Applications open for the next year
- January 15th EU Nationals Application Deadline
- June 30th Main application deadline
- June 30th to September 30th Clearing Process
A few things to note here:
- If you are planning to apply to Oxford or Cambridge the application process is a little different and different dates will apply to your application process so please contact the university directly for exact information.
- You are encouraged to get your application in as early as possible as the most popular courses will fill up very quickly.
- Students who did not achieve sufficient grades will often have to look for another place and this process is called clearing.
Applications need to be made to UCAS and you will need to make sure you gather all the information together in order to apply - this will include:
- Test scores and requirements the University has for international students (please check with the university you wish to attend as they will guide you on this)
- A personal statement
- A reference letter
- Payment to UCAS
There are two key resources that you should use as you gather information for studying in the UK and they are the UCAS website and the international office at the university you want to attend.
Please note that Scotland has a separate education system and does not conform to the above structure. Please learn more about the Scottish Education System.