How does the Higher Education System in the UK works?

Uk Blog 1 New 1

The United Kingdom is renowned for having the best faculty members in the world and the top-ranked universities, but what precisely is the framework employed in the UK for education? The study in the UK is well known for its high caliber and standards worldwide. Early years, primary years, secondary education, further education (FE), and higher education make up the five levels of the British education system (HE). British citizens begin their education at age three, and until 16, they are required to attend school (compulsory education), with the rest of their lives being at their discretion.

The education in the UK at various levels in each of the three administrative zones (England, Scotland, and Wales) differs slightly despite having many commonalities. Generally, these distinctions are not significant enough for us to refer to higher education in the UK as a single entity.


How does study in the UK function?

In the UK, secondary school education is followed by a higher education degree. Typically, students begin their first degree at a university when they are at least 18 years old. Unlike in the US, there is no distinction between colleges and universities, and most people refer to institutions of higher learning simply as colleges; this is not the situation in the UK. In this case, a university is a certified institution of higher education, whereas a college serves as a further education facility that prepares students to achieve degrees.

There are three stages of the education system followed by universities in the UK:

  • Undergraduate 
  • Graduate
  • Ph.D.

Undergraduate degrees

At a university, the first level of studying in the UK  is an undergraduate degree. If you are pursuing an honours degree full-time, it takes at least three or four years to finish a bachelor’s degree. Bachelor of Arts (BA) and Bachelor of Science (BSc) degrees are the most popular bachelor’s degrees. They demonstrate the caliber and focus of the university degree. Some degrees need one year of professional experience (usually in your third year).

In fast-track programs offered by some British universities, you can get a Master’s degree while still an undergraduate. In contrast to standard undergraduate levels, students in these programs have the option to enroll in an additional year of study before being admitted to a Master’s program. In addition to being significantly less expensive than standard 3-year undergraduate programs, the schedule is rigorous, and the classes are typically much more demanding.


Graduate degrees

After earning a bachelor’s degree, students can pursue postgraduate degrees, such as a master’s or doctorate. For students enrolled full-time, master’s degrees typically take one to two years to finish. Compared to a Bachelor’s degree, a postgraduate degree is more research-based and requires more independent study. The MA (Master of Arts), Humanities and Social Sciences, and MSc (Master of Sciences) are the two most popular master’s degree specializations.



The utmost degree that is offered at UK universities is a Ph.D., a research degree. The Ph.D. study in the UK is centered around a significant research project on a topic of academic interest that is produced as a thesis and is often up to 100,000 words in length. This thesis must then be proved in an oral examination before a panel of experts. A supervisor is appointed individually to each student, and a Ph.D. typically takes around three years to complete when done full-time, and if it is part-time, it can take six years.

Students with research degrees must manage their own time and workload more independently because taught modules are uncommon in these degrees.


International Students Studying in the UK

If you’re an international student in the UK, you should note that not all higher education institutions in the UK are referred to as universities. Law governs this matter. This official regulation states that a higher education facility may refer to itself as a “university” in the following circumstances:

  • If the Privy Council approves in accordance with the Further and Higher Education Act of 1992
  • If it receives permission in accordance with the terms of the Companies Act of 2006.

One should be aware that they will require a student visa to study in the UK if you are an international student from a nation other than the European Economic Area (EEA) or Switzerland. The official student visa in the UK is the Tier 4 (General Student) visa, which can be applied for if you are 16 years old and a citizen of one of these nations. You should ensure you have the funds necessary to pay for your stay during your education. You must demonstrate financial stability when applying for a visa in order to finance your course fees and other study costs in the UK.

The majority of undergraduate education in the UK is state-funded, with some top-up fees to cover costs, except for the University of Buckingham and BPP University College. The hierarchy within universities is known to those who study there. The Russell Group, a network of 24 British public research universities, houses some of the most esteemed universities in the nation and is a part of the British educational system. Universities including the University of Birmingham, the University of Oxford, the University of Cambridge, and the University of York are part of this esteemed association. These are all renowned universities, and many individuals, UK residents, and international students wish to enroll in one of these institutions.


University System

Many universities in the UK, including Cambridge, Oxford, and some others, still operate under traditional collegiate systems. Colleges at universities provide a location to reside, socialize, and access services, resources, and recreational opportunities. Each has a distinct personality and past. As a result, individual solid communities are formed within the larger student population. Learn more from Msmunify to get in-depth details about these Universities


Training and Education

The most prestigious institutions in the UK place a strong emphasis on research-led education. At UK universities, you can pursue various degree programs at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Academics of the highest caliber who are enthusiastic about their subjects offer the instruction. There is a mix of lectures, seminars, and tutorials when teaching. Other vital components include independent study, practical engagement, and arguments.




How will studying in the UK benefit International students?

The UK has many reasons to attract international students looking for higher education degree that has world-class value and gives weightage to kick-start your career.

Study in UK Benefit

Renowned Universities

Universities in the UK are renowned for their academic excellence, among other things. Studying in the UK allows you to benefit from everything the nation offers while obtaining a degree that is respected worldwide. Some of the famous universities in the UK are:

  • University of Glasgow
  • University of Cambridge
  • University of Oxford
  • Imperial College London
  • University College London (UCL)
  • University of Manchester
  • King’s College, London
  • University of Warwick
  • The University of Edinburgh

A long history of excellence

Some of the world’s most prominent and oldest institutions are in the United Kingdom. Founded over 800 years ago, Oxford and Cambridge are the two oldest universities to study in the UK, known for their quality education across the globe.


Career Advancement

University life includes a significant amount of career preparation. Universities with structured development programs, like Oxford University, can help you achieve your career goals and stand out in the graduate job market.



Msmunify can help you with applying and admissions to prestigious UK universities. We are sensitive to your worries and anxieties, so we make sure you receive accurate information and support about study visas, financial scholarships, accommodation, and other essential considerations while traveling abroad for academic reasons.



Recent posts

Filter by Categories

Program Filter x

  • More

New to MSM Unify?