Sources of information

Last modified: 31 August 2017

The internet is a good place to obtain information about an institution and the courses it runs. For example, you can search for courses on the British Council's Study UK website.

You can look for and apply for undergraduate courses using the UCAS website.

The Steps to Postgraduate Study website helps you think about the right questions to ask when searching for a postgraduate course. You can also search for postgraduate research and study opportunities on the Prospects website.

Most institutions have details of their courses on their websites, or you can ask them to send you their prospectus, a free booklet which provides information about the institution and the courses it offers. 


Choosing a college or university

Last modified: 31 August 2017

There are many factors that you’ll want to consider when choosing what and where to study in the UK. Things such as the cost of the tuition fees and living expenses, the city where the university is located, the course curriculum and the university ranking  are the most likely to influence a decision. There are a number of different university rankings.

The UK government has recently introduced the Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF) which gives a ranking of Gold, Silver or Bronze for teaching quality to all institutions which offer degrees.

The QS World University Rankings website provides a good starting point in assessing prospective universities through a variety of filters such as country, subject, reputation, faculty and others. These are particularly useful as there are cases when, even if a university has a high overall ranking, its performance ranking for the course of interest might be lower than that.

You may also find the Times Higher Education useful. Each year they provide a ranking of 'most international universities in the world' and publish it on their website.

Other useful sources to check include the UCAS website, which includes useful advice and tips on choosing a course.

For more general information on further education including how to find a course or to read more about how it is like studying in Britain, have a look at the Association of Colleges’ website. 

UK immigration permission (a student visa) is granted only for study at colleges and universities which are listed on the Register of Tier 4 Sponsors.

Check the college or university website to find out what their policy is on refunding deposits and fees to you in the following circumstances:

  • your immigration application is refused
  • the college closes
  • the college loses its Tier 4 Sponsor Licence
  • your course doesn't run

You should also check on the website that they have a policy for handling complaints. Do not pay any money until you are clear what their policies are on refunds, and handling complaints.Print the policies out in case you need to refer to them later. You should ask the college or university to send you written copies if you cannot find the policies on their website.


Last modified: 31 August 2017

The UK Government has an official list of institutions that can award recognised UK degrees.

How to apply?

Last modified: 13 October 2023

For undergraduate degree level courses at UK publicly-funded institutions, you should apply through the central admissions system called the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS). The UCAS website has information specifically for international students and you can apply online.

You can read one international student's experience of applying through UCAS including how to understand the personal statement on the Times Higher Education website.

However, some universities also accept direct applications to their undergraduate degree courses: check with the university's admissions office.

For other courses, for example Postgraduate courses or English Language courses, check the institution's prospectus for the correct way to apply and any application deadlines.

If you wish to study at a private institution, you should apply direct: the institution's website or prospectus should give details of how to do this.

Your qualifications

Last modified: 31 August 2017

You can check the equivalence of your country's qualifications with those in the UK by contacting the National Recognition Information Centre for the UK (UK NARIC). The international recruitment staff at the institution where you want to study may also be able to advise you.

Tuition fees

Last modified: 31 August 2017
The Complete University Guide publishes a survey of University Tuition Fees in the UK each year. Fees at other types of provider, including private providers and publicly-funded further education, are available by contacting each institution.