- Higher education system and types of institutions in the UK
- Academic Culture of Great Britain: Features of Learning
- How to enter the UK universities?
It seems to all that it is very difficult for a foreign student to enter an English university, it is almost impossible. In fact, this is really a long and complicated process, but all the difficulties are quite solvable - especially for you SMAPSE experts created a detailed instruction on entering the British universities to answer the maximum of your questions. Prestigious and quality education in the UK - it's real!
Higher education system and types of institutions in the UK
By and large, higher education institutions in England and the UK are divided into 2 large groups:
- Recognised Bodies (issue academic degrees)
- Listed Bodies (do not offer degrees, they are studied mainly on effective preparatory programs, they are prepared for admission).
In total there are about 160 universities and colleges in the United Kingdom where you can get a bachelor's, master's or doctorate degree - both for British citizens and foreign students. If you choose Listed Bodies, you will not get a degree, but local programs are also very career-oriented, they will help you to qualitatively prepare for entering a desired university or will give you the opportunity to get a working specialization, with which you can start working.
The stages of higher education in the UK are as follows:
1) Undergraduate, or primary higher education
This stage includes bachelor's and Foundation programs, the highest national diploma of HND and the diploma of higher education DipHE, as well as a general certificate of higher education.
At the undergraduate level, students usually study for 3-4 years (a four-year course is more common in Scotland than in England): first there is a general course, and then the main specialization - here it is called Major. For example, a student can obtain a Bachelor of Medicine degree (BSc) with a specialization - Major - in anatomy. In addition to the classic Bachelor's Degree - Ordinary - successful students with high academic achievements can receive a diploma with honors.
The Foundation course is a classical academic course combined with career-oriented practice: it can be the main educational course, and effective preparation for the subsequent bachelor's degree. The statistics show that the graduates of the bachelor course, who have completed the Foundation program first, receive diplomas with honors.
The highest national diploma of HND and the diploma of higher education DipHE can also serve not only as independent courses, but also preparation for obtaining a bachelor's degree - successfully completed the program the student can be enrolled immediately for the 3 course of the bachelor's degree. You can choose a purely academic, scientific program or more applied sciences with a large number of practical exercises (for example, social work, nursing). As a rule, the HND diploma offers a wider academic spectrum and a choice of specialties.
The certificate of higher education is the lowest level of Undergraduate, which is most often used as a qualitative profile preparation for studying at other courses.
The next stages of higher education in the UK are represented by programs of magistracy and doctoral studies, MBA, diploma and professional qualifications. As a rule, graduate education is chosen by specialists wishing to deepen their knowledge or choose a more highly specialized, profile topic of their profession.
The master's course usually takes 1 year: in addition to the academic education of students, preparation and presentation of your own research project is awaited. The doctoral degree is a deep, fundamental, "fresh" scientific research, useful for the further development of the chosen field of science: the total duration of education, including obtaining a PhD doctorate, can take up to 7 years. PhD - the most prestigious scientific title and the highest qualification, which can be obtained at British universities.
Diploma and certificate programs Postgraduate are aimed at deepening knowledge and developing practical professional skills - often students choose them in order to qualitatively prepare for admission to the magistracy and further improve their qualifications. The duration and subject of such courses can be very different: specific details and requirements need to be recognized, having already been determined with a priority direction.
Also in the UK it makes sense to consider education on professional conversion rates. This is an excellent opportunity for young professionals to improve their own knowledge and skills, change the specialty received in the bachelor's program, increase their cadre value, or prepare for education in a completely different curriculum (if you have already obtained a bachelor's degree, but suddenly decided to build a career in another field).
Academic Culture of Great Britain: Features of Learning
All without exception, British universities and higher schools demand from their students initiative and independence: students build their own schedule, learn to distribute their own time and effort.
Classes are built in the form of practical and laboratory lessons, seminars and discussions, theoretical lectures, and often the main forms are combined - for example, during the lecture a small discussion on the topic is arranged. It is very important that the student learns to express and defend his point of view (even if it does not coincide with the opinion of the rest of the class and even the professor). Testing and homework are constantly given, but grades on them are rarely exhibited - they are more for self-checking students' level of mastery, understanding of the material.
Grades students receive for larger, voluminous and large-scale tasks: research and scientific projects, essays - and, of course, exams.
Today, all major British universities have their own online portals and platforms for students. Here you can find homework, plans and videos from lectures, lists of additional literature and optional materials for study, and students and teachers communicate.
How to enter the UK universities?
So it is the key question - how to become a student of an English university.
In general, now applications and packages of documents are sent to British universities through the online service UCAS (Universities and Colleges Admissions Service): more than 300 universities of the United Kingdom cooperate with UCAS (if the university is not on the UCAS list, it will be possible to cooperate and contact directly). Also, the direct submission of applications and documents is most often done for the programs of magistracy and doctoral studies, but gradually these courses are "pulled up" into the general UCAS system. SMAPSE experts also note a special similar portal CUKAS (Conservatories UK Admissions Service): it is used by applicants entering the programs of performing arts.
Admission is always on a competitive basis, and the specialties are divided into low-competitive and highly competitive (for example, medicine, jurisprudence, veterinary medicine, dentistry, architecture, pharmaceuticals). That is why SMAPSE specialists recommend that you take care of the questions of admission as soon as possible - at least one year before the expected start of studies: you need to find out the features of the admission, the deadlines for submitting applications, the requirements of the admissions committee and prepare the required package of documents.
1) Deadline for submission of documents
The academic year in the UK lasts from September to July - therefore it is especially important for foreign students to start the process of admission in advance: as a rule, applications from foreign applicants are considered individually in strict accordance with the declared deadlines.
Usually deadline for applications is 15 January (bachelor's courses), but if you are applying for secondary enrollment, you can apply through UCAS until June. The master's courses usually take place until July - but it is better, of course, to apply as early as possible in order to increase your chances of enrollment.
2) Required documents
The documents required by the selection committee may vary depending on the university chosen, but the main list can be approved as follows:
- Certificate of knowledge in English (TOEFL or IELTS)
- Diplomas and certificates of education (school certificate, bachelor's or master's degree, certificates of passed courses or programs of professional development, etc.)
- References from previous teachers and employers (2-3 references )
- Motivation letter - "Why I want to study at your university and this particular specialty"
- Copy of identity card (passport, international student card).
All documents must be translated into English and notarized. Please note that each institution has the right to establish additional tests for applicants: entrance tests or exams, personal interview, portfolio review, etc. For example, law schools often organize LNAN exams, medical schools - GAMSAT.
Be serious about writing a motivation letter - it has a very big weight in the eyes of the admissions committee. The essay letter should be written competently and in compliance with the accepted structure, seriously and understandably, informatively - let know that you are serious, academically worthy to study at the chosen university, tell what is important for this specialty and what academic, personal and career goals you plan to achieve in the future.