Select A College

First, it is important to choose the right course. In Britain, the universities have much to offer, with a great diversity of more than 30,000 undergraduate programmes and over 2,000 taught postgraduate programs and research options in all subject areas, probably a wide a choice as anywhere in the world. At undergraduate level, there is a vast range of non-vocational degrees across all subject areas, plus an increasing variety of courses leading to specific careers and professional recognition, which sometimes include work placements.

There are now increasing numbers of modular degrees offering a wide choice of topics, as well as the traditional, single subject degrees, with some courses providing specific combinations of subjects. For example, it is often possible to combine study in a particular speciality with another subject which might widen future employment prospects, such as a European language, business, computing or psychology programme. Most undergraduate courses in the UK last for three or four years. Some institutions offer a pre-degree foundation course, to help students coming from a different educational system to prepare for entry to a UK degree course. At the graduate level, there are several one or two year taught master's degrees to choose from, as well as wide opportunities for doctoral study.

All institution produce their own literature, which will describe their courses and facilities. However, for an overall picture of what is available in the UK, a good first step is to consult the UCAS University and College Entrance Guide for undergraduate course information, or the CRAC Directory of Graduate Studies. Your local British Council Office will also be able to give you good advice about studying in the UK.

The type of institution and its location Secondly , it is important to consider the type of institution and its location. Again, the UK can offer a wide range of options, with now some 200 higher education institutions, including some 90 universities. Some, like Oxford, Cambridge and Durham, have long traditions. Indeed, Oxford, as the oldest university in the English-speaking world, welcomed one of its earliest overseas students, St. Emo of Friesland, in 1190. Others were founded in the 19th century, whilst more have been established over the past forty years as part of the expansion and development of the higher education sector. There are opportunities to study in large cosmopolitan cities, smaller regional towns, and on-campus sites inside or outside of urban centres. Indeed, several universities make a great deal of the social and community life they can offer. British universities offer outstanding library and laboratory facilities for research students, as well as the opportunity to work with academic staff at the leading edge of research in their field. Institutions will be able to provide information about the numbers of students enrolling in a particular subject area.
Teaching arrangements

Thirdly , it is worth reviewing the teaching arrangements. Many institutions are smaller and far less impersonal than their counterparts in other countries, even allowing for recent expansion in student numbers. Students will normally have close contact with their teachers, including the benefit of small group teaching. At Oxford and Cambridge, the tutorial system is an important feature of undergraduate teaching, with students meeting their college tutor in each subject every week, usually in pairs, to discuss work assignments. At graduate level, one-to-one supervision for research degrees is provided. Assessment methods will differ between institutions, and this is another factor you may wish to take into account when choosing where to study. There may be continuous coursework, examinations, or a mixture of the two. Some undergraduate degrees will include a short research project.

There are, of course, other advantages for students coming here. British higher education has a deserved reputation for quality, and its qualifications are widely regarded around the world as evidence of academic achievement. In the global employment market of the 21st century, good language skills - particularly knowledge of English - and the experience of other countries and cultures will be increasingly sought by employers. Good communications systems and proximity to continental Europe also provide plenty of scope for travel during the vacations.

The UK has a long established tradition of welcoming students from overseas, and institutions have extensive experience of helping them to settle into their new environment. Most will have international or welfare offices to help with any problems you may experience, in addition to providing formal introductory programs when you first arrive. Recent decades have seen a rapid increase in the internationalisation of higher education, and British universities have played a full part in this development. Mobility amongst students and young researchers is, of course, an essential feature in this process, helping the spread of knowledge.