University in England: What to Know Before You Go

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Did somebody say getting a degree abroad in England? What other country on earth could evoke images of Gothic architecture, students dressed in flowing black robes, and sit-down dinners in a fancy hall? Of course not all unis in England look like something straight out of the Harry Potter universe but some are pretty close (like Oxford University where lots of scenes from the movies were filmed)!

Somebody get me a cup of tea

Snuggle up with a cuppa and read everything you need to know before attending uni in England.

There are lots of great things university in England. For instance, you can start your vocational/professional studies right away. If you’ve got your heart set on being a doctor or a lawyer, you don’t need to mess around with four year liberal arts degrees first! You can hit the ground running! Also, you don’t need to ace any GRE exams for post-grad study. How wicked is that? Not to mention, unis in England are pretty diverse and attract the best and brightest from all over the world. Hello, future international besties! 

Going to England for university FAQs

If you’re thinking of going to England for university, you must be brimming with questions. Here are some of the most popular FAQs when it comes to universities in England for American students and everybody else, too!

What are popular universities in England for American students and other international students?

When it comes to popular universities in England for American students, there are some that go right to the top of the list. The island nation is home to several internationally ranked universities that span the north, south, east, and west. 

For instance, you could attend the oldest university in the English-speaking world, following in the footsteps of alumni like Stephen Hawking, Emma Watson, and CS Lewis at the University of Oxford. Studying at Oxford Uni also looks excellent on that resume (hint, hint!). The University of Cambridge also ranks highly when it comes to academic research and a tradition of learning. Jane Goodall, Tom Hiddleston (yes, Loki from the Marvel Universe), and Charles Darwin all walked its hallowed halls.

If studying in the heart of London’s more your thang, make a beeline for University College London (UCL) and the London School of Economics (LSE). Both have some of the most diverse student populations in the city, with many students coming from all over the globe. Queen Mary University of London is another top-notch choice for a master degree in England for international students because its self-contained campus uni scores high points when it comes to research.

Not too keen on studying at Oxbridge or in London? Get cozy in the home of Chaucer at the University of Kent in Canterbury (UKC), study near Shakespeare’s Stratford upon Avon at Warwick University, make your way to the University of Nottingham, home of Robin Hood, or head up north to the University of Manchester (Benedict Cumberbatch actually studied drama there!). 

Union Jack in the blue sky

God save the Queen.

What is the ballpark of my university in England cost?

So, what does university in England cost? In general, tuition fees for colleges in England for American students are pretty steep. Basically, if you’re from outside the UK and the EU, you have the pay the full cost of tuition. Expect to pay between £10,000- £35,000 for an undergrad degree at unis in England. Postgrad degrees (masters and PhDs) fees also depend on the subject and university.

Another good rule of thumb is that studying in London and other urban cities will be invariably more expensive than studying in rural areas in England. However, if you’re dying to live the big city life, here are some practical tips to budget for student life in London

Living costs also include accommodation. Most students live in campus halls or dormitories which usually include all utilities. Rent is usually £535 a month but London students can expect to pay more, £640 a month. This can be expensive for short-term students so maybe you can try living off campus or a homestay with a proper English family.

Other living expenses include school books and other university equipment (like sports gear), transport, food, and entertainment. Food averages £50 a week but if you cook most of your meals, you can save even more. A one-way bus ride usually costs £1.50 outside of London and other major uni towns. However, one of the perks of being a student at university in England is that you’re eligible for a student railcard which guarantees one third off the price of train tickets (score!).

Will the caliber of my degree be as good than a degree from my home country?

Of course it will! Maybe, it will be even better! Not only does going to England for university bring out massive Potterheads, it also offers a bloody-good tertiary education. With study abroad experience and especially a master degree in England for international students, doors start to fling wide open not just in your home country but in almost any country in the world. England colleges for American students are also highly recommended because their degrees are prized by employers for their holistic and globalized outlook.

England also has this tradition of higher learning that has spanned centuries and is second to none. In fact, dear Old Blighty continues to produce some of the finest graduates in the world, including world and thought leaders in almost any field. Rest assured you can study almost any subject at colleges in England for American students. Popular degrees include English Literature, Business, Theater, Law, Political Science, Economics, and History. 

Salisbury Cathedral, Salisbury, United Kingdom

Everywhere you turn it’s freakin’ Hogwarts—in the most brilliant way.

Additional considerations based on degree-types

Going to university in England is totally different to your average college experience in the US or elsewhere. First off, most undergrad and some postgrad degrees in jolly olde England follow the lecture style where you attend a set number of lectures each week and then sit in small groups or seminars to discuss questions, problems, and issues on the topic covered. 

Unis in England also tend to promote more independent thinking because they don’t spoon feed students. For instance, you’ll be assigned an essay topic or problem and it’s up to you to get your arse to the library or discuss it with your personal tutor/lecturer if you’re having problems. They won’t give you the answer but they’ll definitely point you in the right direction. Also, usually, there aren’t any midterms which means you have to assimilate a huge mass of material for one exam at the end of the semester or academic year! That means no slacking off during the term!

To get a UK undergraduate degree

First, compare undergraduate degree programs in England side by side to determine their strengths and weaknesses. Is each one capable of meeting your particular needs?  Do you want to do a single honors program which focuses on one subject, joint honors, or a major/minor program? Also, remember the actual university in England cost when choosing. 

Another thing you may want to consider is the vibe of the campus. As an undergrad, this will be your first step into the wonderful world of tertiary education. It can be scary, bewildering, or inspirational. You decide where you feel comfortable: an urban city campus or a more rural, laidback uni town? What’s the library like? What the gym? What activities and clubs are available? After all, you won’t be studying all the time!

To get your masters degree in England

Getting a masters degree in England for international students usually means leveling up. Maybe you want to get into academia, dive deep into research, or access better job opps/promotions. Here are some considerations you should explore when deciding to get your masters degree in England.

Masters degree programs in England usually last 1-2 years. This is perfect for graduates who don’t want to lose too much earning potential by being out of the job market for too long. They are either taught programs (usually MA or MSc) or research programs (MSc, MRes, or MPhil) that involve a research project instead of attending classes. Also, in general, masters programs tend to be more competitive and smaller than undergrad programs so that students can have more one-on-one time with tutors and lecturers.

To get your PhD in England

At England colleges for American students, a PhD usually takes up to three years. However, this can be shortened if you’ve already completed a research master in the same/related subject because your master’s research can be credited to your PhD program. 

PhDs are usually for students who are really serious their subject area. You must have strong and proven research skills. At the end of your program, you must also publish your findings and present your thesis. Another important consideration for PhD students is whether the university is reputed for your specific research area. Will you be able to teach while studying to earn extra income? Or, does the uni have a tradition of hiring past students as assistant lecturers and tenured professors? 

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Big Ben, Parliament, and the river Thames

You’ll never be late for class with Big Ben on the job.

Next steps to earning university degrees in the UK

Ready to skip over the pond for super awesome student adventures in JK Rowling’s home country? Here are some things that might help you decide whether England colleges for American students and other internationals is right for you.

Convinced yet? We hope you’ve already started researching going to England for university before we can finish saying “Spotted Dick” (which, by the way, is a legit British pudding (dessert), you naughty girls and boys!).

You’ll love going to university in England! 

GIF, Forgetting Sarah Marshall Paul Rudd, You sound like youre from London

Perks of university in England. 

If you choose to take this journey to Tolkien’s real Middle Earth (sorry, New Zealand), rest assured it will be such a good time (cue Queen anthem, Don’t Stop Me Now!). Before you know it, you’ll be cheering at the local footie match, chatting with your mates at the pub over a pint the Queen’s corgis, marveling that great quidditch match and curry over the weekend, or commenting how far superior British comedians are to their American counterparts.

Are you ready for the time of your life in the land of Cadbury, Marmite, cream teas, pub crawls, epic piss ups, and full English breakfasts? 

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