Living, working or studying in London? This guide will help you get around as it covers central topics such as UK visa, housing, universities in London and general tips & info about living in London.
London is one of the world's most popular study abroad locations with over 100,000 international students coming from more than 200 different countries. The main higher education courses taught across the universities in London and the UK covers Business, Finance and Management, Arts, design, architecture, Science, IT, engineering, Law, Medicine and Veterinary. With about seven million people living in London, and over 300 languages commonly spoken, London is a capital for multicultural experiences and events, combined with internationally renowned academic institutions, London is a natural selection for those interested in Studying abroad in Europe.
Higher Education in London:
With dozens of universities in London offering various degree programs for both local and international students, a variety of higher education courses are available. The academic year in the UK is based on three terms per year, which are slightly different in length and date across the various universities. These terms sessions intervals are in September/October, January and May.
Most undergraduate degree programs in the UK take three years to finish; however, another increasing in popularity option is a program of four years, which includes one year of actual internship in a work place. Some professional degrees like medicine, veterinary, law etc. have longer programs of about five years.
EU students will need to pay the same tuition fee as UK nationals. However, non EU students will have to pay higher amounts (depending on the selected university). The fees for international students in London can ranges on an avg. of between 3,100£ to 18,000£ and in some cases, even more.
Which studies are available in London:
As one of the most popular study abroad destinations for higher education, the universities in London provide highest quality qualifications to its alumni and over a century old experience to those looking to study In the UK. The universities in London cover all major study courses, and the most popular with international students in the UK are: Business, Finance & Management; Arts, Design & Architecture; Science, IT & Engineering; Humanities, Law & Media, Medicine, Healthcare & Veterinary.
The education system in the UK:
World known for being a hub for international students, the higher education system in London offers the highest quality teachings and research facilities. In addition to the standard higher education courses offered in other countries, the universities in the UK offer short, intensive courses programs which reduce substantially the living costs. The various qualifications which can be obtained by universities and colleges in London are:
- Bachelor's degree (first degree) in Arts and Sciences - usually obtained within 3-4 academic years.
- Sandwich courses - offered by many universities, the sandwich course is a higher education program combining between theoretical studies and actual work experience.
- HND - the higher national diploma is often the basis for a degree course, this diploma focuses on the technical and scientific subjects.
- Vocational courses - these courses provide a graduated entry opportunity to enter the higher education system.
- Postgraduate - usually one or two years studies which build the basis for advanced degrees and awards such as Master's & Doctorate levels.
The entry requirements for international students vary based on their selection of higher education program. However, In general, for most universities the student's control in the English language will be a crucial point in accepting admissions of international students. It is imperative to assure a good enough level of understanding in English by taking one of the standardized tests such as: TOFEL, IELTS,UCLES.
Universities in London:
The city of London has 40 higher education institutions, not counting foreign Universities with affiliate branches in London, colleges and schools, which are both internationally renowned for their academic teachings and considered as the most popular study abroad destination in the UK for internationals students. You can find below a quick summery for some of the leading academic institutions and universities in London:
- University of the Arts London - This University consists of six worldwide famous colleges (Camberwell College of Arts, Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design, Chelsea College of Art and Design, London College of Fashion and Wimbledon College of Art). International students enjoy from the collaboration of the university faculties with major brands during their studies, as well as its experience and network of established contacts. The university of the Arts London boasts over 20,000 students, 250 courses and over 350 course short courses.
- Birkbeck, University of London - A public research university offering many Master's and Bachelor's degree programs that can be studied either part-time or full-time. most of the teachings are conducted during the evenings. The University was ranked in the top 150 universities in the word (2011/2012) and received the prestigious Queens' anniversary prize of excellence in higher education research. With over 20,000 students, and a staff of over 2,000, it offers a multi-cultural student experience and an opportunity to be part of tens of thousands of former students within its alumni.
- Brunel University - Founded in 1966 and organized into eight academic schools and around 10 research institutes, the university is providing world class higher education for more than 15,000 students. Offering courses covering many subjects, it is best respected for the courses in engineering and design.
- City University London - City University has a research experience of over a century, and has been highly ranked for its graduate employability and high salaries. Focusing on the studies of business and professions, it has close ties with many leading professional institutes both locally in the UK and abroad. In addition to the main campus located in Islington, City university has seven schools spread across London (Cass Business School, City Law School, School of Community and Health Sciences, School of Arts, School of Informatics, School of Engineering and Mathematical Sciences and the School of Social Science). While the Cass Business School ranks highly in the UK and world-wide for undergraduate and postgraduate courses, the City Law School is ranked first in London as an educational center for students and practitioners. The foreign student comminute in City university comprised of over 24,000 students arriving from over 150 countries schooled by a diverse academic staff from 40 nations.
- University of East London - with more than 26,000 students coming from 110 countries, this university offers a very diverse foreign student learning experience. Its student Village is the most modern accommodation campus in London, hosing over 1,100 students. In addition, The University of East London has student exchange programs with numerous universities abroad, as well as financial aid for those who participate through Erasmus in London.
- Goldsmiths, University of London - founded in 1891, this university specializes in the arts, humanities and social studies. Its Department of Art is recognized as one of the UK's most prestigious learning institutes, alongside its respected Psychology, Sociology, Media and Cultural Studies, Languages and Literature, Visual Cultures and Anthropology. Goldsmiths has over 9,000 students from which ~20% are international students living in London.
- University of Greenwich - with close to 5000 international students coming from more than 140 countries, the university of Greenwich offers English language tuition and academic support to all students whom their native language is not English.
- Imperial College London - The Imperial College of Science, Technology and Medicine is ranked among the best universities in the world for teaching and research in the fields of medicine, science, engineering and management. The Imperial college is among the most selective universities in London (and the UK) with an overall acceptance rate of less than 20%.
- King's College London - one of the oldest and most prestigious universities in the UK, and considered among the world's top universities in the world. King's college offers its 23,000 students, from which 20% are international students, an opportunity to gain the highest quality education along the chance to enjoy the numerous social and cultural activities in the heart of London.
- Kingston University - with strong ties to the industrial market, Kingston University offers established employment opportunities to its alumni. This established university, with over a century long teaching history, offers its 23,000 students (from which 3,600 foreign students) courses in the fields of Art and Design, Architecture, Arts and Social Sciences, Business and Law, Computing, Information Systems and Mathematics, Engineering, Health and Social Care as well as Science.
- London Metropolitan University - with over 28,000 students, London met offers classes in various fields such as: Business, life sciences, computing, Humanities, Arts and languages, applied social studies, architecture and Spatial Design, Law, and international relations, Art, Media and Design.
- London School of Economics - The London School of Economics and Political Science (SLE) is leading teaching institute for the economics, political and social studies. Students from over 140 countries attend to the LSE, and almost 50% of its student come from non European countries.
- London South Bank University - with origins of foundation dating back to 1892, the LSBU has over 25,000 students and close to 1,700 staff members, and considered one of the biggest and most established universities in London. If offers both full and part time programmes and cultivating strong ties with the local industry putting emphasize on employment opportunities for its alumni.
- Middlesex University - strong in the Business, Computing and the Arts studies, Middlesex University is a very popular destination for studying in London. It has a diverse student body of about 21,000 students, 23% of which are international students coming from both European and non European countries.
- Queen Mary, University of London - ranked at the top 200 of world's universities (2011/2012), and one of the largest universities in London, with over 15,000 students (of which 5,000 are international students). Queen Mary, University of London offers studies in the Humanities and Social sciences, Engineering, Medicine and Dentistry.
- Royal Holloway, University of London - RHUL is a constituent college of the University of London, with three faculties (Arts, History & social sciences, Management & Economics, and Science). It is considered one of the top 10 research universities in the UK and ranked highly for graduate career opportunities.
- St. Mary's University College (Twickenham) - established in 1850, it is generally known as one of the oldest Roman Catholic college in the UK. It Is a high performance center in the fields of sports and educates close to 4,000 students.
- School of Oriental and African Studies - SOAS was established in 1916, and is constituent college of the University of London focusing in laws, politics, development economics, humanities and languages, with an emphasis of the study of Asia, Africa and the near middle east.
- University of Westminster - world famous for excellence in its teachings, the University of Westminster has earned its esteemed reputation over a period of 170 years. It educates over 5000 international students coming from dozens of countries.
- University College London - the UCL is the oldest and biggest constituent college of the university of London. Established in 1826 in London, it is the first university institute established on a purely secular basis. The university College London is ranked as one of top universities in the UK and worldwide. UCL has over 4,000 students, 40% of which come from foreign countries.
- University of West London - This university is a public university dating back to 1860, Famous for its hospitality, tourism and leisure; music and the performing arts; nursing and allied professions. The University of West London has over 16,000 arriving from 126 countries.
- Royal Veterinary College - the RVC was established in 1791, it is part of the University of London and on of the largest and oldest veterinary universities in the UK. The Royal veterinary College is one of only four veterinary universities in Europe which are accredited by the American Veterinary Medical association. It has about 1,600 students which benefit from the RVC being the only specialist veterinary institution in the UK.
UK student visa:
Before arriving to London to begin studies, internship or work, it is imperative to understand the regulations. Pending on your nationality, you might need a visa, residence permit and/or work permit for the UK. Below is a summery regarding UK visa regulation. However, these rules are subject for changes and it is recommended to check for the latest updates on the relevant UK government site.
Non British citizens might require entry clearance to the UK. There are three categories for entry needs which are used to decide if a VISA to the UK is required:
- European Economic Area (EEA) nationals: citizens of the EEA (Which includes Norway, Liechtenstein, Iceland and Switzerland) do not require entry clearance to the UK.
- Non Visa Nationals: a permission to enter the UK for settlement purposes is required.
- Visa Nationals: must have a visa in order to enter the UK.
Visa for studying in the UK:
For people outside of Europe interested in studying in London there are several relevant visa categories.
- Tier 4 (general): For students who want to come to or remain in the UK for their higher education studies.
- Student Visitor: for students interested in taking a short course of study in the UK. Student Visitors are allowed to stay in the UK for 6 months (or 11 months in case they undertake English language course).
- Prospective Student: for those interested in studying in the UK under a Tier 4 visa, but have not completed their arrangements for beginning their studies yet.
- EU/EEA nationals are exempt from requiring a residency permit.
- Non-Visa nationals: upon arrival to the UK, Non-Visa nationals will be given an entry stamp to the UK for a period of 6 months.
Studying and working in the UK as a student:
One of the few countries which allow foreign students to work off campus up to twenty hours per week during the academic semester (and full time during holidays).
Tuition fee and living costs for international students in the UK:
The higher education system in the UK offers international students substantial aid, from access to national health care centers, to professional degrees at undergraduate levels. However, with regards to scholarships in the UK, these are awarded scarcely to international students living in the UK, although some universities do provide a small decrease in the admission fee for students with exceptionally high academic scores.
Housing and flats shares in London:
Most colleges offer dormitories to international students as a replacement for apartments to let in London. However, by renting a room in a university dormitory in London, you commit to remain there for the entire academic year (though certain colleges have a more dynamic policy). Another option is to rent an apartment with close public transportation to the university, or find a house share in London with a British family, rent a flat with other students living in London In order to split the total expenses. For assistance with your accommodation in London, you can consult with other students attending your university, check the classifieds papers or simply go to one of the real-estate and rentals websites in the UK which specializes in student accommodation in London.
Student night life in London:
With over 400,000 students in London, from which about 100,000 international students, London is a vivid international city with diverse night life suitable for every flavor. From the posh cocktail bars to the trendy student bars offering the great Happy Hours for its student clientele. For rent hose interested in other cultural aspects of the City, London is one of the greatest European capitals for catching a live music show, cinema opening or cruising the many pubs and bars in the center of London.