Old Blighty has been a favourite amongst Indian pupils since pre-independence days. And according to official figures, the number of Indians is growing. The majority of them — over 70 per cent — are postgraduate candidates but the ranks of undergraduates — currently 18-19 per cent — is rising too, says Amit Chaturvedi, Head-North India, Education UK, British Council. This multicultural country hosted more than 1.25 lakh international students, including about 27,000 Indians, in 2007-08. The British High Commission issued 21,000 visas last year, up from 16,300 in 2005 and some 15,000 in 2004.
British institutions are touted for the quality of education, assessed subject-wise periodically.TheTeaching Quality Information (TQi) website offers official information to help students compare subjects at British universities and colleges. The Research Assessment Exercise (RAE) evaluates research in universities and colleges. Moreover, courses in the UK are shorter in duration — compared to four years UG studies (except in Scotland) and a two-year Masters elsewhere — and are intensive with a practical-orientation.
Hot for what?
According to official figures, 40 per cent of the Indian students in the UK pursue Business Management programmes. Subjects such as Pharmacy are catching up, says Chaturvedi.
How to set the ball rolling
Session commences: most undergraduate and postgraduate courses start in September/October and some in January/February. There may be a different timetable for research-based programmes and it is best to check it with the institution. In Scotland, Bachelors' degree programmes are four years long, unlike in the rest of the UK.
When to apply: begin a year in advance. Institutions start accepting applications a year before, that is, in September/October of the previous year. Applicants should apply at least six to nine months before their session is slated to start.
Deadlines: the final date for all those applying for undergraduate (UG) courses in the UK is June 30. All applications received after this deadline are put into 'clearing'. The deadline for the UCAS (Universities and Colleges Admissions Service) application to Oxford and Cambridge universities as well as Medicine, Dentistry and Veterinary programmes is October 15. There are separate deadlines for Art and Design courses. More details at www.ucas.com.
Except maybe a few institutions, there are no specific deadlines for most postgraduate (PG) programmes. So, confirm this from their website or prospectus.
How to apply: fill up one application form of UCAS, the UK's central organisation which processes applications for full-time first degrees, foundation degrees, Higher National Diplomas (HND), Higher National Certificates, Certificates of Higher Education, and Diplomas of Higher Education and university diplomas. You can select up to six courses and send your completed form to UCAS, which will forward it to your chosen institutions. Applicants only have the option of applying online through the UCAS website.
Master level aspirants need to touch base with their selected institutions as there is no centralised system of applications for PG courses.
Application processing time:
UCAS sends a Welcome Letter confirming your details and the courses applied for. The welcome letter also carries your application number and user name, which you will need to access Track for your form. Institutions usually reply to PG applications in three-four weeks.
Application docket: there is no need to submit any document while applying via UCAS, since it provides an online form. The application packet for PG applications should contain…
Statement of Purpose
Attested photocopies of academic credentials such as mark sheets and certificates from your previous education institutions, as well as any other recent certificates of your extra curricular activities/sports or participation in debates, seminars or lectures that you mentioned in your application.
IELTS/TOEFL scores if your results have been announced
Two references (academic/ professional) along with the application form.
Tuition fees: the costs vary for different subjects. The average annual tuition fee is as given in the box.
Average cost of living: 7,000 to 8,000 pounds a year. Ask your selected institution for detailed living costs in that area.
Accommodation: there are several types of housing options available.
Usually at the undergraduate level, institutions guarantee housing in the first year. Besides university or college halls of residences as well as flats and houses, there are private accommodations like student hostels, lodgings, bedsits, flats and youth hostels. For more information, hit the website of UK Council for International Student Affairs (UKCISA), www.ukcosa.org.uk.
Scholarships: there are more than 700 scholarships on offer for all level of studies. Most of these are for PG studies. The different funding sources include UK institutions and the British Council, which manages Chevening scholarships, the Commonwealth Scholarship and Fellowship Plan, British Overseas Industrial Placement Scheme (BOND) and the Charles Wallace scheme. For more information, browse britishcouncil.org/india-scholarships.htm. Help is available through the UK India Education and Research Initiative (UKIERI) as well. For further information, click on www.ukieri.org.
Each university has its own scholarship scheme for undergraduate students. Check your institution website for specific details.
Student visa: apply for a student visa after receiving a confirmed offer of admission from a UK institution. Remember, you will not be permitted to enter Britain as a student if the school, college or university that you enrolled to study at does not appear on the UK Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills register (www.dfes.gov.uk/ providersregister/index.cfm).
The visa office will not issue a visa if your institution doesn't figure on the register. However, inclusion in the register is no guarantee for quality of education at the institution.The visa applications are processed through the Visa Application centres run by VFS across India. Check ukvisas.gov.uk and ukba.homeoffice.gov.uk
Part-time jobs: students can work part time 20 hours during school term and 40 hours in vacations.
Job opportunities: non-European Economic Area (EEA) students are allowed to work for up to a year in Britain under the International Graduates Scheme (IGS). Launched in May 2007, in place of the Science and Engineering Graduates Scheme, the IGS is for students who have completed their first or Master's degree, doctorate, PG certificate or diploma programme.
In addition to this is the Fresh Talent: Working in Scotland scheme for non-EEA nationals who have completed an HND, degree, Masters or Ph.D. studies at a Scottish university, to apply to live and work in Scotland for up to two years after completing their studies. For further information, check ukba.homeoffice.gov.uk.
Type of Average fee
course programmes in pounds (per year)
Arts and 6,500
Type of Average fee
course in pounds(per year)