10 Facts to consider before applying to a masters in the UK

By Cassandra Evangeline Benjamin• Last updated: Oct 30, 2023
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The number of students venturing outside their native countries to pursue a masters is increasing everyday. The  opportunities studying abroad provides students is one of the main driving forces. 

The UK is one of the most desirable study destinations for many students around the globe. The number of Indian students studying in the UK increased by 93% with over 37,500 Indian International students in 2019 alone. The total number of international students in the UK went up as high as 485,645 in 2019!

What to consider when choosing a Masters program?

Though the UK is an excellent place for you to get your Master's degree, there are a few things that you should consider. Here, we have a list of 10 things that you can look into and check off before you start your educational journey. The first two are more personal to you as an applicant, and the rest are on your dream study destination – the UK.

1. Which University is right for you?

The university you pick is crucial when it comes to postgraduate (PG) level. The value of your PG research projects in your profile are going to directly depend on the reputation of your university. A PG is also going to help you jump into the job market. Because of all these reasons and more you need to be careful when choosing your university. 

For starters, a university website can give you a lot of information on the atmosphere and the faculty. You should also look at rankings, accreditations, and industry involvement before you make a list of your preferred places of study.

2. Is the course and its department right for you?

Higher studies are an opportunity for you to specialise in your core area of interest. This means that just a good university is not enough. Make sure you research the department of your chosen field of study. There are many credible rankings like the QS rankings and the THE rankings that you can refer to compare the departments of various universities. 

3. What is the UK teaching style like?

Now, let’s dive into the UK focusing points. The teaching style in the UK is different from the one followed in India. UK Universities encourage students to be more independent in the learning process. Professors will expect you to go the extra mile and do your own research. Also, be prepared before the class. Go through the basics of your lecture topic beforehand and participate in the classroom. 

4. What is the standard grading method?

The subjects are graded on two aspects – coursework and exams. Coursework will include your involvement in class, assignments, and projects. The weightage of the coursework and the exams in your final score will depend on the type (theoretical or practical) of course.

At the end of your masters in the UK, your final cumulative score will be graded as Distinction (70%+), Merit or Commendation (60-69%), Pass (50-59%) and Fail.

5. What is the duration of the courses?

The UK is a country with short masters. Almost all the masters in the UK are 12 months or less. This is one of the UK's attractive factors as opposed to other study destinations with 2-year masters. In the UK you can get a reputable masters degree and start your professional career ahead of your peers.

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6. What are the cost of living and the tuition fee?

The average cost of living is between £450 - £600 per month depending on the location of your university. The tuition fee varies between £10,000 – £38,000 based on your course and university. This, on its own, is lesser, when compared to some of the other preferred study destinations in the world. When you factor in that the UK has a shorter course duration, you will be saving a lot of money.

7. What about study loans and scholarships?

Budget is a big part of planning your education abroad. Many aids are available to promising students like yourself. You need to explore scholarship and loan options. There are mainly three types of scholarships that you need to look at,

  1. Indian scholarships that help students’ study like Fulbright-Nehru Master’s Fellowships.
  2.  UK Government scholarships like the Chevening Scholarship.
  3. Specific international merit scholarships that UK Universities offers to students.

After these options, you can look at the various banks that offer educational loans for very low-interest percentages.

For detailed information on scholarships read, Top scholarships in the UK you must know about.

8. What is the advised timeline for the application process?

There are mainly two intakes in the UK, September intake and January intake. 

September Intake – This is the main intake, and most major courses are offered in this month. Most of the masters application deadlines in the UK will be closed between February and May for this intake.

January Intake – Though this is not the main intake, there are a handful of excellent courses that are offered during this time. The masters application deadlines in the UK end between June and September for this intake.

9. What are the additional language and aptitude tests that you should take?

The IELTS is used by most universities in the UK. Many universities do not require you to take any aptitude test before applying. However, there are some specific universities and courses that expect you to take aptitude tests like the GRE and GMAT. 

You need to confirm to see if your course and university of choice require additional standardised tests. For details on all the main aptitude tests that you should know about, read Top 6 Aptitude tests for studying abroad.

There are no specific requirements to apply for a masters degree in the UK. You need to check for the requirements stated by your university for the course of your choice.

10. How is the UK’s nature towards international students?

The UK is a diverse country with 13.8% of its population made up of minority ethnic background. This percentage increases as we individually look at student cities like London and Manchester. Plus, the UK also has relaxed study permit requirements in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. 

As a general note, the UK has always been a friendly nation for international students. You can get a Post-Graduation Work Permit for up to two years after completing your education in the UK. So, a masters in the UK is a good decision for international students.

There you have it! 

Now, you are a master of pursuing masters in the UK. Go ahead, take a notebook and a pencil and jot down your favourite universities and narrow them down to start your study abroad process. If you have any other doubts, feel free to reach out to our educational advisors online. 

If you are worried about your student profile and academic record affecting your application to universities abroad, read Will backlogs affect your dream to study overseas.

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