A guide to UK universities for Pakistani students

By Edvoy• Last updated: Nov 8, 2023
A guide to UK universities for Pakistani students
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The United Kingdom (UK) has long been renowned for its prestigious universities and world-class education system. For Pakistani students aspiring to pursue higher education abroad, UK universities present a wealth of opportunities and a reputation for academic excellence.

With a rich history of intellectual achievement, innovative research, and a diverse multicultural environment, studying at a UK university can provide Pakistani students with a transformative educational experience.

In this article, we will list the popular and affordable UK universities for Pakistani students along with the admission criteria and visa process for Pakistani students.

Why study in the UK?

Studying in the UK offers a wealth of opportunities for international students, including Pakistani students. Here are 5 reasons why the UK is a popular destination for higher education:

  1. Quality education - The UK is home to some of the world's top-ranked universities renowned for their academic excellence, research contributions, and rigorous teaching methods. Degrees earned from UK institutions are globally recognized and respected.
  2. Broad range of programs - UK universities offer a diverse range of undergraduate programs across various disciplines, allowing students to pursue their academic interests and career goals. From sciences and engineering to humanities, business, and creative arts, there are options for every field of study.
  3. Prestigious institutions - The UK is known for its prestigious institutions such as the University of Oxford, the University of Cambridge, and Imperial College London. These universities have long-standing traditions of academic excellence and offer unparalleled learning environments.
  4. Support for international students - UK universities provide comprehensive support services for international students, ensuring a smooth transition and a positive learning experience. From orientation programs to language support and career guidance, universities prioritise the well-being and success of their diverse student population.
  5. Career prospects - Studying in the UK can enhance career prospects with access to a wide range of internships, placements, and networking opportunities. The UK's strong industry connections and reputation for quality education open doors to exciting employment prospects both within the country and globally.

Also read: Best country for Pakistani students to study abroad

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The UK boasts a multitude of renowned universities, attracting students from around the world, including Pakistan. Here are twelve popular UK universities that are highly regarded among Pakistani students:

1. University of Oxford

The University of Oxford is not only one of the oldest and most prestigious universities globally but is also known for its tutorial-based teaching approach. Oxford's collegiate system provides a vibrant community where students engage in interdisciplinary discussions and participate in various extracurricular activities.

2. University of Cambridge

Another prestigious institution, the University of Cambridge, is renowned for its rigorous academic programs and world-class faculty. It is known for its emphasis on independent learning and the opportunity for students to engage in cutting-edge research across disciplines.

3. Imperial College London

With a strong focus on science, engineering, and medicine, Imperial College London is highly regarded for its research and innovation. Students at Imperial have access to pioneering research and collaborate with world-class faculty, contributing to advancements in their respective fields.

4. University College London

University College London is a leading multidisciplinary university known for its excellence in various disciplines, including science, humanities, social sciences, and engineering. The university's central location in London provides students with ample opportunities for internships, networking, and cultural experiences.

5. London School of Economics and Political Science

London School of Economics and Political Science is renowned for its programs in social sciences, economics, and politics. It offers undergraduate degrees with a focus on critical thinking and research.

6. University of Manchester

The University of Manchester is one of the largest and most prestigious universities in the UK. It offers a wide range of undergraduate programs across various fields, including sciences, engineering, humanities, and social sciences.

7. University of Birmingham

The University of Birmingham is known for its research-led teaching and strong industry connections. The university's strong industry connections provide students with opportunities for internships, placements, and career development.

8. University of Warwick

Warwick is known for its interdisciplinary approach, encouraging students to explore multiple disciplines and fostering creativity and critical thinking. Warwick's campus offers a vibrant and inclusive community with various student-led societies and events.

9. University of Leeds

The University of Leeds is a popular choice among Pakistani students, offering a wide range of undergraduate programs and a vibrant campus environment. With a large and diverse student population, it provides a dynamic and multicultural learning environment.

10. University of Glasgow

The University of Glasgow is known for its academic excellence and research contributions across various fields. The university's campus is located in the vibrant city of Glasgow, known for its cultural attractions and friendly atmosphere.

11. University of Edinburgh

Another prestigious Scottish institution, the University of Edinburgh is a highly respected institution known for its rich history and stunning architecture. It offers a diverse range of undergraduate programs and is known for its strong academic reputation, particularly in humanities and sciences.

12. University of Southampton

The University of Southampton is recognized for its research-led teaching and world-class facilities. It offers a wide range of undergraduate programs across various disciplines, including engineering, sciences, humanities, and social sciences.

Also read: UK universities with high acceptance rate for international students

6 affordable universities in the UK for Pakistani students

When it comes to affordable universities in the UK for Pakistani students, several institutions offer quality education without exorbitant tuition fees. Here are 6 such affordable universities:

Admission Criteria to Study in the UK for Pakistani Students

The admission criteria to study in the UK for Pakistani students may vary depending on the university and the specific course or program you are applying to. However, there are some general criteria that are commonly required for admission:

1. Academic qualifications

Pakistani students applying for undergraduate programs in the UK usually need to have completed their Higher Secondary School Certificate (HSSC) or Intermediate with good grades. Each university sets its minimum academic requirements, which can vary based on the chosen program.

2. English language proficiency

Proficiency in English is a crucial requirement for admission. Most UK universities require international students, including Pakistani students, to demonstrate their English language proficiency by taking an approved English language test such as IELTS, TOEFL, or PTE Academic.

3. Personal statement

A well-written personal statement is often required as part of the application process. This is an opportunity for you to showcase your motivation, academic achievements, relevant experiences, and future goals. It allows the university to assess your suitability for the program and your potential as a student.

4. Letters of recommendation

Some universities may ask for letters of recommendation from teachers or other individuals who can provide insight into your academic abilities, character, and potential. These letters help universities gain a better understanding of your capabilities and potential for success.

5. Entrance examinations

Certain courses, such as Medicine or Dentistry, may require additional entrance examinations like the UK Clinical Aptitude Test (UKCAT) or the BioMedical Admissions Test (BMAT). These tests assess your aptitude and suitability for specific programs.

6. Portfolio or Audition (for Creative Arts)

If you are applying for creative arts programs such as Fine Arts, Design, or Drama, you may be required to submit a portfolio showcasing your creative work or attend an audition to demonstrate your skills and talent.

Also read: What Are The Most Popular Degree Courses in The UK?

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Visa process for Pakistani students studying in the UK

The visa process for Pakistani students studying in the UK involves several steps and requirements. Here is an overview of the visa process specifically for Pakistani students:

1. Choose a university and course

Start by researching universities and courses in the UK that align with your academic and career goals. Ensure that the university you choose is recognized and has a valid Tier 4 Sponsor license to accept international students.

2. Apply and receive an offer

Once you have selected a university and course, follow their application process and submit the required documents. If your application is successful, you will receive a Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) from the university. The CAS is a crucial document for the visa application.

3. Financial requirements

Pakistani students applying for a UK student visa need to demonstrate that they have sufficient funds to cover their tuition fees and living expenses in the UK. You will need to provide bank statements or other acceptable financial evidence to meet the financial requirements.

4. English language proficiency

You may need to prove your English language proficiency by providing the results of an approved English language test, such as IELTS or TOEFL. Check the specific requirements of your chosen university for the minimum language proficiency score.

5. Tuberculosis (TB) test

Pakistani students are required to undergo a tuberculosis test from an approved clinic or hospital. The test results need to be included in your visa application.

6. Visa application submission

Complete the online visa application form on the UK government's official website ( Gather all the necessary documents, including your CAS, financial evidence, English language test results, TB test results, and other supporting documents as per the requirements. Pay the visa application fee.

7. Biometric enrollment

Once you have submitted your online application, you will need to visit a Visa Application Center (VAC) in Pakistan to provide your biometric information (fingerprint and photograph).

8. Attend a visa interview

In some cases, you may be required to attend a visa interview at the British High Commission or Embassy in Pakistan. The interview is conducted to assess the genuineness of your application.

9. Visa decision

After the visa application process, you will be notified of the visa decision. If your visa is approved, you will receive a vignette sticker in your passport that allows you to travel to the UK. Upon arrival, you will need to collect your Biometric Residence Permit (BRP) within the specified timeframe.

Living costs in the UK for international students

Living costs in the UK for international students vary depending on factors such as location, lifestyle, and personal preferences. Here is an overview of the typical expenses you can expect as an international student living in the UK:

1. Accommodation

Accommodation costs will be one of your most significant expenses. The cost will vary depending on whether you choose to live on-campus in university-provided accommodation or opt for private rented accommodation. On-campus accommodation options may range from £100 to £250 per week, while private rented accommodation can cost between £150 to £400 per week, depending on the city and the type of accommodation chosen.

2. Food and groceries

Food expenses will depend on whether you cook your meals or dine out. Cooking at home is generally more cost-effective, and purchasing groceries from supermarkets or local markets can help you save money. On average, budgeting around £30-£40 per week for groceries should be sufficient.

3. Transportation

Transportation costs will vary depending on the city and your mode of transportation. Many cities in the UK have reliable public transportation systems, including buses and trains. Monthly public transportation passes can cost between £60 to £100, depending on the city. If you prefer cycling, some cities offer bike-sharing schemes as an affordable alternative.

4. Utilities

Utilities such as electricity, water, heating, and internet are additional expenses to consider. On average, budget around £60 to £80 per month for utilities, although this can vary based on your usage and the type of accommodation.

5. Mobile phone and internet

Mobile phone and internet plans vary depending on the provider and the package you choose. Budgeting around £20 to £40 per month should cover the cost of a basic plan with data and call allowances.

6. Healthcare

International students in the UK may need to pay for the National Health Service (NHS) surcharge, which provides access to healthcare services. It is advisable to have health insurance to cover any additional medical expenses.

7. Personal expenses

The cost of leisure activities, entertainment, and personal expenses will depend on your preferences and lifestyle. This may include expenses for dining out, socialising, shopping, and cultural activities. Budgeting an additional £100 to £200 per month for these expenses is a good starting point.


UK universities offer excellent educational opportunities for Pakistani students. With a rich academic tradition, globally recognized degrees, and a diverse range of programs, studying in the UK can be a transformative experience. With thorough research, careful planning, and proper guidance, Pakistani students can embark on an exciting educational journey in the UK and open doors to a successful future.

Frequently asked questions

Are Pakistani students eligible to study in the UK?

Yes, Pakistani students are eligible to study in the UK. They need to meet the specific admission requirements set by the universities they apply to and obtain a student visa.

How do I choose the right university in the UK?

Choosing the right university depends on factors such as your field of study, academic requirements, location preferences, and budget. Research different universities, their rankings, programs, faculty, campus facilities, and student support services to make an informed decision.

What are the language requirements for Pakistani students?

Pakistani students are usually required to demonstrate proficiency in English through standardised tests such as the IELTS or TOEFL. Each university sets its minimum score requirements, so it's important to check the specific language requirements of the chosen institution.

What are the costs associated with studying in the UK?

The costs include tuition fees, accommodation, living expenses, textbooks, and other personal expenses. Tuition fees vary depending on the university and program while living costs will depend on the location and lifestyle choices of the student.

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