International study & funding
Studying in a different country can be a very exciting opportunity but it also takes a lot of careful planning. Most of the criteria in the UK study section still apply but there are also some other things you will need to consider.
Choosing the right country
This sounds very obvious, especially if you have always wanted to visit a place and now see a chance to spend some time there. However, visiting and studying are different things, so make sure you find out how things are done in your chosen country.
- Find out as much as you can about the local culture and, if you want to go to a non-English speaking country, you should also make sure that your language skills are up to more than ordering a beer!
- Check for visa regulations and any other restrictions. This needs to be done well in advance. These things can take time.
- Check how universities work. Does the academic year begin at the same time as ours? Are degree programmes similar or are there differences?
The Prospects website has information on living and studying in a many different countries and is listed in our resources.
These can vary considerably from country to country and from course to course. While in some countries a first degree might be enough, others might only consider you with a Masters degree.
For some degree programmes you might also have to sit additional exams like the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) or the Graduate Management Admissions Test (GMAT) which is particularly popular with MBAs. These tests are offered regularly in the UK – but not often - so make sure you check early if you need them. You might not be able to apply without the relevant documentation.
There are a number of online databases you can use to search for courses. You can find links to the most important in our resources. Some of these website will also give you information on ratings etc. for courses and universities. Make sure you research universities and courses thoroughly before you apply.
How much will it cost?
Further study is never cheap but studying in a different country can mean many extra costs compared to the UK. The two most important are:
- Fees – These will depend on the country and on the course or research programme you are interested in. Outside Europe you will be classed as an International Student and this can mean considerably higher fees. Check this as early as you can and find out if there are any possibilities of funding or scholarships.
- Living costs – Depending on the country, these might be higher or lower than in the UK. You might be able to do some part-time work or, if you are a research student, pick up some teaching at the university. But don't depend on this. Finding work might be more difficult than it sounds and your course might be more demanding than you expected. And, of course, you always need to check if your visa allows you to work at all.
Also, don't forget to budget for your travel costs and the inevitable sightseeing you will want to do once you are there.
Funding your studies
There are a number of ways in which you can fund your further study abroad. Most of these are very competitive and you need to investigate these opportunities early on if you don't want to miss out.
Awards and scholarships can either be for a specific university or course, or for people from particular backgrounds or of UK nationality.
Some charities and trusts also offer support to students for further study. To find out if you are eligible for any support, check our Virtual Library for websites and books at the Careers Service.
Part-time work could be another option for funding at least part of your studies.
However, in some countries, your student visa won't permit you to work at all while in others you might be able to work a certain number of hours, so check carefully in advance. In some countries you will also be asked to show evidence of how you will support yourself during your studies. Part-time work is usually not taken into account.
Have a look at the country-specific information on the Prospects website for more information.
Closing dates for many international places and funding opportunities can be even earlier than in the UK, so it is vital that you find out about this with plenty of time to spare. Starting your planning 18 months ahead of your course start date is sensible. This will also give you time to sit entry tests like GRE or GMAT which might only be offered at certain times in the UK.
Our virtual library contains searchable resources available online and at the Careers Service. Use the links below to find the resources related to international study and funding.