International Student Issues

This section discusses the various issues faced by international students applying to the U.K. for education. We discuss here eligibility criteria for UK colleges, accommodation, health insurance and rules for taking up employment while studying.

Undergraduate (Bachelor Level)

British students undergo thirteen years of pre-university education as compared to twelve years in India. Outstanding marks from one of the two Central Boards (CBSE or ICSE) or their equivalent, or the first year of an Indian degree programme are therefore usually required for direct entry into an undergraduate programme in UK.

For those who do not, as yet, have these qualifications, there is a range of access or foundation courses available. Foundation courses range from four months to a year.

Applicants must satisfy both general and course requirements for admissions :

General Requirements 
A specified number of subject passes at both GCE "A" Levels and GCSE at grade C minimum is required for admissions in UK educational system. An equivalent Indian qualification such as a good score in the CBSE and ICSE etc.

Course Requirements 
Course requirement details can be obtained from prospectuses of institutions which are available at the Education Counselling Service located in the British Council offices or Libraries.


For Entry into Oxford, Cambridge and London University, ‘A’ level results are required. This in Indian context would mean one year in a college after 12 years of education.


Post Graduate (Master's & Doctorate level)

Most UK universities accept the Indian graduation system of three years for entry into most postgraduate courses. An Indian bachelor degree like B.A., B.Com. or B.Sc. is equivalent to a British Bachelor (Ordinary) Degree. 

However, some courses and universities may require a qualification equivalent to British Bachelor (Honours) Degree, which requires 16 years of formal education, which would mean another year after graduation or a four year degree course like B.E., B.Tech or other such courses. 

For most Universities, a good first degree from a leading university in India or its equivalent is essential. 

For more details on British Degrees and their Indian equivalent, check out the table below:

British Degree  

Indian Equivalent Degree

British Bachelor (Ordinary) Degree

A three-year Indian Graduation Degree like B.A. or B.Sc. and other such courses.

British Bachelor (Honours) Degree  

A four-year Indian graduation course like B.E. or B.Tech. or other such courses.           
A post graduate degree, from Indian university, like M.A., M.Sc. or other such courses.

British Master’s Degree

A post graduate degree like M.Tech. or M.E. from I.I.T. or I.I.Sc. and other such colleges

There are various options available for living in UK. Most universities have rooms in their halls of residence where international students can rent a room. But usually if you accept a room in a university, you would be required to sign a binding arrangement to remain in hall for the full academic year. This policy varies with each university.

Alternately, you could also take private accommodation. This could be either with a British family or sharing a flat with other students. Usually universities have an accommodation office, which can help you with this.

Most international students take up independent accommodation close to the university along with other international students. This turns out to be cheaper and convenient.

You need not worry about accommodation in UK. There are several options. You would get a good idea when you join the university. Of course, it always helps to be in touch with students already studying there.

Britain has a subsidized health service which provides free health care and treatment for people who are resident in Britain. 

Students who are enrolled on a programme which will last for more than six months are also entitled to NHS treatment.

If a doctor prescribes any medicines these are subsidized but there will be a charge made for each prescription - currently 5.75 UK Pounds per item.

Dental treatment is subsidized by NHS but everyone has to pay something towards the cost of their treatment.


U.K. is one of the few countries that allows international students to work even outside the campus. Students can work upto 20 hours per week during the semester and full-time during vacations. 

Contrary to popular belief, students are able to obtain part-time employment quite easily in bigger cities like London and Birmingham. Students are entitled to work full time during the holidays. There is no permission required for most international students to take part-time and vacation work. Students can take up placements or internship placements, which are part of a ‘sandwich course’. 

Usually, most jobs are minimum wage jobs like work in fast food joints and department stores. The higher paid jobs involve working in call centres. You should also explore opportunities available in your university. You can earn approximately around 4 - 5 Pound Sterling per hour.