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The British education system

The UK has a long history of welcoming international students to study in its universities and colleges.

Over 300,000 international students from 180 different countries are currently studying in British higher education.

UK universities provide internationally recognised qualifications and teaching standards in the UK are among the best in the world.

If you are from one of the following countries, it is likely you will need to complete a foundation course before starting undergraduate study:

  • Bahrain
  • Bangladesh
  • Botswana
  • Brazil
  • China
  • Egypt
  • Indonesia
  • Iran
  • Japan
  • Jordan
  • Kenya
  • Korea
  • Kuwait
  • Latin America (inc Mexico)
  • Nigeria
  • Oman
  • Pakistan
  • Peru
  • Qatar
  • Russia
  • Saudi Arabia
  • Syria
  • Taiwan
  • Thailand
  • Turkey
  • United Arab Emirates
  • Vietnam

Introduction to the British education system

The education system in the UK is different to that in many other countries.

At the age of 16, British children take General Certificate of Secondary Education (GCSE) examinations.

Students then transfer to studying A-Levels which last for two years and qualify them for entry to university.

Students tend to specialise in these courses and often study for three or four A-Levels.

This means that degrees do not last as long in the UK as other countries.

Applying for undergraduate study

If you left school with qualifications other than A-Levels or the International Baccalaureate, you may need to take a Foundation course.

A Foundation year gives you important focused skills that UK students receive during their A-Levels and often includes English Language tuition.

For further information visit:

Applying for postgraduate study

The University of Manchester welcomes applicants with good degrees from respected universities worldwide.

You will usually require at least a 2:1 (approximately 3.0 GPA) but entry requirements will depend on the course you apply for and where you previously studied.

For further information visit:

Most British masters courses are one year (12 months) in duration.