Types of Courses at Schools/Colleges and Universities
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Wednesday, 31 March 2010 11:20

What Courses can I Study in the UK

 You can study almost anything in the UK. For foreign Students coming from abroad to the UK the most common are English (EFL/IELTS), A-levels, University Foundation, Degrees and Masters and Pre-Masters Courses.

You will need some English language ability for all academic courses and of course for the normal 'General Student' (Tier 4, Points Based System) UK Visa. This is normally measured by the IELTS test, and there are various requirements for the different Courses (set by the colleges) and for Jobs (set by the employers) in the UK.

 As explained, you can come for up to 11 months maximum on a Student VISITOR Visa, but remember you would still need to satisfy the College Entry requirements and get a definite Offer letter from them confirming your place on the short course, and you still need to show you have enough money for your stay and that you have paid the Fees, but you do not need any IELTS qualification for this Visa. The only institutions now allowed to issue these Offer letters MUST be UKBA licenced and/or registered, for example with the BAC (British Accreditation Council) for Schools.

 Since March 2010 the IELTS level needed to come as a Tier 4 Student (more than 6 months) was increased to about IELTS 4 (actually 3.5 to 4.5), which is NQF entry level 3 or CEF-R (Common European Framework of Reference) level B1 and about a TOEFL score of 435 or more. This is now needed to come as a General Student for more than 6 months, on the UKBA Tier 4 PBS (Points based System). This General Student Visa ALLOWS you to work for up to 10 hours per week. These are the Visas that students get to study one or 2 year courses at Schools, Colleges and Universities, such as the longer English Courses, A-levels, Foundation Courses and pre-Masters Courses, Masters Degrees etc.

English Courses

Several places offer just English Courses in Cambridge, ie. NOT part of their other academic courses. For example CRC,  the Embassy English School and Cambridge Seminars offer EFL-IELTS courses. These can be short- only about one term- or long, 2 or 3 terms (one year). Remember that if you come for a longer course you need the General Student Visa and the UKBA requirement is now at least IELTS 3.5/4, so you must have some English knowledge already. These are for students who just want to study English. For example if they want to improve their IELTS for their profession/work.

Foundation and A-Level Courses

These courses are for students who want to get into a University in the UK to do a Degree. Foreign students without A-levels take the Foundation course. Foundation courses are normally only 3 terms (one year), so you can gain entry to University faster than with A levels (normally 2 years). The Foundation leads to many good universities and a wide choice of Degree subjects. But it is NOT accepted by the very Top Universities and also is not accepted for the very top specialist Degree subjects, eg. Medicine. You can take the Foundation course at a private College OR at the University you want to enter. It is sometimes called an 'Undergraduate Certificate'. To get onto a Foundation course you will need good High School grades (GPA) or M6 etc and you need at least IELTS 5.0 or 4.5 or sometimes even as low as 4.0 but you will then need to do an extra English course.

University Courses

To get into a University in the UK to do a Degree, you need A-levels or a Foundation qualification. For Foreign students without A-levels, they take the Foundation course. To study for a University Degree or Post Graduate course (Masters or PhD) DIRECTLY, without taking a Foundation or some Pre-Masters course first, you will need at least IELTS 6 or 6.5 (or even 7.0 for some top universities). For a Post-Graduate course you also need a good quality Degree, a 'First' or a 'Two-One' or sometimes possibly a 'Two-Two' with about 2 years work experience. This means NORMALLY a GPA of MORE than 3 (out of 4), in fact often more than 3.2. This depends on the University and some Universities require even higher GPAs, for example LSE (London School of Economics) requires at least 3.5 for Masters Courses.

There ARE however ways to get on to Masters Courses with lower GPAs and even with lower IELTS scores. For this there are some Pre-Masters Courses being offered by Colleges and some Universities that require lower GPAs of about 2.5 (or even 2.3), and IELTS of 5.0 or even about 4 (requiring an additional English course). This may be very useful for some students who have been working or who need to improve their English but want to come and start their studies in the UK immediately.

If you want more Information or help Applying for a Course, contact us.

Last Updated on Sunday, 19 May 2013 15:12