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Wednesday, 3 October 2012

Studying at an overseas university: doing your research

If you decide to do your degree with an overseas university, you’ll need to do plenty of research before you apply. Think about whether the country and course is right for you – and about practical issues like entrance requirements and visas.

Choosing where to study

Remember that most countries don’t have a central admissions system like UCAS in the UK – you’ll probably have to apply to universities individually.

You can find out about higher education in other EU countries on the Your Europe website. Your Europe has information on course structure, typical fees, and financial support.

The UK Council for International Student Affairs (UKCISA) website has links to information on higher education in individual countries – inside and outside the EU.

Other sources of information are foreign embassies in the UK and, for Commonwealth countries, the Association of Commonwealth Universities.

Ideas for courses

The United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) ‘Study Abroad’ guide includes a database of around 2,900 courses and scholarships available world-wide. As well as basic course information, you can get an idea of what financial help may be available.

Checking that institutions and qualifications are recognised

Checking qualifications

Even if an institution is recognised in its home country, you’ll want to check what status the qualification you’ll get has in the UK. 

UK citizens thinking of studying overseas can ask UK Naric on the accreditation and recognition of the qualifications they are planning to do. You can also find information about the overseas institution that you wish to attend.

UK NARIC is the UK’s national agency responsible for providing information and expert opinion on qualifications gained overseas. While it can give an opinion on the UK equivalency of an overseas degree, this is for information only and has no legal basis. UK employers and higher education institutions have the right to (or not to) recognise overseas qualifications.

Recognition for your qualifications is especially important for careers where you need it in order to practice – like law and medicine. You should check with the relevant professional body in the country where you intend to work.

Entrance requirements

As well as making sure the course and university is right for you, there are practical issues you’ll need to consider.

Many overseas universities offer courses in English, but some require you to take a language test before they will admit you. You’ll also need to arrange any student visa, residence permit or other paperwork that’s required.

Your Europe has information on entrance requirements within Europe.’s ‘Country profiles’ have links to information about education systems world-wide – many include details of entrance requirements.

For information on funding your degree course overseas, follow the link below:

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