UK University Key Facts and Unique Aspects

  • There are 126 Universities in the United Kingdom (England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland)
  • Predicted IB and AP/SAT scores essential. Other exam based qualifications also acceptable.
  • SAT, ACT and SAT subject tests could be helpful
  • Can direct entry to Law, Medicine, Vet science and Dentistry
  • Most degrees are 3 years; Vet Science and Medicine is 5 and 6 years.
  • All Universities accept UCAS–Maximum of 5 programs
  • Download NACAC’s Guide to Applying to the United Kingdom
  • Check out the Guide for IB students wishing to study in The UK for help information.
  • Most UK universities accept Advanced Placement scores for admission purposes. More details at the Collegeboard AP recognition website.

Cool Country facts

Application Process

  • Typically students will apply through a portal called UCAS. Many high schools create an account so they are UCAS centers–student’s should apply through this version by getting the buzzword from their University counselor/advisor.
  • You can apply up to five programs. Medicine, Dentistry and Veterinary sciences limit you to four programs, but you can have a fifth one outside of these areas.
  • Deadlines: All students should aim to apply by January 15th. Universities will reply by March 31 and the student can confirm enrollment in early May. Many universities may well review your application much sooner if you submit it earlier.
  • All Medicine, Dentistry and Veterinary sciences programs have a deadline of October 15h.
  • All programs at Oxford and Cambridge also have a deadline of October 15th.
  • The UCAS application consists of
    • Biographical information
    • A listing of the courses you are applying for
    • Your educational qualifications
    • Your personal statement-– Use this tool to analyze your personal statement or this one. UCAS offers this fabulous template to get you started.
  • Once you apply, the application goes to your counselor who will
    • Verify your qualifications
    • Add your predicted grades and
    • attach your reference
    • and then send it to UCAS who will distribute to your choices.
  • Some finer points:
    • Can only apply to Cambridge or Oxford, not both.
    • Growing number of universities also accept the common app. You are still limited to applying to a total of five.
    • There are no quotas for international students except in Medicine and Dentistry. You can learn more about pursuing medicine in the UK here or Dentistry here.
    • You may have to take an entrance exam depending on the subject and university.
    • Some universities may require the IELTS UKVI which is the same as the IELTS but has more test security. Typically students who are right at the minimum qualifications for a course, may be required to take the UKVI.
    • Some universities/courses require interviews, sometimes via skype or in person. Oxford and Cambridge will invite you to interview:

Application timeline:

  • Spring of Junior year: Research courses of study and universities (see links). UCAS application goes live late May for the following year. This means you can create an account and start filling in your application.
  • Early September: You can submit your application anytime after this date.
  • October 15: Deadline for Oxford, Cambridge plus ALL Medical, Dentistry and Veterinary Science Programs
  • January 15: Deadline for International Applications
  • March 31: Universities are expected to reply by this date.
  • May 1: Accept your firm and insurance offers
  • Early July: Results come out and conditions can be lifted or go to clearing.
  • Please note dates and deadlines in UCAS.

Tuition fees:

  • Average Tuition fees (in US Dollars/year):
    • Citizens: Up to £9,250 (Residents on UK.EU only)
    • International students: $17,498
  • Examples for international students
    • University of Edinburgh arts/humanities: £20,950
    • University of Edinburgh Business: £20,950
    • University of Edinburgh  Engineering: £27,550
    • Imperial Engineering:£30,250
    • Imperioal Biology £31,000

Research Links

Unique aspects


There is no university called Oxbirdge, but rather two distinct, world class universities: Oxford and Cambridge. Students can only apply to one, not both. Both offer the famous tutorial system (here is an interesting history and reflection the tutorial experience). How to choose:



Great webinar on preparing for OxBridge admissions


Podcast episodes from David Hawkins, The University Guy


Sources of international students in the UK:

Check out UNESCO’s interactive map