As an international student, the prospect of studying in the UK comes with the potential to access various Scholarships & Funding that can significantly alleviate the burden of tuition fees and living expenses. In this comprehensive guide, we will delve into the diverse landscape of scholarships and funding options in the UK, providing you with insights into the various programs, eligibility criteria, application processes, and invaluable tips to enhance your chances of securing financial support for your academic endeavors. Whether you are an aspiring undergraduate, postgraduate, or researcher, this exploration will serve as your compass in navigating the exciting possibilities that await on your educational sojourn in the UK.
This article will be divided into two parts:
- Study In United Kingdom: Scholarships and funding
- Work in United Kingdom: All You Need To Know About United Kingdom Jobs
Scholarships And Funding
Would you like to turn your dream of studying in the UK into a reality?
Deciding to study in the UK is an investment in your future. A prestigious degree from the UK is a valuable and transformative experience and will take your education – and your employability – to the next level.
There are many funding options available for international students who want to study in the UK. They range from part-funding, for example paying part of your fees, to full-funding which covers programme fees, living expenses, and return flights to the UK.
You can search for the right scholarship for you on the course and scholarships finder here.
The UK government runs a variety of scholarship programmes to financially support international students who are looking for help funding their studies in the UK.
The three main UK government scholarships on offer are:
Wider UK Government Funding
The UK government offers hundreds of scholarships, bursaries and additional financial support to students from a large number of countries.
You can visit the UK Council for International Student Affairs (UKCISA) website to find out more about the funding available if you are studying in the UK as a postgraduate student, including whether or not you are eligible to apply for a scholarship. Just scroll down to the relevant section of the webpage.
UKCISA is the UK’s national advisory body serving the interests of international students and those who work with them.
Many universities offer fully-funded postgraduate studentships for PhD programmes.
Many UK higher-education institutions offer their own scholarship programmes.
These are offered based on a number of factors, which can be broadly split out into the following categories:
- Academic, merit and excellence scholarships – These are usually awarded to students with a strong academic background, including achieving strong grades in their school exams.
- Performance-based scholarships – These are usually awarded to those who have exceptional ability in an extracurricular activity such as sports, music or performing arts like drama or dance.
- Subject-specific scholarships – These are often offered by individual departments for students studying a particular course or subject.
- Equal access or sanctuary scholarships – These scholarships can take the form of a tuition fee reduction or waiver or maintenance award and are offered to refugees and asylum seekers who have fled persecution from their home countries.
- Disability scholarships – These scholarships support international students with a disability, long-term mental health condition, learning difficulty or other special needs.
Always check out different institutions’ websites to discover what is available, and take a look at specialist websites like Postgraduate Studentships and Prospects for curated information that covers different institutions.
While undergraduate scholarships and bursaries for EU and international students studying in the UK are less common than they are for postgraduate studies, they do exist. You just need to know where to look for them.
Funding for EU and international undergraduate students in the UK can generally be split into two categories: those offered by UK universities themselves and those offered by third parties – usually governments or organisations in your home country.
You can visit the UK Council for International Student Affairs (UKCISA) website to find out more about the funding available if you are studying in the UK as an undergraduate student, including whether or not you are eligible to apply for a scholarship. Just scroll down to the relevant section of the webpage.
You can also visit the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service in the UK (UCAS)’s page about scholarships, grants, and bursaries: EU and international students for more detailed information on what to look out for and where.
Work In United Kingdom
The UK is highly globalised, which means that the job market is competitive. Major industries in the UK include:
- accounting, banking and finance
- recruitment and HR.
The services sector dominates the UK economy with banking, insurance and business services all key drivers of the country’s growth. Other important industries include metals, chemicals, aerospace, shipbuilding, motor vehicles, food processing, textiles and clothing, design, the arts and electronic and communications equipment.
In recent years there has been a decline in the manufacturing industry, although it’s important to note that this sector still employs a large number of workers.
Graduate schemes are available at many of the UK’s large and multinational companies, in sectors such as:
To find out more, see graduate schemes.
According to The Guardian UK 300 2019/20, the most popular graduate employers include Google, Cancer Research UK, Amazon, MI6 and GlaxoSmithKline.
More information on particular industries can be found in our job sectors.
Look for job vacancies at:
- graduate job search – for the latest graduate schemes, placements and jobs
- Guardian Jobs – national news site advertising UK and international jobs
- Indeed – job site listing vacancies throughout the UK
- Reed – lists vacancies in a range of sectors throughout the UK.
How To Get A Job In The UK
In the UK you can apply for most jobs online by sending a short CV and cover letter or by filling out an application form. Where possible, CVs should be no longer than two sides of A4 and cover letters no more than a page. Learn more about writing CVs and cover letters.
Networking is important and many vacancies are filled through word of mouth. Use any pre-existing UK contacts to make enquiries about vacancies and let them know that you’re actively looking for work in the country.
Speculative applications are also welcome and these can be useful when applying to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), as they don’t always advertise vacancies.
Apply for work as early as possible, as many companies have long recruitment processes. Apply in your home country and make the move once you have secured a position.
Due to a high turnover of staff, the hospitality and retail industries often recruit all year round. The creative arts and design sector often recruits in London, while marketing and PR is thriving in cities such as Birmingham and Manchester.
If you’re shortlisted for a job you may have to attend a series of interviews. These could be one-to-one interviews with your potential line manager or panel
interviews with managers and HR personnel. Larger companies and graduate schemes often use a mix of psychometric testing, assessment centres and interviews to select successful candidates.
There are many summer, seasonal and temporary jobs on offer in the UK and the majority can be found in the tourism, hospitality and retail industries. Summer jobs include working at summer or holiday camps, at outdoor adventure and water sport parks, on campsites and at a number of UK festivals.
Hotels, bars and restaurants require causal workers all year round – opportunities are plentiful in large cities and tourist areas. The retail sector also employs temporary staff to cover the busy Christmas period.
There are lots of voluntary roles in the UK that can help you to develop your English skills and allow you to give something back to a charitable organisation. If you can afford to work unpaid in order to gain experience, taking on a voluntary placement will be worthwhile and can help boost your CV.
- Do-it is the UK’s national volunteering database, listing opportunities from thousands of charities and social groups.
- Volunteering England is part of the National Council for Voluntary Organisations (NCVO).
- Volunteering Matters works in partnership with UK organisations to deliver programmes that enable people of all ages and backgrounds to put something back into the community.
Find volunteering projects that are happening locally by checking local newspapers and notice boards. Make sure you research all volunteering opportunities and check the terms and conditions before committing to a scheme.
According to the European Commission, European Union (EU) citizens have the right to:
- move to another EU country to work without a work permit
- enjoy equal treatment with nationals in access to employment, working conditions and all other social and tax advantages
- stay in the country even after employment has finished.
If your home country is outside the EU or European Economic Area (EEA) you will need to obtain a work permit to take up employment in the UK. Immigration categories are dependent on a points-based system and non-European migrants will have to research their category requirements carefully before applying for visas. Find out more at GOV.UK – Work Visas.
For more information and to check what conditions and restrictions apply, see:
If you are looking for work in the UK, you will need to speak a certain level of English.
If you are over 18 and wish to settle in the country you may need to prove your proficiency through an English language qualification or a degree taught or researched in English.
Certain nationalities are exempt from having to prove their proficiency as are those with a long-term physical or mental condition. GOV.UK has details on language requirements, recognised English Language tests and other specifications for people wishing to live in the UK at GOV.UK – Settle in the UK.
How To Explain Your Qualifications To Employers
In certain countries around the world higher education qualifications are directly comparable to those in the UK. Thanks to the Bologna Process, if you’re an EU national who has studied a degree in your home country it should be recognised by UK employers.
However, before applying for a job check with potential employers.
To learn more about the recognition of qualifications, see UK NARIC.
What It’s Like To Work In The UK
In the UK the average working week is Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm. Hours of work should be set out in your contract of employment and unless you choose to, you shouldn’t have to work more than 48 hours a week.
All employees also have the legal right to request flexible and part-time working practices.
Adult workers are entitled to at least one day off a week, four weeks paid annual leave, sick pay, maternity and paternity leave. Employers are not required by law to allow days off on bank or public holidays, although many honour these dates.
There are eight bank/public holidays per year in England and Wales, nine in Scotland and ten in Northern Ireland.
In the UK if you are aged 16 to 24 you are entitled to receive the National Minimum Wage (NMW). As of April 2020, for workers aged 21 to 24 the hourly rate is £8.20. For those aged 18 to 20 it’s slightly less at £6.45.
If you are working and aged 25 or over and not in the first year of an apprenticeship then you are entitled to the government’s National Living Wage (NLW) of at least £8.72.
Income Tax is the tax you pay once you start earning a wage. Taxable income
includes the money you earn from employment and any profits you make if you’re self-employed. Most people get a personal allowance of tax-free income, which is currently £12,500. The basic rate of Income Tax currently stands at 20%.