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International Postgraduates in the UK

Visa and employment conditions for overseas students

You need to get your visa sorted as early as possible.

  • If you are not a national of the European Economic Area (EEA), you will need a visa to study in the UK. This will be a Visa with Sponsorship from the institution you are intending to study at. Your visa should allow for multiple entries into the country.

Advice for International Students

Read more advice for overseas students studying in the UK.

You will need to show that you can study in the UK without needing access to public funds.

  • If you will be studying in inner London you will need to show that you have £1,000 a month for the first nine months of your studies.
  • Outside London you have to demonstrate you have £800.

Funding options

Students on Tier 4 Visas have the right to work for up to 20 hours a week, part-time.

  • Students taking a Masters course will have a visa that lasts for six to seven years. When they have completed their studies, they may apply to stay in the UK under a different visa tier.
  • In general, students from the EEA may work in the UK.

International students should investigate funding opportunities in their own country first. At the same time they should contact the British Council office.

  • The most high profile schemes for international postgraduates include the British Chevening Scholarships funded by the UK government’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office.
  • These are competitive – only one in 25 applicants is successful – and you need to apply early i.e. by April or May for awards starting the following year.
  • They are aimed at overseas students whose study will enable them to take part in development work in their home country.
  • The Shell Centenary Chevening Scholarships are offered at certain universities and you need to apply well in advance of your start date.
  • Check out the Commonwealth Scholarships and Fellowships Plan for students from certain commonwealth countries and the DFID Shared Scholarship Scheme.

As an overseas student, you are unlikely to be offered funding in the form of a teaching or research assistantships from your university, especially for a taught postgraduate course.

  • But at PhD level, you might be able to apply for an externally funded scholarship.
  • If all else fails, you could try to raise a loan from your bank or ask your employer for help.