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Financing your studies


When applying to study in the UK, you will have to provide evidence to both your institution and the immigration authorities that you have the finances to support yourself while you are studying. If you can't, then your application may be declined or you'll simply run out of money while studying. If you didn't have to provide this information, or plan your finances, then simply everyone would apply to study in the UK.


When studying in the UK, you will have two main expenditures (excluding entertainment and socialising costs which, while important, are not vital). These are tuition costs and living expenses. It’s very difficult to calculate average annual costs for international students, as these depend on a lot of different factors. These include:

  • what course you wish to study
  • at what institution you wish to study (the more highly esteemed institutions will have higher fees)
  • the level you wish to study at
  • where in the country you study (for instance, London is considerably more expensive a place to live)


You should always confirm with your institution the full annual costs for your course. When you find a course on our site that you’re interested in, this information should be listed alongside it or on the page (you can always enquire directly with the institution).


Tuition costs

Recent changes in how much universities can charge in tuition fees have meant that a lot of universities have raised their fees to meet the lifted cap of £9,000 per year. Whether you’re studying at undergraduate or postgraduate level, the amount you can expect to pay will depend on the kind of area you wish to study. Below is a rough guide to what you can expect to pay:

Humanities subjects and those taught normally in seminars and lectures will cost between £9,000 and £13,000 per year at undergraduate and postgraduate level. This may include subjects like English, History and Philosophy.

Science and Technology courses which take place in a laboratory or require specialist equipment on a regular basis will be slightly more expensive (because they require this extra, expensive equipment). This includes Chemistry and Engineering course for example. Students can expect to pay from £9,000 to £17,000 per year at both undergraduate and postgraduate level.

Clinical courses cost substantially more and these fees can vary wildly, costing upwards of £30,000 per year at both undergraduate and postgraduate study. This may include clinical psychology courses.

Source: Times Higher Education


Living expenses

Where you live in the UK will determine how much you pay in living costs. London and a few other urban areas are substantially more expensive to live in (especially London so consider this carefully). The following is how much you can roughly expect to pay for various accommodation types:

  • Campus accommodation: £90 to £150 a week
  • Homestay: £70 to £90 a week
  • Shared private rental: £200 to £500 a month
  • Single private rental: £200 to £600 a month

Source: British Council

You can find out more about living costs in the UK.


Financing your studies

That’s enough of what is going out of your account; let’s now look at ways that you can bring money into your account instead. When applying you will have to prove that you can fund your studies, and usually parents/guardians help with this. Students are also welcome to apply for scholarships or bursaries depending on their circumstances, as well as those which are awarded based on ability and performance.

In some cases, the terms of your visa will allow you to find paid employment, though this will be limited. This might be on or off-campus, and the area you’re in can help depending on what businesses are nearby who hire students with little experience; for example, a city like London or Manchester will have more retail jobs available because it is more developed.

However, you must make sure you are not breaking the terms of your student visa. Check with the UKBA or read carefully your visa documentation if you are unsure; receiving money for work when you are not allowed to can break the terms of your entry into the country. Usually you’ll be allowed to work up to 20 hours a week during term-time, full-time during holidays, a work placement as part of a sandwich course, or an internship.

Read our piece, ‘Tips for working while you study’, for more helpful tips.


Transferring money

So how do you move your actual money around? You’ll need to be able to transfer money from your home country where your (or your parents’) bank account is, to your current account in the UK. The quickest and most cost-effective way of transferring money is through a foreign exchange company. World First is one of the world's leading foreign exchange companies offering a specialist money transfer service for international students. Our aim is to make paying fees and living expenses quick, easy and much cheaper than a bank. You can get some excellent exchange rates, set up a regular payment scheme for tuition fees and it’s a great alternative to using credit cards.


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