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The basics
THE UK: Applying to University

Canadian students applying to a UK university

Practical advice for Canadian students applying to study in the United Kingdom

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The UK is home to some of the most prestigious educational institutions in the world and is an ever-popular destination for international students. Because of this, UK universities offer a diverse student body and culturally enriching experience. However, with a wide variation of entry requirements for Canadian students, it is imperative that you carry out the appropriate research in order to get your application right. Our breakdown of what is required should help you to further understand the process.


What research do I need to do?

Firstly, you will need to decide which university you want to go to, which subject you want to study and whether you intend to be there for a single semester or a full academic year. Information on the available courses is usually updated on a yearly basis, and can be found by visiting each individual institution’s website.


How do I apply?

For most undergraduate courses, you must apply through the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS). You will need to register an account with UCAS and complete your application online.

For postgraduate courses, many universities and institutions handle their own application processes, and you can often apply directly via their websites.

Some institutions use the UK Postgraduate Application and Statistical Service (UKPASS) scheme. You can see which institutions are included in the scheme and find out more at the UKPASS website. You can apply using the UKPASS service at any time as there are no deadlines. However, your preferred universities and colleges may have their own closing dates, so you should check with them before applying.


The academic year runs from September/October to July and all students applying to UK university must go through UCAS, which collects your information and acts as a middleman between yourself and universities. You will also need to write a personal statement. This is a 4000-character piece of writing which argues why the university should offer you a place. It should be, as the title suggests, personal – don’t copy a template, write using your own ideas.


Prospective undergraduate students generally need to complete applications by the end of January, in order to qualify for attendance in the following September. Some institutions may accept applications later than this, but only if specified. By January, then, you should have already decided on your desired institution, course and length of stay, as well as checking that the course meets the credit requirement of your home institution.


Will I need to provide any documentation?

In order to prove that you are eligible to study at a UK university, you must provide a valid passport, a visa, a letter from your DCSF-registered home institution to confirm that you have an unconditional offer for a full-time course, and evidence that you are able to pay for it.


What are the entry requirements?

While most undergraduate courses will consider a student with a Canadian High School or Secondary School Diploma with at least 5 acceptable Grade 12 courses with 80% (or equivalent), general entry requirements vary depending on the province in which you achieved the qualification.


If you studied at Alberta, UK institutions request a General High School Diploma with a minimum of 80-90% in five acceptable grade 12 courses. If British Columbia, universities will expect a Senior Secondary Graduation Diploma with at least five B’s in acceptable subjects. For Manitoba, you must have a High School Graduation Diploma with five credits awarded at the 300 Level in at least four subject areas, with around 75% in each.


If you studied in Ontario, you must have a minimum of 80% in six grade 12 courses, at least five of which must be University Preparatory Courses (denoted by 4U), with the sixth course possibly being a University/College Preparation Course (denoted by 4M), while students from Saskatchewan must have a Complete Division IV Standing with a minimum of 80% in at least five acceptable subjects.


The qualifications requested of students from other provinces can be found on individual institutions’ websites, as well as those for post-graduate study and some undergraduate subjects with their own unique requirements, such as Law, Medicine and Dentistry.


Now that we have broken it down for you, the application process should seem much less daunting. Studying in the UK is an exciting prospect and, if you follow these steps, your adventure could soon become a reality.

What are you waiting for? Start your study in the UK adventure today!

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