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The basics
THE UK: Applying to University

Tips for Nigerian students applying to a UK university

Top tips and advice for Nigerian students wanting to study in the UK. Find out about GCSEs and WAECs equivalency and other entry requirements.

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Are you a Nigerian student who would like to study at a UK university? Would you like to know if your qualifications are equivalent to UK GCSEs? What English language requirements do you need and what documents will you need to give? Here we tell you what to do and when to do it.


What are the entry requirements for undergraduate courses in the UK?


Each university and even each course has its own entry requirements but generally, you can expect the following:


  • Internationally recognised English language qualification, such as IELTS or equivalent WAEC West African Senior School Certificate (WASSCE) English Grade C or above can be accepted in place of IELTS or TOEFL. Please check with the admissions office of the university you’re interested in.
  • Minimum of three passes at GCE A-level at grade C or above, and five passes at GCSE/IGCSE level at grade C or above including English and Maths. OR
  • Equivalent qualifications such as African (WASSCE) - 6 passes at grades 1-6, including Maths and English.
    • (WASSCE) Maths: grade C4 for GCSE grade B/5. Grade B2 for GCSE grade A.
    • (WASSCE) English: grade B3 for GCSE grade B/6.
  • A levels or one year International Foundation course with Senior School Certificate (SSCE) or (WASSCE)
  • One year of undergraduate studies at a recognised Nigerian university with an average CGPA of approximately 3.5 out of 5 may also be accepted


It is best to check with the admissions department of each university whether your certificate is recognised. For universities which are members of the Northern Consortium (NCUK) a completed international Foundation year (IFY) programme with required academic level will be considered for admission, such as a course at Oxbridge School, Lagos. Other colleges in Nigeria may be offering a foundation course with direct entry to undergraduate programme in the UK.


What documents do I need to have when I apply?


  • Copies of academic transcripts and certificates
  • Any examinations left to take
  • Proof of English proficiency (see above)
  • Two letters of reference (academic and professional)
  • Personal statement outlining the reasons for applying
  • A copy of your passport photograph ID page
  • One recent passport-sized, colour photograph
  • Contact address and address of parent/guardian if you are under 18.


You will need to submit your undergraduate application via UCAS (Universities and Colleges Admissions Service). Discover more useful information on how to apply to study in the UK



What are the entry requirements for postgraduate courses in the UK?


Many British universities have two programme start dates in September and January and last for approximately 12 or 16 months. Applications can be made on the official website of your selected institute or by filling in a typical application form which most universities have online.


What documents do I need to have when I apply?


  • Grades for qualifications received: Upper Second Class Bachelor’s degree (UK 2:1 degree) with an average CGPA of 3.5 out of 5 or above from a recognised Nigerian university
  • Some universities may accept a Lower Second Class Bachelor degree (UK 2:2 degree) and others may require you to have already undertaken some postgraduate level study
  • Any examinations you are waiting to take
  • Your English qualification score (IELTS, PTE Academic, Cambridge Advanced or other tests as outlined by your chosen university)
  • A personal statement (usually between 500 to 700 depending on the programme requirement)
  • Two letters of reference (academic and professional)
  • CV/resume showing relevant work experience
  • Photographic ID, address and a passport-sized photograph.


What are the visa application deadlines?


Nigerian students need to apply for student visa to study in the UK and have to pay the fees.

You must apply for your visa within (no later than) six months of receiving your Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS). If you live outside the UK, you should apply for your student visa no more than six months before you start your course.



Making and accepting the offer


If you have completed your education and have met all the entry requirements, you will be sent an unconditional offer, otherwise, the offer will be conditional. A decision is made within three weeks of receipt of your completed application and supporting documents. If you wish to accept the offer you must confirm your acceptance and pay the registration and tuition fees or deposit. Tuition fees are different for different universities, courses and level of study. 


You may also need to prove that:

  • you can afford to pay for at least the first year of your course
  • you have enough money to support yourself, either:
    • GBP 1,023 per month for courses outside London
    • GBP 1,334 per month for courses in London.


Now that you have all the information you need to get started, try our course matcher tool to help you find the perfect course in the UK for you. 

Study in the UK


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