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THE UK: Student Finances - Must read

How much do tuition fees in the UK cost?

As an international student, it’s important to know how much you can expect to pay in tuition costs. We’re here to help with our comprehensive guide to tuition fees in the UK.

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For any prospective international student, a huge factor to consider when choosing a study destination is the cost of tuition fees. And if you’re looking at the UK, famed for its historic education system and vibrant student lifestyle, finding an answer to this question isn’t always straightforward.

 

Don’t worry, we’ve researched for you so that all you need to do is read this article.

 

What do tuition fees cover?

 

In the UK, tuition fees are charged annually and typically cover:

 

  • lectures, seminars, and tutorials
  • examinations
  • access to university resources e.g. libraries and computer rooms
  • access to course-related facilities and equipment e.g. laboratories and studios
  • course admin costs
  • compulsory field trips
  • student support services
  • graduation ceremony
  • National Union of Students membership

 

Tuition fees do not cover student supplies (e.g. textbooks or stationery) or living expenses (e.g. rent, travel or bills). For more information about these, why not read our article about the cost of living in the UK?

 

Understanding tuition fees

When calculating the price of tuition fees in the UK, there are several considerations you’ll want to keep in mind as the costs can vary so widely.

 

Home country

Anyone applying to university from outside of the UK and Ireland is now considered to be an international student (also known as an overseas student) and is therefore subjected to an international fee structure.

 

In the past, EU and EEA students had ‘home fee status’ meaning they had access to the same university fees as UK residents. However, because of Brexit, this changed from the 2021/2022 academic year onwards. Now, only residents of Ireland, the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man continue to have access to home fee status.

 

If you are a resident of Ireland, the Channel Islands, or the Isle of Man, UCAS has put together a helpful table of UK tuition costs.

 

Tuition fees for domestic and home fee status undergraduates are currently capped at GBP 9,250 per year. At the postgraduate level, there is no fee cap, so tuition fees will vary but will still be significantly less than the international rate.

 

Geographic location

Tuition fees tend to be most expensive in the south of England, becoming cheaper the further north you travel as well as in Wales and Northern Ireland. Tuition fees in Scotland are often cheaper than elsewhere.

 

Academic institution

Tuition fees vary significantly between institutions. Often, those universities that are highest in the QS World University Rankings will charge more for their courses.

 

Type of qualification

Often, tuition fees for postgraduate degrees are more costly per year than they are at the undergraduate level.

 

Subject studied

Typically, science degrees cost more than arts or humanities degrees. Medical and veterinary sciences are usually much more expensive than other degree types.

 

Course length

Don’t forget to consider the length of your course. As tuition fees are not usually charged as a one-off payment, the longer your course takes, the more expensive it will be. Undergraduate degrees in the UK are typically three years long (four years in Scotland).

 

Method of learning

Some courses offer a distance learning option which is often considerably cheaper than traditional methods of study. Similarly, at the postgraduate level, research-based courses will be cheaper than those which are taught.

 

Years abroad

 

If your course offers a year abroad, the tuition fees for that year may be different to other years.

 

How much are international tuition fees for UK undergraduate study?

 

Overseas tuition fees at the undergraduate level in the UK vary considerably and can cost anywhere between GBP 11,250 to GBP 38,000 per year.

 

We know the range is big, and don’t worry, we understand that many people find it stressful trying to understand the figures. We’ve done the research to help you put together a better picture of what you can expect to pay.

 

In the table below, you can see the cost of overseas undergraduate tuition fees (per year) at five of the UK’s top universities. These fees are for full-time courses starting in the 2022/2023 academic year.

 

Typical UK international undergraduate tuition fees per year

 

University

Average fees

(note: some courses may fall outside this range)

Tuition fees for clinical years*

University of Cambridge

GBP 23,340 – GBP 35,517

GBP 60,942

University College London

GBP 24,000 – GBP 35,100

GBP 43,733

University of Edinburgh

GBP 21,200 – GBP 32,100

GBP 49,900

University of Manchester

GBP 20,000 – GBP 24,500

GBP 47,000

University of Birmingham

GBP 19,980 – GBP 27,180

GBP 44,100

 

*Clinical years are a compulsory part of medicine, dentistry, and veterinary science degrees. The number and timings of clinical years vary between courses and institutions, so be sure to check before you apply.

 

Want to get an idea of tuition fees for some of the most popular undergraduate courses in the UK? Our next table is here to help.

 

Typical UK annual international UK undergraduate tuition fees (by course)

 

 

University

 

 

Average fees

(note: some courses may fall outside this range)

Engineering

Health sciences and medicine

Business and management

Social sciences

Humanities

University of Cambridge

GBP 35,517

     GBP 35,517 –    GBP 60,942

GBP 35,517

      GBP 30,537 –    GBP 35,517

GBP 23,340

University College London

      GBP 26,600 –     GBP 35,100

        GBP 26,600 -        GBP 43,733

       GBP 26,600 –     GBP 32,100

     GBP 26,600 –    GBP 32,100

     GBP 24,000 –    GBP 29,400

University of Edinburgh

GBP 30,400

         GBP 30,400  -       GBP 49,900

GBP 23,100

      GBP 23,100-      GBP 30,400

GBP 23,100

University of Manchester

      GBP 25,000 -      GBP 27,000

        GBP 23,000 –       GBP 47,000

GBP 26,000

     GBP 23,000 –    GBP 26,000

GBP 21,500

University of Birmingham

     GBP 24,600 –   GBP 27,180

        GBP 24,600 –       GBP 44,100

     GBP 21,420 –    GBP 23,400

      GBP 19,020 –    GBP 24,600

     GBP 19,980 –    GBP 20,760

 

With these two tables, hopefully, you can get a basic understanding of what you might expect to pay in tuition fees as an undergraduate in the UK. And of course, if you already know which universities you are interested in, you can request prospectuses for more information about courses and fees.

 

How much are international tuition fees for UK postgraduate study?

 

Just like at the undergraduate level, there is a huge amount of variation in what you can expect to pay in overseas tuition fees as a postgraduate international student in the UK. Tuition fees can fall anywhere between GBP 12,500 to GBP 61,000 per year.

 

We know it’s a big range to work with, so our tables below should help you get an idea of what you might expect to pay as an international postgraduate student, based on your level of study. These fees are for courses starting in the 2022/2023 academic year.

 

Typical UK international postgraduate tuition fees per year (or course length, where the full course is shorter than a year)

 

University

Average fees

(note: some courses may fall outside this range)

Postgraduate Diplomas/Certificates

Masters

Doctorates

University of Cambridge

GBP 28,893

GBP 20,157 – GBP 61,000

GBP 27,048 – GBP 80,000

University College London

GBP 8,600 – GBP 20,800

GBP 19,937 – GBP 51,370

GBP 21,550 – GBP 46,120

University of Edinburgh

GBP 16,870 – GBP 35,900

GBP 23,150 – GBP 35,900

GBP 18,100 – GBP 54,200

University of Manchester

GBP 7,667 – GBP 20,800

GBP 20,000 – GBP 48,000

GBP 20,000 – GBP 48,000

University of Birmingham

GBP 8,580 – GBP 20,430

GBP 19,380 – GBP 31,568

GBP 19,380 – GBP 24,780

 

The next table shows the costs of some popular postgraduate course options at the same five universities. Remember, the range shown for each course may include options at every level of postgraduate study, from postgraduate certificates all the way through to doctorates.

 

Typical UK annual international postgraduate tuition fee per year (or course length, where the full course is shorter than a year) by course type

 

University

 

 

Average fees

(note: some courses may fall outside this range)

Engineering

Health and medicine

MBA*

Computer sciences and IT

Psychology

University of Cambridge

  GBP 33,321-     GBP 37,815

       GBP 31,293 –     GBP 33,972

GBP 61,000

    GBP 33,972 –   GBP 37,815

GBP 33,972

University College London

 GBP 19,000 –GBP 36,900

       GBP 17,200 –     GBP 51,370

GBP 42,500

GBP 31,200

GBP 19,000 –GBP 31,200

University of Edinburgh

 GBP 23,150 – GBP 31,100

       GBP 25,300 -      GBP 54,200

GBP 35,900

GBP 35,900

GBP 16,870 –  GBP 26,300

University of Manchester

 GBP 26,000 – GBP 28,000

       GBP 15,334 –     GBP 47,000

GBP 45,000

GBP 27,500

GBP 21,500 –  GBP 25,500

University of Birmingham

 GBP 17,160 –GBP 31,568

       GBP 15,360 –     GBP 27,540

GBP 19,980 –   GBP 31,500

     GBP 24,780 –    GBP 26,640

    GBP 20,430 –   GBP 23,040

* MBAs are charged as a one-off payment for the full course rather than an annual fee

 

Feeling a little more confident about what to expect? Perhaps now would be a good time to order some prospectuses and narrow down your university choices.

 

How do I pay my tuition fees in the UK?

 

In the UK, tuition fees are usually paid directly to the university before you begin your course. Since tuition fees are charged annually, if your course is longer than a year, you will usually need to pay your tuition fees before every academic year of study. However, different institutions may have different payment structures, so be sure to check the requirements with your chosen university before you apply.

 

Did you know?

 

Tuition fees usually rise each year in line with inflation. Be sure to account for this in your budgeting. Many universities offer scholarships and funding opportunities to international students. It’s worth checking to see if there’s one that might suit you.

 

Now that you know all you need to about the cost of tuition fees, why not learn about the application process for universities in the UK?

 

Disclaimer: Whilst we’ve done all we can to ensure the accuracy of the information contained in this article, be aware that these are guidelines and averages only. Costs may vary or change at any time, so be sure to verify fee structures with any prospective institutions.

 

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