The United Kingdom (UK) is one of the top international study destinations in the world. It attracts over 450,000 international students yearly, thanks to top research techniques, modern teaching methods, state of the art facilities, and an unequalled offer of study programmes at Bachelor’s, Master’s, and PhD level.
However, the UK is not one of the most affordable international study destinations. If you want to have the perfect study experience abroad, you need to plan your budget carefully.
Don’t limit your search to study options in London because you will find many affordable degree programmes in other parts of the country as well. You will notice significant differences between tuition costs in England, Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland.
Tuition for home students vs tuition for international students
Before looking at average tuition costs, let’s clarify a few aspects, like the difference between home and international students:
Tuition for home students usually applies to students from the UK, the European Union (EU), and the European Economic Area (EEA). At public universities, these tuition fees are much lower when compared to those demanded by private institutions. This group of students can also apply for student loans that partially or fully cover the cost of their degree.
Tuition for international students applies to all foreign students who are not from the UK, EU, or EEA. For them, tuition costs are higher, sometimes two or three times higher. This group of students cannot apply for student loans and must find other ways to pay for their education (e.g. scholarships, grants, bank loans, family support).
But there’s a catch: due to Brexit, 2020 was the last year when EU/EEA students could pay the same tuition fees as UK citizens. From 1 August 2021 onwards, they will be in the same category as current international students, which means higher tuition fees and no student loans. Learn more about tuition fees in the UK after Brexit.
Another thing to keep in mind is that private universities have higher costs and often list the same tuition for all students: local, EU/EEA, and non-EU/EEA.
Tuition fees in England
Average tuition fees for Master’s degrees in England range from 5,000 to over 30,000 GBP per year, but costs can get considerably higher depending on the institution and the programme you plan to attend.
Usually, yearly tuition fees don’t differ very much between undergraduate and postgraduate programmes in England.
Tuition fees in Scotland
Scottish universities have a wide range of tuition fees. You can find some programmes that start at 500–1,000 GBP/year and others that reach 17,000 GBP/year or more. Private universities can be even more expensive.
As mentioned in the beginning of this article, EU/EEA students no longer have any advantages or benefits because of Brexit. This means the fees we've just mentioned apply to them as well. To lower the costs of your studies, consider applying for a scholarship.
Tuition fees in Wales
Welsh universities can charge tuition fees ranging between 1,000 and over 17,000 GBP/year for both undergraduate and graduate degrees. Check the latest funding opportunities from the Welsh government to further support your studies.
Tuition fees in Northern Ireland
The situation in Northern Ireland is similar to that in Scotland and Wales. Tuition fees start at around 1,000–2,000 GBP/year and can go over 17,000–18,000 GBP/year. Private universities are usually even more expensive. Learn more about student financial support in Northern Ireland.
Tuition fees at top-ranked universities
Here is a list of average tuition fees at the top-ranked UK universities:
- University of Oxford – average tuition of 11,000 GBP/year
- University of Cambridge – tuition between 10,000 – 13,000 GBP/year
- Imperial College London – average tuition of 11,000 GBP/year
- University College London – tuition between 11,000 – 16,000 GBP/year
- London School of Economics and Political Science – tuition between 14,000 – 18,000 GBP/year
Funding and financial support at UK universities
You can find many forms of student financial aid in the UK. These include:
- Student loans
- Rent subsidies
You can also check out the Studyportals Scholarship to get some help on financing your studies abroad.
Search through over 1,600 scholarships in the United Kingdom.