University Tuition Fees for International Students Applying for a Master’s in the UK

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.

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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 is the last year when EU/EEA students will pay the same tuition fees as UK citizens. From 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.

Fees for disciplines such as Business, Engineering or Computer Science can be considerably higher compared to fees for disciplines like Education, Journalism or Humanities.

Usually, yearly tuition fees don’t differ very much between undergraduate and postgraduate programmes in England. You should also be aware that non-EU/EEA students are sometimes charged double or triple the amount that is set for local and EU/EEA students.

  • Average tuition fees for EU/EEA students: 9,500 GBP/year
  • Average tuition fees for non-EU/EEA students: 17,500 GBP/year

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Tuition fees in Scotland

International students coming from the EU/EEA who are planning to attend a Bachelor’s in Scotland will not have to pay any tuition fees. Eligible students are entitled to have their tuition fees paid by the Student Awards Agency for Scotland (SAAS). 

Master’s students from the EU/EEA can apply with the SAAS for a loan of 5,500 GBP for their tuition fees.

  • Average tuition fees for EU/EEA students: 9,000 GBP/year
  • Average tuition fees for non-EU/EEA students: 17,000 GBP/year

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Tuition fees in Wales

Public Welsh universities can charge tuition fees of up to 9,000 GBP/year for both undergraduate and graduate degrees. Check the latest funding opportunities from the Welsh government to further support your studies.

  • Average tuition fees for EU/EEA students: 5,000 GBP/year
  • Average tuition fees for non-EU/EEA students: 13,000 GBP/year

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Tuition fees in Northern Ireland

The maximum amount that EU/EEA students have to pay in Northern Ireland was set to a maximum of around 3,500 GBP yearly. However, due to the fact that the local government has reduced funding for higher education, some universities in Northern Ireland have started to charge tuition that is just a little over 4,000 GBP/year.

  • Average tuition fees for EU/EEA students: 5,000 GBP/year
  • Average tuition fees for non-EU/EEA students: 12,000 GBP/year

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Most affordable universities in the UK

Check the list of British universities with the most affordable tuition fees for EU/EEA students:

Tuition fees at top-ranked universities

Here is a list of average tuition fees at the top-ranked UK universities:

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Funding and financial support at UK universities

You can find many forms of student financial aid in the UK. These include:

  • Scholarships
  • Grants
  • Student loans
  • Rent subsidies

Scotland will cover EU/EEA student tuition fees completely through the SAAS agency. Some advantageous student loans only have to start being paid back after graduation, with payment plans that only require a small part of your salary every month.

Northern Ireland and Wales offer financial aid to students depending on a set of criteria, like your nationality, needs, the conditions and support from the university, and so on.

You can also check out the Studyportals Scholarship to get some help on financing your studies abroad.

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