UK universities accept the IGCSE

Study abroad in the UK

Here you can find out what makes a degree in Great Britain, what the study conditions are and what other special features you should consider.

Studying or at least a semester abroad in Great Britain is very popular, which is mainly due to the fact that all new students must be able to speak at least one modern foreign language. Since English is one of the basic subjects of school education, it stands to reason that many prefer the country for a stay abroad. English is also one of the most important languages ​​in the world.

Basic information about Great Britain

The United Kingdom of Great Britain is one of the largest states in Europe with just under 245,000 km² and over 60 million inhabitants. It consists of the four states of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Studying in England, Wales and Co. as an Austrian

The university system is divided into 112 "Universities" and "University Colleges" as well as 60 "Colleges" and "Institutes of Higher Education". The difference is easy to explain:

  • Universities and university colleges are the only institutions in the UK that are allowed to award degrees such as bachelor, master and doctoral degrees. Incidentally, the oldest originated between the 12th and 15th centuries.
  • Doctoral Colleges and Institutes of Higher Education only award so-called "Certificates" or "Diplomas of Higher Education". These are recognized as qualifications by both the chambers and professional associations.

The studies are divided into “undergraduate” and “postgraduate” sections. An undergraduate course ends with a bachelor’s degree, as is common in Austria today. In postgraduate studies, you study the subject in more depth and usually finish with a master’s degree. Then the doctor can still be done.

Recognition of achievements

Thanks to ERASMUS, it is now no problem to spend a semester or two in Great Britain. And thanks to the mutual recognition of achievements (Bologna Process), there should be nothing to prevent a change to a British university.


In Great Britain, university places are distributed via the independent online portal UCAS (Universities & Admissions Applications Service) through a numerus clausus system. The NC is determined internally by the various departments of the universities. The requirements of individual courses can vary greatly.

It is not possible to apply directly to a university - your path always leads through UCAS.

You can apply to a maximum of five universities at the same time per year, although not all of these universities can be chosen. For example, if you want to study at an elite university, you have to decide whether you want to go to Oxford or Cambridge before you apply - you cannot specify both in one application phase.

Students from abroad must enclose a certified language test with their application. TOEFL or IELTS are the popular representatives here, plus other certificates such as the Pearson Test of English Academic (PTE Academic). The requirements for the minimum number of points depend on the individual courses. When applying for medicine or journalism, for example, significantly higher scores are required than in engineering or mechanical engineering.

Our tip


Are you currently applying for a study place or are you planning a semester abroad? In many cases, you have to be able to prove that you have English skills at an academic level, and your school reports are not always sufficient, especially abroad. The Pearson Test of English Academic (PTE Academic) is recognized by numerous colleges, employers, and even governments around the world, and you can take it in over 50 countries. It takes place entirely on the PC and is evaluated by artificial intelligence, so it is impartial. As a rule, you can register up to 24 hours before the test and get the results within 48 hours afterwards - because it often has to be done quickly.
Find out where you can get the PTE Academic and whoever accepts it!

Letter of recommendation and essay

The letter of recommendation is also very important. This should confirm that you are ready to take the step to study abroad. Mostly it is desired that the letter of recommendation was written by a teacher.

A much larger part of the selection process, however, is the essay about yourself. Every applicant is given the chance to convince the university of their abilities. In Great Britain nobody has a legal right to a place at university, so the letter of recommendation and essay can tip the scales and be the final authority on the allocation of places.

As in Austria, admission to a master’s degree is only granted after completing a previous bachelor’s degree.

Application deadlines

The academic year in Great Britain starts at the end of September and the UCAS registration deadline is January 15th of the same year. Exceptions are applications for medical subjects and applications to one of the two elite universities, Cambridge or Oxford - in both cases, the application must be received by October 15 of the previous year.


Regarding the cost of studying, it can be said that there are tuition fees at every university. These are quite different. The cost of living is also higher in the United Kingdom, i.e. England, Wales & Co, than in Austria.

Academic year

The academic year is not generally regulated in Great Britain. Usually, it is divided into trimesters (ten to twelve weeks each). But many universities have already adopted the division of the rest of Europe.

Studying in the UK is sure to be an exciting and rewarding challenge. If you have the chance, you should definitely use it.