Oxford University in the UK

How do I study in the UK? 

Here are some frequently asked questions from Danish students with answers from the British Council. The British Council was delighted to join Studievalg København (which provides education guidance to Danish students) for a talk to students in Copenhagen about study in the UK. Couldn’t make the event? Don’t worry. Here are a few of the questions that students there asked us, together with some advice for any Danish student who wishes to study at a UK-based college or university.

Read more about why and how to study in the UK, advice about student life, accommodation and more, on the British Council’s Study UK website.

Courses and course requirements

Q: Which is the best UK university to study engineering/art/medicine/fashion/biochemistry?

A: The British Council is asked to recommend universities all the time, and our answer is always the same: The best university is the best university for you!

There are loads of great universities in the UK (as many as 119 universities, and 133 colleges). They all have different strengths. Many excel in specific subjects. Some are the only institutions in the world to teach a certain course.

You can search for courses on the UCAS website.

The Unistats website is a great resource for comparing data about courses. You’ll university rankings, levels of student satisfaction, the drop-out rate (how many students don’t finish the course) and the employment rate (how many students get a job soon after completing their course). 

However, there are other factors to consider, such as the course content, the university location, the cost of living in a certain town or city, and whether the university ‘feels’ right for you. For these, you’ll need to lots of research into the area the university is in – watch online videos, read the university website… or best of all (if you can) try to attend a university open day.

Find out more on the Study UK How to apply page.

Q: My grades aren’t very good – can I still study in the UK?

Absolutely. There is a broad range of universities across England, Northern Ireland, Wales and Scotland. Some are highly academic and demand top grades from students – but if this isn’t what you’re looking for, there are many other universities with different entry requirements.

Make sure you check the qualification requirements when you’re applying for your course. It’ll be clear what grades you need to apply.

There’s more on this subject under the Discover your future section of the British Council’s Study UK website.

Q: What are the Danish qualifications that I can use to study in the UK? 

It’s essential that you check the entry requirements for your course. For undergraduate (first degree) applications, UK universities will usually list the UK school leavers’ qualifications (A-Levels) and International Baccalaureate grade they require, together with any extra UK qualifications you might need for that course. Some will also list specific international qualifications – but not all do.

Some universities publish guides to the equivalent scores in the Studentereksamen (STX), Højere Forberedelseseksamen (HF) or Højere Handelseksamen (HHX) / Højere Teknisk Eksamen (HTX) that the universities may accept.

However, universities vary. Some may have different comparison systems, and some will only consider Højere Handelseksamen (HHX) and Højere Teknisk Eksamen (HTX) on a case-by-case basis. If the university website doesn’t list Danish qualifications, then get in touch with their International office. You’ll find the details on their website.

On your UCAS form, all qualifications will be listed by name and country. If you can’t find yours there, add it in the ‘other’ box.

You may have to send proof of your results in the form of certificates or transcripts (if they’re not International Baccalaureate or UK A-Levels). Check with your university to find out what they’ll need from you and when. 

Q: Can the British Council verify my certificates?

No. The British Council in Denmark does not offer this service.  Please contact your university or college and ask whether they need your certificate to be verified or translated, and what options they’ll accept.  For example, they might accept a certificate (or stamped copy) sent directly from your school or university.

Danish state-approved and certified translators (holding the translatøreksamen) can be found either on the website of Danske Translatører (DT) or Translatørforeningen.

UK citizens may be able to get their documents certified at British consulates in Denmark – check the website of the British Embassy in Denmark

English language courses and requirements

Q: How do I find an English language school in the UK?

You can find information about learning English in the UK on the English UK website. English UK is the UK’s national association of accredited English language centres.

In addition, the British Council provides an alphabetical list of British Council accredited language schools in the UK.

If you book a language course, we recommend that you check it’s taught by a British Council accredited language school.

Q: How good does my English need to be to study in the UK?

Each university sets its own English language requirements for international students who don’t speak English as their first language. These will vary depending on the university or the course. 

Some universities don’t require a language test from Scandinavian students, but it’s very important that you check.

Others will ask for a language certificate, such as an IELTS certificate (other tests are available, so check what the university accepts). Most universities will want you to have an IELTS score of between 6 and 7 (or equivalent if you take another test). Some universities, colleges and courses have higher or lower requirements.

The application process

Q: How do I apply to study in the UK?

All undergraduate applications must go through the UCAS online application platform.  For postgraduate applications, this can vary.

Find out more on the Study UK website under How to apply.

Q: I want to take a gap year – will that affect my application to a UK university?

Many UK universities accept ‘deferred entry’ applications from students. This means that you can apply for a course but ask to start a year later. You can only defer an application by one year.

If you want to defer, it’s a good idea to explain in your personal statement (see below) why that extra year will be essential for your future plans.

Also, make sure you check whether the course you want to apply for accepts deferred applications. Not all do!

Q: What should I write on my personal statement?

The UCAS personal statement is where you explain why you want to study a particular course. It’s also where you tell the university or college a bit about yourself.

Personal statements are often read by the tutor who teaches that particular subject. The likelihood is that they will be thinking about why they’d want to teach you! A good personal statement will show why you’re passionate about your subject of choice, why you’re interested in this particular course… and why you are an interesting person to teach. It sounds obvious but we cannot stress it enough: make your personal statement personal!

There’s a really useful article on How to write a personal statement on the British Council’s Voices website.

Q: Do I need to get a reference from anyone? If so, who should that be?  What should they write?

At undergraduate level you will need to get one reference for your application. The referee should be someone who knows you in an academic capacity and who can offer feedback about your work. Most likely your referee will be a teacher in a subject related to the one you want to study. 

There’s a space on the UCAS form for you to fill in contact details for your referee, but make sure you check first that they are happy to provide a reference. After that, UCAS will contact them directly. 

If your referee wants more information, you can show them the Referees page on the UCAS website. Or if you want more information, check out the UCAS page on how to get a reference (undergraduate).

Q: I don’t have my final grades for my exams yet – can I still apply?

Yes. This is a very common situation in the UK as many students apply for university before they get their final ‘A-Level’ school leavers results.

The person you choose as a referee will be asked to state your predicted grades on the form they fill out for UCAS.

If you’re waiting for the final results of any exams on this list, then UCAS will be able to send them automatically to your university as soon as they are published. Otherwise, you should check with the university when and how to tell them when you get your grades.

Q: Will I need an interview to study at a UK university?

It depends on the university. Some don’t interview any students at all. Others interview almost all students. This includes the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge. Others interview for certain courses, such as medicine, art or design.

If you want to check whether you’ll be interviewed, either in person or by phone, have a good look at the website of the university you’re applying to, or contact the international officer or admissions department.

If you do get asked to attend an interview, it’s likely to focus on your interest in the course as opposed to your English ability. However, you’ll need to show that your standard of written and spoken English is high enough to enable you to follow the course. Make sure you’re well prepared and have thought about the questions you might be asked.


Q: How much does it cost to study in the UK?

EU students pay the same tuition fees as UK students (home rate). Tuition fees are different for students in England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales. The maximum tuition fee per course year at undergraduate level is:

  • England: £9,250 (78.315 kr.)
  • Wales: £4,046 (34.255 kr.)
  • Northern Ireland: £3,925 (33.231 kr.)
  • Scotland: Free

At postgraduate level, fees vary depending on the university as there’s no limit set by the government. As a rough guide, graduate courses cost:

  • Starting at £3,500 (29.633 kr.) per year
  • MBA £10-20K (84.665-169.330 kr.)

You’ll also have to pay tuition fees for a year abroad or study visit to a UK university even if you’re not graduating from the UK university. It is best if you check directly with the university what these fees will be. Students visiting for just one year or semester are not eligible for a student loan (see below).

Q: What financial assistance is available to study in the UK?

Find out more by reading the UK Government information about funding and finance for EU students.

EU students are eligible for the same fees and can access the same tuition fee loans as UK students. This has been confirmed for students entering in 2017-18 and 2018-19 (read more on our Study UK page for EU students).  You can find information on whether you qualify for home fees on the UKCISA website.

UK student loans are paid back as 9% of your income after you earn over £21,000 (approx. 178.408 kr.).

Non-UK students (including EU students) don’t have access to a maintenance loan (this helps cover accommodation etc.). This is because they are issued based on your family’s income in the UK. However, Danish students can apply for government funding. Find out more at www.su.dk

Students visiting for just one year or semester are not eligible for a student loan.

A number of scholarships are available for international students – check the Scholarships page of the Study UK website.

Some universities also have individual bursaries – check with them individually.

Q: What kind of financial information do I need to show my university, and during what stage of the application process?

Finances don’t come into the UCAS form. This is arranged with the university, together with any student loans or finance organisations.

It’s essential that you apply for any student grants or loans as early as possible to allow time for processing your application.

Check with your university when and how you’ll need to pay your course fees.

General questions

Q: Where can I find information on living and working in the UK?

The UK government website provides information on living and working in the UK. You could also check the UK section of the European Job Mobility Portal (EURES) website.

Q: Can I still study in the UK after the UK leaves the EU (Brexit)? 

Formal negotiations are still taking place about the UK’s future relationship with the EU. This includes the implications for students.

It’s important to remember that each year, 438,000 students come from outside the UK – from Europe and beyond – to study at UK universities. What’s more, the UK is ranked ‘first’ for recommendation by students who have chosen to study abroad. The UK will continue to be a welcoming, friendly and open study destination for students from any country – regardless of Brexit.

For more information visit the British Council’s Study UK page on information for EU students about Brexit

External links