Pursuing a degree in the UK is a dream for many students. That’s why numerous international students apply to different universities every year. However, some students, especially those with study gaps, hesitate to apply. There is a perception among students that their application won’t succeed if they have a study gap. So, is this phenomenon true?
What do you think? Does a study gap permit you to study in the UK? The answer is simple - yes, you can study at a UK university despite a study gap! But you must show valid reasons for taking a break from your studies. Here’s everything you need to know about making your UK study abroad dreams come true, even with a study gap!
What is a Study Gap?
You may need to take breaks from your studies for various reasons, including earning a livelihood, preparing for job exams or medical exams, and more. There could be unforeseen circumstances that keep you from continuing your education, like a personal or medical emergency.
A study gap is a significant period of time (around a year or more) between your most recent qualifications and the degree you hope to get. Specifically, a study gap is a period between students’ previous and current qualifications.
After becoming stable in your daily life, you may be looking forward to returning to complete your studies. So, let’s talk about how you can study in the UK with a study gap.
How Many Years of Study Gap is Acceptable for UK Universities?
Many students with study gaps wonder if they can study in the UK with this blank space in their academic history. The UK’s educational institutes largely accept international students with study gaps.
Many universities welcome students with two years of study gap to pursue their degrees. But things are a little trickier if you have longer study gaps than two years. If you have 5, 8, or 10 years of study gaps, you may be wondering whether you can get admission to study in the UK.
The short answer is, yes, you can get a study permit even with such a long study gap.
Many universities in the UK allow international students with 8 to 10 years of study gap to enroll in graduate programs. But for that, you must show valid reasons outlining why you took this break from studying. You also may need to describe your plan to make up for the lost time.
The bottom line is simple - the UK is a very accommodating country, and its schools, colleges, and universities have flexible policies to help international students fulfill their dreams of studying abroad.
So, even if many students have long study gaps, they can get admission to many universities. You have to make sure you do your research, communicate with the university and understand their policies regarding gaps, and provide a solid justification for these gaps.
What is the Best Way to Cover the Study Gap?
Although there are some UK universities with comparatively less flexible admission policies for international students with study gaps, the opposite is also true. You can find numerous educational institutes in the UK that accept international students with long study gaps if they have valid reasons for them.
So, in what situations will a UK university accept your application regardless of a gap? Below, we have shared them all to help you succeed in studying abroad even if you have a long study gap.
1. You Have a Study Gap Due to Work Purposes
Every year, numerous international students apply to different UK universities to pursue their degrees. Among them, many students have gap years because of work purposes. They need to take a break from their studies to get jobs, build careers, and fulfill family and personal needs.
If you can relate to this situation, you have a valid reason for the study gap. Many UK universities consider applicants with work experience valuable and offer them easy entrance to their universities. This is especially the case for graduate level programs, and for some programs a degree of work experience is a plus!
Besides, if your job required you to complete projects like volunteering, serving specific communities, and more, it would ease your way into the UK education system too.
Essentially you want to show higher education providers that you weren’t idle during your study break. Being active and involved also counts as learning and experience that indicate the type of student you will be and how you can contribute to the university.
If you can add your work experience, salary slip, employer references, and other necessary documents related to your job to validate your study gap, there is a high chance you can get admission to a great university in the UK.
2. You Have Taken Competitive Exams
Some international students take a break from academic studies to prepare for competitive government job exams or other exams. And if you have done the same thing, you can share this reason with your university to explain your study gap.
You can explain what short courses you took during the gap year and what knowledge and skill you acquired during that time. Also, do share how this skill and expertise align with your target field of study to convince the university admission committee to get a study permit.
Alongside this, you can attach the certificate or other proof of your short course and competitive exams with your admission application to let the university administration board evaluate your skill and determine if you are eligible for admission.
3. You Have Health Problems
Unfortunately, some students need to take a short break from their studies due to severe illnesses or medical emergencies. If you also have undergone the same condition, don’t worry. As long as you show your admissions officers that the gap was due to an unavoidable health issue, you can still stand a chance to continue your study abroad journey unimpeded.
You may need to share details about your illness to the admission board and provide your medical certificate, report, and treatment details .
In your personal statement, you can share in more detail why you had to take time off studying. Note, though, that while you can explain in your personal statement that the gap was unavoidable, that should not be the only focus of your write-up. You must highlight qualities and experiences that highlight why, regardless of the gap, you are a great prospective student.
How did you maintain your commitment to continue your studies during the gap? What does your resilience to keep pursuing your studies say about you? Let your admissions officers know the value you will bring to their program and community.
4. Prove You Are Goal-Oriented and Determined
Although you may have no valid reasons for the gap year, if you can prove that you are goal-oriented and determined, there is still a good chance you can get admission. You have to convince the university admission committee by describing how well-determined you are towards your goal if you want to study in the UK.
As with our advice in writing effective personal statements, make sure you’re illustrating these characteristics in yourself rather than telling the admissions officer about it. Share experiences or achievements that spotlight the qualities that they’re looking for.
Talk about a business you ran successfully during your study gap or a time and technique-intensive hobby you took on. What do these experiences say about you that align with the qualities the university is looking for in their ideal applicants? How do these experiences shape you into the type of student who would excel at this university?
Top UK Universities that Accept Students with Study Gaps
|Bath Spa University||12%|
|Cardiff Metropolitan University||64%|
|De Montfort University||45-80%|
|Leeds Beckett University||80%|
|University of Lincoln||79.8%|
1. Bangor University
Bangor University is a public academy in Wales. This university hosts around 10,000 students; among them, more than 2,500 are international students from 120 different countries.
Bangor University is among the best universities in the world, with a solid placement in the top 650 of QS’ Top Universities. The university’s industry-forward programs are a solid reason for this position.
Courses offer placement opportunities, including a placement year, as well as bi-annual internship programs. All of this helps Bangor graduates develop the work experience they need to enhance their employability.
The university understands that circumstances can arise that interfere with the students’ ability to begin their degree right away. As such, it welcomes you to contact a Personal Tutor or Student Adviser from Bangor’s Student Support Team to discuss these matters in detail.
2. Bath Spa University
Bath Spa University is a public institution offering creative and stunning study programs across diverse disciplines. It is a home to more than 8,500 creative minds who join this university to hone their artistic skills.
The university accepts numerous prospective international students with gap years from different universities. Plus, it gives them the stage cohorts seek to master their expertise in varied fields. That's why Bath Spa University has a fantastic student satisfaction rate and graduate employability rate. Thus, if you want to level up your studies and become a true master in the arts, business, media, or science, this educational institute can help you leverage your skill.
Bath Spa University is also very understanding towards students who need to take a break from their studies. Students who need to take some time off in the middle of their programs get to access university resources and services. There are also 24/7 student wellbeing services to hear you out if you are experiencing any difficulty. The Bath Spa University website even offers a downloadable guide on taking a break from your studies!
In fact, the Bath Spa University blog hosts a wonderful piece by a student about choosing between studying and a gap year. That alone should say plenty about the university’s understanding attitude towards gap years!
3. Brunel University
Featuring three associate colleges and offering more than 200 study programs, Brunel University is one of the most famous educational institutes in London. This university boasts a dynamic acceptance rate of 65-70%, and it is among the top 450 best universities in the world (QS WUR 2023)!
That's why every year, over 15,000 international students get the opportunity to join the university’s scholars and enroll in their favorite degree programs across 40 high-demand subjects.
Brunel works with over 8,000 companies to offer diverse placement opportunities to students across various fields. Within six months of graduation, a whopping 93% of graduates are already in employment!
An attractive aspect of this university is its flexible admission rules. So, you can easily get into this university, with the right eligibility requirements, of course, and prepare for a bright future even if you have a study gap!
4. Cardiff Metropolitan University
Cardiff Metropolitan University is a leading educational institute in the UK, earning its respect and fame from ensuring high-quality teaching through a wide range of study programs.
This public university has a 64% acceptance rate and houses a student population of over 34,000, among whom more than 11,000 cohorts are international. Cardiff Met operates three stunning campuses to help learners benefit from a stimulating atmosphere to invest their time in their studies. All in all, this university consists of all the modern amenities to aid you in shaping your career.
5. Coventry University
Still asking yourself “Does a study gap permit you to study in the UK”? Coventry University gives you the perfect opportunity to access a stellar higher education as long as you can validate the gap!
Located in England, Coventry University is a world-class educational institute, welcoming more than 30,000 students yearly. It is a go-to university for international students, hosting over 13,000 international cohorts from 160 countries. It lands a spot in the top 700 of QS’ picks for the world’s best universities.
The university boasts a QS 5 star-rating for teaching, with plenty of facilities and resources to improve student access for experiential learning. Its dedicated Talent Team supports you from your time at the university to graduation and beyond to access professional opportunities!
6. Cranfield University
Cranfield University is Bedfordshire's leading public research educational institute. This academy is a six-time winner of the esteemed Queen's Anniversary Prize for its research and education on water and sanitation.
The university is in the global top 30 in the fields of mechanical, aeronautical, and manufacturing engineering, with triple accreditation from AMBA, EQUIS, and AACSB International.
Alongside an experiential hands-on approach, Cranfield prioritises smaller class sizes to create more one-to-one learning opportunities under the guidance of experts.
Here, you have a glimpse of its first-rate teaching and research quality. This means once you enroll in a course and get into this university, you can rest assured knowing that you will get the best-in-class education through top-rated courses with the help of experts in relevant fields of study. A study gap that you can validate won’t stop you from accessing the best Cranfield has to offer!
7. De Montfort University
De Montfort University is famous in the UK as one of the leading institutes for art and design. At this university, students can enroll in diverse courses of 20 different subjects and sharpen their skills with the help of workshops and high-quality teaching. It is another the QS’ top picks for best universities both in the UK and globally.
This public university hosts more than 27,000 full-time and part-time cohorts and offers them over 300 job-ready study programs at bachelor's and postgraduate levels. Since this university prioritises enhancing accessibility to a world-class education, it has flexible entry requirements. This includes accepting potential students with valid study gaps. Overall, this educational institute is an appropriate option if you are considering studying a subject in art or design after taking a break from your studies.
8. Kingston University
With 120 years of history, Kingston University is one of the oldest educational hubs in beautiful London. It operates four state-of-the-art and spacious campuses, hosting more than 18,000 students.
Among them, over 4,000 are international students who come from 140+ countries to receive top-of-the-line education and training. As you can probably guess by now, this university is also among the best universities in the country and globally, according to QS Top Universities. Even if you have a study gap, don’t let it stop you from seeking out opportunities at this institute!
9. Leeds Beckett University
Accommodating over 28,000 students, Leeds Beckett University is a well-known public institution in Northern England. Not only this, Leeds Beckett University is one of the cheapest universities in the Uk for international students. It operates two mesmerizing campuses and oversees more than 300 study programs.
Apart from this, this educational institute features around 2800 staff members who constantly work for the learner's well-being and help them fulfill their dreams. That's why this university has a 93% student satisfaction rate. You can get into this university even if you have a study gap so long as your reasons for the gap are valid and align with the university’s policies.
10. University of Lincoln
The last world-class educational institute we will discuss is the University of Lincoln, a public university in England. This academy features an astounding acceptance rate of 79.8%. That's why more than 1500 international students can get admission to this university annually. This includes students with valid study gaps!
With a spot in the QS World University Rankings 2023, it’s both nationally and internationally competitive as a fantastic higher education provider. If you are fortunate enough to enroll in a course at this university, you will benefit from top-notch facilities.
For example, you can join sports centers and explore this university's extensive library. Also, you will enjoy high-quality accommodation, allowing you to live in an en-suite or a standard room. In summary, no matter what you seek in a university to reach your goal, this University of Lincoln has all the amenities you need.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Does a Gap Year Affect UK Visas?
It depends on why you took a break from your studies. If you have one or more valid reasons justifying your gap year, you will face no problem getting a student visa and studying in the UK
Is a 7-Year Gap Accepted in the UK?
Some universities accept students with 7 to 10 years of study gaps. These educational institutes let international students enroll in postgraduate programs and complete graduation even if they have a long study gap. Generally, these study gaps are due to students taking time out to build their careers.
Can I Study in the UK After 10 Years of Study Gap?
Yes, you can study in the UK after ten years of study gap as some UK universities accept international students with 10 to 12 years of study gaps, as long as these they’re considered valid. You can follow our guide on covering the study gap and apply to the universities above to get admission approval and study abroad.
What Maximum Study Gap is Acceptable for Enrolling in a Bachelor’s Degree in the UK?
Usually, many UK universities will accept international students with two years of study gap. However, you can apply to some universities if your study gap is longer than two years. If your study gap is three years, you can apply for a bachelor’s degree at quite a few UK universities.
Furthermore, if your study gap is around five years, you can still get admission to some UK universities to complete graduation. But to obtain the Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS), you must have a valid reason justifying why you took the break.
What Maximum Study Gap is Acceptable for Enrolling in a Postgraduate Degree in the UK?
As we mentioned, the UK is a friendly country and hosts world-class universities with reasonable admission policies for international students. That means if you have a long gap year and a valid reason justifying it, you can get a CAS to study in the UK.
Now, let’s talk specifically about how long gap years most UK universities accept. You can get admission to many UK universities with a gap of 5 years and accomplish your graduation.
Again, suppose your study gap is longer than the period mentioned above. In that case, you can still get a study permit and admission to many UK universities to fulfill your dream of studying abroad. You will need to make sure you’re communicating with the university clearly about the gap and the reasons behind it. Proceed once you are sure the university is willing to consider your application regardless of the gap.
Our Concluding Thoughts
We hope you found the answer to your question regarding “does a study gap permit you to study in the UK?” The UK is home to exceptional colleges and universities, offering high-quality education to everyone. Hence, if you have a study gap, UK universities are happy to admit you as long as the gap is valid. You can access a rich and life-changing experience as an international student in the UK as long as you know exactly what you’re looking for.