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United Kingdom 7 min read

Intakes for International Students at UK Universities

UniSearch
UniSearchAuthor
Jan 16, 2022Date Published
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When figuring out the logistics of applying to study abroad, when to apply is a big consideration. Meeting all your deadlines and other important dates is a critical part of the process. You have a better chance of scoring a place in your chosen course when you apply on time. Plus, being mindful of deadlines lets you plan so you have everything you need ready on time. This includes securing a visa and finding accommodation! So, if you’re planning to study in the UK, here are the intakes for international students at UK universities!


How Many Intakes for International Students Are There at UK Universities?

There are two major intakes at UK universities, in September and January. A third intake, in the summer, is less popular and offers fewer course choices.

Note that course dates and application deadlines for institutions and courses may vary. To make sure you apply on time, check the important dates for each institution and course you’re considering.

September Intake

The autumn intake is the most popular and competitive intake for UK universities. This is usually when most schools offer most if not all their courses.

January Intake

The January intake for UK universities is something of a secondary intake. If you missed the September intake, this is the one to go for.

The January intake offers fewer courses from fewer universities compared to the September intake. Nonetheless, it’s mostly comparable. Thus, in many cases we recommend students who haven’t checked off all their application requirements, e.g. sitting for required tests like the IELTS and GREs, to wait for the January intake instead of rushing an incomplete application for September.

Be sure to check for your course availability for both intakes first, before choosing which one is right for you!

April/May Intake

Fewer institutions offer fewer programs for this intake. Since this is the least competitive of the three intakes, it’s worth considering. If your course from a chosen school is on offer for April/May, you may consider applying for this intake!


Application Deadlines for International Student Intakes at UK Universities

Course commencement dates and application deadlines can vary across institutions. For postgraduate studies especially, we recommend checking with your institution for application deadlines.

For undergraduate courses, you apply through UCAS – the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service. Once registered, you can shortlist five UK university courses to apply to. UCAS handles the application process, reaching out to your selected universities.

The following are some important UCAS deadlines for 2022 entry for undergraduates:

October 2022 – The deadline for you if you’re applying to:

15 January 2023 – This is the application deadline for most undergraduate courses for 2022 entry.

June 2023 – The application deadline for international students. If you apply before 6 pm UK time, UCAS will send over your application to your shortlisted universities. Any applications after this date go into UCAS Clearing. If you:

  •         missed the June deadline
  •         failed to meet your conditional offer requirements
  •         didn’t receive or accept any offers

– you may fall under UCAS Clearing. If there are any seats still available for the September intake, you may have a chance for an offer.

For graduate applications, look up the requirements and deadlines from each institution specifically. The institution might ask you to apply to them directly. Some institutions and courses have rolling admissions. This means you can apply for any of the available intakes all year round. Your application is subject to whether there are seats available at the university.


When Should I Start Applying?

All these dates and intakes can make things a little confusing. So here’s a general rule of thumb. If you’re aiming for the September intake, begin preparing for your application as early as January of the same year. If you’re applying for the January intake, start preparing around May or June of the previous year.

We advise preparing and beginning applications as early as possible. Check up on the eligibility requirements your school is asking for. From sitting for English proficiency tests to meet target scores, to preparing personal statements and reference letters, there’s a lot to organise. To get an unconditional offer at your selected schools, your application must be as solid as possible. You need an unconditional offer to apply for a student visa!

You also want to give yourself enough time to receive your Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS). This gives you time to apply for your Student visa and look for accommodation. There are many steps to the process of beginning your study abroad journey. Starting early gives you enough time to ensure you get through them all.


Our Concluding Thoughts: Intakes for International Students at UK Universities

Ultimately, which UK intake to choose depends on you. Which course, study level and university you’re applying to determine the intakes for international students at UK universities right for you. If you’re applying for an undergraduate course, then you’ll be applying through UCAS. If you’re applying to Oxbridge, or for most clinical or medical degrees, you need to apply by October 2022. Are you applying for any other undergraduate course? You may find application windows between January and June. After June, your applications go into UCAS Clearing. Depending on whether there are any seats available in your courses, you may land a spot. But since this is uncertain, we recommend checking up on which courses and institutions accept applications for which intakes and preparing early to meet all eligibility requirements and deadlines. For graduate courses, including master’s and doctoral programs, be sure to check requirements and deadlines from the institution you’re planning to apply to!  


Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Which intake is best for the UK?

This depends on which course, study level, and institution you’re applying for. Generally, the September intake is the most popular. Most institutions offer all major courses for this intake. As a result, this course is also the most competitive.

If you miss the September intake, you can also apply for the January intake for the following year. Although fewer institutions and courses take applications for this compared to September, there are still plenty of options. Do you need more time to complete your application, and can’t make the September deadline? This is the intake we recommend. Do be sure that your course is available for your intake and school of choice, though!

A few institutions offer a limited number of courses during April/May. If your course is available during this time, you may consider this intake. It’s the least competitive of the three UK intakes!


When do I apply for a UK university for the September intake?

Begin preparing your applications as early as January or February for the September intake. This gives you enough time to prepare and sit for necessary tests, collect required documents, and present a sound application. It also gives you time to receive an unconditional offer. You’ll need this unconditional offer to apply for a student visa. This in turn gives you time to find accommodation to stay in.

Are you applying to Oxford or Cambridge, or for a clinical/medical undergraduate program? Apply by October 2022.

To qualify for September 2022 entry for all other undergraduate courses, apply before June 30, 2022.

For postgraduate courses, consult with your chosen institution for specific dates and requirements!

 

When do I apply for a UK university for the January intake?

Applying for the January intake? You can begin preparing your applications as early as May of the previous year!

This gives you enough time to prepare and sit for necessary tests, collect required documents, and present a sound application. It also gives you time to receive an unconditional offer, which you need to apply for a student visa, as well as look for accommodation.

Are you applying to Oxford or Cambridge, or for a clinical/medical undergraduate program? Apply by October 2022. Deadlines for most programs for the January 2023 intake fall between June and September 2022.

For postgraduate courses, consult with your chosen institution for specific dates and requirements!


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