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Undergraduate Courses

Successful completion of the A-Level, Preparatory or International Year One students, you can enter different stages of the UK undergraduate study. A-Level students who have no restrictions on subjects can choose schools based on their A-Level results. However Preparatory or International Year One student shall have already had a clear intention to subject and school choice, usually directly into the undergraduate of your current school. If you have achieved excellent results in your Preparatory or International Year One studies and you want to enter a better school; or you qualified but did not reach your current school's entry requirements, please consult with UKIES staff.

Undergraduate students from China to study undergraduate courses at the same year in the UK, you must study your original subject. In addition to your relevant academic background, you are also required to have a satisfying English level IELTS 5.5-6.5 or equivalent. Strict admission selection ensures that students graduate with the degree which is recognizable worldwide. After graduate, students can continue to study the master's programmes in one of the UK's elite universities.

Some universities in the UK have so called Top-Up programme aiming Chinese students who have three-year college degree or finished undergraduate study but with no degree. Top-Up programme normally is the last year of the undergraduate courses. Students will graduate with a normal Bachelor's Degree, equivalent to any other three-year undergraduate programmes. If you want to continue your study, you can apply for master's programmes. Most programmes will require you have relevant academic background plus IELTS 6.0 as minimum.

Most of the top universities in the UK do not accept students in the middle of the course if you are not currently studying in the UK.

Please be noted that due to the limited time between school terms, usually undergraduate students who are now studying in China do not have time to take preparatory language courses. So the language requirements for these students will be more stringent. Most undergraduate applications in the UK are submitted through UCAS system. They do not accept individual applications. However UKIES can help to submit your application to some universities in person. For enrollment route on specific universities, please contact UKIES.

Many people think that we should only study in the UK's top universities such as Oxford or Cambridge. However that's not realistic. There are many other universities in the UK providing similar qualities of education. Here are the common misunderstandings:
1. Although there are many excellent subjects in the universities; they are not necessarily for you. You shall choose the subject best suitable to your personality and interest.
2. Respect the views of your parents in terms of choosing subject; but also do not choose the subject you dislike which might affect you studying in the end.
3. Not familiar with the subjects. There is a wide selection of subjects in each discipline. Also there are many selective courses available in all schools.

UKIES recommends: Plymouth, Sheffield Hallam, Cardiff Metropolitan, Winchester, Bangor, Bedfordshire, Lincoln, etc.

Postgraduate Courses

Master's Degree or Postgraduate Diploma. Obtain this degree/diploma requires nine months of study (usually from September to next June). You will need to pass all exams and complete a dissertation. Such courses are normally taught in class.

For graduates from Chinese 211 universities with a high GPA and sufficient English capabilities, you can apply UK's top 20 universities. Same for the graduates obtained 2.1 degree from a UK university. The difference is that those UK students do not need to provide additional IELTS when applying. For students who have spent part of the undergraduate study outside of the UK, you may be required to submit your IELTS score later on. MBA applicants must have at least 3 years of work experience.

If you are not from a Chinese 211 university or you haven't achieved 2.1 degree in a UK university, please contact UKIES ASAP. Some prestigious universities in the UK may still accept students like you with limited places.

Chinese students who have three-year college degree can apply directly to master's programme if you have more than 3 years of work experience and outstanding academic results (5 years work experience for MBA application). You may also study preparatory language courses if your are required to improve your English. Please be noted: based on past experience, it is often more difficult for three-year college students to directly entry master's programme and complete 8-10 courses in a year. So we recommend that it would be best to study one year preparatory course.

Many students are very concerned about the school ranking as the primary factor for selection. In fact, this is understandable. One of the main purpose of high education is better employment. Enterprise acceptance of renowned institutions are often higher than for the general colleges. However, we shall not fully rely on ranking because there will be a lot of objective factors. Not to mention the school's ranking will change every year. SOAS in the TIMES 2013 ranked 31, but it was 63 in the 2001 ranking. So the change of ranking could be relatively large. You shall make your choice of school based on the following: 1) universities with more academic activities in China; 2) high visibility universities in China; 3) named after the city where it's located; 4) schools with higher admission standards; 5) consulting professionals.

UKIES recommends: Bath, Exeter, Bristol, York, Glasgow, Leicester, Southampton, Sussex, Sheffield, Reading, Surrey, Royal Holloway, UEA, Liverpool, Leeds, Queen Mary, etc.


General Certificate of Education Advanced Level (A-Level) is UK's national education curriculum. It is the most common course of study for students (except Scotland) between 16 to 18 years old; after GCSE. A-Level is highly recognized worldwide. Its scores are used as a reference of admissions by all UK's universities. Varieties of A-Level exams are carried out in many other Commonwealth countries; such as Hong Kong, Singapore, South Africa and Pakistan. A-Level students must choose three to four subjects; and in accordance with the results applying for universities (similar to Chinese college entrance examination).

Apart from Foundation for International Students, A-Level is another major option for oversea students enrolling undergraduate courses in the UK. And it is one of the most important approach for admission to the UK's top universities. British Examinations Authority is responsible for unification of the overseas' examinations. Both the subjects and scores of A-Level largely determine whether you can enter your ideal university or not. Students with A-Level scores can apply for all universities in the UK; including Oxford and Cambridge. Highest score is A*. University of Cambridge and University of Oxford typically require potential students to have one A* and two A for almost all courses; plus interview.

IELTS is not required for oversea students under 17 who wish to study A-Level. However some schools may use IELTS to test student's English proficiency. Chinese high school students (1st or 2nd year) can study the first year of A-Level; so called AS-Level. For oversea students studying A-Level in the UK; if your English hasn't achieved C or you haven't choose to study English; you still need to prove your English proficiency by taking the IELTS exam when you are applying for university places.

There are thousands of schools and colleges providing A-Level courses. We recommend Boarding Schools, Independent Schools and Further Education Colleges. Competition for good school is intense, please start your application as early as possible.

Preparatory Courses (Undergraduate)

One-year preparatory courses (Undergraduate) are designed for oversea students who wish to study undergraduate courses in the UK. They require students to have IELTS ranging from 4.5 to 6.0; hence more suitable for oversea students whose first language is not English.

Preparatory courses (Undergraduate) are intended to help international students to lay the foundation for future learning. Generally the curriculum can be divided into 1/3 language learning and 2/3 academic courses. They are also available to high school students (2nd or 3rd year) in China who wish to attend universities in the UK. The school terms of preparatory courses are more flexible; so are the application processes. The language or graduation requirements are also different. UKIES can provide tailored study plan for each student based on available courses and individual situation. Preparatory courses (Undergraduate) normally last 2-3 terms.

However because preparatory courses are usually founded by one or several universities; and only accepted by the founding schools; it is always recommended to study A-Level instead if students want to go to top universities. Preparatory courses founded by good universities may ask for your high school results. The average score is 80 points or more with IELTS 6.0. There could be entrance exams too. According to the final results you will be offered a place at one of the school's undergraduate courses or not. The criteria for good universities are usually quite high; hence the low admission rate.

UKIES recommends: Swansea, Sussex, Leeds, Leicester, Keele, Surrey, Lancaster, Royal Holloway, etc.

Another quick route is International Year One/Diploma. It is a cost effective way for high school graduates to study undergraduate year one directly which means the student can obtain the Bachelor's Degree in three years.

There are 3-term courses, 4-term courses or ELP courses to choose based on student's level. Such courses are designed for students entering university degree courses. They are generally designed by the university; recognized by the university; and taught by the university. Students will experience the formal teaching of universities; including tutorials, seminars and larger lectures. They shall contain all subjects of undergraduate year one; and taught by university lecturers.

All discipline directions are modular in structure; combined with academic knowledge, study skills and English language training; to equip the students with the skills to meet the challenges of university degree courses. Upon successful completion of this course, students can enter year two. So it will take three years for high school students to complete the undergraduate courses. Comparing to A-Level or Foundation, this approach would not only save a year's time, but also more desirable financially. Undoubtedly it is one of the best options for Chinese students.

UKIES recommends: Navitas Group.

Preparatory Courses (Postgraduate)

Preparatory Courses (Postgraduate) is for students who want to apply for a better university; or students without a degree; or students who have missed the admission deadline. If the student does not meet the entry requirements for a master programme, or wants to change the subject of the undergraduate degree; then a preparatory course is the best choice.

The emphasis of this course is to make up the knowledge gap required in the upcoming master's programme for the students. It provides training to fully adapt to the British way of learning and teaching methods and ways of thinking; cultivate the spirit of teamwork; and ultimately a smooth transition to the master's programme. Preparatory courses are the stepping stone specially designed to meet oversea students' need. It bridges between the student's current knowledge and what is essential to study the Master's Degree in the UK; so that student gets a steady climb on the academic ladder with all the necessary skills and self-confidence.

There are 1 year or 3 months preparatory courses which are represented by UKIES for you to choose. You may also choose to study preparatory language courses for postgraduate. You will be expecting a conditional offer of the master's programme from the university where you are studying your preparatory courses. Once you have met all the requirements on the conditional offer, you will be enrolled in the master's course directly. All preparatory courses are taught by lecturers or professors from the university.

In general the English level required by preparatory courses is lower than master's courses. You shall be enrolled into the master's programme as soon as you finish the preparatory course successfully. Not all preparatory courses accept three-year college degree students. For those who do accept three-year college degree students; the admission requirements vary from school to school.

UKIES recommends: Brunel, Plymouth, UEA, Swansea, Leicester, Southampton, Sussex, Sheffield, Reading, Surrey, Royal Holloway, Leeds, etc.

Vocational Courses

  • Art schools and culinary academies.
  • Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) - Obtained Bachelor's degree in the UK or obtained Bachelor's degree in a non-English speaking country with IELTS 6.0. Show evidence that you have registered with CFA examinations.
  • Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) – 18 years old and above, graduated from high school, IELTS 6.0. Show evidence that you have registered with ACCA examinations. Currently only those accredited "Platinum" and "Gold" academies can issue CAS.
  • Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA) – 18 years old and above, graduated from high school. Show evidence that you have registered with CIMA examinations.