Study in the UK

Guide for African Students 2021

Study Abroad in the United Kingdom

At all levels the British education system has an excellent global reputation for academic achievement. The UK is home to some of the most well-known schools, colleges and universities in the world. 

It is the achievements of graduates of the UK higher education system that created the country’s academic reputation. Many Africans have graduated from UK universities. Seed Education has strong roots in the United Kingdom. We are proud to present our Study in the UK Guide for African Students 2021. 


Why choose to study in the UK in 2021?

The UK is the world’s second most popular destination for international students. Each year nearly 30,000 Africans choose UK Universities. There are many very good reasons for African students to study in the UK. Here, we give you the top 11 reasons:

Top 11 reasons to study in the UK

Academic excellence

The first of our Top 11 reasons to study in the UK had to be the country's academic reputation. The University of Oxford was founded nearly 1000 years ago so the UK has a centuries-old reputation of academic accomplishment. There are also many high-performing modern institutions.

World-leading research is key to the strong performance of UK Universities. Oxford University research has made a valuable contribution to World Health. Its work in developing a Covid 19 Vaccine, the so-called Oxford vaccine, in 2020/2021. 

There are 4 UK universities in the top ten of the 2021 QS World University Rankings. Nearly 20% of the top 50 Universities are in the UK. Academic standards are high in general across all UK Higher Education institutions. Seed will help guide your decision making with our hand-picked selection. 

African Students are welcome

The United Kingdom has a long tradition of making African students welcome. The UK is a diverse and tolerant country. International students find that most cities and towns in the UK have rich communities with diverse religions. 

Many African students start their experience living with a British homestay family. This is a great way to learn about local customs and adapt to UK life.  

There is a lot of cultural diversity throughout all of the United Kingdom. The four countries that make up the UK have as many differences as similarities. Nearly 500,000 international students choose to study in the UK as reported by Universities UK. It could be the right destination for you!

Variety of Degree courses in the UK

The United Kingdom is well known for having a broad range of fields of study available. The qualifications offered are internationally recognised and well regarded by potential employers in every country.

Business, Engineering, Law, Medicine, and Computer Science are very strong university subjects in the UK. The country is strong in a variety of degree course subjects. There are more than 50,000 Undergraduate courses available, according to UCAS. There are also a vast number of postgraduate courses available to choose from.

Seed especially recommends the UK to students for bachelor’s in medicine or law. Courses in these subject areas are limited in the USA and Canada at Bachelor's degree level. 

High UK Teaching Standards

The Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education (QAA) is an independent body that inspects Universities in the United Kingdom. The QAA Quality Code gives details of the standards. 

The Teaching Excellence Framework in England is used to ensure courses meet requirements. The guidelines want courses to maximise students' chances for further study or employment. Research at Universities in the UK is assessed via the Research Excellence Framework.

There are other associations and bodies that inspect and accredit various aspects of universities in the United Kingdom. With such high standards excellent teaching is common in UK higher education.

Shorter UK Degree courses

Undergraduate degrees in the UK generally take three years to complete and a master’s degree one year. In 2020 UCAS reports that there are even accelerated two-year bachelor’s degrees now available at a few UK Universities.

When considering the length of your studies you have to factor in a foundation year. Overall, undergraduate studies will take a similar timeframe to complete as in the USA and Canada. However, it is possible to graduate quicker in the UK at Master’s level. Graduating earlier by choosing to study in the UK could possibly reduce your course costs and living expenses. 

Opportunity to work in UK

Student jobs are synonymous with university life in the United Kingdom. You will find that many of your classmates, both international and British students, will have part-time jobs. Students work while studying to help fund their living expenses.

International students who study at a recognised university on undergraduate courses or postgraduate courses can work. Students are allowed to work up to 20 hours per week during term-time and full-time during the holidays.

As the UK has left the EU there are likely to be fewer workers in catering, retail, and hospitality jobs. This probably means more part-time student jobs will become available. Both in term-time and summer holidays.

The UK national minimum wage means that students aged 18-20 could earn up to 129 GBP per week. 164 GBP per week for those aged 21-24 years old. Students aged over 25 can earn up to 174 GBP per week. All figures are before deductions for tax.   

In September 2019, the UK government announced they would re-establish post-study work rights. This new graduate immigration route will be open to international students who have completed a degree at undergraduate level or above. Successful applicants will be able to stay and work or look for work in the UK for up to two years (or three years for PhD graduates). Graduates will also be able to switch into skilled work once they have found a suitable job.

Rich culture and history of the United Kingdom

The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland is made up of England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland. In all of them, you can find some of the world’s most famous and culturally important sites throughout the lands.

Throughout the UK you find Museums, castles, and sites of historical interest from ancient to modern times. There are sporting events and teams that are watched across the globe. Many legendary live music venues and festivals of all sizes catering to all tastes.

Multiple cinemas, theatres, and galleries that showcase the finest in both the classic and contemporary arts. The United Kingdom is also home to some of the most world-famous shopping brands - there really is something for everyone.

Choosing to Study at University in this country will give you the opportunity to create some lifelong memories. You will be able to explore the vibrant culture of the UK, both old and new.

Perfect your English language skills

You will have to have good English skills to even consider taking a degree course in the UK. We give you advice on this elsewhere. You will be able to take your English level as high as you want it to go living in the UK. Being fully immersed in English in the country it comes from is a golden opportunity. 

In today’s globalized world, Seed strongly recommends an English-taught degree. Either at Bachelor's and/or Master’s level - the better your English, the better your job prospects. Especially if your goal is to work for an international company or organization.

UK Graduate Employability

The 2020 Global University Employability Rankings published by the Times Higher Education places UK universities very highly. The prestige of a UK university degree carries weight with employers around the globe. You will have the opportunity to work in the UK for up to 2-years after completing your studies. A great opportunity to build-up your CV.  

Is the UK cheaper than the USA, Canada, or Australia for African students?

Tuition fees are on average lower per year for a UK undergraduate degree than in the USA. It is the same in Australia. However, they can be higher than in Canada.

Living costs vary widely by the city that you choose to study in. This makes it hard to give a comparison between countries. However, Seed can help you find a location to suit your budget in each.

No private healthcare insurance is required for international students in the UK. African Students pay to access the National Health Service in the UK. This covers medical costs for the duration of your time in the UK. 

Easy access to Europe

The last of our Top 11 Reasons To Study In The UK had to be related to Brexit. The break with the European Union does not mean that the UK has sailed off into the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. It is still only just over 2 hours from London to Paris by Train.

The UK has international airports in most cities and it is cheap and easy to travel around Europe, under normal circumstances. As things return to normal while you study in the UK, travel restrictions will be removed. You will be able to travel cheaply and quickly to visit other parts of Europe for short-stays. 

Covid & Study Abroad in the UK

The UK is experiencing the Covid 19 Pandemic the same as the rest of the world. There are restrictions in place. There are also certain requirements for students arriving in the country to follow. Situations can change quickly so check the news and government website for information. 


The Higher Education System in the UK

The Higher Education system in the UK offers African students a wealth of knowledge and opportunity. UK universities produce well-rounded graduates ready for the world of work. Universities have a strong research focus in Great Britain for academic studies.  Institutions in the UK set their own entry requirements for degree courses. For international students this includes English language level as well as academic results. Entry to the top universities is very competitive but most universities have attainable entry requirements for African students. You need to have a particular English level to be accepted for a place at university in the UK: this will vary from university to university but is likely to be between 6.0 and 7.0 score in the IELTS Exam. There is a strong focus on critical thinking in the UK Higher Education system. Students are expected to develop and shape their ideas and theories through self-study and objective analysis. These are skills that employers around the world greatly value. There are many success stories of graduates from the UK system in many African countries. For African students looking to come to the UK immediately after completing high school in their home country: Foundation Year International Year One Bachelor’s (Undergraduate) Degree For African students looking to take their second (Master’s) degree in the UK: Pre-Master Master’s or MBA (Postgraduate) Degree For African students looking to gain a globally recognized UK degree while staying in their home country: Online Undergraduate and Postgraduate Degrees For African students looking to gain their third degree in the UK: PhD or Doctorate degrees

Foundation Year and International Year One

A Foundation Year is an academic and English-language preparation course for international students for entry to UK undergraduate degree courses. UK institutions require school leavers from most countries to complete a foundation year.  The course makes sure your English is good enough for university in the UK. It also gives students a chance to fill any gaps in qualifications to meet university entry requirements. The Foundation Year gives the opportunity to adapt to life in the UK before University starts. To take a Foundation Year programme African students must have completed 11 or 12 years of school education. Good results in leaving examinations are also important. There are different Foundation Years for different fields of study and you can prepare with a number of different providers and institutions.  Many courses are based on university campuses students have full access to all the facilities and may even live on-site. Campus-based Foundation Year programs typically give entry into the host University only. Foundation Year programs run in independent colleges often give you nearly a full choice of UK universities to apply to, depending on your grades. If your grades are good enough most top UK universities, excluding Oxford, Cambridge and University College London (UCL), will consider an application from a Foundation Year student. International Year One programmes are for students who are overqualified for a Foundation year but who do not quite meet entry requirements for direct admission into that university. By following this course, students go directly into the second year of a bachelor’s course. This is quite a new route into the UK HIgher Education system. That means there is still not that much choice when it comes to field of study  or university (most universities that do offer the International Year One come from those universities created after 1992).  The table below shows whether you are likely to need a Foundation Year program or not, prior to joining a Bachelor confirms that the UK requires a most countries will require  A Foundation Year is not required if you have UK A-levels, International Baccalaureat (IB) or a French issued Baccalaureat with sufficiently good grades. In this case an International Year One or direct admission into a university are the more likely routes for you.  The exact route will depend on your grades. It is possible we may still recommend a Foundation Year to give you a strong grounding for university studies, especially if you studied the French-taught IB or a French-issued Baccalaureat. 

Bachelor degrees in the UK

A Bachelor's degree from a UK University is classified as ordinary or honours- which is the most popular. It typically takes four years of full-time study to complete an honour’s degree, three for an ordinary degree. Undergraduate courses are designed to give an in-depth understanding of a field for further study or employment.  There is a strong focus on courses developing skills that keep up with industry demands. Some degrees, like Law or Architecture, are specific to professions and industries. Other UK degrees, like History or English, develop a broader base of skills. It takes longer than four years to complete a degree in the UK in some areas of study, such as medicine. There are several types of bachelor’s offered in the United Kingdom including; 
  • Bachelor of Arts (BA)
  • Bachelor of Education (BEd)
  • Bachelor of Engineering (BEng)
  • Bachelor of Laws (LLB) 
  • Bachelor of Science (BSc)
In general, Bachelor’s Honours degrees are classified as follows: Honours Class  Overall Grade Known as First Class 70%+ 1st Upper Second Class 60-69% 2:1 Lower Second Class 50-59% 2:2 Third Class 40-49% 3rd Most Bachelor programs in Scotland last four years and this is very much viewed as the ‘gold standard’ in Scotland. It is now possible to complete a bachelor’s degree in three years at a small number of Scottish universities. Sometimes this is because the program follows an accelerated, more intensive pattern. However, some 3-year degrees offered in Scotland offer a much narrower curriculum - supporters of the traditional 4-year system in Scotland argue that the extra year allows students to study a wider range of modules in their first 2 years and so gain a broader education.  Assessment on an undergraduate degree depends on the subject. Usually it is a mix of formal examinations and practical assessments. Many bachelor’s subject areas will also require a written dissertation at the end of the course.  It is also very common in the UK for students to give presentations as part of their assessments. Working on collaborative projects with multiple classmates is also standard. Most students in the UK will go on to employment after completing their bachelor’s degree. Others may choose to follow postgraduate studies, a master’s for example. It depends on their career interests and target profession.  Depending on your chosen degree, you may be following an integrated master’s and continue at the same University.  

Pre-Masters in the UK

Similar to a Foundation Year, this is a course designed for International Students who wish to follow a postgraduate programme and who do not meet the academic and/or language admission requirements for direct admission. The course is usually between 5 and 9 months in duration. A Pre-Master’s course focuses on getting students to the required English language level for a UK Master’s. As academic content related to the intended Master’s programme is also included, students with lower grades from their Bachelor degree will also find a Pre-Master’s program beneficial as successful completion will help them be admitted into universities that would not have admitted them directly. Students also work on improving research abilities and other relevant skills for more advanced study.

Master’s degrees in the UK

Master’s degrees in the UK increase graduates’ knowledge and employability. They are the logical next step for African graduate students. A study by the Higher Education Statistics Agency shows that having a master’s degree can improve employability by 10%.  A Master’s usually takes one year of hard work to complete. Students focus on a specific area of a wider discipline. Specialist knowledge is developed through a period of intensive study.  There are two main types of Masters programmes available in the UK - taught or research-based. A taught Master’s degree is similar to an undergraduate degree in the sense that it consists of lectures and seminars, as well as the usual exams, presentations, group projects and assignments.  A Master’s has a faster pace and more independent study is required than on a bachelor’s. The structure of the course is also more modular in nature, and students often have more flexible study options.  Class sizes are smaller on Masters’ courses and in general everything is more intense. Usually, students will have to complete a written dissertation. A very good level of English is required for international students to follow a master’s in the UK.  The most popular Masters programmes students choose in the UK are Master of Science (MSc) and Master of Arts (MA). Of course, a Master of Business Administration (MBA) is also very popular. There are many options available though and others include; Master of Architecture (MArch) Master of Education (MEd) Master of Engineering (MEng) Master of Fine Arts (MFA) Master of Laws (LLM) Master of Management (MiM) Master of Music (MMus) Master of Philosophy (MPhil) Master of Research (MRes) Master of Studies (MSt) Generally, courses start in September/October or January/February.  Master’s courses are typically split into core and optional modules. Student may only have around ten hours of class time per week. Independent study is key and students are expected to spend 30-35 hours per week learning this way.  Students who take a research Master’s will have no classes. Instead they will concentrate on extended research projects with occasional meetings with  a supervisor, who will guide the production of their thesis.  There is a wide range of assessment methods for UK Master’s degrees. Typically course work, exams, presentations and written assignments are common. Final marks may be awarded for a dissertation, a degree show, a practical assignment, a portfolio or a thesis. There are generally three award bandings for a master’s in the UK 
  • Distinction 70% or above
  • Merit 60-69%
  • Pass 50-59%
A Master’s degree in the UK is the most expensive postgraduate course option. However, they are cheaper than a bachelor’s degree. There are scholarships available for master’s students in the UK, however, places are competitive. As with Master’s degrees in other countries, fees can vary greatly depending on institution and course.

Online degrees with UK Universities

Distance learning has been available at UK Universities since long before the internet. Nelson Mandela followed a course with the University of London while imprisoned in the 1960s.  Online degrees are a great opportunity for those who perhaps cannot afford the living costs of studying abroad. Some students have the ambition to gain a UK degree but are unable to leave their family and interrupt their lives. It is possible to follow those dreams with an online degree with a UK University.   In 2021, with restricted travel due to Covid, many institutions are allowing international students to start degrees online at home. This is a great solution and also saved on living expenses. These students will travel and take their courses as normal when things are more stable.   All you need to be able to study online is a computer or a tablet with internet access. You will study in a location that suits you. Some lectures will be streamed, others video on-demand. Interactive reading material is available at all times.  Students have regular contact with teaching and support staff via video calls and email. UK Universities offer some of the best distance learning opportunities and online degrees in Europe and the World. There are no rankings of online degree programmes, but Seed Education has a number of options available.

PhD study with UK Universities

With so many world class research universities the UK is a very popular destination for PhD candidates. In recent years some major subject areas for investment have been in Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning and Health Science. There are universities that carry out research in all academic fields.  The UK government is launching a new three-year post-study work visa that will be available for PhD graduates - this is one year more than for students graduating from a Bachelor’s or Master’s. Seed Education has a lot of experience in International Education. However, at this moment in time, we are unable to help African Students with PhD applications to UK Universities.

Popular Areas of Study in the UK

There is a vast array of fields of study to choose from in the UK. Most UK universities will offer between 50 and 100 different Bachelors’ or Master’s degrees.

The single most popular area of studies among both British and international students is business. That includes marketing, human resource management, finance and much more. Other popular areas of study include Computer Science, Engineering, Media & Communications.

Medical-related programs are also very popular. Although there are relatively limited places for international students, Seed believes that there are easier pathways to medicine in the UK than in the USA.

If you are interested in Law, there is far wider selection of specialisms available in the UK than in North America. In addition, there are law programs available at both Bachelor and especially Master’s level.


Colleges and Universities in the UK

In the 2021 QS World University Rankings 18 of the top 100 are in the UK. Only the USA ranks higher. There are around 130 public and private Universities in the United Kingdom. Other Higher Education institutions take the total number to 165

That is quite a number and we do not recommend you try to learn about them all! Our team has hand picked UK universities for African students. 

In the UK it is unusual to say college when referring to university. Most people would understand the term as referring to a college of further education or a sixth-form college. Students who go to Oxford or Cambridge will attend a college though. Just one of the many quirks of the UK system. 

Another is the classification of universities by age; there are six Ancient universities that were all founded before 1800:

University of Oxford, c.1096, 

University of Cambridge, 1209 

University of St. Andrew’s, 1413 

University of Glasgow, 1451 

University of Aberdeen, 1495 

University of Edinburgh, 1583 

Red Brick universities refers to any institution that was founded in the period 1800 - 1992. In 1992 the UK government gave university status to many colleges and created the New universities. The term used for any institution given status since then. 

Unlike in many other countries around the world, there are no state owned universities in the UK. Even though between 30% and 90% of their funding is public money, they remain independent. Many raise additional funds through commercial activities and application of research.

There are only a handful or fully private universities in the UK. They tend to focus on Law, Business and Management degree courses. They are not cheap universities.

There are no free universities in the UK. Although UK students pay considerably less than international students do, everyone pays. Except in Scotland where the Scottish Government pays tuition fees for Scotish students if they study there.

There are a number of university groups and associations in the UK, the most well known is the Russell Group. The members are 24 research universities that are sometimes compared to the Ivy League group of universities in the USA. More than half of UK PhDs are awarded within that group of universities. 

One of the other groups is the University Alliance, of professional and technical universities. Universities UK represents the interests of more than 140 universities. 

There are many curious and entertaining traditions at different institutions around the UK. Freshers Week is the most famous - a frequently riotous first week of term. It is focussed on first-year students and is fun filled at every institution. 

There are also lots of university clubs and societies for students. You can participate in every sport you can imagine. There are groups for the whole spectrum of music and performing arts. Gaming groups for every platform. 

You can even find quidditch societies, the Harry Potter ‘sport’, at most UK universities. 

Recommended UK Universities for African Students

As we have discussed, there are a lot of very good universities throughout the United Kingdom. We have handpicked a list of recommended universities for African students.

Seed has chosen King’s Education as our main partner for Foundation Year courses in the UK. The private colleges are located in the cities of:

Kings Bournemouth Profile

Kings Brighton Profile

Kings London Profile

Kings Oxford Profile

Kings Education offers a broad range of Foundation courses to cover all of the main fields of study 

- Business

- Engineering

- Architecture

- Art & Design 

- Computer Science

- Life Sciences 

- Medicine

Most of Kings Colleges Foundation Year programmes offer students an open choice of universities - this means that your course counsellor will help to advise you on suitable UK universities according to your past academic record and progress on the Foundation Year itself. With these Foundation Years, students can select and apply to up to 6 different UK universities using the UCAS system. 

Kings Colleges also offers Foundation Year programs that offer guaranteed admission into a specific UK university: for example, their University of Bristol Foundation Year program.

Both types of Foundation Years have their advantages. If you would like to make a final choice on your preferred university after spending some time in the UK and having visited a few different UK university campuses on Open Days, then the flexibility of the majority of Kings Colleges’ Foundation Year programs will suit you very well. However, if you prefer the idea of fixing on a specific university from the start Seed will recommend programmes such as the University of Bristol Foundation Year.

In our opinion, one of the most important benefits at Kings are the small classes of typically around 8 students. This means lots of personal attention for students at Kings. We are confident you will have all of the support you need to strive higher in your university choices. 

Kings also offers some attractive merit-based scholarships of up to 25% for academic high-fliers from Africa. For more information on Kings Colleges, please click here.

Seed has also chosen to work closely with Heriot Watt University, a globally ranked university. We advise on direct admission Bachelor’s and Master’s programs. The main campus is in Edinburgh, Scotland with a branch campus in Dubai. 

Heriot Watt offers a wide range of programs in fields that offer outstanding employment prospects. The Dubai campus of this UK university offers students two options:

  • To complete a UK bachelor’s or master’s in Dubai
  • To begin the degree in Dubai and transfer to the UK campus later

The second option offers an affordable and visa-friendly route into UK education.


Costs of Studying in the UK

When considering university there, It is important to be aware of what the costs of studying in the UK are. It is not one of the cheapest countries in the world to study and live in and you must budget carefully. In our guide we aim to give an overview of typical costs involved; however, it is different for every individual. 

UK Tuition fees for African Students

Tuition fees at UK universities vary a lot depending on where you are from. This is true for UK students as it is for African students, and other International Students. Each UK country - England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland - sets different fees for British students depending on where they are from. 

University fees can be around 9,000 GBP for non-Scottish domestic students in the UK. It is more expensive for all international students though. Fees for EU students are now the same as for non-EU students. 

A degree at a UK university will cost more than it will at an African university. There is quite a variation in tuition fees at UK universities, like in all Study Abroad destinations. Costs vary greatly depending on the university and course you chose.

Undergraduate fees for an African students in the UK start from around 10,000 GBP. Most courses wouldn’t tend to go above 20,000 GBP. However, the most expensive undergraduate degrees can reach as high as 40,000 GBP. 

These are the fees for lecture based bachelor’s degrees. Medical and some other undergraduate degrees may have even higher tuition fees. 

Classroom based Master’s and other postgraduate level courses begin at around 11,000 GBP. Tuition fees don’t generally go above 20,000 GBP. Highly-ranked Business schools can have expensive course fees for MBA and especially Executive MBA programmes. 

For a laboratory-based course the average cost range is between 12,000 GBP and 27,500 GBP.


Student Cost of living in the UK

UK Student visa requirements are that you have 1015 GBP for every month of your time studying there. That is an annual amount of 12,180 GBP . Where will that money go? 

International Student Accommodation

Halls of residence are a very popular option for first-year International Student accommodation when they arrive in the uk. Also very popular for UK home students. Every campus is different and some halls will be on-site, some a bus journey or walk away. Students will generally be in single rooms, but there are sometimes shared options. Although en-suite bathrooms are common, do not expect one as standard. 

Student halls of residence often have sporting facilities and social facilities for student use. There is generally both free wireless and wired internet access. Many will have canteens and refectories as well access to shared cooking facilities.

Expect to pay between 100 GBP and 250 GBP per week depending on the type and package you book. 

In second year and beyond, it is common for UK students to live off-campus in shared flats (apartments). This can be a very cost effective way to live because costs are shared. It helps students to learn to manage responsibilities. Shared flats are also a lot of fun. 

Expect to pay between 400 GBP and 600 GBP rent per month in most cities. It depends on the city and London is most expensive. If you choose an individual apartment it will cost you more money. 

Utilities bills vary by city and the number of people living in the accommodation. Normal monthly costs are electricity, gas, water, internet and Council Tax. This is an amount paid to cover municipal services like rubbish collection or the police. The total could be between 80 GBP - 150 GBP per month. 

In most cities in the United Kingdom, you can now find a great number of private student residences. Rooms are generally single en-suites study bedrooms. There are often also shared rooms available. These facilities are popular with international students. 

The studios are generally self-equipped with a small kitchen and storage. These facilities are generally very modern and have excellent public transport links. Many offer student discounts at local gyms, restaurants, shops and other amenities. 

City-centre private student residences can be the most expensive option for African students in the UK. There are usually cheaper residences available in less central districts of cities that can make this a very affordable option. Most utilities bills are included which can reduce some living costs. 

Expect to pay in the range of 85 GBP - 200 GBP per of term-time. Prices vary depending on the type of room and location of the residences. 

Living Expenses while at university in the UK

You will also have to budget for living expenses while at university in the UK. A person’s choice of lifestyle makes a very big impact into typical day to day expenses. These are some guideline examples only. 

Typical living expenseEstimated AmountFrequencySupermarket food shopping30 GBPWeeklyMobile phone contract20 GBPMonthlyCourse materials35 GBPMonthlyGym membership25 GBPMonthlyEntertainment - cinema, eating out, nights out, trips200 GBPMonthly

There are a wide range of supermarkets and independent grocery shops in the United Kingdom. African students will be able to find food they recognise from home but also try many new things. Prices vary greatly in the UK depending on where you shop and the brands you buy.

Mobile phone contracts are usually available on special deals that include a handset. There is no reason for excessive costs with the use of internet calling and messaging services. 

Depending on your degree your course materials costs could be higher or lower.

Gym Memberships are available with student discounts throughout the UK. Some universities will have their own gyms, even some residences. 

Socialising, and shopping, expenses are down to the individual. You can spend as little or as much as you can afford to and still have a great time. There are lots of lower cost activities and attractions in the UK.


Scholarships for African Students to Study in the UK 

There are many scholarships for African students to Study in the UK. We know that students are always interested in what scholarships are available. You may have heard of some famous ones already, like the Commonwealth scholarships. 

There are many other state, private and institutional scholarships available for African students in the United Kingdom. There is an overview of scholarships for international students on the Education UK website. Universities are always keen to increase their numbers of African students and so Seed counsellors are up-to-date on scholarships.

Scholarships cover tuition costs and it is strange to find any that cover accommodation and living expenses.

Merit scholarships awarded by the UK universities tend to represent 10% - 20% of tuition fees. These scholarships can be very internationally competitive. Though sometimes you may find regional or national scholarships. 

For example, Seed partner Heriot Watt University has merit awards of £1,500 - £3,000 for Nigerians. To qualify, students must have a target score in their high school exams or Bachelor degree. 

King’s Colleges have introduced a new African Scholarship for Foundation Year programs. Seed is very proud to have worked in collaboration with our close partner to facilitate this. The King’s African Scholarship is selective, based on academic results. It is worth up to 25% of tuition fees.


What are the requirements to Study in UK?

When to apply to University in the UK

Here is our recommended timeline for African Students who hope to study in the UK. The estimated timeline below shows the time before your intended start date that we recommend starting each step: 6-12 months Research universities and courses Contact Seed Use our recommendations to make your selection Work with us on your application strategy  5-6 months Document preparation English language tests Reference letters Budgeting 4-5 months Application to programme 3-4 months Submit visa application The above timeline is only a guide and there may be variations depending on the university and field of study that you are interested in. For example, the application deadlines for Oxford University and Cambridge University are 15th October for the following autumn, a full 12-months before your intended start date, so you would need to start much earlier. Applicants for a Medicine Foundation Year are also recommended to begin the process earlier. If, however, you do not start the process until after receiving your end of high school exam results, do NOT panic - Seed is there to guide you and, for some fields of study, we can still help you to join a Foundation program in January that would mean that you start university the following September.

English Language Requirements

The UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) have set a minimum English level for Student Route visas. Your bachelor’s degree or master’s degree also has English requirements. The UK government requires one of the Secure English Language tests, the SELT list.  African students who want to go to university in the UK will usually sit an IELTS for UKVI Academic test. It will be used both for the visa application and degree application. It is important to note that there are IELTS Exam formats available. The IELTS for UKVI Academic is the only one that is valid for UK Student Visa applications. If you are unable to hold a normal conversation with this person, you will not get a visa. It will not matter if you have great English test results.

I have already started university studies in my home country – can I transfer?

In contrast to the USA, transferring academic credit into UK universities is not easy and often you may find that it makes more sense to complete your program of study in your home country and then apply for a Master’s in the UK. Certain universities do offer programs known as ‘top-up’ degrees where prior study is taken into account, leaving you with one or two further years of study to complete a Bachelor degree: those universities that offer such programmes tend to be the New Universities, formed after 1992.  However, many universities do not allow academic credit to be transferred into their programs (so the only option would be to start again from the beginning) - this is particularly the case with higher ranked universities, such as those in the Russell Group. Even at those universities where academic credit can be transferred, this may be limited to a handful of degree programs. It is not possible to transfer academic credit into a Master’s program. So, if you have started a Master’s degree in your home country but have no plans to complete it, you would need to re-start from the beginning of the Master’s program in the UK.

How to Apply to Study in the UK

5 Steps for African Students to University in the UK

  1. Send us your academic documents and explain to us your future career plans. We will have lots of questions for you, especially financial questions relating to your sponsor and his/her budget, so try to prepare as much documentation as possible.
  2. We will review your dossier and then propose colleges or universities to you based on your past academic grades, intended major of study, budget and any personal preferences, such as geographical preferences. In doing so, we will send you links of programs that we feel will be of interest to you.
  3. We invite you to carefully review the university links that we send you and to make a choice - it is YOU that will choose the university. Seed Educational Consulting makes recommendations and no more.
  4. Seed Educational Consulting will work with you to submit an application to the university or college of your choice.
  5. Upon receiving a letter of admission from the chosen institution, we will then work with you on the student visa process. 

Once you have your visa we will guide you on the next steps; including reserving accommodation, flights, insurance, SIM cards and everything else. 


UK Visas for African Students

Student Visa (previously Tier 4)

African students aged 16 and over require a Student Visa to attend UK university. A Short-Term Study visa is not suitable.  As a result of Brexit the UK now has a points based immigration system. From 5th of October 2020 the new Student Route replaced the Tier 4 (General) Student Visa. 

Conditions to be eligible for a Student Route visa

  • To speak, read, write and understand English 
  • To have an unconditional offer from an approved educational institution
  • To be able to prove you can financially support yourself and pay for your studies
  • Parental consent is required for 16 and 17 year olds 

Fee for a UK Student Visa

The fee for the visa is 348 GBP. Students will also pay 470 GBP per year to access the National Health Service. 

English Language Requirements

The UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) have set a minimum English level for Student Route visas. Your bachelor’s degree or master’s degree also has English requirements. The UK government requires one of the Secure English Language tests, the SELT list.  African students who want to go to university in the UK will usually sit an IELTS for UKVI Academic test. It will be used both for the visa application and degree application. It is important to note that there are IELTS Exam formats available. The IELTS for UKVI Academic is the only one that is valid for UK Student Visa applications. If you are unable to hold a normal conversation with this person, you will not get a visa. It will not matter if you have great English test results.   

Student Route Visa documents

The following documents are required to apply for a Student Route visa in the UK:
  • Completed application form (can be completed online)
  • Passport sized photograph
  • A current passport 
  • Unconditional offer
  • Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) number 
  • Proof of English Language level
  • Proof of funds, usually bank statements - perhaps an ATAS certificate
  • Tuberculosis screening (if applicable)
  • Other vaccinations (if applicable)
  • Academic qualifications
  • Additional documents may be applicable
If any of your supporting documents is not in English, you will need to have them officially translated. Seed is here to help you with every step of the preparation of your UK visa application. 

Biometric residence permit

UKVI will take a scan of your fingerprints and a digital photo when you attend for your interview. This data will be used to obtain a biometric residence permit for the UK.

I have already started university studies in my home country – can I transfer?

In contrast to the USA, transferring academic credit into UK universities is not easy and often you may find that it makes more sense to complete your program of study in your home country and then apply for a Master’s in the UK. Certain universities do offer programs known as ‘top-up’ degrees where prior study is taken into account, leaving you with one or two further years of study to complete a Bachelor degree: those universities that offer such programmes tend to be the New Universities, formed after 1992.  However, many universities do not allow academic credit to be transferred into their programs (so the only option would be to start again from the beginning) - this is particularly the case with higher ranked universities, such as those in the Russell Group. Even at those universities where academic credit can be transferred, this may be limited to a handful of degree programs. It is not possible to transfer academic credit into a Master’s program. So, if you have started a Master’s degree in your home country but have no plans to complete it, you would need to re-start from the beginning of the Master’s program in the UK.

Graduate work opportunities for Africans in the UK

In 2019, the UK government announced it would re-establish work rights for international graduates. This new immigration route is open to students who have completed a degree at undergraduate level or above. The institution must have a track record of compliance with the UK government rules. 

Successful applicants on this route will be able to stay and work, or look for work, in the UK. The maximum period of the stay is two years. Graduates will also be able to switch into skilled work once they have found a suitable job. 

This route has been open to students who started courses in the 2020/2021 academic year. Even students who have started courses online have qualified, as reported by The Pie News. 

Famous Africans who have studied in the UK

Kenya’s first President, Jomo Kenyatta  - University College London & London School of Economics

Tanganyika’s last Prime Minister and Tanzania’s first President - University of Edinburgh

First female President of Mauritius, Ameenah Gurib - University of Surrey & Exeter University

Aparteid activist and minister, Desmond Tutu - King’s College London