Considered one of the most inclusive and innovative countries in Europe, the United Kingdom boasts some of the best internationally recognized research facilities in the world and attracts more than 400,000 visiting international students each year. The UK is the home of. Boasting the second largest GDP in Europe, students in the UK have access to many high-growth, revenue-garnering sectors including aerospace, pharmaceuticals, services, tourism, oil production and education. Although the UK is infamous for its rainy weather, visiting students will be happy to find that it has neither harsh winters nor scorching summers.
WHY the UK
The UK is growing rapidly as one of the most coveted study abroad destinations in the world. International students choosing to study in the UK are primarily motivated by its unparalleled professional and academic opportunities, as well as the chance to augment their knowledge with unforgettable cultural experiences. However, there are a number of reasons to choose the UK as a study destination, including:
• High quality of education
• International recognition
• Modern, technologically advanced facilities
• Course learnings integrated with work placement
• Multicultural society
BENEFITS OF STUDYING IN THE UK
• The institutions in the UK are consistently ranked among the best in the world
• Five percent of the world’s scientific research and 14% of the world’s most cited papers are undertaken by the UK
• Students receive direct access to and educational support from the world’s leading academic experts
• The UK is an ideal place to enhance English language skills and employment prospects
TOP UNIVERSITIES IN THE UK
• The University of Cambridge – Cambridge has made it to the top for eight consecutive years due to its cutting edge research and state-of-the-art facilities. The current one includes fuel cells powered by algae and how rigorous training can reduce stress during examinations.
• The University of Oxford – Oxford, a center of discovery and debate for more than almost nine centuries, has an important role in the creative, intellectual and public life of the world. The federal system of the university connects 38 independent colleges and six smaller halls, which together form a close academic community that fosters and supports ongoing research opportunities at Oxford. The current key priorities of the university are the creation of knowledge-led innovative businesses and new technology.
• London School of Economics – The University always makes it to the top five since 2008 and in 2019 league table it is placed in the third position. In April 2018, the Centre for Economic Performance (CEP) of LSE was recognized as a global centre for excellence, thus making it one of the two ESRC Institutes in the UK.
• University College of London – Founded in 1826, the university boasts a rich academic heritage with 11 academic divisions, including brain sciences, arts and humanities, education, engineering, life sciences, laws, mathematical and physical sciences, population health sciences, medical sciences, historical and social sciences, and the famous Bartlett, a division mainly focused on planning and architecture.
• Imperial College – Imperial College specializes in engineering, science, medicine and business. The university promotes the continued involvement of researchers in teaching and every year there is an Undergraduate Research Opportunity Programme (UROP) that offers approximately 300 students experiences from teaching to getting involved in other ongoing events in the campus.
The major funding options for PhDs are:
• Self-funded: Many students fund their own PhD, with costs varying by university. Generally, in the UK, a PhD student who is self-funded has to bear a tuition bill of approximately £3,000 to £6,000 (domestic students) and £18,000 (international students) for the first three years.
• Studentship: For the purposes of undertaking research, universities in the UK are often funded by charities, research councils and industry partners. If a student applies for a PhD as a part of one of these projects, the tuition fees are usually covered under the studentship and the student might also receive a monetary stipend towards his/her cost of living. There are quite a few studentships open to international applicants.
• Scholarship: There are a number of scholarships offered by the universities of the UK and available to international students:
• Students need to successfully complete the undergraduate degree from a recognized university
• Some universities require students to complete their masters before applying for a PhD
• International students need to the clear IELTS (English language proficiency test) with a score between 6.0 to 7.0
HOW TO APPLY
In order to apply for a PhD, one needs to apply directly to the university. Most of the universities in the UK have online application systems which enable a student to complete his/her personal details and scan and upload the qualifications directly into the system. However, networking makes a crucial difference in admissions outcomes. Students should send networking letters to the professors whose work areas match their domain of interests. Only after getting acceptance letters should the student then apply to the university. Apart from meeting the eligibility criteria, students are required to submit documents including transcripts, resumes, letters of recommendation (usually two or three, depending on each university’s requirements) and statements of purpose.
WHEN TO APPLY
There are various PhD application deadlines throughout the year; nonetheless, as securing funding is highly competitive, students are advised to apply at the earliest opportunity. Studentships and scholarships usually have application deadlines of three to six months before the course start date. A PhD application takes a lot of time owing to the research of course options, preparation of the thesis topic, and the effort required to contact supervisors and collate the application.
After successful completion of the PhD in the UK, an applicant can secure a post-study work visa for one year. Students should be aware that finding a permanent job immediately after the postdoctoral completion is highly competitive. Generally, a doctorate degree holder starts his/her career as a research assistant or research fellow. Additionally, he/she might also opt for a university teaching post, if available.