Mystical stone circles, old castle ruins, rugged landscapes, and crazy, cosmopolitan metropolises – visitors will find all of this on the largest island in Europe: Great Britain. This consists of the three countries England, Scotland and Wales, each of which has its own culture.
The English are known for their understatement and black humor. In Wales, the Celtic language Cymraeg is the second official language. Scotland is often associated with bagpipe music and such unusual sports as throwing logs. You can experience all of this up close while studying in the UK.
History of Great Britain
The differences between the individual countries are due to the turbulent history of Great Britain. Since the first settlement around 10,000 years ago , the island on the other side of the English Channel has been conquered by Celtic tribes, Romans, Angles, Saxons, Jutes, and Vikings.
It was not until 1707 that England, Wales, and Scotland were united to form today’s Great Britain, which rose to colonial power in the centuries that followed. History lovers can discover an old castle, a Celtic place of worship, or another building from the long settlement period almost behind every street corner.
Great Britain also has a unique nature. In fifteen national parks, visitors can explore the solitude of the Scottish Highlands, idyllic heathlands, picturesque lakes, and ancient forests. The metropolises of Great Britain, on the other hand, are modern and cosmopolitan. The multicultural metropolis of London is not only Europe’s most important financial center but also sets the tone when it comes to fashion and music. But not only the hip capital of England is worth seeing. Even old industrial cities such as Newcastle, Birmingham, or Glasgow have developed into extremely livable cities over the last few decades, offering visitors a wide range of cultural activities.
University landscape of Great Britain
Great Britain and especially England is one of the most popular study regions for German students. This is no wonder, after all, England is home to some of the best and most prestigious universities in the world, and Wales, Northern Ireland, and Scotland also boast a tradition-steeped university landscape. In total there are over a hundred universities in the UK, most of which are in England.
Addition to the universities, there are a number of higher education colleges in Great Britain. A In contrast to universities, these offer courses with strong practical relevance. Many colleges specialize in internship courses or a specific subject, but there are also colleges that offer a wide range of courses.
UK higher education and quality assurance
With a few exceptions, all universities in Great Britain are state-owned. Due to their sometimes very long history, they decide autonomously about the admission of students or the content of the curricula. An exception is teacher training, which, like in Germany, is state-regulated.
The well-known research universities, which include Oxford and Cambridge, for example, also the University of Bristol, Newcastle University, and the University of Birmingham, receive financial support.
The good international reputation of British universities results from the high quality of teaching. Many British universities employ twice as many teachers as similarly large universities in Germany. Accordingly, the courses are small and the universities offer a much more comprehensive service than in Germany. Students receive tutors who are on hand to advise them. The secretariat and the teaching staff are almost always there for the students.
Another quality of British universities lies in their internationality: More than ten percent of the students in the bachelor’s degree come from abroad. In the postgraduate programs in England and Wales, such as a Masters, MBA, or LLM, almost a third of the student body consists of international students. They are coming to the UK to obtain an internationally recognized degree and to perfect their English.
Study system in the UK
The study system in the UK is divided into an undergraduate section and a postgraduate section.
Bachelor’s degree in Great Britain
In the first phase of the study, students acquire a bachelor’s degree. The Bachelor’s degree takes three years in England and Wales. Up to four years in Scotland. Traditionally, the academic year in Great Britain is divided into three trimesters ( terms ). In the course of increasing internationalization, some universities have now introduced semesters. The credits are by the Credit Accumulation and Transfer Scheme ( CATS calculated). The points are awarded for presentations, exams, and essays, among other things.
In England and Wales, at the end of their undergraduate studies, students usually receive the Bachelor with Honors, which is linked to the UK grading system, and the final grade: from the First Class Honors Degree for excellence to the Third Class Honors Degree.
Other UK degrees
In addition to the Bachelor’s degree, the study system in Great Britain has several country-specific undergraduate degrees: the Foundation Degree, the Certificate of Higher Education, the Diploma of Higher Education, and the Higher National Diploma.
Masters degree in Great Britain
In the postgraduate section, students at most universities acquire a master’s degree within one year. Great Britain, a general distinction is made between the Taught Master and the Master by Research or Master of Research. Addition, several renowned British universities offer the possibility of placing students in subject-specific degrees such as an MBA or an LLM.
Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)
The highest degree British universities can award is the Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.). It is usually acquired by writing an extensive research paper and then giving it an oral defense. On average, it takes students in the UK between three and five years to complete their doctoral thesis. An excellent research-oriented bachelor’s degree or a master’s degree is a prerequisite for the Ph.D. program.
Further postgraduate degrees in the UK
In addition, also in the Postgraduate -Studienabschnitt Certificates and Diplomas awarded. They can be acquired in just a few months and serve to deepen the knowledge acquired in the bachelor’s degree and to further professional qualifications. In some cases, it is possible to have the achievements acquired in postgraduate studies credited towards a later master’s degree. However, this must be checked on a case-by-case basis.
Studies in Great Britain: the requirements
German applicants usually need to have a high school diploma in order to study in Great Britain. Since the universities decide autonomously about the admission of their applicants, they determine the average grade and other admission criteria such as grades in certain high school subjects themselves. In some cases, applicants without a high school diploma can also receive a place at the university if they are judged to be suitable by the university.
Special evidence and deadlines
In addition to school leaving certificates, letters of application and motivation must also be submitted at almost all universities. Good knowledge of English is also expected; this usually has to be proven in the form of a test such as the IELTS or TOEFL.
Full degree in Great Britain
The application for a full-time study in England and Wales in the undergraduate range must be connected to the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS ) be directed. The annual application deadline is January 15th; earlier application deadlines apply for Cambridge, Oxford, and medical courses.
The applications for the Master’s and Ph.D. degree programs are directly addressed to the universities. They themselves decide on the admission criteria, but a bachelor’s degree with a certain minimum grade is common (alternatively, hold degrees such as master’s degree, diploma, or state examination are also accepted).
Semester abroad in Great Britain
It is much easier to apply for a semester abroad in Great Britain, where applicants usually only have to prove a (technical) university certificate and sufficient English skills.
Cost of studying in the UK
Most universities in the UK have tuition fees. Since 2013, universities have theoretically been able to charge Bachelor students up to £ 9,000 for an academic year – more than half of all English universities also make use of this right. In Wales and Scotland, more favorable regulations were able to prevail. The bachelor’s degree in Scotland is free for international students from the EU (with the exception of English and Welsh students).
The cost of living in the UK varies greatly from region to region. In cities like London, Oxford, or Cambridge in particular, students have to budget up to £ 14,000 per year for accommodation, meals, and leisure activities. In other regions, a budget of up to £ 12,000 is enough.
Students from the EU who are completing a full bachelor’s degree in the UK can also receive funding through Student Loans. This loan covers part or all of the tuition fees and does not have to be paid back until the annual income exceeds a certain limit.