With its gothic, medieval cathedrals saddled up next to super-modern skyscrapers, London never gets old! As one of the major hubs of international commerce, culture, and world affairs for centuries, London continues to be just as relevant today as it has been in the past, attracting people from all over the globe. In a city where over 300 languages are spoken and the most popular dish is not fish and chips, but tikka masala, it is no surprise that over 67,000 international students have come to London to pursue just about any degree imaginable.
Degrees in London
As the center of European culture and commerce, London has long been a destination for movers and shakers. Today, more than 40 universities call the city home, meaning London boasts the densest concentration of higher learning institutions in Europe. Unsurprisingly, London’s top universities also host large international student communities.
London is an ideal choice for basically any major, but especially well-known for its prestigious business, finance, and law degree programs. BPP Law specializes in such programs, and University College London is highly regarded for its medical degree programs and facilities, as is Queen Mary University of London.
Studying science, technology, and design in London is sure to impress as well. Keeping with history, most universities in London are renowned for their art, media, architecture and social sciences, including Brunel University, Middlesex University, Goldsmiths, and King’s College London. For more specialized disciplines, there are also academic institutions that offer very specific degrees in London too, such as The London School of Economics and Political Science.
London was at the heart of the English Empire that once encompassed the globe, so the studies of anthropology and evolution have close ties to the city as well. You could even visit Charles Darwin’s house and see the infamous Dodo birds in the Museum of Natural History. Many famous artists have called London home at some point in their careers, so obviously London is perfect for those studying literature, fashion and theatre. And as one of the world's busiest tourist destinations, London is a perfect fit for tourism and hospitality majors as well.
Though at many colleges and universities in the western world students can expect to spend no less than four years earning their bachelor's degree, in England you can graduate in just three years. This could mean lower tuition costs in the long run, and you can get an early start on your career! Likewise, you could expect to earn a master's degree in England in one year and a PhD in three years. There is also the option to spend an extra year halfway through your studies to gain professional experience related to your desired industry, or to study abroad of course.
The curriculum in the UK is a bit more degree focused than in the U.S., where students may study a wider array of course material, which means a British degree program is great if you know exactly what you want to specialize in and you're ready to hit the ground running. Earning a degree in London can help you finish up your education in less time and focus more on relevant topics. But if you are undecided about your major and you want to take a more free-form approach to college, earning a degree in London might not be the best choice for you.
Life in London
Your daily commute could be an adventure in itself as you stroll through London’s many vibrant and distinctive neighborhoods. The streets are lined with beautiful buildings built by legendary architects centuries ago, many of which have plaques to acknowledge the famous residents who have come and gone. The skyline is also dotted with ultra-modern skyscrapers, a perfect visualization of London's rich history and innovative spirit.
Once you get a knack for the tube, one of the most widely used and efficient metro systems in the world, you will enjoy people watching or reading a good book on your way to class. Remember to keep right on the escalator, avoid rush hour if you can, and mind the gap! Don’t forget to treat yourself to a nice “cuppa tea” (or coffee) sometimes, and maybe do some homework in one of London’s numerous green spaces and immaculately manicured gardens, which were once the Queen’s private grounds.
Consider yourself lucky if you get to spend a few years in London, because you will have time to explore the many world famous museums, including the Natural History Museum, The National Gallery, Tate Modern, and The Tower, home to English Royalty centuries ago. You will also get to experience the continuous rhythm of festivals and events hosted by all cultures calling London home.
Do not believe anyone who says food in England is bad. London is a great destination for foodies, with a huge variety of cuisines from all over the world, and you will never be far from a pub! The club scene also will not disappoint. Samuel Johnson famously said, “If you are bored with London, you are bored with life.” But if you do feel a bit stir-crazy, Paris is just a quick train ride away too.
Scholarships & Costs
Many things come to mind when one thinks of London: cute phone booths, tall men in funny hats, the queen, the pesky pound. As one of the strongest currencies on the planet, the ideas of "England" and "cheap" rarely connect. That being said, for the savvy student, getting a degree in London can still be a financially feasible option. It takes smart planning and a willingness to eat more toast and beans than you ever thought possible.
Another surefire way of reducing your overall costs is to apply for a scholarship to earn your degree in England. We've made an easy-peezy search engine for scholarships to study in England; you can sift through the options based on the type of degree (Bachelors, Masters, etc.) you're aiming to complete. Our best advice is to be relentless in your scholarship search. Don't give up if you haven't heard back from any organization. Keep on trucking and you'll be sure to reap the financial benefits eventually!
Accommodation & Visas
For those earning a full degree in London, a Tier 4 General Student Visa is needed. Tip from the experts: get an early start on this process! It can take up to three months or more depending on where you’re from. Speak to your study abroad advisor, or the university you plan on attending to get the ball rolling.
You will also need a place to stay, and fortunately many universities in London offer services to make this process easier for their sizeable international student population. Residence halls are a good option, but the most common living arrangement students choose is renting a flat with roommates from the same college. Rent can be quite expensive in London, and more affordable housing is often found just on the outskirts of town rather than in the heart of the city. Thanks to the wonderfully efficient London Tube, many people (including students) make the daily commute with ease.
Be sure to check out the GoAbroad’s Embassy Directory to find out the latest news on how to get a visa if you plan to earn a degree in England.
Benefits & Challenges
Earning your degree in London is sure to impress future employers, and not just because international experience looks good on any resume. London is hard to match when considering its history and status as a center of higher learning. London has been a cultural center for centuries, and it still is. At the epicenter of finance and politics, art and fashion, science and history to this day, London is a great choice regardless of your area of focus. Many influential and ambitious people continue to flock to London just as they have done hundreds of years ago, so it goes without saying there is some real networking potential.
If nothing else, you will meet some very interesting and friendly folks while earning a degree in London, and gain some serious street cred from living in one of the busiest, most famous cities in the world. Learning how to use a metro system and navigate through a city as labyrinthine as London will serve as a useful life skill, especially if you plan to become a world traveler.
Big city life comes with its own host of challenges though; for one, big cities tend to be expensive, and London tops the list. Budgeting will become a new life skill as well, but if you get your visa sorted and communicate with your university advisors they should be able to give you some pointers if you need to make some extra cash. London is such a vibrant and interesting place you really don't need to break the bank to have a wonderful experience.
Earning your degree in London is sure to be the experience of a lifetime, and you will learn valuable skills that will prepare you for your future. You could spend a lifetime in this great city and there would still be more to discover!