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Cost of studying and living in the UK

Studying and living in the UK can be an enriching experience, but it’s essential to understand and plan for the associated costs. Studying in the UK is good value for money and the average costs here are lower than in both the USA and Australia.

You will find that UK graduates are among the most employable in the world. In fact, seven in ten international students say that they are progressing further, being promoted quicker, and earning more because of their UK education.

Still, investing a considerable sum in your education does require careful consideration. Here are some details on the type of budget you are going to need to study in the UK.

How much does it cost to study in the UK?

Fees for UK courses vary depending on your study level and where in the UK you are studying.

Course fees

Fees for UK courses vary depending on your study level and where in the UK you are studying. For example, humanities and social sciences degrees tend to cost the least, while laboratory and clinical degree programmes tend to cost the most.

Undergraduate Level

International undergraduate tuition fees vary from £11,400 – £38,000. The average cost is estimated to be around £22,200 per year.

Typically, undergraduate degree courses in England, Wales, and Northern Ireland last for three years or four in Scotland.

Postgraduate Level

International postgraduate tuition fees vary from £9,000 – £30,000. The average cost is estimated to be around £17,109 per year.

Many postgraduate degree courses in the UK can be completed in one year of full-time study. This has financial and career benefits. A one-year master’s programme usually has fewer and lower associated costs. It offers the option of faster entry or re-entry into employment than a traditional two-year master’s programme.

As tuition fees vary by course and institution, we recommend you consult the website of the university or college you are applying for detailed information. In the UK (except London), budget for £54 per month on average for public transport.

Living costs

As an international student coming to the UK without dependants, you can expect to pay around £1300-£1400 per month in London or £900-£1300 in the rest of the UK to cover your accommodation, bills, groceries, and a range of other living expenses during your studies.

Average living costs to help you budget for your UK studies

The National Union of Students (NUS) revealed in November 2022 that 57 per cent of UK students experienced a rise in their cost of living by over £20 per week. Additionally, 25 per cent of students reported having less than £50 left over from their budget each month after rent and bills.

Can I work in the UK on a student visa?

Many international students in the UK work part-time alongside their studies.

Many international students in the UK take a part-time job, work placement or internship alongside their studies. Most courses allow students to work for up to 20 hours per week during term time and this is not restricted to on-campus employment.

To find out more about the hours and types of work you can do, visit the UKCISA website.

The Graduate visa gives you two years to stay in the UK after your degree.

Graduate visa

There are many visa options for international students to stay in the UK and work after graduation. A new popular option is the Graduate visa which gives you two years to stay in the UK after successfully completing a course in the UK. Graduates must apply for this whilst living in the UK.

The application fee is £822, and you will also need to pay £624 for the Immigration Health Surcharge for each year you spend in the UK.

Other costs

If you study in the UK for more than six months, there are additional associated costs to consider.

UK student visa

  • Your UK student visa, which will allow you to live and study in the UK throughout your course will cost you £490. This is a one-off charge. Please note: if you apply for the priority or the super priority service, it will cost more.

Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS)

  • As part of your student visa application, if you will stay in the UK and study for more than six months, you will need to pay a fee called an Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS). This will give you access to the UK’s National Health Service.
  • The surcharge for a student visa will be a fee of £470 per year for each full year you are in the UK. Where your stay in the UK includes part of a year, you would be charged £235 for periods of 1-6 months and £470 for periods of 6-12 months. For example, if you are doing a 12-month master’s course, you would be charged £705. This is because your visa will be issued for a total of 16-17 months (including up to one month before the course start date and four months after the course end date).
  • The amount you have to pay depends on how much leave you’re granted. You can find out how much you will be expected to pay by using the fee calculator on the UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) website.
  • European students: if you have a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC), you may be able to apply for a refund for the cost of the Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS). Check the GOV.UK website to find out if you are eligible to do so. Please also note that deciding to do paid part-time work in the UK during your studies could impact your eligibility for a refund, so consider this before requesting the refund.


It’s essential for prospective students to carefully budget and plan for these expenses to ensure a smooth and enjoyable experience while studying in the UK. Also, students should explore scholarship opportunities, part-time work options, and financial aid to help offset the costs of studying and living in the UK.

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