About the UK

The UK is currently ranked as the world’s sixth largest economy. London, the capital city of the UK, is one of the main financial hubs in the world.


Many of the UK universities, such as the University of Cambridge, the University of Oxford, and Imperial College, London, rank among the top in the world. In total, there are currently 115 universities registered in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. Most universities provides a wide range of courses, including foundation stage, undergraduate and postgraduate degrees. These are completed through taught and/or research programmes. Many universities are now offering their courses through distance learning methods of study.


A typical duration required to complete a full-time:

  • Undergraduate degree is 3 or 4 years.
  • Postgraduate Masters (taught or research) degree is 1 year.
  • MBA programme can sometimes last up to 21 months.
  • Note that students can extend a one-year research degree (MPhil) to a full-time 3 to 4 years research degree (PhD/DBA) in various disciplines.


The high standards and quality of degrees offered in the the UK are regularly monitored and assessed by independent institutions such as the QAA (Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education) and other professional bodies. In addition to this, the UK universities are also subject to RAE (Research Assessment Exercise) assessments carried out by the Higher Education Funding Council for England (on behalf of all the UK funding councils) on a periodic basis. The RAE assessments look into the research quality of each university department and this subsequently determines the amount of research grant provided by HEFCE to the institutions.

UK university rankings can often be found from various UK newspapers (Guardian, Times, Times Higher Education, and Sunday Times) which rely on various sources (including RAE assessment results) in publishing ‘League tables’. The rankings, however, can be very subjective.

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