Study in United Kingdom (UK)
About the United Kingdom (UK)
The royals, Big Ben, English tea, are some things that best describes the UK.
Located on the northwestern coast of the European mainland, the UK, formally known as The United Kingdom and Northern Ireland, is one of the most developed country in the world. It is one of the top 10 countries with highest Gross domestic product (GDP) with 2,743 Billion USD per October 2019 according to the International Monetary Fund (IMF). The county applies a constitutional monarchy, which means the UK is ruled by a King or a Queen whose authority is restricted by a constitution. The current leader is Queen Elizabeth II which has reigned since 1952.
London is the largest and the capital city for both the UK and England.
The United Kingdom comprises of 4 countries: England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Island which has the capitals of London, Edinburgh, Cardiff, and Belfast. The country consists of approximately 64 million inhabitants. England is the largest state that represents 84% of the total population in the UK.
The UK has a multicultural society that is very open about different cultures or religions. The main religion in the UK is Christianity which makes up about 50 percent of the religious population. The country also consists of a variety of ethnicities, from White that makes up the majority of the UK with over 80%, Asian, Black, or even mixed.
English is the de facto language of the UK that is used by 98% of the total population. French is also widely spoken in the UK as their foreign language. In Wales, their native spoken language is Welsh. On the other hand, in Scotland, Scots is recognized as the indigenous language.
The climate in the UK may vary among places, but generally can be described as oceanic/temperate climate. The weather conditions are frequent changes from day to day or even on the same day. Spring is generally cool season that lasts from March-May. Summer usually has an average temperature of 26°C and occurs from June to August. For Autumn, it runs from September to November. And lastly, the winter usually happens from December to February.
The official currency of England, Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland is the pound sterling (symbol: £), often abbreviated to GBP. However, Scotland and Northern Ireland issue their own pound sterling notes. It is sub-divided into 100 pence (symbol: p). You get notes in denominations of £50, £20, £10 and £5, and coins in £2, £1, 50p, 20p, 10p, 5p, 2p and 1p.
Why study in the UK?
- Highly recognized education with 18 out of 100 top universities in the world
- A multi-cultural environment with over 450,000 international students
- Increase work opportunities
- UK degrees take less time to attain than degrees in other countries.
- International students are allowed to work for up to 20 hours a week during term time and full-time during holidays. If you are from an EU country, there will be even more flexibility
- Strong Research Infrastructure with 46% as ‘internationally excellent’ by the Research Excellence Framework (REF).
Education in the UK
In the UK, the education system is divided into four main parts, primary education, secondary education, further education, and higher education. Children in the UK is mandatory to attend primary and secondary education.
Primary education begins in the UK at age 5 and continues will age 11, comprising key stages one and two under the UK educational system.
- Stage 1 (Reception, age 5)
>> Year 1, age 5 to 6
- Year 2, age 6 to 7 (KS1 National Curriculum Tests – England only)
- Stage 2 (Junior School or Primary School)
>> Year 3, age 7 to 8
>> Year 4, age 8 to 9
>> Year 5, age 9 to 10
>> Year 6, age 10 to 11 (Even plus exams in some areas of England, Key Stage 2 National Curriculum Tests)
From age 11 to 16, students will enter secondary school for key stages three and four and start their move towards taking the GCSE’s
- Middle School, High School or Secondary School
>> Year 7, old First Form, age 11 to 12
>> Year 8, old Second Form, age 12 to 13
>> Year 9, old Third Form, age 13 to 14 (Key Stage 3 National Curriculum Tests, known as SATs (Standard Assessment Tests))
- Upper School or Secondary School
>> Year 10, old Fourth Form, age 14 to 15
>> Year 11, old Fifth Form, age 15 to 16 (old O Level examinations, modern GCSE examinations)
After the completion of the secondary education, students can continue to pre-university program. There are several programs that are available, and some of it are A-Level (a.k.a GCSE) and Foundation.
A-Level/GCSE usually last for up to 15 months. Students can choose a variety of subjects that they want from science-related to arts-related.
Foundation program usually is a shorter program where it’s usually only 8-12 months. It’s perfect for academic preparation for entry onto a UK university undergraduate course.
- UK is a home to the best universities. 18 of them are the 100 world’s best universities. Some of them are University of Oxford, Imperial College London, and University of Nottingham.
- Taking an Honours for Bachelor’s degree in UK doesn’t require you to add 1 more year like in Australia or Malaysia. It is included in your 3-5 years of undergraduate period. There are certain level of Hons that are available and can be taken depending on the student’s GPA:
- 1. First-Class Honours (70% and above)
- 2. Upper Second-Class Honours (60-70%)
- 3. Lower Second-Class Honours (50-60%)
- 4. Third-Class Honours (40-50%)
Generally, there are 2 types of Master’s program, coursework and research which usually takes 1-2 years to be completed. On the other hand, for Doctoral program, there is only 1 type which is research that can last from 3-4 years to finished.
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