What factors should you think about when deciding on your UK study experience?
When selecting a university for your Master’s degree, you should consider more than just courses and rankings, especially if you want to study in the United Kingdom.
There is a wide range of university experiences available in the UK, and to find the best one for you, you must consider a few factors. Here are some pointers to help you choose the best UK university for your postgraduate studies.
Universities that are collegiate versus non-collegiate
One of the first decisions you’ll need to make is whether to attend a collegiate or non-collegiate university.
A college is a branch of a university, and there are two kinds. First, there are those at federal universities such as the University of London. King’s College and Imperial College are two colleges of the University of London that are primarily teaching institutions.
Residential colleges are the second type. These are smaller and serve primarily residential and social functions.
Because colleges in federal universities operate like universities in their own right, we’ll be discussing universities with residential colleges here.
The most well-known collegiate universities in the United Kingdom are the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge, but other universities, such as Durham University and the University of York, also have colleges too.
One advantage of applying to a university with a college system is that you can immediately connect with a smaller community. Colleges frequently have clubs, sports teams, and facilities that students can use, which can be a lifesaver for students who are overwhelmed or homesick when they first arrive.
A college system, on the other hand, may not be as enjoyable for some people. Perhaps you’d prefer to be able to socialize freely within a larger student body rather than being confined to a small subset. In this case, a non-collegiate university may be the best option.
Universities on-campus vs. universities off campus
A campus university is a university that is entirely located on one or a few sites. The advantage of a campus university is that it is simple to get around, and if you live in university housing, you will be close to your lectures and seminars.
The disadvantage of campus universities is that they are frequently quite remote. To get to the city center, you may need to take a bus or walk, which can make exploring the surrounding area more difficult.
A non-campus university, in which the teaching and residential buildings are not concentrated in one location, is an alternative. The University of Manchester, for example, has buildings scattered throughout the city.
If you enjoy being able to travel and don’t want to be too confined to one location, a non-campus university may be for you.
In the city versus the countryside
While there are few truly remote UK universities, some have better rural access than others. The University of Lancaster, for example, is a campus university located just a short walk from the beautiful Lancashire countryside.
This could affect the type of outdoor activities available as well as the overall feel of the university. If you prefer a slower pace of life and enjoy spending time outdoors, we recommend attending a university with better access to the countryside.
A city-based university, on the other hand, would be best if you want a buzzy social life with lots of activities and abundant nightlife. Each city in the United Kingdom has its act personality, so do your homework before applying!
What exactly is the Russell Group?
Finally, you’ve probably come across the term “Russell Group” while researching UK universities.
This is a term for a group of universities that have banded together in the pursuit of research excellence. The Russell Group currently consists of 24 universities, many of which rank near the top of university rankings.
In addition to research, there are other university groups with different focuses, such as the University Alliance, which includes “business-focused” universities.
Your Russell Group university of choice may not have a significant impact on your experience. Many universities that are not included in the group are equally committed to teaching excellence.
However, it is a well-known group, which may influence employers’ post-graduation hiring decisions. If your preferred university meets all of your other criteria and is also a member of the group, you will be in a better position to return to the industry.