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What Does University Cost for International Students?





Reading Time: 4 minutes


Home to some of the world’s most iconic and renowned institutions, as well as many popular, culturally diverse cities, it’s easy to see why the UK is a place where many international students choose to further their education.

But with rising tuition fees, student living costs, travel and term-time essentials to factor in, studying here certainly comes at a price. So, if you’re thinking of studying in the UK, then you need to budget properly, and be sure that the benefits of the degree outweigh the costs themselves.

If you’re an international student looking to study here, then we’ll run through the costs that you’ll need to take into consideration before applying.

How much are UK tuition fees for international students?


For the previous academic year, annual tuition fees for international students in the UK started at £9,000, with the figure rising to £26,000 and even £58,600 for medical degrees. However, the average fee for the majority of subjects fell somewhere between £12,000 to £19,000.

Postgraduate degrees last year fell broadly into the same amount for the majority of courses, but they started from as little as £5,880 and rose to as much as £55,000 for MBAs.

Old College of the University of Edinburgh in Edinburgh, Scotland, UK

What affects the cost of UK degrees?

So, there’s quite a lot of variation across universities, courses and levels of study, which does make it difficult to calculate the exact cost. However, there are four things to take into consideration when coming up with a ballpark figure:

  1. The more prestigious the university, the more expensive it’s probably going to be.
  2. Medical and science degrees, especially those involving expensive equipment or laboratory access, will be more expensive than arts and humanities degrees.
  3. Since tuition fees are charged yearly, how long your course is will also be a major factor in its overall cost.
  4. The level of study might also affect the cost – postgraduate and doctoral degrees can sometimes be more expensive than undergraduate ones.

International undergraduate tuition fees


While most undergraduate courses last three years, some can go on longer; sandwich courses – degrees with an additional year in industry – for example. Also, in Scotland, undergraduate courses last four years, so that’s worth taking into account when budgeting.

The average estimate for an undergraduate degree for an international student is £12,000 a year, though as we’ve mentioned it can cost more than that. This means the average degree will cost £36,000 over three years, though this amount doesn’t include the cost of living, which we’ll touch on later.

Back view of man presenting to students at a lecture theatre

International students wishing to further their studies in the UK can expect to pay higher fees, especially for sought-after Masters and PhD courses. Since the courses are more specialised, there might be some additional costs due to research equipment or resources. Be sure to check with individual universities for the exact pricing.

How much is the cost of living for a student here?


A current requirement of UK student visas is that you must have at least £1,015 in your bank account for each month that you plan on staying in the UK anywhere outside of London, which works out as £12,180 per year.

If you plan on studying in London, you’ll have to budget more. Expect to pay £1,265 per month, which is the equivalent of £15180 a year. But while you’re here, there are a few things you can do to make the cost of living affordable. If you’re studying in London, be sure to get an 18+ Student Oyster photocard, which gives you 30% off travelcards and bus/tram season tickets, while students all over the country can apply for an NUS Extra Card for a small fee.

Plus, students living with Nido get all manner of discounts and benefits from local businesses and restaurants too! Click here for a full list of the rewards and partnerships that Nido offers.


Young woman is dancing in a silent disco with her friends.


What are some other average living costs in the UK?


  • A weekly food shop will cost somewhere in the region of around £30, while a meal in a pub or restaurant can be around £12
  • Your mobile phone bill will set you back around £15 a month
  • If you’re looking to join a gym, it’ll be around £32 a month, though many Nido residences have a gym
  • A night out costs around £30 in total, depending on how much you’re enjoying yourself
  • If you’re planning on watching TV in your room, then you’ll need a TV license, which costs around £152 a year
  • Of course, there are your own spending habits to account for too


If you’re looking for a student living experience that offers more, head over to the NIDO STUDENT SITE to see what properties are nearby or drop us a line on 0207 1000 100 for more information on our student residences.

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