There are a number of different types of institutions in the UK higher education sector, which are collectively known as Higher Education Institutions (HEIs). HEIs are legally independent and have their own governing bodies.

In the UK you will find:

QualificationsHEIs offer a range of courses and qualifications to students. Many courses adopt a modular structure, which allows students to study a number of compulsory and optional modules in different areas of study, adding up to a final number of 'credits'.

The student's performance is normally assessed through a combination of coursework and exams. Commonly, a degree course will culminate in the writing of a dissertation or thesis, which will make up a large proportion of the final mark.

For detailed information about the UK HE sector, see the Universities UK website or the Directgov website.

ApplyingApplications to almost all registered UK institutions and undergraduate courses are processed through the centralised Universities and Colleges Admission Service (UCAS). This includes both UK and non-UK students. It is a good idea to familiarise yourself with UCAS and the service they provide before you begin the application process. The UCAS website features special sections with information for international students. 

Each institution handles postgraduate course applications differently and you will need to apply to each one directly. There is no limit to the number of applications you can make to different institutions, but applications can be lengthy. You will normally be required to fill in an application form, either on paper or electronically. See your chosen institutions' websites to find out how to apply.

For more information about postgraduate courses, visit