Guide For International Students Applying To Engineering In The UK

Applying to university in another country is difficult, so we have simplified it for you to understand what you need to know when applying for Engineering in the UK.

Last Updated: 19th April 2021

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Studying Engineering in the UK will likely be a dream come true for many international students. 

But, how do you go about navigating the application process and know what needs to form part of your application? 

We have all the information you need to know to craft your application. 

Applying to study in the UK as an international student

The first thing you need to know is about the Universities and Colleges Admission Service (or UCAS for short). This is the platform that all universities in the UK use to receive their undergraduate applications.

The second thing is making sure you meet the course requirements. Do not forget to check the university website and make sure your grades meet the minimum entry requirements. 

Additionally, if you are applying to Oxbridge you will need to take an admission test. For Cambridge, it’s the ENGAA and for Oxford, it’s the PAT

The next thing you need to consider is your level of English. You will need to take the IELTS test or an equivalent to prove you are proficient enough in the English language. Without this, universities will not accept you as there is no guarantee that you will be able to engage with the course satisfactorily.

Something else to keep in mind is that you will have to bring proof of how you will be paying for your studies. This is very important! As an international student, your visa will not allow you to work more than a certain number of hours. In some cases, and depending on your course, you might not even be allowed to work, which means that you will not be able to support yourself financially. For this reason, you are required to have the necessary funds prior to starting your course. 

Next, you will select your course and university choices using the UCAS website. Make sure all the points above are considered before starting your application

Before you can submit your application, you will need to write a Personal Statement. This can be tricky since you’re applying to multiple universities but it’s definitely doable – thousands of students do it every year! If you’re looking for more general advice on how to write a personal statement here are some top tips and common mistakes to avoid

All there is left to do is to pay the UCAS fee which is about £22 if you are applying to one university only, or £26.50 if you’re sending your application to multiple universities.

Early preparation is the key to a successful Oxbridge Engineering application.

Writing the perfect Personal Statement, scoring highly on the ENGAA or PAT and interviewing like a pro is how you get your dream Oxbridge Engineering offer.

Discover our Engineering Programme for comprehensive admissions support by clicking the button below to enrol and triple your chances of success.

The minimum requirements to study engineering in the uK

First things first. You need to consider the minimum requirements for an engineering course. In the UK, we use A-levels – which are scored from A* to E – for university admission. For an engineering course, universities will most commonly require students to have achieved two or three A-levels (AAB). Logically, the grades you have will need to be equivalent to having studied A-levels.

As an international student, it can be hard to know if your pre-university grades are enough or even recognised in the UK. Luckily, universities in the United Kingdom are quite diverse and, as such, accustomed to having a high intake of international students.

If you are an IB student, you will be dealt with slightly differently. Your application will be treated the exact same, but you will not have UCAS points. Instead, each university will have its own approach to the IB marking scheme and will usually attribute points to each individual component that makes up the IB diploma. Typically, the minimum entry requirements for IB are 35 points. If you want to read more about it,  here’s some useful information on  IB & UCAS points and a guide for IB students.

The majority of the universities’ websites will have a section dedicated to entry requirements for international students. So, once you have figured out which universities you want to apply to, research their website to find out about country-specific information. Here’s an example from The University of Manchester. This page covers everything from entry requirements to other useful contacts.

If the university you are trying to apply to does not have a page dedicated to international students, we would recommend getting in contact with the admissions office. Browse the university website and send them an email. However, bear in mind this could take some time so plan accordingly.

Which area of Engineering should i study?

Your entry requirements will also be dependent on the area of engineering you are applying to. The UCAS website has a list of all the courses offered by UK universities in Engineering and Technology. Here are a few examples:

You need to be clear about which area you’re going into. Engineering is a broad subject! Moreover, a course in Civil Engineering will be much harder to get into than a course in General Engineering. Further to this, if you are wanting to apply to Oxbridge, keep in mind they do not offer specialised Engineering degrees. 

Things such as course duration can also be very different which will ultimately affect how much money you will have to pay for tuition fees and living costs.

How Can I choose Which University to study at?

Over 30 universities in the UK offer some type of course in Engineering, so there are plenty of choices! The best way to select a university is to think about what’s important to you. Do you want great teaching? Do you want a university with high graduate satisfaction? Or maybe you prefer a university closely located to main hubs like London?

Make sure to write down exactly what you’re looking for in a university and then start your research. You might find ranking tables useful but make sure you filter them to reflect the course you are applying to.

Some universities such as Cambridge and Oxford will consistently be on the first few spots of every UK ranking table (regardless of the course), but it’s important that you look at subject-specific tables as there will be differences.

For example, this table gives you an insight into the percentage of international students in UK universities. Although not directly, this data can be used to get a feel of the acceptance rate for each university. Take a look at our definitive guide for Cambridge acceptance rates which includes international application statistics.

Aiming for a career in Engineering after you graduate? We’ll help you secure your dream Engineering offer first. 

Applying to Oxbridge is immensely competitive, and you must give yourself the best chance of success. We help you craft the perfect Personal Statement, achieve a highly competitive Admissions Test score and teach you how to Interview effectively – covering all areas of your Oxbridge application.

Discover our Oxbridge Engineering Premium Programme. 

How can i fund my degree as an international student?

As an international student, you do not have access to the same funding opportunities available to domestic students such as maintenance loans and student finance. As such, you will have to pay for your course yourself. 

This can be your parents, a bank loan or anything else. The main thing to retain is that you will not have any support for tuition fees from the university or the UK government.

Do I need a visa to study in the UK?

To study in the UK, you will need a student visa.

You can apply online, but you will have to get your photograph and fingerprints taken at an authorised visa application centre. There is also a fee to pay of £348 if applying prior to entering the UK or £475 to switch to a student visa whilst already inside the UK.

This will be followed by an interview in which you will be asked about your course, university, and financial means to support your education. This is all standard procedure, and it ensures that you will be able to enter the UK and remain for the rest of your course.

You can find more information about student visas on the UK Government website here.

How do i attend an interview if i'm an international student?

Depending on your course and university choice, you might be required to be Interviewed by a member of the university. If you are applying to Oxbridge or Imperial College London, you will most likely be called for an Interview, so it is always best practice to research before applying.

Applying as an international student, you will not have the ability of simply attending the university for an Interview. However, the admission personnel are aware of the disadvantage this poses for international students. As such, for most of the courses, you will be given a chance to attend an online Interview. 


Applying to study Engineering in the UK is a big decision to make, and it is essential that you know it is the right choice for you. 

Starting the application process as early as possible means you will be able to ensure you meet all of the requirements, such as the grade and subjects they require. 

It is not an easy process but will be more than worth it when you are studying at the university of your dreams. 

Our expert tutors will guide you to Oxbridge Engineering success.

Applying to Oxbridge is immensely competitive, and you must give yourself the best chance of success. We help you craft the perfect Personal Statement, achieve a highly competitive ENGAA or PAT score and teach you how to Interview effectively – covering all areas of your Oxbridge application.

Discover our Oxbridge Engineering Premium Programme for comprehensive admissions support by clicking the button below to enrol and triple your chances of success.

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