How to study abroad at your choice of UK university

Students studying together

The UK university education system is renowned around the world and attracts many international students who wish to study here. Students who graduate from a UK university get a well-rounded education and a qualification that is accepted worldwide, as well as the additional benefit of developing their English skills inside and outside the classroom. 

But with so many study opportunities for you in the UK, how do you choose? By studying a university preparation course, you can benefit from a softer transition to the UK education system. These pathway programmes let you experience a new teaching style and develop the knowledge you need to study an undergraduate or postgraduate degree. Through your studies, you’ll develop your language skills and explore your subject before starting your degree. If you haven’t yet decided where you want to live and learn, a multi-articulation pathway gives you the necessary time to choose the right university for you. 

How can you prepare to study at a university abroad? 

Once you’ve decided you want to study in the UK, there are two main routes to starting your degree. These options will depend on where you want to study, your academic results and your English language abilities. 

Choosing direct entry 

The first way to study at a UK university is to begin your degree programme with direct entry. This is a great choice if you already meet the entry requirements for your chosen university. By choosing direct entry, you could graduate in the typical amount of time it takes a domestic student to finish their degree. However, you’ll be entering a new education system with new rules, a new language and new way of studying. Although choosing direct entry may help you graduate sooner, you will be without the support of expert staff and the specialist modules included in a pathway programme. 

Choosing a pathway programme 

Pathway programmes are ideal if you don’t yet meet the university entry requirements or feel you would benefit from starting your study abroad journey in a supportive and welcoming environment. You will be guided by teachers experienced in international education, who will introduce you to the subject matter in an approachable way. University preparation programmes will also help raise your English level to a university-standard, introducing you to the subject specific vocabulary and academic writing style you’ll need in this environment. 

How to attend your choice of UK university as an international student 

If you’ve decided that a pathway programme is the right step for you, it’s time to think about where you want to study your degree. There are different ways to progress to university, which depend on whether you know which university you hope to progress to. 

Single articulation 

If you have a particular university in mind, then you can choose a pathway programme which leads you directly to that university. These can be based on campus or online and are designed to match the curriculum of your chosen university. While single articulation pathways are a good way to prepare for one specific university, you’re committing to your university before you’ve even experienced this new education system and without the guidance of experts who know UK universities well. 


Multi-articulation is all about choice. When you study a multi-articulation pathway programme, you are developing those same university-level skills that you need to succeed on your degree – but with the opportunity to apply to more than one university. You will study academic and English language modules relevant to your subject area, whilst keeping your progression options open. This allows you to experience a new style of teaching and gives you the time to think about what type of degree and study experience you’d enjoy the most. You can really explore what degree options are right for you based on the experiences you’ve gained on your pathway programme. Experienced staff and teachers will then advise you on choosing your university and making sure it’s the right fit. 

Study Group Digital Learning university preparation programmes 

With Study Group Digital Learning programmes, you can prepare for university study online from wherever you are in the world. Our programmes lead to your choice of undergraduate or postgraduate degree at a range of UK universities. 

You will study subject-specific modules that develop your academic knowledge and study skills, as well as English language modules designed for university success. Our teachers are experts in international education and are here to support you in not only your academic subject, but in understanding the UK higher education system. You will receive support and guidance in choosing which university suits you and where you can apply to. This means that after successfully completing your programme, you will be ready to arrive in the UK at a university you know is the right fit for you. 

Studying with Study Group Digital Learning also gives you certainty of outcome. Some of our programmes include guaranteed offers of conditional progression from our progression universities, allowing you peace of mind whilst you study. 

Begin preparing for university 

Whatever goals you have for your career, the first step is to think about your progression university. The best part about studying a multi-articulation programme is that you don’t have to decide which university you want to study at before arriving in the UK. When you apply to study with us, you can take your time as you choose where to live and learn during your time at university. 

Frequently asked questions 

What should I know before joining a university abroad? 

As each country has its own education system, universities can differ slightly across the world. Before choosing where to study, you should consider things such as how long degrees are and how much lesson time and self-study time is involved. For example, in the UK, undergraduate degrees typically last three or four years and postgraduate degrees one year. Lesson time and self-study will differ depending on your chosen subject. 

How can I be the best student when studying abroad at university?  

When studying at any university, whether it is abroad or as a domestic student, you should make sure you continue to study outside of your classes and lectures. Whether this is completing the reading set to you by your teachers, doing independent study, or reviewing your notes, success comes down to how much time you put in. 

How many hours a day should I study for university when abroad? 

If you’re an international student at university, you may want to spend a good portion of your time exploring your new home. However, it is important to still spend time studying. A general rule for studying at university is to spend two hours studying for every one hour of class. For example, if you had a two-hour lecture for one your classes, you would spend four hours studying the same topic.