Academic Year in the UK

Traditionally, the academic year in Great Britain is divided into three trimesters in all four countries of the United Kingdom. In the course of the Bologna reform, most British universities have now adopted the division into two semesters. However, the academic year in Great Britain is not identical to the German semester model.

Semester system in Great Britain

According to act-test-centers, the British course starts in autumn and ends in midsummer. The two study sections each cover a period of 15 weeks in the first semester and 17 weeks in the second semester. The British semester dates are therefore particularly suitable for a semester abroad in Great Britain. While it is possible to start studying for a semester abroad in both the winter and summer semesters, a full course can only be started in September. A new annual cycle of the academic year in Great Britain starts after the Summer Vacations.

semester Period
Semester 1 September – December
Semester 2 February – May
Summer vacation May – August

Trimester system in Great Britain

Each trimester, also known as a term, spans ten to twelve weeks. While most of the teaching takes place in the first two terms, the third trimester serves as an examination semester. The courses that are offered during this period serve to repeat the knowledge and prepare for the annual final exams. In the so-called summer term of the academic year in Great Britain, international students have the opportunity to acquire credit points in the course of a summer session.

Trimester Period
Trimester 1 September – December
Trimester 2 February – May
Trimester 3 June August

The individual semesters or trimesters are separated by the semester break: the Christmas Holidays and the Easter Holidays.

Residence Permit To Study in the UK

If you are planning to study abroad in Great Britain and come from the EU, non-EU EEA member states or Switzerland, you will have to expect little to no bureaucratic effort prior to entry until the UK’s exit from the EU comes into force. No visa or residence permit is required to study in Great Britain. A visa can be applied for if a stay of more than six months is planned, but is not required.

Nevertheless, there are the following differences between citizens of the EU and the EEA or Switzerland when obtaining a residence permit for studying in Great Britain:

Citizens of EU member states

The regulation of passenger traffic between the member states of the Council of Europe and Great Britain is as follows: Anyone who is a citizen of an EU member state and has a valid passport or identity card from one of these countries can enter all countries of the United Kingdom without a visa.

Citizens of Switzerland and the EEA countries Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway

The regulation of the Agreement on the Free Movement of Persons between Switzerland, the EEA member states and Great Britain applies here. Citizens of Switzerland, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway are treated like EU citizens in terms of entry and residence while studying in the UK. Entry and study in Great Britain are possible with a valid passport or passport. Students must also submit the following documents:

  • Submit confirmation of enrollment from a state-recognized university
  • Proof of health and accident insurance
  • Proof of financial security

Special case of dual nationality

This also applies to students who have two (or more) nationalities. For example, those who currently live outside the EU, the EEA or Switzerland, but are a citizen with a valid passport from one of these countries, can easily enter England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Find out more about getting a work permit while being granted a residence permit to study in the UK

In principle, no work permit is required for students who belong to a member state of the EU, EEA or Switzerland and who are employed in the United Kingdom during or after their studies in the United Kingdom. For part-time employment while studying, students not only have to have health insurance, but also be officially insured through the National Health Service and have an insurance number. The part-time job must also have been taxed.

However, the high workload at British universities should not be underestimated, which is why a part-time job should only be planned as additional income. For a basic funding of studying abroad to provide BAföG, a scholarship or a student loan.

Academic Year in the UK

Academic Year in the UK
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