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Pre-experience postgraduate business programs in the UK

Nearly 100 British universities offer postgraduate business programs, making it one of the world’s largest markets for postgraduate business study. In addition to its size, the British market includes a very wide range of programs.

Business program lengths

Most full-time UK business masters programs are one year in length (as is typical for UK masters programs in general). Especially in the more technical subjects, candidates are expected to have substantial experience of the subject at the undergraduate level. Those who do not may need to do a preliminary year – which often leads to a diploma – before being allowed to tackle the actual masters degree course. Such a preliminary year is ordinarily done at the same university as the masters degree course, although nothing prevents a student from doing the two years at different institutions.

Costs of business masters programs

Tuition fees vary according to both the length and prestige of the programme. Some programs charge as little as several thousand pounds, whereas tuition fees for the Masters in Finance at London Business School are around £30,000.

The cost of living in the UK is generally quite high, especially in London and the southeast. Expect to pay between £800 (in small, northern cities) and £1,500–£2,000 (in London) per month. Business programs in the UK


The British Council website includes a comprehensive listing of scholarships offered by each UK university.

Applicants are also advised to consider applying for Chevening Scholarships, which provide funding to overseas students for study in the UK. Over 2,000 new scholarships are offered each year for postgraduate study in the UK.

The Commonwealth Scholarship and Fellowship Plan targets high-promise students from Commonwealth countries.

Working in the UK

Prior to Brexit, students from the European Union and European Economic Area were permitted to work freely in the UK. Now new rules and regulations are coming into effect and it's a good idea to check with your student visa to see what the terms are and how much you are able to work. International students from elsewhere are generally permitted to work up to 20 hours per week during terms and freely during vacations.

Upon completion of their degree, international students may apply via the International Graduate Scheme for a visa that permits them to work in the UK for up to 12 months without a sponsoring employer. The Highly Skilled Migrants Program is available for those looking to stay for two or more years.

Note that both these schemes have been replaced: the International Graduates Scheme by the Tier 1 – Graduate Students – Post Study Work sub-category and the Highly Skilled Migrants Program by the Tier 1 (General) sub-category of the first tier in the UK's new five-tier points-based immigration system. See for more information about it.

Studying in the UK

The ancient universities, such as Cambridge and Oxford, are famed for using tutorials to teach undergraduates. Most UK postgraduate business programs, however, rely on a combination of lectures, case studies, simulations, and the rest of the usual business instruction toolkit. More often than in most other countries, though, professors may provide a lengthier list of possible readings than students can manage, expecting each student to pick and choose what will best fit his or her interests and needs.

British universities offer a wide range of student clubs and other organisations. In addition, many universities provide student cafés and pubs (the latter of which are surprisingly central to British student life).


Various British broadsheet newspapers rank universities overall and by subject. Consult:
The Guardian
The Times
The Sunday Times (Despite being available on the same website, these rankings are separate from those of The Times ).

Look at our rankings section, or for more about rankings, consult both the UK ‘Reputation’ section (immediately below) and the ‘Rankings’ discussion, particularly regarding The Financial Times’ rankings of European (including UK) masters programs.


Various organisations assess and rate the quality of university courses. The Research Assessment Exercise highlights the audits of research quality, and the Quality Assurance Agency, similarly, audits university educational quality. Partially as a result of this external scrutiny, no doubt, British degrees are generally regarded as being of very high quality. Of course, those from the most famous of institutions, such as the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE), tend to be more highly regarded than are those from unknown schools.

Balance sheet


  • Wide range of programs (and schools) available.                         
  • Able to work while studying.                                                       
  • Degrees enjoy good international reputation.                                 
  • Generally easy to work in the UK for a year after graduation.        


  • Many programs are expensive.
  • Some programs have few Britons.
  • Living costs are generally high.

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