Every year, London welcomes new students who are looking for an exciting new city to study in. The city is famous for its fascinating culture, unique architecture, and endless lists of things to do.
So firstly, why is London such a great place to study?
Wherever you are in the UK, or especially if you’re from further afield, London can be an incredible place to spend your student years. Here’s why:
It’s full of students: With 18 universities, London is home to more universities than any other UK city. This means you’re surrounded by other students exploring what the city has to offer. The libraries, cafes, coworking spaces and parks welcome the droves of students that arrive into the city each year, a huge number of whom are international students – London is a melting pot of cultures and languages after all.
You’ll struggle to be bored: The city caters for everyone. It’s an entertainment hub full of museums, galleries, pop-up events, shows, bars, clubs, pubs and restaurants. It can be an expensive place to eat and drink, but it’s not hard to find free entertainment.
It’s a great place to start your career: You’ll probably be aware that many large organisations are either based in or have offices in London. This can be a huge advantage when finding your first graduate role. London graduate schemes in particular are a way to throw yourself into the world of work and make useful connections in London. Equally, part-time work for alongside your studies is easily found – a great way to add to your CV while you study. As well as this, one of the most valuable things you can collect during your time at university is the people! Making contacts in your chosen area of study is important, and being in London opens you up to a huge population of students and professionals in your field for you to network with and make some useful connections that could really help boost your future career prospects.
What courses is London most famous for?
What better place to study business than the capital? Business courses will prepare you with business-knowledge spanning across all the essential elements for running and maintaining a business – from marketing, resources, procurement to finances. You might want to study business alongside another subject area of interest. Combining business and fashion for example, is a great way to get into that particular industry. Or, you might want to focus on a particular aspect of business – for example, HR, logistics or project management.
Many universities will offer a general business qualification to equip you with a broad base of business knowledge to begin with, then you can move onto a more specialised area when you’ve gained that experience and had time to figure out what interests you most.
- The arts
With a thriving fine art scene in London, this city is the place to go to art school. It hosts world-renowned arts universities such as:
- Goldsmiths, University of London.
- University of the Arts London, which is made up of Camberwell College of Arts, Wimbledon College of Arts, Chelsea College of Arts, Central Saint Martins, London College of Fashion and London College of Communication. Artist Greyson Perry is chancellor of UAL.
- Slade School of Fine Art, University College London.
Performing arts also thrive in London, with top drama schools like the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA), London Academy of Music & Dramatic Art (LAMDA) and Guildhall School of Music and Drama.
- Accounting and finance
London is recognised as one of the financial capitals of the world. Many students who come to London to study opt for a degree in this area due to its reliability in getting you into a desirable role in the City. There are wonderful opportunities in London for internships and placements. And, being employed here following your finance related qualification can open up your options in terms of working elsewhere around the world.
Take some time to figure out what kind of finance or accounting course will give you the right opportunities for what you want to end up doing. Is a placement most important? Will a specialised qualification come in useful for employers? This kind of course is sometimes offered online, so that’s something to also consider if learning from home appeals to you.
There are many 1 year full-time options around London for getting into or furthering your skills and knowledge in this area – for example, UWS offer a 1 year full-time MSc in Accounting and Finance or an MBA with Banking and Finance.
If you know you want to get into teaching, you can get straight to it by opting for a degree or postgraduate qualification in teaching. Oxford and Cambridge tend to be at the top of most rankings for educational degrees in the UK, but London is still a great city to opt for when it comes to this kind of course.
Choosing an education qualification requires a lot of theory as well as practical work and in most cases, a significant part of the course will be spent in classrooms on work placements. This kind of course can really make the best use of London’s population because when you’re starting out on your career as a teacher, you’ll have access to over 200 schools across the city and the surrounding area.
King’s College London offers a good range of educational courses at postgraduate level through PGCE, master’s and doctoral qualifications. University College London offers undergraduate education studies bachelor’s as well as master’s, postgraduate programmes and PGCEs in early years, primary and secondary education, so they cover teaching for all ages.
- Healthcare and medicine
In Greater London, there are more than 134 hospitals. With the population in London in mind, having a career in healthcare means you’re almost guaranteed to find work straight away. Courses for both of these areas tend to be very much on-the-job learning, giving you all the practical skills you’ll need to work as a healthcare professional when you graduate. Roles in these fields of work will no doubt be high-pressure, but with saving or improving lives every day, they come with high levels of job-satisfaction too.
While tough, a career in nursing involving managing, assessing, treating and caring for your patients is bound to be a rewarding one. The main areas you might want to specialise in according to the NHS are adult, child, mental health and learning disability nursing.
Or, if you have a background in science, you might want to look into getting into a career in medicine which would include the prevention, diagnosing and curing of disease. The main areas of medicine you might want to specialise in to begin with are pharmacy, nutrition, anatomy and physiology.
There are a number of medical schools around London including Imperial College, St George’s Healthcare, King’s College Hospital and UCLH (University College London Hospital).
Some universities offer options where you can gain qualifications just after 1 year. UWS for example offer a 3 year BSc (Hons) Professional Health Studies, but after the first year, you’ll receive a Dip HE and after 2 years, you’ll receive a BSc.
How do I decide on a course?
- Really do your research, then research some more. It’s great if you already know what kind of course you want to do or even what institution you want a degree from. But, it’s a big decision that needs some attention.
- Take your time to narrow down your options, speak to people and visit the universities in person if you’re able to. Getting a feel of the place is just as important as what the prospectus might say.
- London is a wonderfully diverse city and it’s huge – so you should also think about where you’ll want to be living if that’s an important factor to you too.
- While the academic facilities are really important when choosing a course, don’t forget to check out what other amenities the universities you’re looking at are offering – for example, is a student gym membership essential to you? Is it important to you to join spots societies alongside your studies? Remember that your experience at university is also about the friends you make and the network of people you’ll connect with that will benefit your career in London, whatever that might be.
When should I apply?
Once you’ve narrowed your options down, it’s time to apply. You should aim to apply at least 6 months before the start of the course you’re interested in, so the sooner you find out about courses you’re interested in, the better.