Intakes In The UK For International Students: The Timeline Explained

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Written by Pareeshti Rao

It all started with an impulsive urge to befriend Enid Blyton and be a part of the famous five! Writing since then has been my magic wand and I've used it to sprinkle words like fairy dust and express myself thereat.

November 24, 2021

Universities in the United Kingdom are gearing up to begin the admissions process for the academic year of 2022. Unlike Indian institutions, which have a single intake, colleges and universities have two major intakes in the UK. In certain institutions, intakes are also known as semesters.

  • Spring Intake – January to February
  • Autumn Intake – September to October
  • A third intake, known as the Summer intake (June to August), is also available at several colleges for specialised programmes exclusively.

The admission intakes for universities in the UK fluctuate throughout the year, depending on the degrees and entrance criteria. If you want to study in the UK and are looking for a suitable entry for the UK study intakes, you’ve come to the right place because this blog will help you in this regard.

intakes in the UK

1. January Intake

In terms of admission cycles in the United Kingdom, the January to February intake is considered to be supplementary. Although there are fewer courses available in January than in September, this intake provides a chance for students who did not receive admission in the main intake. It allows students to devote more attention to their applications. The application dates will vary depending on your programme and university. 

The application deadlines usually fall between June and September.

2. September Intake

Amongst the 3 intakes in the UK, the September intake is considered to be the major one where the majority of the universities in the UK offer all the types of programmes.  However, it will always vary depending on the subject and differ from one university to the next. Students should check with their individual universities for more information.

The deadlines for the September admission will be between February and May of that academic year.

3. May Intake

The April/May intakes in the UK are the least popular. It is offered by a few universities/colleges with the fewest course choices. Many institutions do not provide this intake because students prefer to take a spring vacation. During the May admissions period, the candidate pool is quite tiny. This admission cycle has the least rigorous competition because there is a greater probability of receiving an offer.

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Universities Offering Programmes For Different Intakes In The UK

In the table below, we have listed a few of the prominent universities offering UK intakes. While a majority of the universities are open for the September intake, followed by the January intake; you can notice how the May intake is offered only by a few universities.

January IntakeSeptember IntakeMay Intake
Queen Mary University of LondonUniversity of OxfordCoventry University
Coventry UniversityUniversity of CambridgeNorthumbria University
University of ExeterKings College LondonUlster University
Aston UniversityUniversity of LeedsUniversity of Chester
Brunel UniversityKingston UniversitySalford University
Birmingham City UniversityCranfield UniversityKeele University

Kindly note that there are more universities that offer these intakes in the UK, however, the above ones fall under the most popular ones; and depending on your course specialisation and the convenience of your commencement, you could check with the university website portals.

Which Intake Is The Best For Me?

Since there are 3 UK university intakes, it might be difficult to determine which intake is ideal for you. When making a choice, consider aspects such as the availability of your selected programme, your academic records & results, scores from English proficiency tests, acceptance rates, career possibilities, and your readiness to start the programme.

While many students prefer the September intake, the January and April intakes in the UK are also viable options for some programmes. If you do not have your scorecards available, it is suggested that you bypass the rush and apply for the intake that follows.

UCAS – UK based Universities and Colleges Admissions Service regulates all UG course applicants, so it’s always advisable that you cross-check the date of the deadlines with the UCAS website portal before making any final decisions.

MBA Intakes In The UK

If you want to apply for an MBA in the UK, you must do so within the April/May admissions window. MBA applications end around September. Here are the top business schools for MBA admissions or top MBA colleges in the UK in April/May:

  1. London Business School
  2. Booth School of Business, The University of Chicago
  3. Said School of Business, University of Oxford
  4. Imperial College Business School, Imperial College London
  5. The University of Cambridge, Judge Business School

intakes in the UK

PhD Intakes

When it comes to PhD programmes in the UK, there are no such set intakes because all institutions offer rolling admissions and accept applications from PhD candidates throughout the year. As a result, you can apply for a PhD during any of the three intakes or according to the unique admission dates for your selected university.

Masters’ Intakes In The UK

In the UK, January and September admissions are mostly for Masters programmes, while there are a few May intake universities in the UK that accept masters applications as well. The best time to start a master’s degree in the UK is in January or September since most of the major institutions are available for admissions and you may apply to more than five universities, keeping your options open.

Thank you for reading this blog. If you’d like to read more about studying in the UK, here are some blogs that you may like –

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