There are three types of high school that Vietnamese students can enter. All allow students to progress to university.


1. Boarding Schools

  1. Up to around 25% international students - the others are UK.
  2. Not for profit.
  3. International students can go at any age up to 18.
  4. Academically excellent - students go to top universities.
  5. Educate the “whole person” - not just academically.
  6. Wide range of facilities for Sciences, Art & Design, Music, Sport and Games.
  7. Students live on campus.


2. Independent Colleges

  1. Over 80% international students.
  2. Focused mostly on academic results and entry to top universities.
  3. May offer either boarding or host family accommodation.
  4. Take students from age 14.
  5. Usually offer 1 year IGCSE and 5 term A Levels.
  6. Some also offer International Foundation courses.
  7. English language courses year-round.


3. State Sixth Form Colleges/Colleges of Further Education

  1. Government colleges.
  2. Accept only international students aged 16+.
  3. Much lower fees than private schools.
  4. High quality teaching – student can enter top universities.
  5. Wide range of subjects.
  6. Students usually live with host families.
  7. Also offer International Foundation courses.
  8. English language courses year-round.





A “pathway” is a special programme designed for international students to allow them to prepare for and enter mainstream education. There are 4 types of pathway programmes:


1. International Foundation Pathway (or Year 0): this is designed for students who have completed 11 (or sometimes 12) years of secondary education in their home country and want to enter university in the UK. Foundation courses are available in all subjects for all universities (except Oxford and Cambridge). The length varies from 8 -12 months depending on level of English.


2. International Diploma /International Year 1 according to each provider. This is a special programme which combines Foundation elements such as Study Skills and English language with components from the first year of degree studies. The Diploma is mainly available only for Business, Finance, Computer Science/IT courses. This is 1 academic year course.


3. Pre-Masters Courses: designed for students wishing to study a Masters degree who need to improve their academic scores (if they scored below GPA 7 on their first degree) and/or their English and study skills. Courses are from 3-9 months in length, but only in Business and IT areas. Pre-MBAs are also available for people with no work experience, for example.


4. Pre-sessional English Courses: available at all universities and colleges for people who need to improve their English scores before starting a mainstream programme.


NB: There are strict regulations imposed by the UK Visa Office regarding English levels and exams accepted. Check these out in advance before making your study plan.


Pathway programmes are provided by on-campus university partners (such as INTO, Kaplan, Navitas etc),  Colleges of Further and Higher Education and some independent colleges.


UK degrees are highly regarded all over the world. All degrees issued by UK universities are subject to control by the UK government. All are Honours degrees and the standard length is 3 years. Courses with a 1 year work placement included are called “sandwich courses”.  Professional courses leading to qualifications that allow graduates to join professional bodies and practise (such as Medicine, Architecture, Pharmacy, Engineering) take longer.


Note: in Scotland degrees are 4 years in length but Scottish students graduate from high school after 12 years. Students with good A Levels / IB results or having completed Foundation courses in the UK may be able to enter Year 2 of a Scottish degree.


All Masters degrees in the UK are 12 months long (unless work placements are added).


You can study for a UK degree at any of these institutions:


1. UK Universities: there are around 150 universities in the UK and 20% of these are ranked in the World Top 200.  Find out more here. All universities are state-funded except for a small group (The University of Buckingham, BPP University and The Law University, which are self-funding).

2. UK University Branch Campuses: a number of UK universities operate branch campuses overseas, and these offer exactly the same UK degrees as in the UK itself and are subject to the same strict regulations.

3. Private Business Schools: these are mostly in London and they offer UK degrees validated by UK universities but taught in the private institutions. These institutions offer Business, Finance and IT degrees at lower fees than the universities and operate from smaller campuses containing only classrooms and libraries.

4. UK Colleges of Further and Higher Education: these offer 2 types of qualification

  1. Foundation degrees and HNDs – these are 2 year courses which allow graduates to work on completion. If they want to continue to an Honours degree they need to do a 1-year top-up.
  2. Bachelor degrees with Honours – these are awarded by partner universities but taught on the College campus.


Degrees offered by overseas universities (such as US university branch campuses) are NOT validated by the UK government and are not considered to be UK degrees even if studied in the UK.


English language courses are available all over the country at any time depending on the student's needs. There are 3 main types of course:


1. Pre-sessional English: courses designed to help students improve their academic English before starting their main course. These courses are available at all colleges, universities and pathway colleges and language schools.


2. General and Business English - for people who only want to study English for up to one year. Available at language schools, pathway colleges, universities and FE colleges. These courses take place for adults all year round and they can choose the length by weeks or by terms. 


3. Summer Courses:  there are many and varied summer courses for adults, teens and children, with a wide range of options as well as English - sport, drama, business, culture and media, Art and Design etc.


*Note that the UK visa is strict about English language requirements for academic programmes so check this first before deciding on a study plan.

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