Deadlines and Intakes in the UK for Master’s Programs: A Complete Guide

Intakes in the UK to study Master's Programs


Off the European mainland, is located the sovereign country, United Kingdom. Approximately, 38 per cent of the UK population has access to a college or university right in their proximity, and it is not just the highest percentage in Europe but also the highest percentage in the world. Higher education in the UK is offered by universities and non-university institutions for higher and research-oriented education. You can seek admission to Master’s courses during various intakes in the UK.

Universities in the UK

The Various Intakes in the UK

In this blog, we talk about the deadlines and the intakes in the UK for Master Programs.

The United Kingdom has mainly two intakes – September or October intake and January or February intake. Few universities offer April or May intake for some courses in the UK.

January or February Intake

January/ February intake is the second intake in the UK, and not many courses are offered as compared to the September intake. Though it is the secondary intake, it provides an opportunity for the students who have missed the admission in the September intake. Thus, it provides students with some time to work on the application and for a second try too. Deadlines for this particular intake will fall between June and September and does change from university to university, and course to course.

September or October Intake

September intake is the central intake of all the intakes in the UK and is also known as the autumn intake. Majority of courses are offered in this intake and the deadlines for application close between February and May. However, the deadlines are based on the courses and the universities. For the confirmed dates of deadlines, you can check the official websites of the colleges or universities.

May Intake

The May intake is the least preferred among the intakes in the UK, but you can find some courses in this intake. Few universities like Southampton Solent University, Coventry University, University of Bedfordshire, etc. offer May intake courses for international students.

January Intake

The first step is to start shortlisting the colleges and universities that suit your career and academic goals. Thorough research is needed on which course to take up and your eligibility as per the courses and universities. Visit the official websites of the universities and see the details of the course before you opt for it. Start gathering information about bank loan and scholarships for funding your studies. Keep checking the university website often to know their deadlines for January intake.

For getting into the course in any of the colleges and universities, you need to crack the mandatory exams. There are different aptitude tests that the UK universities look for, such as GRE, GMAT and other essential language proficiency tests like IELTS and TOEFL. Preparing for these tests takes much time so start preparing as early as possible. In case the results are not up to the mark, you can appear for these exams again and so keeping a buffer time in your hand makes sense as you might miss the particular intake.

Next step is to start preparing the applications for various universities and courses. You also need to prepare your Statement of Purpose (SOP), Letter of Recommendations and other paperwork a month before the deadlines. In the SOP or Application Essay describe your academic background and the reason for choosing a particular college or university. For LORs, start contacting your professors and managers to recommend you positively and help them in writing the LORs for you. The deadline for each university is different, so make sure that you apply before the due date.

The colleges send you a reply if your application gets accepted and you need to revert with a confirmation if you are willing to take up the course in the university. Send them a confirmation email as early as possible, and do not wait for the last date. The colleges and universities ask for a non-refundable confirmation fee, so make up your mind about the colleges and confirm your admission before the deadline.

Now for the education funding, you need to visit the banks with the acceptance letter from the university and start processing your loan and UK Student Visa. For the UK Student Visa, apply at least three months before the starting of your class for the January intake. Since both the Student Visa and education loan takes time, it is better to start applying for them as early as possible. Also, check out the UK Students scholarships. Scholarships are granted when you provide proof of funds during the Visa process.

The last step is booking the flight tickets and gathering all the essential documents. Start looking for accommodation for staying in the UK. If you are not looking to stay on the campus, you will have to look for private rooms. Thus, it is better to arrive a few days before your course starts. Arrange for an international debit or credit card and make a pre-departure checklist to be sure not to miss anything important behind.

Universities that offer January intake in the UK

September Intake

September intake is the primary intake, and almost all the courses are offered during this intake.

Begin by August, and start shortlisting the universities as per your priorities. Shortlist at least six to eight universities so that you can be sure about their details and deadlines. Visit the official websites and check their deadlines as they keep changing as per universities and courses. Also, have some preliminary information about bank loans and scholarships for funding your studies. Go through the brochures of the universities and do some research on the accommodation options.

Prepare for the standardized entrance tests like GRE, GMAT, TOEFL, SAT, IELTS as required by the course and university. Enrol for GMAT and GRE three months’ before the test date and register for TOEFL and IELTS language proficiency exams before a month. Have some extra time in case you need to re-take the tests. 

What’s next? Application!

As per the shortlisted universities, start preparing your application and throw light on your uniqueness as a student and showcase your strengths. You will need to get Letter of Recommendations (LORs) and submit a Statement of Purpose (SOP), so start contacting your professors and direct managers at least a month prior to the due date. Your SOP should be unique, so make sure you work on it and apply to the colleges and universities before the due date.

As you get your acceptance letters from colleges and universities, please do not delay replying to them, and do that as soon as possible. Some universities take personal interviews either via telephone or video, so be prepared for them. Depending on the deadline, reply to your target university as you will also need to pay a non-refundable fee to confirm your admission.

Begin applying for scholarships and student loans when you get your acceptance letter and assemble the papers for your UK Student Visa. These paper works take time, so apply for them at least three months before you start your classes for the September intake.

The last step before your land in the UK is booking the flight tickets and getting an international credit or debit card. Gather all the photocopies of the documents and prepare a pre-departure checklist in order not to miss anything in the last minute.

Universities that offer September intake in the UK


A ubiquitous question that students face is that which intake they should take?

Though it is confusing, one easy way to choose is to select the intake that suits your situation and the desired course. There are other factors like,

Since the September intake is the main intake and most courses are offered during this period, it is the most popular among the intakes in the UK. Nevertheless, January and May’s intakes are also favourable for some courses. If your situation and academic scores are not promising, it is better to skip the immediate intake and apply for the next possible intake.

As you prepare to apply for UK universities, here is a blog that will re-establish your decision on why you chose to study in the UK.

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