27 November 2023
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When to Apply for University Intake in the UK

Apply for University Intake in the UK

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This article discusses when to apply for university intake in the UK. The United Kingdom has gained immense popularity among international students as a sought-after destination. It entices a diverse range of students worldwide, drawn by its esteemed and highly ranked universities, vibrant research environment, and profound cultural heritage.

The available intakes in the UK for international students are primarily categorized into three main intakes: September, January, and May. The September intake, also known as the fall intake, is the most popular and comprehensive intake, offering a wide range of courses and receiving a significant number of applications. The January intake, also referred to as the winter intake, provides an opportunity for students who may have missed the September intake and offers a moderate number of courses. The May intake, also known as the summer intake, is the least preferred and offers a limited number of courses, serving as an alternative for students who may have missed the previous intakes.

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January/Winter Intake in the UK

The January intake, also known as the winter intake, in the UK is an alternative option for international students who were unable to secure a spot in the primary September intake. This secondary intake offers a limited number of courses compared to the September intake, but it provides students with more time to work on their applications and a quicker entry into the academic program. The January intake is less competitive than the September intake, making it an excellent chance for students who missed out on the primary intake to enroll in their desired program.

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Positives :

  • Personalized attention: Since fewer students are in January intakes, classrooms are smaller, allowing for better one-on-one attention and a higher staff-to-student ratio.
  • More time for application preparation: Students have more time to work on their applications for the January intake, allowing them to carefully prepare their admission materials and meet the requirements.

Negatives :

  •   Limited course availability: The January intake typically offers fewer courses compared to the September intake, limiting the options available to students.
  • Uncertain weather: The UK has unpredictable weather during the January intake, which can cause disruptions to travel plans and daily routines, especially for international students.

May / Spring intake in the UK

The May intake is the least popular intake in the UK for international students. It is an alternative to the primary September intake and the secondary January intake, offering a limited number of courses compared to the other intakes.

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  • Small class sizes: Due to the smaller number of applications, the number of students in a class is less, allowing for better one-on-one attention and a higher staff-to-student ratio.
  • Personalized attention: Students in the May intake may receive more personalized attention from faculty members, as there are fewer students in each class.

Negatives :

  • Limited course availability: The May intake typically offers fewer courses compared to the September and January intakes, limiting the options available to students.
  • Smaller universities: The May intake is not offered by all universities, and the number of courses available may be limited.

September / Fall intake in the UK 

The September/Fall intake is the most popular time for international students to begin their studies in the UK. It is known to have the highest admissions, as it is the primary and most popular intake for international students. This intake receives the maximum number of applications, making it more competitive. Most UK universities offer all courses during the September intake, providing a wide range of options for students. The application deadlines for the September intake typically occur between February and May, but they may vary depending on the course and university. Overall, the September intake is considered the best intake for students due to the extensive course offerings and opportunities available.

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  • Availability of Scholarships: Many scholarships and funding opportunities specifically target the September/Fall intake, offering financial support to international students.
  • Wide Range of Course Options: The September/Fall intake provides a vast selection of courses and degrees across various disciplines. Whether you’re interested in arts, sciences, business, or engineering, you are likely to find a program that aligns with your academic goals and interests.


  • Increased Competition: The September/Fall intake is highly sought after, attracting a large number of international students. This means that competition for admission can be more challenging.
  • Higher Living Costs: Starting in September may coincide with higher living costs, as many students begin their studies during this period. Accommodation options, particularly on-campus housing, may be in high demand, so early planning and application for accommodation are crucial to securing your preferred option.

When Should you Apply for an Intake in 2024?

To ensure a smooth application process for an intake in the UK in 2024, it is generally recommended to start the application process well in advance. The specific application opening dates may vary between universities, so it is advisable to reach out to the One Education expert team for more information.

List of UK universities  accepting applications for January 2024 

  • Anglia Ruskin University
  • Birmingham City University
  • Bournemouth University
  • Brunel University London
  •  Queen Mary University of London
  • Regent’s University, London
  • Sheffield Hallam University
  • Royal Holloway, University of London
  • University of Brighton
  • University of Northampton
  • University of Greenwich

Frequently Asked Questions 

Q1: When are the intakes in the UK?

The main intakes in the UK are in September/October (fall intake) and January/February (Winter/Spring intake). However, some universities may also have additional intakes in May/June or July/August.

Q2: When should I apply for a UK intake? 

 It is recommended to start preparing and researching at least 9-12 months before the desired intake. Most universities accept applications around 6-12 months prior to the intake, so make sure to submit your application well before the deadline.

Q3. Are all programs available in every intake?

  Not all programs are available for every intake. While popular programs are often offered in both the September and January intakes, certain programs may have limited availability. It’s essential to check with individual universities to confirm the intake availability for your desired program.

Q4. Can I start a later intake if I miss the September intake? 

 Yes, if you miss the September intake, you can explore starting in a later intake, such as January or May. However, it’s important to check with individual universities to confirm the availability of your desired program for the intake you are considering.

Q5. Do I need to provide English language proficiency test scores for the UK intakes?

Indeed, international students applying to universities in the UK generally need to provide evidence of their English language proficiency. This is typically done through standardized tests like IELTS or TOEFL. The specific minimum score requirements can differ from one institution or program to another. However, there are certain instances where exemptions from English language tests may be granted. For example, if you have previously studied in an English-speaking country or if English is your native language, you may be eligible for an exemption

Q6. Can I apply for scholarships in any intake?

   Yes, scholarships are typically available for both September and January intakes. However, the availability and deadline for scholarships may vary. It’s important to check with individual universities for scholarship opportunities specific to your desired intake.


It is clear that there are three main intake periods for university applications in the UK. It is important to note that these timeframes may vary slightly depending on the specific university or educational institution. Therefore, it is always advisable to consult with One Education experts on  the desired university for the exact dates and deadlines for application submissions.

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