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A guide to UK universities for US students

There are some fundamental differences between UK university degrees and US college degrees. It’s important to understand these when you’re comparing courses on either side of the Atlantic. We’ve put together this guide to UK universities for US students and parents.

3-year Bachelor’s, 1-year Master’s

UK Bachelor’s degrees are 3 years, rather than 4 years in the USA.

How can we do this?

UK degrees are more subject-specific than US degrees. At Norwich University of the Arts you pick one subject ‘major’ and you dedicate your study purely to that subject for the entire time.

There are no additional classes such as Math or General Studies. As a result you become an expert in your subject and your degree is worth the same as a US Bachelor’s degree. If you choose to study a Master’s in the UK, you’ll complete your course in just one year, rather than two.


Going to a UK school can be cost-effective – tuition at a UK university can often be cheaper than going to an out-of-state college in the US, even when awards and discounts are taken into account.

Many UK universities do offer scholarships for freshman students, these may not be as large as a US college. However, because our sticker price is usually lower to start, you can see from the outset how much you can expect to pay.

And don’t forget you will save a year of fees because you’ll finish a Bachelor’s in three years, rather than four. Master’s students could save 50% as UK graduate programs are usually just one year. Norwich offers a range of scholarships for international students.

Student loans are available

Norwich University is part of the Federal Aid program which means US citizens can apply for US student loans to cover the whole cost of your studies with us. We are also able to certify private loans through Sallie Mae.

See the University’s Cost of Attendance for 2020-21

Central application system (UCAS)

Universities in the UK use a central application system called UCAS. The application process is standardised so that you can apply to up to five different courses or universities you choose within one application.

That means no requesting separate applications, completing different college essays or paying lots of different application fees. UCAS has one application fee which is £25 (about $35). For most courses the application deadline is 15 January for September start.

Find out more about UCAS

Simplified selection

UK universities publish their academic entry requirements on their websites.

At Norwich, to assess a student for an offer, the University will consider the student’s expected academic grades and the personal statement (similar to the college essay) and reference from your UCAS application.

For most courses we will also offer you an interview via Skype and we look at your creative portfolio. This is an important way we get to know you and ensure you’re well-suited to the program. If you apply on time and you meet the University’s requirements, you will receive an offer. It’s as simple as that.

Find our entry requirements for American students


It is normal in the UK to have your own bedroom in university housing. Generally university dorms are organised around a shared kitchen and students have a single ‘study bedroom’.

Catered dorms are available in some UK universities but it is more common to make your own food and it’s a really good way to make friends with your fellow housemates.

At Norwich we guarantee a place in university housing for your first year of study if you apply by our accommodation deadline (usually the end of February). We offer ensuite single bedrooms in All Saints Green and some in Beechcroft.

Take a look round our accommodation

If you need more of a guide to UK universities, just email us.

Need help? Chat to our friendly recruitment team

We are pleased to work with you to discuss your questions at any stage of the application process.

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For further information about anything on this page call +44 (0) 1603 756249. International Office: +44 (0) 1603 756249