6 Misconceptions About UK Master’s Degrees Busted By Canadian Students

Aug 18, 2015 1:20:39 PM

Many misconceptions about UK Master’s degrees exist, but learning about the universities and degrees beforehand is a simple way to stop these misunderstandings and to help you learn more about why studying abroad may be the right choice for you!


1. Student loans cannot be used outside of Canada.


If you meet the eligibility requirements for a Canadian Student Loan, you may use the federal portion to study overseas, which currently equals about $211 per week of study. For undergraduate courses this adds up to about $8,040 per year. For graduate courses, or undergraduate courses, which require summer study, this will cover about $11,000 per year.

Students apply through their provincial funding body (i.e. OSAP in Ontario) and complete their forms and questionnaires the same as they would if they were studying in Canada. They will be asked to provide the name of the institution that they will be attending and this will determine whether they are studying outside of Canada. All of our partner universities are recognized under the funding bodies.


2. I started my university search too late and have already missed the deadlines


The UK has much later university application deadlines than Canada. Technically speaking, there are no deadlines for overseas graduate applicants.  British universities use a rolling admissions system, meaning that they review applications as they receive them. 

However, it is recommended that you submit your application by January of that year if possible.  This is partly because spaces fill up quickly, and also because you will want to receive your offers in plenty of time to choose a university and begin applying for the scholarships and accommodation that become available in the Spring.  Although universities will continue to accept applications until June, earlier is always better!


3. UK universities are extremely competitive, and I’m not a strong enough candidate


Canadian students are highly successful at securing spots with UK unis. The UK has one of the most prestigious and influential education systems on the planet, so naturally many students assume that the standards for acceptance at a British university must be out of reach. 

The UK is home to universities with different entry requirements, so there is a university out there for everyone.

The British system focuses on depth rather than breadth – meaning that students focus on one chosen subject rather than taking lots of liberal arts or general education courses – and this means that universities will be much more interested in your grades within your major than with your performance in lower-division classes.

For instance, If you’re an Engineering applicant with excellent science grades, but your GPA is slightly bogged down by a poor showing in History, you shouldn’t allow yourself to be discouraged from giving the UK a shot.

It’s also worth noting that in most cases grad school applicants in the UK are not required to take the GRE or any other standardized test in order to be admitted. You will be assessed on the strength of your application, rather than how you performed in an exam one morning.


4. A UK degree won’t be recognized back home


A UK degree will not only be widely accept back home, but also helps to show experience and international exposure gained. There may be some obstacles, such as written or practical exams, registration with accrediting bodies, or completion of clinical practice hours in Canada. But completing a degree in the UK  will allow exposure to the field in an international context and bring back new ideas and techniques to further enhance the current Canadian environment.


5. The quality of education is better in Canada


According to this widely-reported survey, the UK has the 2nd best education system in Europe, only trailing behind Finland, and the 6th best in the world overall. As the top five countries on this list are non-English-speaking, the UK can be considered the best place in the world to study without having to learn a second language.


6. I can find an equivalent degree in Canada.


In general, UK universities tend to provide more opportunities for students to specialize in niche subjects than Canadian universities do. Profession-oriented degrees, such as Occupational Therapy and Physiotherapy, are two-year Master’s level programs in Canada, while they are typically one-year degrees in the UK.

Applications are competitive and require students to have completed a previous undergraduate degree. Many Canadians would be interested to learn that UK universities offer OT and PT at the undergraduate level. So students could fast-track their careers by completing a “specialized” 4-year BSc in OT or PT directly out of high school.

Furthermore, in addition to the more “profession-oriented” programs that are popular among Canadian students, opportunities also exist for students to specialize within their science, business or humanities fields at graduate level.

Examples of such specialized degrees include: MA History of Medicine or MA Human Osteology and Funerary Archaeology.

The opportunity to specialize your academic career would allow you to gain earlier exposure to the research and/or professional communities that you would like to join after completion of your Master’s degree.

Download the Graduate's Guide to Funding Your UK Master's Degree