Even if you have been used to studying at university level in another country, you are likely to find that there are many differences when studying in the UK that follow from the specific academic culture that we have in the UK.
This page brings together brief guidance on some of the differences in studying that you might find, with links so you can find out more if you need to.
The main purpose of higher education in the UK is to develop students' ability to take a critical view of the world. You will not only be discovering new knowledge about your chosen subject, but also thinking about how that knowledge works: why is this idea more believable than another, how was the idea developed, what can you do with it to make new knowledge (e.g. by applying it to practical experience, or comparing it to other ideas).
This purpose leads to other important aspects of UK university-level study. For instance:
You can help yourself to find out more about what it's like to move into university study in the UK by reading through these guides.
The best way to develop your study skills is to practise them! For instance, reading academic texts may seem hard at first, but the more you do it, the easier it will become.
There's a lot you can do for yourself to find out how to develop your skills: we've included links below this box.
If you have tried all of these and still feel there's something you don't understand, you can book an individual advice session with a Study Adviser or Liaison Librarian.
Academic integrity refers to the values that underpin everything you do in your university studies. The purpose of academic study for both students and tutors is not just to develop and build new knowledge but to do it in ways that maximise accuracy and fairness across the academic community. In order to achieve this, you need to understand, develop and practise particular academic skills, including:
|Essential tip: The best way to avoid unintentional plagiarism in your writing is to understand how the principles of academic integrity work in academic study in the UK.|
Our Academic Integrity Toolkit will help you develop the tools you need to avoid plagiarism and succeed at university by studying with academic integrity.
If English is not your first language, you may feel that you would like someone to read through your work to check that your expression is correct. There is no proof-reading service available through the University. If you feel you need to develop your academic English skills, do consider attending the University's Academic English Programme (link above). The Study Advisers can discuss how to make your writing practices more appropriate for UK academic writing. We also have guidance on academic writing, including effective proof-reading to help you to check your own work.
If you do feel you need your work to be reviewed by someone else, we suggest you try to find a native English speaker to read through with you so you can correct as you go along - not to correct it for you. This can lead to errors creeping into your work as other people may change the meaning of your writing. For the same reason, we do not usually recommend that you use professional proof-readers or editors. If you do decide to do so be aware that the University has policies about this, and that you must declare any professional assistance that you receive.
In your university degree, you will be assessed by various methods. These are likely to include written examinations. If you are an international student, these may be quite different to the examination or other assessment methods you are used to. For instance, we do not usually have oral exams (except on language courses), and many exams require you to write essays rather than short answers.
Our guide on Preparing for exams has more information on the best ways to revise and what to think about when you're in the exam room, as well as specific information on Assessment by examination in UK higher education, including