Over 44,000 Indian students are currently studying in the U.K. and this number is steadily growing.

Postgraduate study in the U.K. is growing in popularity among international students thanks to the variety of programmes offered by the higher educational institutions in the country. According to the latest estimates given by the British Council, over 44,000 Indian students are currently studying in the U.K. and this number is growing substantially every year.

Indian students are attracted to the one-year master's and three-year undergraduate course (except Scotland) in the U.K., it said. Stating that shorter duration courses means saving money and time, Nim Bahadur, Manager Education UK (South India), said that students can also take advantage of the tier I (post-study work) scheme that allows them to stay in the U.K. for up to two years to take employment without needing a work permit. Going to the U.K. means that you only have to pay tuition fees for one year and you will be in the workplace before you know it, Mr. Bahadur said.

In an interaction with The Hindu-EducationPlus, Louise McCarthy, mission leader of the Education UK exhibition held in Kochi last week, said that some of the popular postgraduate programmes among the Indian students include management, engineering, food sciences, fashion, and law. Explaining that the number of visas issued has gone up by 40 per cent, Ms. McCarthy said that U.K. qualifications are highly valued across the world because of the strict measures of quality imposed on them. She said that the country also offers a variety of courses and specialisations to choose from.

A candidate applying for a postgraduate programme in the U.K. should have obtained good grades in a directly related subject and he/she will also need an IELTS (International English Language Testing System) score that is acceptable by the U.K. institution. Courses in some subject areas will accept graduates from other disciplines and no prior specialist knowledge of the subject is required.

Generally the MBA requires one to three years of work experience. However, there are some institutions that will accept fresh graduates. Some of them may ask for a GMAT score. For research programmes, institutions will look for an outstanding academic record. Students will also have to submit a research proposal and have a good postgraduate degree. Some of the programmes available in U.K. include pre-Master's courses, postgraduate certificate or diploma, taught Master's, research Master's, and new route PhD. Pre-Master's course can last from one term to a complete academic year and cover academic study, cultural instruction and language training.

Many courses will guarantee progression on to a Master's course at a particular university. Postgraduate certificates and diplomas are taught programmes up to a year that usually do not involve any research. They are often accepted as professional qualifications in the relevant field. Taught Master's courses generally last for one year and consist of two elements. The student will complete a number of modules (which will include attending lectures and seminars, writing essays and taking examinations) and produce a dissertation from original research. Many postgraduate courses begin in September/October. Some institutions also have a January/February intake.

Applications for postgraduate courses have to be made directly to the institutions. Generally, there is no application fee involved and each institution has its own application form, which is available either from the institution or their website. Students can work 20 hours a week during term time and fulltime during the vacations.

Under the tier I (post-study work), candidates can apply to the work in the U.K. for up to two years.

More details about the postgraduate programmes can be had from www.britishcouncil.org.in or www.educationuk-in.org.