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Study a graduate program in Cardiff

Population: 346,100

City Overview

Cardiff is the capital and largest city of Wales, and is an extremely popular location for students due to its culture, nightlife and world class university.

The city has undergone regeneration over the previous two decades, and is now a centre for both sport and the media – as well as retaining its reputation as a beautiful historic location in the south of the country. Currently Cardiff is the second largest hub for media in the country, after London.

Education profile

There are four universities in Cardiff. They are:
Cardiff University is a world leading higher education institution, found within the city centre, which consistently places highly in university league tables – predominantly within the top 30. It is a member of the Russell Group, a highly sought after group of research intensive universities in the UK.

Cardiff Metropolitan University is part of the University of Wales, and has campuses within the city centre as well as in the surrounding areas. It has developed a reputation for quality of research within its own right and offers a number of postgraduate courses. It has dedicated schools for Product Design and Development, Art and Design, Education, Health Sciences, Management and Sport.

The University of Glamorgan has one of its four campuses within the city. It has recently been announced that it will merge with the University of Wales, Newport, becoming the University of South Wales and offering an increased quality of teaching to students.

Immigration and visas

If you are from a country within the European Economic Area (EEA) or Switzerland you will not need a visa to study a postgraduate course in Cardiff. You are also exempt if you are from a Commonwealth country and one of your grandparents was born in the UK.

If your home country is outside the EEA you may need to apply for a Tier 4 student visa in order to study in Cardiff. To obtain a visa you will need to acquire 40 ‘points’.

Depending on where you are from you may be able to apply online, or using the application form VAF9. You may also need to submit the following documents, as well as undergoing fingerprinting and a facial recognition scan at a visa application centre:
  • Application form with confirmation of acceptance for studies (CAS reference number) – awarding you 30 points
  • The original transcript/ certificate of qualifications relevant to your application
  • Evidence that you have enough money to support yourself t6hroughout your course and pay your tuition fees – awarding you ten points
  • Two recent passport photographs
  • Your original passport
Not all these documents may be required – whether they are will depend on your circumstances.

You can download all the required forms from the UK Border Agency website.

Life in Cardiff

Cardiff has been voted the sixth best place in the UK for shopping, after the regeneration of the city’s St David’s Centre gave it one of the largest shopping centres in the UK. Other popular leisure activities include sports – Wales is famous for rugby, but this is far from the only popular sport. Cardiff was named European City of Sport in 2009.

Cardiff is a central hub for transport both within Wales and the rest of the UK. Cardiff Central railway station is one of the busiest in the UK, with links throughout Wales and as far as London, Manchester, Birmingham and Edinburgh. There are also numerous local bus routes. 

Despite it being so vibrant and cosmopolitan, Cardiff is also a historical city – while you are studying your postgraduate course here you should pay a visit to Cardiff Castle. The city was a finalist for European Capital of Culture in 2008. 

As it is a capital city life in Cardiff is busy, and as a graduate who is ready to embrace a different culture this should suit your needs perfectly.

Working In Cardiff

If you are from outside the EEA and wish to remain in Cardiff or the surrounding area to work after you finish your postgraduate course, you will need to check if you fit into one of the schemes that the UK government operates.

The most likely option for a graduate is the Tier 1 scheme, which is designed for highly skilled workers - entrepreneurs, investors, recent graduates and those who are likely to become very successful in their field. You need 95 ‘points’ to secure a Tier 1 visa – these will be awarded based on age, qualifications, previous earnings, experience of the UK, English language skill and the money you have to support yourself.

Main industries in Cardiff include the media, retail, finance, IT, tourism and the biosciences.

Find out more at the UK Border Agency website.

Accommodation

The University of Cardiff guarantees a place in halls of residence for overseas students who are studying for a postgraduate course. You can choose catered or self-catered, ensuite or shared facilities, and for how long you will rent for.

Alternatively, you may decide to rent privately within the city centre or close to your university. Prices vary largely depending on your location.

Weather and Climate

Cardiff has a maritime climate – this means that it is often wet, windy and cloudy, although the temperature rarely falls below zero. The spring and summer months are between March and August, whilst autumn and winter are from September to February.

What to do next

Are you interested in studying a graduate program in Cardiff? If so, you should sign up for our Free Application Service. We'll provide you with tailored information, courses to suit you and the option to apply online for the graduate program you want.