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Study in Lancaster, United Kingdom

Population: 42,952

City Overview

Lancaster is a historic city, found on the edge of the Lake District in the north of England. It is the county town on Lancashire, sitting on the River Lune, and is a bus ride away from the traditional seaside towns of Blackpool and Morecambe.

It is a small city, but nevertheless offers a diverse range of activities for students to get involved in – including an underground music scene, independent shopping and a literature festival, Lancaster LitFest.

Education profile

Lancaster is home to Lancaster University, founded in 1964, as well as the Lancaster Campus of the University of Cumbria.

Lancaster University is a research led higher education institution, which regularly comes within the top ten of universities in the United Kingdom. It is most renowned for its Management School (LUMS), which is among the most highly rated in the country and in 2012 won the Times Higher Education Business Scholl of the Year Award. LUMS is an extremely popular destination for international students at the university.

The university also excels at Linguistics, Physics, Bio-medicine, Sociology and Computing. Lancaster is ranked seventh in the Guardian University Guide 2013.

Research and taught masters are both offered as graduate programs in Lancaster, and both take one year to complete. After completing a masters graduate program you will have the opportunity to progress to a PhD, which is research-led.

The University of Cumbria’s Lancaster Campus offers graduate programs in Arts and Humanities, Business and Management, Education and Nursing, as well as various MBA courses.

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 Lancaster. 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 Lancaster. 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 Lancaster

Lancaster is a small city, but there are still numerous things to keep you entertained whilst you are studying your postgraduate course. The city has a quirky side, due to its large student population – of around 45,000 people who live here, approximately half are students at the two universities.

Students on postgraduate courses in Lancaster enjoy spending time at the independent Dukes Theatre, which hosts both theatre and film, at Victorian pleasure garden Williamson Park, and eating at the numerous individual restaurants in the city centre and on its outskirts. There is also a larger cinema showing the latest film releases.

Shopping in Lancaster is eclectic, with hidden independent shops and restaurants far outweighing the offerings that are usually found on British high streets.

One tradition of the UK is the Great British Pub, and Lancaster has a large number of these. Often Lancaster’s pubs (which are famous for their ‘real ale’) host live music events. Gigs also often take place in Lancaster’s public library.

Lancaster has good train links, with larger cities Manchester and London one and two hours away respectively, as well as numerous bus links to nearby seaside towns Blackpool and Morecambe. The Lake District is only a 20 minute train ride away. Buses between the city and Lancaster University campus, which is around three miles away, run every few minutes.

Working In Lancaster

If you are from outside the EEA and wish to remain in Lancaster 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.

Find out more at the UK Border Agency website.


Lancaster has various accommodations options. Many postgraduates at Lancaster University choose to live on campus (around three miles out of the city centre) in Graduate College – one of the university’s nine colleges and the only one solely for those studying graduate programs.

There are 500 rooms for students at the University of Cumbria, situated on campus and in the city.

Students may alternatively choose to privately rent houses in town, which are significantly cheaper – on average £72.50 per week.

Weather and Climate

Lancaster’s position on the edge of the Lake District means that it receives a large amount of rainfall. Its weather is generally cold between the months of October and March (winter) and warmer from April to September (summer).

What to do next

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