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Study in Southampton, United Kingdom

Population: 239,700

City Overview

Southampton is a seaside city on the south coast of England, with a student population of more than 40,000. It is famous for being the largest city in the county of Hampshire and also a major port, and is situated on the edge of the New Forest, an area of outstanding natural beauty. 

In 2007 Southampton was voted one of the best places in the UK for 18 – 30 year-olds, due to its extensive nightlife and the cheap cost of living. Such an accolade means you are unlikely to find a more exciting or liveable place in the UK in which to study for a postgraduate course. 

Education profile

There are two universities in Southampton – Southampton Solent is a newly established university that offers flexible courses with a career focus, whilst the University of Southampton is an older, world leading research institution, regularly ranked amongst the top ten universities in the UK.

The University of Southampton is especially renowned for its research in the sciences, including engineering, oceanography, chemistry and computer science. Southampton Solent has a reputation for focusing on the practical side of degrees, helping students work with local businesses and make useful contacts for the future. The university excels in areas including journalism, photography and, using its coastal location, maritime courses.

Both universities offer a wide variety of both taught and research-led graduate programs. Masters courses usually last 12 months, whilst PhD programs are likely to take longer.

Immigration and visas

In order to study in Southampton, if you are from outside the European Economic Area (EEA), you will need to obtain a Tier 4 Study Visa. In order to do this you will need to prove that you have:
  • Recognised qualifications for the course you intend to study
  • An offer from a UK educational institution
  • Funds to support yourself whilst you are studying
To obtain a Tier 4 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 Southampton

As well as being a vibrant spot for nights out and socialising, Southampton is also a historically important city. Whilst studying a postgraduate course in Southampton you may be interested to visit some of the area’s many museums – they range from maritime history to archaeology to medieval life. 

Life in Southampton is also heavily influenced by the sea – whether this means visiting the beach on warm days or attending the annual spectacle that is Southampton Boat Show.

Southampton is well connected by road and rail to London and the rest of the UK. The main rail station is Southampton Central, but there are various other smaller stations throughout the city. Southampton Airport, offering flights to Europe, lies just north of the city. 

Working In Southampton

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

There has been a sharp rise in the number of jobs available in Southampton over the last two decades. Main career opportunities in the city are in the health and education sectors, as well as in property and retail.

Find out more at the UK Border Agency website.


The University of Southampton can offer full-time international postgraduates a place in halls of residence for the first year of study. This means that you will live with other students, whilst having your bills and other amenities included in the rent that you pay the university. Southampton Solent also offers those on postgraduate courses the choice of living in halls.

Those studying postgraduate courses in Southampton often choose to live off campus in privately rented accommodation, either with friends or independently. You might choose to live in a house or a flat, where you will be responsible for paying things such as the electricity and other bills.

The Southampton Accreditation Scheme for Student Housing is a service through which you can search for good quality private rental accommodation.

Weather and Climate

As Southampton is low lying and southerly it has a warmer and sunnier climate than most other places in the UK, which tend to be cooler. Its climate is oceanic. Spring and summer are between March and August and autumn and winter from September to February.

What to do next

Are you interested in studying a graduate program in Southampton? 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.