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2+2 degree programmes: A cost-effective way to obtain a UK degree

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According to Times Higher Education, the UK is the second most popular study destination for international students. But with rising tuition fees, increased competition for scholarships, and visa restrictions tightening, it is proving to be more and more difficult for foreign students to pursue higher education in the UK.

Several universities have recognised these issues and are putting alternative paths in place to ensure that international students can still have access to a UK education. One of these paths is through 2+2 programmes, which has proven to be popular among overseas students.

These programmes are developed between two universities – one in the UK and one in another country, often the student’s home country – whereby students begin a two-year university programme at the institution closer to home, and then transfer to the partner university in the UK to complete the remaining two years.

In agreeing to the partnership, both universities are committed to ensuring that the course structure and subjects offered are aligned so that students are adequately prepared in the first two years and can smoothly transfer to the UK to complete their final two years. This ensures that students graduate with a competitive degree, one which will be recognised by employers in the industry they want to work in.


2+2 programmes allow students to balance quality education and cost.

According to Top Universities, the average cost to study in the UK per year is approximately £11,987 (US$15,010), or around £36,000 (US$45,075) in total for a three-year degree programme. This, combined with the £12,000 needed for living costs each year, means that international students need to budget just under £80,000 to cover the entire duration of their studies in the UK.

However, if a Malaysian student, for example, were to enrol on to one of the more costly 2+2 programmes, such as Pharmacy, the tuition fees in total would only amount to approximately £28,172, based on estimates from Study Malaysia. And as a student undertaking a 2+2 programme would be living at home for two years, the living costs incurred would be far less, meaning that they would be able to save a substantial amount of money compared to doing a full degree in the UK.

2+2 programmes are usually set up for specific courses, such as Engineering or Hospitality, so students won’t have the flexibility to select from a wide range of different programmes. Students also have the option of taking other courses offered at the local university which are not under the partnership agreement and apply for credit transfer or advanced entry to a UK university. However, they would be required to follow the normal admissions procedure and each application will be assessed on a case-by-case basis.


By the time students head to the UK, they’re well-prepared to tackle any obstacles.

Programmes under 2+2 partnerships, on the other hand, do not follow the usual application process. Often, students will not have to complete a new application after completing the first half of their studies, as the application they submitted at the initial institution is usually enough to suffice. Providing that the student meets the required GPA and other criteria agreed between the two institutions, they will not need to submit any additional documentation and will be able to carry on to the UK institution.

A 2+2 programme allows students to stay close to home during the initial stages of their studies, giving them time to adjust to university life without the stress of adapting to a new country and culture. Not only does this programme save students money, as they do not incur additional accommodation or travel expenses during the first two years, but it also gives them plenty of time to prepare for an overseas experience.

University representatives from the UK will often visit the partner university during overseas visits, giving students the opportunity to ask questions and discuss their options before embarking on their new adventure. For students currently weighing their options, this is one way for you to obtain a university degree at a lower cost, while still getting the benefits of studying abroad.

Images via Shutterstock 

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