How to transfer universities in the UK | Top Universities

How to transfer universities in the UK

By Chloe Lane

Updated Updated

If you’re not happy with your current university, you might consider transferring to another.

The process for changing universities in the UK is generally straightforward. However, the process can vary between courses and universities, so it’s important to do your research before committing to the change.

Unfortunately, some competitive courses will not allow you to transfer midway through the program and you will have to reapply as a fresh applicant.

It’s also worth noting that in the UK it's unlikely you will be able to transfer midway through the academic year but will instead have to wait until the end of the year.

Here’s what to do if you want to transfer universities in the UK:

Do some research

Do some research

If you’re considering changing universities, research is a must. There are several factors that might impact whether or not you are eligible to transfer universities, particularly if you’re looking to transfer directly into second year, so it’s important to ask yourself the following questions.

Why do you want to move?

Think about why you want to move universities. This may be because you don’t think the university is a good match for you, or it may be for personal reasons such as wanting to move closer to home.

During your application, you will need to write a personal statement explaining your reasons for changing universities and why the new university is a better fit for you.

Do your grades match the entry requirements?

Consider whether your grades match the course’s entry requirements in the university you’re interested in.

If your grades are lower than the entry requirements, speak to the university’s admissions team to see if they will still consider your application.

When do you want to transfer?

If you apply to transfer during your first year at university, you will be classed as a ‘false start’ and will be considered alongside first-time applicants in the admissions process.

If you want to transfer to the second year of the same degree, the university you’re looking to move to will require information about the modules you’ve studied at university.

The university will then assess the curriculum match between the two institutions and see if the appropriate number of credits can be transferred.

It's not normally possible to transfer beyond second year.

Get advice

Contact the universities informally

After doing some research, contact your department office or academic tutor for more information. They will be able to assess your options and give you practical advice about transferring.

Student visa

If you’re an international student, contact the international student support team at your university to find out how transferring universities will impact your UK student visa.

Take into account whether your new course will finish after your current visa expires. If this is the case, you will need to apply to the UK Home Office for permission to stay in the UK until your course finishes.

Student finance

The impact on your student finance will depend on several things: your current course, your year of study and the course you have chosen to transfer to. Contact Student Finance England (SFE) to update any changes.

If you transfer to a course in another university in the same academic year, SFE will usually carry forward your financial support without any changes.

SFE offer their services for the length of your course plus an extra year, so if you transfer to a brand-new course during your second year you may have to self-fund this additional year.

Contact the universities informally

Contact the universities informally

In the UK all university applications are made through UCAS, so your formal application will go through the UCAS system.

Before doing this, you should contact the relevant universities to informally discuss your situation and find out whether they will consider your application. This is worth doing for a number of reasons.

Firstly, the course you’re looking to transfer into may already be full. If you’re applying after the UCAS deadline, this is likely to be the case.

Secondly, the university or the course may not accept transfer students. This is likely if the course you want to transfer to is particularly competitive, such as Medicine or Veterinary Science.

Thirdly, you may not meet the entry requirements for the course you want to apply to. When emailing the university’s admissions office, ask about the prospects of applying for the course and give information about your current circumstances, including:

  • Your full name
  • Details of your current university course
  • The course you’re looking to transfer to
  • Your academic history, including A levels and university grades to date
  • Details of the modules you have already completed

If you choose to phone the admissions office, briefly explain your situation and make sure you have all these details to hand.

The university’s admissions office will then tell you whether the university will consider your offer. You should then formally apply through UCAS.

Apply through UCAS

Apply through UCAS

Once you have informally heard back from the universities you are interested in, you will need to submit a UCAS form based on the information you have already provided.

For first year entry you will normally need to apply by the standard UCAS deadlines (15 January for most courses and 15 October for Oxbridge / Medicine / Dentistry / Veterinary Science courses).

When filling in the UCAS application form, you will be asked to confirm your point of entry for your new course. This means the year you want to start the course. If you want to restart in first year, leave this part blank. If you’ve agreed with the university that they are willing to consider your course after the first year, enter the relevant year in this section.

In the education section, fill in the details of both your A-levels and the details of your university education completed so far. 

Once you have filled in your details and submitted your personal statement, you will receive the university’s decisions on track and can then choose whether to accept or decline.

Good luck!

This article was originally published in . It was last updated in

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