UK Intakes 2024: September, January, and May Intakes

Considering studying in the UK in 2024? Many other nations in the world look up to the UK’s academic excellence, coupled with superior universities and fascinating social settings. One needs to know about different intakes, whether they are undertaking undergraduate or postgraduate studies, to be able to select what will suit them best. This detailed guide will cover the intakes for 2024, including September, January, and May.

September Intake: A Traditional Start

International students prefer the September intake, which is the most popular intake for UK universities. It fits very well with the beginning of the school year, often corresponding to the main intake for many courses. Here are the key features of the September UK intake:

  • Full Academic Year

The September intake suits well for those students who prefer a more academic approach. Most schools begin their programs by September, which enables students to finish an entire school year. It goes beyond mere education and allows children enough time for adequate academic development and maturity.

  • Course Availability

The September intake can provide just about every program or course of study that students could request. Whichever area of the humanities, science, or arts interests you, you will never lack choices.

  • Application Deadlines

The application deadlines for a typical September intake are usually from December through July. Therefore, plan early and make sure that all necessary documents are available by the application deadline.

  •  Competitive Admissions

The September intake is sometimes very competitive due to its popularity. Improve your chances of being accepted by showing exceptional performance in academics and extracurricular activities, as well as relevant experience.

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Universities Offering September Intake:

  • University of Oxford – Undergraduate and graduate courses in arts, science, and social sciences.
  • Imperial College London – Engineering, medical sciences, science, and business programs at the undergraduate and graduate levels of study.
  • University of Edinburgh – The courses in undergraduate and postgraduate levels spanning arts, sciences, humanities, and business.
  • University of Cambridge – Provides a wide range of undergraduate and graduate courses on applied sciences, pure science, and arts.
  • University of Warwick – Offers different courses on undergraduate and graduate levels, such as business, engineering, and social science.

January Intake: A Flexible Alternative

In recent years, international students have preferred a January intake as it is flexible and can be adapted to one’s suitability. The January intake is very good if you did not make it in September or need more preparation time. Here are some key features of the January intake:

  • Mid-Academic Year Start

Several universities and colleges have instituted alternative programs starting in January, hence allowing students to join in any period of academic term. It is also advantageous to this cohort of individuals looking to escape the rush often associated with joining colleges in September.

  • Less Competitive

Students can also apply for admissions in January instead of September when competition is relatively low. It may also prove useful to such students who might have encountered hardships during the admissions period.

  • Application Deadlines

Most of the application deadlines for the January intake are between September and November. As such, you must also have a proper plan for applying early enough to beat the deadline.

Universities Offering January Intake:

  • University of Manchester – Several courses include postgraduate studies in the fields of business, engineering, and the social sciences.
  • University of Sussex – Postgraduate courses in the arts and social sciences, economics, education, engineering, mathematics, computer science, natural sciences, etc.
  • Queen Mary University of London – Law, health science, public administration, and business graduate degree programs.
  • University of Glasgow – Provides post-graduate programs such as arts, engineering, and social sciences, etc.
  • University of Birmingham – Offers master’s degrees in business administration, engineering, and healthcare administration.

May Intake: A Unique Opportunity

Although the ‘May’ season is rarely considered compared to the two most important intakes, namely ‘September’ and ‘January’, it allows the students to enjoy a slightly different academic year. Here are some key features of the May intake:

  • Less Crowded Campus

There are usually not so many foreign students that are admitted to study at the May intake, which makes campuses more cosy and private. The May intake would be ideal for those of you who like a smaller, personalized academic environment that is not too noisy.

  • Extended Academic Year

The extended academic year that is offered during the May intake offers extensive study time for academically inclined students to explore their interests through thorough research. These are the chances of a deeper learning atmosphere.

  • Limited Program Availability

However, one has to understand that not every university or college offers programs during the May UK intake. It is therefore important to look for institutions offering your program during this intake process.

Universities Offering May Intake:

  • University of St. Andrews – Less advanced postgraduate courses in the fields of humanities and sciences, but fit enough for an intimate learning experience.
  • University of Aberdeen – There are some postgraduate programs, mainly in the humanities and social sciences.
  • University of Dundee – For instance, several postgraduate courses, particularly in law and business.
  • Durham University – Provides graduate courses in several fields, such as the natural sciences and philosophy.
  • University of Southampton – Postgraduate courses in engineering, social sciences, and business.

Key Considerations for Your Choice of Intake

When deciding on the ideal intake for your academic journey, consider the following factors:

Course Availability

In this regard, some intakes might have different courses. Check if it is within your preferred intake period.

Visa Requirements

Understand the process of applying for a visa and its requirements during each intake. Ensure that there is sufficient time for completing the required documents and meeting deadlines.

Scholarships and Funding

It is advisable to start researching scholarships and applying for them as soon as possible, to get the best positions. Most of the scholarships have set closing dates.


Consider what other options of housing are available since there would be a lack of selection due to its fame. Research accommodations in advance to ease settling down.

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Preparation Time

Make adequate plans, particularly for language ability examinations such as IELTS and TOEFL, in which case you need to prepare well.


One factor that makes the UK’s weather unique is its great variance throughout one year. When selecting your UK intake, consider how comfortable you are with different seasons and be ready for each one with appropriate clothes and other accessories.


International students have various options to choose from when it comes to entry into the UK system. If you are into the conventional September style, go for January, or if you prefer the unique feel that comes with May, then it is a go for you. There is a need to carefully plan, do comprehensive research, and understand the differences in your academic choice to start 2024 in the right manner.

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