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We welcome international students who wish to undertake a research degree in the UK. The OU is licensed as a Highly Trusted Sponsor under Tier 4 of the points-based immigration system. This allows us to register non European Economic Area (EEA) students - that is, those who live outside the European Community, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland.

Support for overseas students

We recognise that coming to the UK to start a degree programme is an exciting, but sometimes overwhelming, time, and that there is a lot to organise in the early stages.  We can help you settle in to the University and give you support and information on a number of issues, including:

  • A dedicated induction session for first-year overseas research students, as well as the main research student induction events.
  • Provision of documents required for a visa, e.g. CAS (Confirmation of Acceptance for study), ATAS certificates.
  • Help with finding accommodation in the UK.
  • General advice for living in the UK.
  • Assistance in opening a UK bank account.
  • A dedicated support team available to answer your study-related questions.

English language proficiency

In order to study with us, you will need to have a good command of English. If your first language is not English, you will need to verify that your competence in the English Language in all four elements (reading, writing, listening and speaking) is at Level B2 of the Common European Framework of Reference for languages (CEFR). Ideally you should have your level of proficiency certified through a provider approved by the UK Border Agency and provide your certificate and grade with your application.

Visa requirements for entry to the UK

Further details of the requirements for entry to the UK as a postgraduate research student inclusive of the English language requirements can be found at

Your questions

For advice about applying for a research degree, or sponsoring a research student, send us an email or call +44 (0)1908 654882.