What is an acceptable course of study?

What is an acceptable course of study?

You must study a course at an acceptable level, and there are additional requirements for certain types of course.

You may be able to do a work placement as part of your course, and a short preparatory course (known as a 'pre-sessional course') - if you need one - before you begin your main course.

As well as being at an acceptable level, your course must be provided by an education provider which is a licensed Tier 4 (General) sponsor. For more information about sponsors, see the Your education provider page.

What is an acceptable course of study?

You must be applying to:

  • study full-time in the UK on a course that meets the additional requirements below; or
  • undertake a recognised Foundation Programme as a postgraduate doctor or dentist in the UK (see 'More information' below); or
  • work as a student union sabbatical officer in the UK.

If you will be studying full-time on a course other than a Foundation Programme, the course must also:

  • lead to a qualification at or above level 6 on the revised National Qualifications Framework (NQF) or its equivalents; or
  • be a short-term 'study abroad' programme as part of your higher education course at an overseas institution (see 'More information' below); or
  • be an English language course at or above level B2 of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR); or
  • be an English language course at any level, if you are a government-sponsored student or if the course is a pre-sessional course which you are taking before a degree course - but only if your confirmation of acceptance for studies (CAS) was assigned before 21 April 2011or
  • involve at least 15 hours per week of organised daytime study. 'Daytime' is 08:00 to 18:00, Monday to Friday.

(If you are studying English as a foreign language, this qualifies as 'an English language course'.)

If the course is below revised NQF level 6 or equivalent and is not an English language course or a study abroad programme, it must:

  • be approved at or above level 3 on the NQF or Qualifications and Credits Framework (QCF), or accredited at or above level 6 in the Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework (SCQF), if you will be studying with a Highly Trusted sponsor; or
  • be approved at or above level 4 on the NQF or QCF, or accredited at ar above level 7 in the SCQF, if you will be studying with a sponsor that has an A (Trusted) or B (Sponsor) rating; or
  • be a pre-sessional course to prepare you for your main course of study in the UK (see 'More information' below).

Level 3 of the NQF is equivalent to a UK 'A level'. Level 6 of the revised NQF is equivalent to a UK bachelor's degree.

Depending on your education provider and the level of your course, you may be able to do a work placement as part of the course. (See 'More information' below.)

Academic progression

If you have previously studied in the UK under Tier 4 (General) or under the student rules that were in force before 31 March 2009, your Tier 4 Sponsor cannot assign a CAS to you on or after 4 July 2011unless:

  • your new course represents academic progress from your previous study; or
  • you are re-sitting examinations or repeating modules; or
  • you are making a first application to move to a new institution to complete a course that you started elsewhere.

For example, you can be assigned a CAS to study for a new qualification at a higher academic level than your previous UK course, or to study for a qualification that complements or enhances your previous studies at the same level.