Recent figures released by UCAS have shown an increase in the number of international applicants at UK universities in 2023.

In numbers that underscore the unwavering global appeal of UK universities, it is evident that the UK continues to stand tall as one of the most desirable destinations for higher education.

With a staggering 138,770 international undergraduate applications received by the 30th of June 2023, international undergraduate applications via UCAS have almost reclaimed the vibrant figures observed in the pre-Covid era of 2019.

This 2% increase on last year’s total of 134,870 reaffirms the UK’s status as a sought-after destination for higher education, drawing a diverse array of aspiring minds from around the world.

As we approach the start of the 2023/24 academic year, we look at some of the trends from the number of international undergraduate applications received by UCAS up until the 30th of June.

A diverse international application pool

Universities in the UK showcase both remarkable diversity and extensive global outreach.

The leading source countries for international applicants, shown in the graph below, underline the international character of these institutions.

China’s consistent position as the top source of international students each year highlights the country’s significant contribution to the UK university student community.

India’s 12,920 applicants demonstrated an impressive 8% increase, followed by 6,900 from the US – a 5.7% rise on last year’s number.

Just behind with 6,060 applications was Hong Kong, followed by Nigeria with 5,020 applications. Despite minor declines for both countries, both remain significant contributors to the international application pool.

Two countries that enjoyed impressive surges in applications were Malaysia (+5.8%) and the UAE (+13.8%), showcasing significant increases in the number of applicants compared to previous years.

Non-EU UK University Applications Increase

Like every year, UK universities attract students from all corners of the world.

This year, a total of 115,650 non-EU students submitted their applications by June 2023, a number that surpassed last year’s total of 111,720.

The graph above shows the surge in university applications across a number of nations compared to the previous year.

Notably, countries such as Mozambique, Saudi Arabia, and Ghana have emerged as prominent exemplars of this trend, with their impressive increases in application numbers demonstrating their growing academic aspirations.

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The collective impact of these trends is a reaffirmation of the UK’s global academic prominence, with a diverse array of nations seeking to contribute to its rich educational landscape.

With an education system that consistently attracts a diverse array of aspiring minds, it’s safe to say that the UK is still one of the best places to study in the world.

Find out why the UK is such an attractive destination for thousands of international students every year below.