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Difference Between September & January Intake in UK Colleges

Updated on 09 November, 2023

Shivangi Mishra

Shivangi Mishra

Sr. Content Editor

Study in UK

Are you thinking about attending a university in the UK? Choosing whether to apply for the September intake or the January intake is one of the most important choices you will have to make. Both have advantages and things to take into account. Understanding the difference between September and January intake in the UK will play a pivotal role in shaping your academic path. Let's see how the two intakes differ from one another.


Intake Overview and Admission Cycle Deadlines

Following are the three major intakes and admissions cycles in the UK: 

1.September Intake:

  • Application Deadline: Generally, universities start accepting applications a year prior, around October to January. However, some programs might have later deadlines.
  • Academic Start: The academic year usually begins in September or October, with orientation programs and classes kicking off during these months.
  • Advantages: You have additional time to complete your application, obtain visas, and book lodging and transportation. Additionally, you have the opportunity to participate in an active student community right away in the new academic year.

2.January Intake:

  • Application Deadline: Applications for the January intake typically start around April to June of the preceding year. Similar to the September intake, specific programs might have variations in deadlines.
  • Academic Start: The academic year for the January intake begins in January or February. It's a slightly different experience as you might join mid-year, and your course structure might be adapted accordingly.
  • Advantages: If you missed the September intake deadlines or need more time to finalize your plans, the January intake provides an opportunity to start your studies sooner. Additionally, you'll have a more condensed application and preparation period.

3. April/May Intake:

  • Application Deadline: Generally, the universities start taking students in October and go till November. However, the admission process starts in January. 
  • Academic Start: The academic start for the year is April or May, depending on the university. 
  • Advantages: The April/May intake is the least preferred intake in the UK. This is considered the least preferred due to the spring holidays of the students. However, you have higher chances of getting admission due to less number of students applying. There is minimal competition, and small batches lead to focused teaching.

Difference Between September and January Intake

Following is the difference between September and January intake in the UK:

1.Competition and Availability: 

The September intake tends to be more competitive as it aligns with the start of the academic year. The number of available spots might be limited due to high demand. The January intake could be less competitive; however, only leftover seats are available.


September intake allows for a longer period of application preparation, visa processing, and travel arrangements. January intake has a shorter timeline, making it suitable for those who need a quicker turnaround or missed the September deadlines.


For the September intake, securing accommodation might be harder due to the influx of new students. January intake might offer more options as some students who joined in September might vacate their accommodations by January.

4.Academic Experience: 

September intake provides a traditional academic experience with orientation events, freshers' week, and a full academic year ahead. January intake students might have a unique integration process, potentially missing some initial orientation events.

5.Weather and Adjustments: 

The weather in the UK during September and January is notably different. September is the beginning of autumn, while January marks the heart of winter. Be prepared for weather adjustments based on your intake choice.

Study in UK:  


Choosing between the September and January intakes in the UK involves weighing various factors such as competition, application timeline, academic experience, and weather conditions. Carefully assess your circumstances, readiness, and goals to make the right decision for your study abroad journey. Remember that regardless of your intake choice, pursuing education in the UK offers a wealth of opportunities for personal growth, academic excellence, and cross-cultural experiences that will shape your future endeavors.

Read More About Study in UK:


Can I apply to both September and January admission intakes in the UK?

Yes, some universities offer multiple intake options, allowing you to apply to both September and January intakes. However, make sure you consider the application deadlines and requirements for each intake.

Which intake is better for international students - September or January intake?

Both intakes cater to international students. September offers a more traditional start to the academic year, while January is suitable if you need more time to prepare or missed the September deadlines.

Are scholarship opportunities the same for both intakes?

Scholarship availability can vary between intakes and universities. Research thoroughly to determine which intake offers more scholarship opportunities for your chosen program.

Will my graduation timeline be affected by the intake I choose?

The graduation timeline might vary based on the intake you choose. If you join in January, your course duration might be adjusted to match the academic calendar.

Can I switch intakes after admission?

Some universities allow students to switch intakes under certain circumstances. However, this is subject to university policies and program availability, so it's best to check with your chosen institution.

Shivangi Mishra

Sr. Content Editor

She is an experienced writer and journalist who has extensively covered the education sector in India and Abroad. Now helping Indian aspirants realise their foreign education dream by providing them with relevant content and information through upGrad Abroad. Amateur traveller, loves to read Architectural Digest!

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