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What is January Intake in the UK?

While many postgraduate courses will follow the traditional academic year structure and begin in September, more and more universities are offering the option of beginning a course in January as well. This is known as January Intake (you may also see it referred to as Winter Intake). For the most part, January Intake and September Intake are similar, but there are a few important distinctions between the two. It is wise to consider these alternatives when it comes to choosing when to start your postgraduate course, as they could make the world of difference to your application timeline and open up new opportunities. 

What is January Intake? 

January Intake is, as the name suggests, when a university course begins in January as opposed to the more common September start. There should be no difference between what you learn on the course whether you start in January or September, though each intake will likely be studying different subjects at separate points of the year.  

What are the advantages of January Intake? 

More time between postgraduate and undergraduate courses 

Finishing your undergraduate degree in August and going straight into starting your postgraduate course in September can leave very little time to catch your breath after three busy years. Starting your postgraduate degree in January can you give some additional time to recover and prepare for your next higher education experience. 

Contingency plans 

If you miss the September application deadline, discover you didn’t get accepted to any September courses you applied for, or you start a course but find you want to transfer to a different university, January Intakes can be an avenue for you to explore. While not every course offers January Intake, you may find an option that allows you to start your degree without having to wait until the following September. 

Different job market entry timing 

It’s not just the intake which can occur at a different time but starting in January will mean you’ll also leave university at a different time to students who started in September. Many employers will receive an influx of job applications from June to September from the September starters as they leave university. January starters may find their application could stand out more, as they will arrive in the New Year with less competition from other students. 

Fitting within work schedules 

Mature students looking to return to university for a master’s degree or an MBA may find that the traditional academic year doesn’t fit well with taking the time away from work. Being able to take a calendar year to study instead with January Intake could prove much easier when it comes to organising your time with your employer. 

Which universities offer January Intake? 

Institutions across the UK have courses available with January Intake for postgraduate students, including all the universities on the list below. This is not a comprehensive inventory of every university that has January Intake – please use our course search to confirm if there are universities with January Intake for the course you are interested in...

Anglia Ruskin University Bangor University
Bristol, University of the West of England Buckinghamshire New University
Coventry University De Montfort University
Edge Hill University Nottingham Trent University
Swansea University UCL (University College London)
University of Aberdeen University of Birmingham
University of Bradford University of Chester
University of Dundee University of East Anglia UEA
University of Gloucestershire University of Greenwich
University of Portsmouth York St John University


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