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UK Intakes 2024: September, January and May Intakes

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The United Kingdom is currently the most popular destination for international students. Every year the country welcomes thousands of students in two main intakes, January and September. Some UK universities also have a May intake for those who missed the first two. 

Deciding which intake you should take is based on factors such as the availability of courses and scholarships. Based on these factors and considering the inflow of students, the UK intakes are categorised as primary, secondary and tertiary intake. 

Primary intake is the main intake and gets the most students. September intake is the primary intake in the UK. 

Secondary intake is the second most preferred of all UK intakes and has a selected number of courses. The tertiary or the May intake is the least preferred of UK intakes, with a limited number of university and course options.

Here’s a quick overview.

IntakeDurationApplications open
September Intake/Fall IntakeSeptember to DecemberDecember-July
January Intake/Winter IntakeJanuary to AprilSeptember-November
May Intake/Spring IntakeMay to AugustOctober-November

It’s important to choose an intake that works best for you. Your intake affects study costs, course choices, scholarships and career opportunities. This blog is a comprehensive guide about UK intakes to help you make an informed decision.

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UK Intakes 2024: September, January and May Intakes

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UK Intakes: September Intake

The academic year in the UK starts in September, which is why this, among all UK intakes, has the highest number of admissions. The September/fall intake is preferred by over 80% of UK aspirants since it has plenty of undergraduate and post-graduate course options. 

UK intakes

The fall intake is ideal as the start date aligns with the academic schedule worldwide. You can apply between December and March and conveniently make it to the UK in time. 

Since this is the primary intake, universities go all out to welcome you to the UK. So expect lots of events and support services.


  • An array of choices: By starting in September, you have the chance to choose from several universities and course options. 
  • Scholarships: Fall intake offers the most number of Scholarships and bursaries. So, there is an excellent chance to bring your costs down.


  • High competition: Since many students apply to the September intake, seats fill out quickly. 

When should you apply for September UK Intake 2024?

The application process for September UK Intakes goes on between December to July. The admission process takes place from February to May.

UK Intakes: January Intake

January or the Winter intake experiences the second largest inflow of students in the UK. If you have missed the fall/September intake, January is when you can make up for it. 

The majority of UK universities have January intake. However, note that it has fewer courses compared to the September intake.

Book a free call with our study abroad experts to find out if your preferred course is available for the January intake.

UK intakes
UK intakes: January Intake


  • More time to prepare: Since you start your study much later in the year, you get more time to prepare your application.
  • Less competition: The number of applications is relatively lesser than the Fall intake, so it’s comparatively easier to get accepted. 


  • Early Application: Applications for January intake begin much sooner than other intakes. It’s essential to keep an eye on the deadlines and apply as early as possible.  
  • Limited Courses: Not all courses may be available for this intake. Before you plan for this intake, ensure that the desired course is available. 

When should you apply for January UK Intake 2024?

The application opens for January UK Intake in September and continues till November. The admission process will go on between June and September.

UK Intakes: May Intake 

Most students apply to the May intake if they miss the other two. But that’s not the only reason why. May intake has its own set of advantages and disadvantages. 

Not all colleges and universities may intake. But some prominent universities such as Coventry University, University of Kent, Northumbria University, and  Brunel University have May intake for a selected number of courses. 


  • Minimal competition: A small number of students apply for the May intake, which means you have a high chance of getting in. 
  • Small batches: Due to the smaller number of applications, the number of students in a class is less. Faculties can give students a lot more attention this way.


  • Limited choices: Very few universities offer May intake. The number of courses is also minimal.
  • Social challenges: Since you’re joining a bit later in the year, you might have to make an effort to get along with your peers in the university. 

When should you apply for May UK Intake 2024?

The application for the May UK intake opens in October and goes on till November. The admission process will take place between January and February.

UK Intakes: Availability of Courses 

Since September is the main intake, it has the most course options. All the popular courses, including MBA, LLM, Engineering and medical courses, are available for the September UK intake. 

January intake is the next best option, with 30% course availability. Though it is comparatively much lesser than the September intake, you still have many courses to choose from. 

May intake has fewer courses, but it can still be a good backup if you miss the first two intakes. However, be sure to check the course with your university before you prepare for this UK intake. 

UK IntakesNature of the intake% of courses available 
September Intake/Fall IntakePrimary Intake90%
January Intake/Winter IntakeSecondary Intake30%
May Intake/Spring IntakeTertiary/Least preferred10%

When to Apply for UK intake 2024: A Timeline 

UK universities have strict deadlines for admissions. Your responsibility is to keep an eye on the dates and apply early. Remember, early applications have their advantages!

If you’re planning to apply to one of the UK intakes, our experts can give you a clear picture of what you should do next. So, book a free call with them if you haven’t already!

In the meanwhile, here’s an approximate timeline for applications. 

1 year beforeDo your research and choose a country
9-8 months beforeResearch and gather information about universities. Shortlist them based on your requirements, or let us do it for you! 
7-6 months beforeStart preparing your application. Take all the exams you need to.
Prepare your Letter of Recommendation, Statement of Purpose and gather all documents. 
5-3 months beforeReceive offers from universities, and take your time to make a decision. Apply for a student visa
2-1 month beforePaying your fees/deposit. Look for accommodation options.

Do’s and Don’ts for a Successful Application


  1. Start your research well in advance. Ensure that the university and course you pick match your interests and career goals.
  2. Start preparing for your application early. You’ll need time to gather all the documents and to prepare your Statement of Purpose (SOP) and Letter of Recommendation (LOR).
  3. Customize your personal statement according to the university you are applying to.
  4. Double-check your application and make sure your details are accurate. 
  5. Contact the university if you have any queries about the admission process.
  6. Apply early! 


  1. Don’t apply to too many universities. Shortlist universities after careful consideration. If you are in doubt, always consult experts. 
  2. Don’t plagiarise your personal statements and other documents. Ensure that all the information in your application is accurate. 
  3. Don’t hold yourself back from applying to scholarships. It can reduce a lot of your expenses. 
  4. Try not to panic about the deadlines. Create a to-do list every day to stay ahead of your schedule. 
  5. Don’t ignore the importance of the English Language. Your English proficiency test scores add much value to your overall profile. 

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How to Choose the Right UK Intakes 

Choosing the right intake is crucial for admission, and the right UK intake depends on your requirements. Make sure the UK intake you select allows you adequate time to prepare your application and take all of the admission examinations. Never apply in a hurry! 

If you still need clarification about the UK intakes, LeapScholar has hundreds of experts to help you pursue your dream education abroad. Connect with us to start your journey. 

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Which is the primary intake in the UK?

    September intake, or the fall intake, is the primary intake in the UK and receives the most significant number of applications annually. 

  • Are MBA programs available in the May intake? 

    Very few universities, such as the West of Scotland and Richmond University of London, offer in the UK provide MBA courses in May.

  • What is the application deadline for the September intake?

    The application deadline for September intakes is between June and July, depending on the university. We highly recommend that you apply early to get the best chance.

  • Which intake is better among all UK intakes?

    September intake offers the most courses and is the best intake. However, January intake is an excellent option if you missed the September deadline.

  • When can I apply for the fall 2024 intake in the UK?

    The fall application deadline ends in February for most universities in the UK. The admission process is expected to finish by July-August of 2024. If you missed the January application deadline, try for the next intake. 

  • When to apply for January intake in the UK?

    Typically, applications for January intake open in the first week of September and end in the final week of October.

  • When do applications open for May intake? 

    Applications for May intake open between October and November.

  • How many intakes are there in UK?

    January, September and May are the three UK intakes. September intake is the primary intake.

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Saket Kohli

An International Higher Ed professional with 7+ years of experience studying, working, and living across three geographies, currently on a mission to share his journey as an International Student.

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