From education to employment

International student data: current pipeline for September ’23 intake

female stood at bookcase

The following analysis is based on the most recent data from across a sample of seven UniQuest higher education partners in the UK, focusing on the top 12 international markets.* It compares data from January 2023 to January 2022.

Looking ahead to September:

  • There are over 13,000 more offers in the pipeline than at the same point last year – however, the data is currently inflated due to deferrals from the January 2023 intake and this must be taken into account throughout this analysis.
  • We’re seeing some return to undergraduate growth in the following markets: Nepal, UAE, Kuwait, Hong Kong, Singapore, Pakistan. 

A closer look at some key markets:


  • Current level of interest more muted than many expected at this point, with 99 fewer offers on average so far this year compared to same point last year across UniQuest’s partner sample.
  • No indication that the UK’s current Covid testing programme is a deterrent. 


  • On average, 670 more offers per partner than at same point last year.
  • 95% of applications at postgraduate level.
  • Course profile: 75% increase in offers for renewable energy and environment-related courses, and 194% increase in offers for AI and data science courses.


  • On average, 560 more offers per partner than at same point last year, and stronger undergraduate interest year-on-year.
  • Course profile: demand largely dominated by MSc International Business Management, MSc Accounting and Finance, International HR and International Marketing.


  • On average, 44 more offers than at same point last year, though this does represent 216% growth.
  • Turning into a dominant postgraduate market.
  • Course profile: computing and engineering postgraduate courses have doubled year-on-year.

What are students asking?

  • Deferral related questions (more about why they’ve been deferred from January to September).
  • Questions about admissions timescales (“why is it taking so long”).

Jenni Parsons, Director of Partnerships, Projects and Insights at UniQuest, comments:

“It’s clear that students are voicing concerns around application processing times. This is to be expected when admissions teams are seeing such a high volume of applications, and where they don’t have additional resources to meet that demand. To try to pre-empt enquiries, universities need to be really clear on timescales and manage expectations with students from the outset. At the moment, students are prepared to walk away if offers aren’t issued quickly enough, so it’s really important to get this right.

“In terms of markets to watch, it will be interesting to keep a close eye on India over the coming months. Australia has just signed a deal with India to offer a four-year post-study work visa. This is hugely competitive and may well impact other countries’ market share of recruitment in India.”

*The 12 markets are: India; Nigeria; China; Pakistan; Ghana; Bangladesh; Malaysia; United States; Iran; Sri Lanka; Hong Kong; Saudi Arabia.

Related Articles