Undergraduate Admissions Policy

contact: Bella Malins, Director of Access and Admissions, Student and Registry Services


Equal Opportunities

1. UCL is firmly committed to promoting equal opportunity. UCL's Equal Opportunities policy in respect of student recruitment and admissions is as follows:

2. In the recruitment and selection of students the only consideration must be that the individual meets, or is likely to meet, the requirements of the programme or course. These requirements being met, no applicant will be discriminated against on the basis of their gender, race, colour, ethnic origin, nationality (within current legislation), disability, sexual orientation, marital status, caring or parental responsibilities, age, or beliefs on any matters such as religion and politics.

3. The above policy must be adhered to in all matters concerning student recruitment and admissions. UCL is committed to a programme of action to ensure that its policy is implemented and monitored at an organisational and individual level. Each department has a Departmental Equal Opportunities Liaison Officer who disseminates information on good practice and training.

Authority to Admit Students

4. UCL Statutes vest with the Provost the power to admit as a student to UCL anyone having the qualifications required for admission as stipulated in UCL Regulations. The Statutes further grant the Provost the power to delegate his power to admit students to any Officer of UCL or other person or body as he may think fit. The arrangements for the admission of students as outlined in this and other sections of the Academic Manual present the current position as regards the delegation of the Provost’s power to admit students. The Provost reserves the right, at any time, to delegate the power to admit students to other Officers of UCL, persons or bodies deemed suitable by him should any particular circumstances require it.

Application Process

5. All undergraduate programmes must have a UCAS Entry Profile available for applicants to view on the UCAS website.

6. An admissions criteria template must be completed for each admitting programme of study. Completed templates are submitted to the Admissions Structures and Selection Processes Steering Group for approval. Departments must be able to demonstrate that their selection process is appropriate, consistent and fair.

7. Applications for admission to an undergraduate programme should normally be made through UCAS. The exceptions are UPCSE, UPCH, part-time, affiliate and intercalating students and Medicine students transferring from either Oxford or Cambridge University.

8. All UCAS application copy forms are initially received by Admissions, Student and Registry Services and then forwarded to the relevant faculty office. Electronic applicant data is transferred from UCAS into UCL’s student database and can be accessed by faculties and departments immediately upon receipt.

9. Currently, procedures vary between faculty offices. All faculty offices check UK applications for under-performing schools using data provided by the UCL Outreach Office, Student and Registry Services. Normally, after initial consideration by faculty office staff to assess a candidate's acceptability/possible acceptability with reference to programme entry requirements, applications are forwarded to the relevant Departmental Admissions Tutor. Some faculties carry out initial filtering of applications. On the basis of the information given on the UCAS application, the Admissions Tutor normally marks each application as either (i) accept unconditionally (ii) accept subject to specified conditions being satisfied or (iii) reject.

10. Admissions Tutors are invited to use the data on under-performing schools to assist them in their consideration of applications. Applicants from under-performing schools might be invited to interview or sent a selection questionnaire where they would not normally be. Alternatively, they might be given additional consideration. Grades in offers of admission should not be adjusted systematically to favour applicants from under-performing schools. Admissions tutors may, however, adjust an offer where the particular individual’s circumstances merit it. At the current time, no other contextual data is used by UCL.

11. The recommendation to accept (either conditionally or unconditionally) or to reject is referred to the Faculty Tutor for approval. Only the Faculty Tutor has the authority to admit undergraduate degree students. The decision is then transmitted by the faculty office to UCAS and a letter is sent to the applicant. This faculty offer letter also informs the candidate what his/her fee status will be. The UCAS forms of rejected applicants are retained by the faculty office for 12 months following the completion of the applications cycle. All rejected applicants are provided with a reason for rejection.

12. Applications received by 15th January UCAS deadline must be given equal consideration. It is expected that departments that receive more qualified applications than there are offers available to make will operate a “gathered field” approach to the consideration of applications. This involves deferring final selection on some applicants until all on-time applications have been received and considered. All decisions should be made by 31st March. Responses from UK applicants who have a decision made by 31st March are required by 5th May. For applicants domiciled overseas, a response is required by 8th June.

13. All applicants must be given an opportunity to visit UCL before they are required to make a final decision on any offer they may receive.

14. UCL does not participate in Clearing or Adjustment activities and consideration should not be given to applicants approaching UCL after 30th June UCAS application deadline.

15. During the Summer, faculty offices despatch a status letter confirming the candidate's details and send the pre-enrolment booklet, Joining UCL. At this time, faculty offices also require applicants holding unconditional offers to verify their qualifications. Faculty offices are also responsible for preparing Certificates of Acceptance (which may be required for banking and/or, in the case of international students, immigration purposes) for all incoming undergraduates as well as for issuing certificates of acceptance to international students in line with the requirements of Tier 4 (Students) of the Points-Based Immigration System (PBIS). Further information for staff on PBIS is available at http://www.ucl.ac.uk/edliaison/international/staff-resources/pbis. Information for students is at http://www.ucl.ac.uk/prospective-students/international-students/after-you-apply/immigration/.

16. Candidates who firmly accept the offer of a place at UCL have their places confirmed through UCAS as and when any conditions attached to the offer are satisfied. The A-level results are received from the qualifications awarding bodies via UCAS usually on the second Sunday in August. These are loaded into UCL's admissions system electronically. Printed versions of the results are produced by the faculty offices for distribution to admissions tutors. Faculties will confirm the places of those applicants that have met all the conditions of their offers. Departments liaise with their faculty office regarding “near miss” applicants they would like to confirm. No final decision is taken on these candidates until after the Faculty Tutors’ Meeting with the Dean of Students (Academic). This takes place on the Tuesday following the release of the A-level results. At this meeting, a UCL-wide strategy is agreed as is the number of “near miss” applicants that will be confirmed across UCL.

17. All applicants are required to have met the conditions of their offer by 31st August of the application cycle in which they made their application.

18. Following the publication of the A-level results, informed staff must be available in all departments and faculty offices to deal with telephone enquiries until the UCAS deadline for the confirmation of offers.

19. In late August, accepted candidates' electronic records are passed to Registry Services, Student and Registry Services. Registry Services is responsible for enrolment.

Entrance Requirements

20. UCL's minimum (“benchmark”) entry requirement is ABB at GCE A-level or the equivalent in other qualifications such as the International Baccalaureate. Applicants may not be admitted below the benchmark level without the advance approval of the Dean of Students (Academic). Cases for consideration should be submitted to the Dean of Students (Academic) via faculty offices.

21. Most undergraduate degree programmes will require the achievement of grades higher than ABB. All normally require a pass in one subject at Advanced Subsidiary level in addition to three passes at GCE A-level. UCL’s detailed policy on the acceptability of GCE A level subjects can be found at http://www.ucl.ac.uk/prospective-students/undergraduate-study/application-and-entry/alevel-qualifications.

In addition, candidates must satisfy any specific subject or other requirements that may be prescribed for the programme on to which the student is to be admitted. All candidates admitted to UCL must have GCSEs in English, Mathematics and a foreign language at grade C or higher, or equivalent qualifications.

22. UK-domiciled students applying to enter a UCL undergraduate programme from the UK are required to offer a GCSE in a foreign language at Grade C or above, or any other accredited Level 2 qualification in a foreign language. Alternatives such as a foreign language at AS, A-level or at standard or higher level in the IB will also be acceptable. Applicants that have undertaken the UCL Language and Study Skills Summer School will be deemed to have met the requirement. Qualifications in Ancient Greek and / or Latin do not meet the requirement.

23. Students who are bilingual in a heritage or community language should offer a formal qualification in this language where such accreditation is available. Where accreditation is not available, the students’ case should be referred to the Dean of Students (Academic).

24. Students who are unable to offer a foreign language on entry will be required to undertake at least a 0.5 course unit in a foreign language as part of their degree programme (preferably in Year 1, but not necessarily). Graduation will not be conditional upon a student achieving a pass mark in this course.

25. Students whose chosen programme of study does not accommodate a 0.5 course unit in a language will be required to undertake a UCL certificate in a language alongside their degree. This certificate programme will be run by the Language Centre and will not be credit-bearing, but will be reported on students’ transcripts. Courses will be offered in French, German, Spanish, Italian, Japanese, Mandarin and Arabic. Graduation will not be conditional upon a student achieving a pass mark in this course.

26. An Undergraduate Admission Requirements Guide covering UK and overseas qualifications, for use by admissions tutors, is produced in October each year. It is distributed to admissions tutors by faculty offices.

27. Programme by programme A-level and International Baccalaureate entrance requirements are published in the UCL Undergraduate Prospectus. Additional subject or more demanding grade requirements cannot be imposed systematically in respect of a programme after the publication of the Prospectus.

English Language Proficiency Requirement

28. Command of the English language is considered essential for all UCL programmes. All undergraduate (and graduate) applicants whose first language is not English must provide recent evidence that they have an adequate command of both spoken and written English. The complete policy on UCL’s English Language proficiency requirements can be viewed at Part 4: UCL’s English Language Proficiency Requirement of the Academic Manual.

29. Please also refer to Part 4: Qualifications Recognised by UCL for the Purpose of Satisfying the Undergraduate English Language Proficiency Requirement.

Suspension of Regulations

30. Admissions tutors wishing to accept a candidate who does not satisfy either UCL's minimum benchmark entrance requirements or any programme specific entrance requirements may seek a suspension of UCL's regulations from the Dean of Students (Academic). Applications for suspension relating to undergraduates should be submitted via faculty offices.

Admission to Undergraduate Degree Programmes via Special Entrance/Approval

31. The term “special entrance” is applied to applicants seeking admission who hold qualifications which do not satisfy UCL’s benchmark entry requirement or programme-specific entry requirements. All students offering non-standard qualifications are expected to demonstrate the same level of academic potential as those offering standard qualifications. To be considered for special entrance, the applicant must possess one of the following types of qualification:

· an appropriate academic qualification other than a degree from a recognised university or other institution

· an intermediate or equivalent examination towards the award of a degree by a recognised university, or institution of similar status, plus passes in an appropriate number of subjects at GCSE level or the equivalent

· a qualification gained by examination which satisfies the entrance requirements for admission to a recognised university outside the UK 

· a qualification gained by examination and which is necessary for admission to membership (Associateship, Corporate Membership or the equivalent) of a recognised professional body or leading to appointment in another field of public service 

· recognised qualifications that fall short of the benchmark requirements but are supplemented by additional recent study over a sustained period of time. Applicants in this category must demonstrate that they have achieved sufficient competence in their chosen field of study to justify admission.

32. Admissions tutors wishing to recommend an applicant for special entrance should provide full details to the Faculty Tutor. The Faculty Tutor then decides whether or not the applicant’s case should be forwarded to the Dean of Students (Academic) for consideration. The Dean of Students (Academic) decision in such matters is final.

Child Protection

33. UCL requires that approval be given by the Dean of Students (Academic) before a student under the age of 18 is admitted. This is to ensure that appropriate pastoral provision is provided to the student and that all Child Protection requirements have been met. Admissions tutors wishing to recommend the admission of a minor should consult the policy on the admission of Under 18s at http://www.ucl.ac.uk/registry/ucl-staff/under18 and then consult the faculty tutor for advice. The Dean of Students (Academic) will require written confirmation from the parents (or legal guardian) of the student of their willingness to allow the student to study at UCL. An assurance will also be required from the department that it will offer enhanced tutorial and pastoral support. In addition, the Department must agree to undertake the completion of all necessary Criminal Records Bureau checks.


34. Decisions on the admission of applicants by the authorised UCL officers are final and there is normally no appeal against such decisions.

35. UCL will consider a complaint relating to an application for admission only if there is substantive evidence of an irregularity in the procedure under which the application has been processed.

36. In the first instance any complaint concerning an undergraduate application should be addressed to the Faculty Tutor of the Faculty concerned. If the complaint is against the Faculty Tutor, it should be addressed to the Dean of Students (Academic).

37. The Faculty Tutor will investigate the complaint and respond formally to it. If the complaint is not resolved through this investigation, or if the complainant is not satisfied with the response, the complainant may submit the complaint to the Registrar. The complaint must be received by the Registrar within 28 days of the date of the formal response from the Faculty Tutor. Complaints received after that deadline will not be considered.

38. When a complaint is received, the Registrar or another officer nominated by the Registrar will decide whether there is substantive evidence sufficient to justify a formal investigation.

39. If the Registrar decides the evidence is not sufficient to justify a formal investigation, he/she will inform the complainant accordingly.

40. If the Registrar decides there are prima facie grounds for a formal investigation, the complaint will be referred to a panel comprising:

· The Dean of Students (Academic); 

· The Director of Admissions, or the Head of Outreach;

· A person independent of UCL to be nominated by the Registrar.

41. The Registrar will inform the complainant of the decision to refer the complaint to the panel.

42. The panel will normally consider the appeal on the basis of the papers relating to the case. The panel may interview the applicant and any other persons involved in the case, and shall be required to ensure equal treatment to the parties concerned, i.e. the applicant and the officer(s) who took the decision on the application or who were involved in the procedure for handling it. Such persons shall receive copies of all the documentation relevant to the complaint.

43. The panel will determine the complaint and decide upon any action to be taken as a result of their determination. Their decision will be conveyed to the Registrar who will communicate it to the complainant and arrange for the implementation of any action resulting from it. The other parties to the complaint will also be informed.

44. The decision of the complaints panel is final as far as UCL's internal procedures are concerned. If a complainant is dissatisfied with the decision of the panel, he or she may have recourse to the courts to request a judicial review.

45. The Registrar will keep a record of complaints which will include details of the age, gender and ethnicity of complainants.


46. UCL is conscious of the potential risk of applicants seeking fraudulently to gain admission and/or receive a grant, loan or bursary. The prevention of such fraud is implicit in UCL's procedures governing the following areas of work:

· Selection of candidates for admission 

· Assessment of accepted candidates' fees status

· Verification of the qualifications of students admitted

· Enrolment of students

· Issuing of maintenance allowances to enrolled students and the processing of student loan applications

· Issuing of certificates of student attendance

· Monitoring of the attendance of students.

47. Where there is evidence that an applicant for admission to UCL may have provided false or misleading information on his/her application or papers associated with his/her application, the case will be considered by the Dean of Students (Academic) who will seek to determine whether the applicant has been guilty of deliberate misrepresentation.   This procedure will also be followed where evidence comes to light after an individual has become a registered student of UCL that he/she may have provided false or misleading information when making his/her application for admission to UCL.

48. The applicant will be informed in writing by the Faculty of the apparent misrepresentation and asked to provide a statement in explanation or mitigation. Failure to provide a statement, or to provide satisfactory evidence to corroborate his/her explanation, will result in the applicant having the application and/or offer of admission to UCL withdrawn.

49. The Faculty Tutor will communicate immediately in writing the decision to the applicant.

50. An applicant to UCL does not have the right of appeal against the decision.

51. If fraud is suspected, UCL will, as appropriate, liaise with relevant external bodies (including the police, local education authorities, Student Loans Company, UCAS, UK Border Agency).

Plagiarism in Undergraduate Personal Statements

52. Should the UCAS Similarity Detection Service alert UCL to possible plagiarism in an application, the Faculty Office will be passed the similarity report and the UCAS application flagged. The academic department will review the application in the normal way against the usual initial criteria for consideration for entry to the programme. If the applicant does not meet the criteria, the application will be rejected in the normal manner and no reference will be made to the similarity detection.

53. If the criteria for further consideration are met, the academic department will alert the faculty office who will contact the applicant using a standard letter. The applicant will be invited to state their case and provide any supporting documentation. The case will then be considered by the Faculty Tutor in conjunction with the academic department. This assessment must take place before any further stage in the selection process is initiated, including an invitation to interview and/or open day or the issuing of any offer.

54. If it is considered that the case is not sufficiently addressed by the applicant, the application should be rejected and the applicant informed in writing of the reasons for this rejection.

55. If it is considered that the applicant has sufficiently answered the case, then the application must be passed to the Dean of Students (Academic) for review and endorsement before the processing of the application can continue. Once endorsed by the Dean of Students (Academic), the applicant will be informed by the faculty that their application has not been prejudiced on the basis of the similarity detection alert.

56. An applicant will have the right of appeal against a decision. Any such appeal must be made within 21 days of the decision letter. The case will be considered by the Dean of Students (Academic) (or nominee) and the Director of Admissions (or nominee).

57. Should the applicant be admitted and subsequently enrol at UCL, no reference to the similarity detection will be made in any future consideration of the student’s conduct or work.

Feedback to Undergraduate Applicants

58. Feedback on decisions will be provided via UCAS to all unsuccessful applicants who have applied for entry to a full time undergraduate degree programme.

59. Each admissions tutor/selector will be responsible for providing the faculty office with a reason for rejection taken from an agreed list of statements. The reasons for rejection must relate to the admissions criteria specified. If a standard statement cannot be used for an individual applicant, the admissions tutor must provide a brief statement giving the reason for rejection.

60. Faculty offices will transmit feedback statements to UCAS with the rejection. The feedback will take the form of either a standard statement or a bespoke statement provided by the admissions tutor.

61. UCL does not require any of its departments or faculties to provide further feedback beyond that given with the initial rejection. However, if an applicant requests additional feedback in writing, a department or faculty may choose to provide additional information on the decision.

62. Additional feedback should only be provided in response to a request made in writing by the applicant.

63. Under the Data Protection Act, UCL cannot respond to requests from schools, parents/guardians or advisors for feedback on unsuccessful applications. However, a request for feedback can be provided in response to a request made in writing by a school, parent/guardian or advisor when it is accompanied by a written statement from the applicant giving consent to the discussion of their application with the named third party.

64. A request for additional feedback will not be considered as an appeal against the decision on the application. When such a request is received, this will not prompt a review of the application nor will providing feedback to an applicant imply that an application has been re-considered.

65. UCL will not consider any new information or documentation that is submitted as a result of any feedback received. Applicants who wish to be re-considered are required to re-apply the following year and to be considered in competition with all other applicants.

66. Decisions on the admission of applicants are final and there is no right of appeal against such decisions except as outlined in paragraph 67.

67. UCL will consider a complaint relating to an applicant for admission only if it is in relation to process and procedure. Complaints relating to an academic judgement made on an application will not be considered.

Criminal Records Checks

68. Candidates who apply via UCAS or using a UCL affiliate application form are required to declare on their application forms whether they have any criminal convictions. Whenever a conviction is declared, subject to the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act, full details of the offence, conviction and sentence will be sought and an Assessment Panel (consisting of the Dean of Students (Academic), Dean of Students (Welfare) and Director of Admissions) convened to consider the case.

69. The Assessment Panel will make an assessment prior to the official offer of admission being transmitted to UCAS. They will conduct a risk assessment and consider actions that could practicably be taken to mitigate any identified risks without detriment to the applicant's ability to pursue their chosen programme of study. They will then either: (a) Authorise the admission of the student subject to the academic decision of the relevant admissions and faculty tutor. Such authorisation may impose conditions aimed at mitigating any identified risk and those conditions, if any, must be stated in the offer letter. (b) Recommend that the student not be admitted to UCL, giving reasons.

70. All applicants must declare any criminal conviction that is received after an offer of admission is made and prior to enrolment at UCL. In such circumstances, the Assessment Panel will conduct a risk assessment and consider actions that could practicably be taken to mitigate any identified risks without detriment to the applicant's ability to pursue their chosen programme of study. They will then either: (a) Confirm the admission of the student. Such confirmation may impose conditions aimed at mitigating any identified risk. Where conditions are imposed, the Registrar will write to the applicant to inform them. (b) Recommend that the student not be admitted to UCL, giving reasons. In this case, the applicant's offer of admission will be withdrawn.

71. Should the Panel recommend that the student not be admitted to UCL, the student has the right of appeal to the Provost.

72. In the case of a limited number of programmes, where students may potentially come into unsupervised contact with children and/or "vulnerable adults", an enhanced disclosure certificate is sought from the Criminal Records Bureau, the Government agency established to provide employers and others with information about any criminal convictions that an individual might possess. Queries regarding CRB disclosure for students should be referred to the Registrar's Office, Student and Registry Services, telephone: 020 7679 3203.

University Preparatory Certificate for Science and Engineering (UPCSE) and University Preparatory Certificate for the Humanities (UPCH)

73. Students wishing to study on either the UPCSE or the UPCH should apply directly to UCL on the appropriate application form available from the UCL Language Centre or on the internet.

74. Applicants to the UPCSE must have completed their high school studies with excellent grades and have previously studied the two core subjects that they wish to pursue on the UPCSE programme.

75. All applicants for the UPCSE are required to take entrance tests in science subjects as part of the selection process.

76. Applicants to UPCH must have completed their high school studies with excellent grades.

77. All applicants for the UPCH are required to take an entrance test in Critical Thinking (and in Mathematics should an applicant have selected this subject as an UPCH course module) as part of the selection process.

78. Further details on the UPCSE and UPCH are available at www.ucl.ac.uk/upc.

Transfer students

79. With the exception of students from Oxford University and Cambridge University admitted to the Medical School for the second phase of their Medicine studies, all students studying at another higher education institution who wish to transfer to an undergraduate programme at UCL, whether to commence it ab initio or to enter into the second or other year, must apply through UCAS.

Part-Time Students

80. Students wishing to study on a part-time basis should apply to UCL direct on the appropriate form available from faculty offices. Academic requirements for admission for part-time study are identical to those for full-time study.

Affiliate Students

81. Affiliate students are students who are enrolled at another university and who wish to undertake study at UCL, either at undergraduate or graduate level, for credit towards their home university degree. This includes students who apply to UCL through Erasmus and Junior Year Abroad (JYA) links.

82. Affiliate students come under the jurisdiction of the Study Abroad Office, Student Centre, Student and Registry Services. For further information, please contact the Study Abroad Office on ext.37765. The Study Abroad Office also produced the Study Abroad Guide.

Intercalating Students

83. Students studying for the MBBS at UCL study additionally for an intercalated BSc degree.  Further details and application forms are available from the Life Sciences Faculty Office.

Adult Learning and Professional Development students

84. These students are those following what UCL defines as “short courses and conferences”. They should enrol with the department responsible for the programme.

85. For further information, staff should refer to UCL's Short Course and Conference Guidelines, available from CALT, and online at http://www.ucl.ac.uk/calt/alpd/index.html

86. These Guidelines provide information on the management of short courses and conferences that are organised and run by UCL departments on a commercial basis. They are addressed to all staff providing programmes such as: summer schools; seminars, lectures or workshops for personal or professional development; and “taster” programmes based on modules of undergraduate or postgraduate programmes.

English Language Students

87. Students applying for English Language study at UCL are required to apply directly to the UCL Language Centre. Details of how to apply are available from the Language Centre or the website at www.ucl.ac.uk/language-centre.

July 2012