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How to apply: student reading UCL information

Academic requirements

The UCL Undergraduate Preparatory Certificates (UPC) are for international students of high academic potential who are aiming to gain access to undergraduate degree programmes at UCL or other top UK universities but whose education systems in their own countries do not offer qualifications suitable for direct admission.

Suitable UPC applicants will be holding excellent grades which will be demonstrated on school transcripts.

Please check our UPC academic entry requirements by country before making an application.

UPC courses are not suitable for international students completing their secondary education with qualifications which allow them direct entry onto a UCL undergraduate degree programme (e.g. with the full IB Diploma or A levels). Please view UCL's Undergraduate Prospectus to check which qualifications are accepted, by degree programme.

Minimum age requirements

Suitable candidates will be over 16 years of age at the start of the course.

Candidates who will be under the age of 18 at the point of enrolment should familiarise themselves with UCL's essential information for students under the age of 18 before making an application.

English language requirements

UPC applicants should provide an English language qualification recognised by UCL at the time of submitting their UPC application. 

Applicants who require a UK Tier 4 student visa must take an approved UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) test (IELTS Academic for UKVI) at a test centre authorised by UKVI.

Minimum IELTS Academic for UKVI English language requirement by UPC course
Undergraduate Preparatory Certificate for Science and Engineering (UPCSE) IELTS Academic for UKVI:
Overall: 5.5
Subtest: 5.5
Undergraduate Preparatory Certificate for the Humanities (UPCH) IELTS Academic for UKVI:
Overall: 6.0
Subtest: 6.0
Undergraduate Preparatory Certificate with a Modern European Language (UPCMel) IELTS Academic for UKVI:
Overall: 7.5
Subtest: 7.5

UPC students with a near native competence in English may study French, German, Italian or Spanish instead of Academic English. The minimum level of English required for this is an IELTS for UKVI (Academic) score of 7.5 or equivalent. UPC applicants can discuss, with the Admissions Tutor, the opportunity to take a modern European language in place of Academic English during the interview.

UPC applications

Entry onto UCL UPC courses is competitive. Applications for September 2017 entry are now open and should be made as early as possible.

There is no formal application deadline, applications will close when the course is full, however applications for individual elective modules may close earlier if they become full first.

How to apply

Applications are made directly to the UCL Centre for Languages & International Education via our website.

Applicants will need the following to be considered for the UPC courses:

  • Fully completed application form - including personal statement
  • A teacher’s reference
  • Copies of school transcripts. See academic requirements.
  • An English language qualification. Applicants must hold an IELTS Academic for UKVI. See entry requirements tab.
  • Application fee
  • A portfolio (for Architecture applicants only): this should include at least six drawings from life as well as work in other media, such as paintings, collages, 3D, photographs etc.

Following the submission of the application documents listed above, suitable candidates will be contacted regarding their UPC entrance tests.

Important information for UPC applicants interested in Law or Medicine:

UPC entrance tests 

Sample UPC entrance tests are found at the bottom of this page. Please read the information given below before taking the tests.

Once a completed UPC (UPCSE or UPCH) application has been received by the UCL Centre for Languages & International Education (UCL CLIE), suitable candidates will be asked to sit UPC entrance tests in the subject areas relevant to their chosen UPC course:

  • UPCH applicants must take a Critical Thinking entrance test as part of the selection process. UPCH applicants choosing to study the UPCH Mathematics subject module will also take a Mathematics entrance test. 
  • UPCSE applicants must take entrance tests in the two science subject modules they select to study.

The UPC entrance tests have been designed to help the Admissions Tutor decide whether you have an adequate level of knowledge and understanding for the UPC course. Applicants are required to score 50% or higher in each test to be considered for a UPC interview.

The UPC Admissions Tutor visits cities around the world to test UPC applicants.

If you are already living in the UK, you may be invited to come and take the tests and be interviewed at UCL in London. If this is not convenient, or you are living outside the UK, tests will be sent to your teacher / you by email. 

If you are taking a test sent by email, our preference is for you to include the name and contact details of your teacher or school guidance counsellor on your UPC application form. If possible, we will contact this person to supervise your entrance tests. On receipt of the tests, they should be completed as soon as possible, following the instructions on the cover page, and returned to the UPC Administrator. If tests are taken in this way, upon arrival at UCL, UPC students will be given a second test to verify that, in the opinion of the UPC team, your first test was completed according to the instructions handed out with the test. 

Candidates joining UCL in September who have taken entrance tests taken under the supervision of the UPC Admission Tutor - in a city overseas or at UCL in London - will not be required to take a second test upon arrival.

Sample UPC entrance tests

UPCH
UPCSE

We strongly recommend that all UPC applicants are familiar with the sample UPC entrance tests before applying for the course. The sample tests can be found above and give an idea of the style and level of question you might be asked in your actual entrance tests.

For Mathematics and Physics two sample tests are provided. Applicants should familiarise themselves with both sample tests.

Most UPC entrance tests comprise of 30 multiple-choice questions and the sample tests can be taken as a whole (30 questions) or 5 questions at a time. Feedback on your answers is given.

The score you receive for the sample test will be based only on your first attempt at answering the questions. Answering at least 50% of the questions correctly is a good indication that you may be ready to take the UPC entrance tests and if you have not already done so, you should think about submitting an application for the course. You should also see the list of the other entrance requirements for UPC admission.

UPC interview

UPC applicants who pass the UPC entrance tests will be interviewed (by Skype or telephone) by the UPC Admissions Tutor. The interview allows us to assess your suitability for the course and for you to ask us any questions you may have.

Your performance in the interview will be an important deciding factor in whether or not we decide to offer you a place on the course. Your high school results, academic reference, English language level and UPC entrance tests results are also considered before a final decision on your application is made.

Following the interview the UPC Admissions Tutor will make a decision about your application within a few days.

If your application is successful, we will send you a formal offer of a place on the UPC course. In our offer pack, we will include information on how to accept the offer, apply for UCL accommodation - if you want to - and when to pay the course fees.

Once you have accepted your offer and paid the course fees, we will send you the pre-course information booklet with advice on preparing for your subject modules (including reading lists) as well as details on the academic calendar, UPC exams and social trips.

If you did not take entrance tests under the supervision of UCL staff, upon arrival at UCL in September, you will be given a second test. This is to verify that, in the opinion of the UPC team, your first test was completed according to the instructions handed out with the test. 

If your application is unsuccessful, we will inform you in writing. Where possible, we will try to offer guidance about other courses that may be suitable for you.