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Academic Technology Approval Scheme


The Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS) is run by the British Government Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) and is a mandatory requirement for some students studying in the areas of Science, Engineering and Technology. 

How does ATAS fit into the Tier 4 student visa process?

If you require an ATAS clearance, you need to obtain this before applying for your visa. The processing time is a minimum of 20 working days, therefore you are recommended to apply for clearance a minimum of one month before you wish to apply for a visa.

Do I need an ATAS certificate?

You may need an ATAS certificate if you are a non-EU/EEA or Swiss citizen and intend to study in one of the departments listed below:

Departments requiring ATAS clearance:

  • Advanced Instrumentation Systems, Centre for (CAIS)
  • Biochemical Engineering
  • Biosciences, Division of (Cell and Developmental Biology; Genetics, Evolution and Environment; Neuroscience, Physiology and Pharmacology; Structural and Molecular Biology)
  • Chemical Engineering
  • Chemistry
  • Civil, Environmental and Geomatic Engineering
  • CoMPLEX
  • Computer Science
  • Electronic and Electrical Engineering
  • Energy Institute
  • Gatsby Computational Neuroscience Unit
  • Geography
  • Mathematics
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Medical Physics and Bioengineering
  • Molecular Cell Biology, Laboratory of
  • Physics and Astronomy
  • Population Health, Division of
  • Space and Climate Physics
  • Wolfson Institute for Biomedical Research
  • Women's Health, Institute for

Graduate visiting research students attending UCL for a period of six months or over will also be required to obtain an ATAS certificate if they are undertaking research in one of the departments listed in the link above.

Which programmes* at UCL require an ATAS clearance?


Four-years undergraduate programmes list:

  • MEng Biochemical Engineering
  • MEng Biochemical Engineering with Study Abroad
  • MEng Biochemical Engineering with Bioprocess Management
  • MEng Biochemical with Chemical Engineering
  • MEng Chemical Engineering
  • MEng Chemical Engineering with Study Abroad
  • MEng Chemical with Biochemical Engineering
  • MEng Mechanical Engineering
  • MEng Engineering with Business Finance
  • Grad Dip Systems Engineering Management
  • MSci Medical Physics
  • MSci Chemical Physics
  • MSci Mathematics and Physics
  • MSci Mathematics with Mathematical Physics
  • MSci Natural Sciences
  • MSci Astronomy and Physics
  • MSci Physics
  • MSci Theoretical Physics
  • MSci Physics with Space Science

Master's programme list:

  • MSc Advanced High Energy Physics
  • MSc Applied Instrumentation
  • MSc Biochemical Engineering
  • MSc Bioprocessing (IGDS)
  • MSc Bioprocessing
  • MSc Chemical Process Engineering
  • MSc Engineering with Finance
  • MSc Engineering with Innovation & Entrepreneurship
  • MSc Mechanical Engineering
  • MSc Marine Engineering
  • MSc Medical Image Computing
  • MSc Biomedical Engineering and Medical Imaging
  • MSc European Medical Physics
  • MSc Nanotechnology
  • MSc Physics and Engineering in Medicine
  • MSc Physics and Engineering in Medicine by distance learning
  • MSc Physics
  • MSc Power Systems Engineering
  • MSc Radiation Physics
  • MSc Systems Engineering
  • MSc Systems Engineering Management

Master's of Research programme list:

  • MRes Biochemical Engineering
  • MRes Bioprocessing
  • MRes Biodiversity, Evolution & Conservation
  • MRes Biosciences
  • MRes Synthetic Biology
  • MRes Systems Biology
  • MRes Molecular Modelling and Materials Science
  • MRes Organic Chemistry: Drug Discovery
  • MRes Urban Sustainability and Resilience
  • MRes Modelling Biological Complexity
  • MRes Financial Computing
  • MRes Virtual Environments, Imaging and Visualisation
  • MRes Web Science
  • MRes Risk and Disaster Reduction
  • MRes Photonics Systems Development
  • MRes Lifelong Health and Wellbeing
  • MRes Biomedicine
  • MRes Medical and Biomedical Imaging
  • MRes Healthcare Engineering for an Ageing Population
  • MRes Medical Physics and Bioengineering
  • MRes Telecommunications

*Your offer letter from UCL will state if you require an ATAS clearance.

I am a current student extending my visa, do I need an ATAS clearance?

If you are studying in one of the areas listed above, you will be required to obtain an ATAS clearance in order to extend your visa. This includes students enrolled on a BEng or BSci three year undergraduate programme wishing to switch to a four-year MEng or MSci undergraduate programme.

If you are a research student who needs further time to complete your studies please be aware that FCO will now only issue an ATAS clearance for an additional six months and your application for a Tier 4 student visa can only be supported for that period.

How can I obtain an ATAS certificate?

The application is free of charge and is completed online at the FCO website.

In order to apply for an ATAS certificate, you will need to have been made an offer to study at UCL and should not apply for ATAS until you have received your offer letter. The offer letter will contain all the information required from UCL to complete your ATAS application.

An ATAS certificate is specific to both the programme of study you intend to undertake and the university you plan to attend. If you have an offer from another university and are undecided as to which offer you will accept you need to apply for separate ATAS certificates.

If you are planning to attend research programmes at UCL, you are recommended to make an early contact with your prospective supervisors, as a brief synopsis of your research proposal needs to be included in your offer letter.

If you are coming to UCL to attend one of the four-year undergraduate, Master's of Research or Master's programmes listed above, you need to visit your departmental website to ascertain what optional courses are available to study, as the optional courses that you intend to take will need to be listed on the online application. Core courses for all the programmes listed above have been passed to the FCO.

You need to obtain an ATAS certificate prior to applying for your Tier 4 student visa.

What do I need to do at enrolment?

If you require an ATAS clearance, you need to present the original certificate to UCL when you enrol.

You can find further details on the enrolment process on the New Students website.

Page last modified on 25 jun 14 14:01