Frequently asked questions

Your details

What is my ID number?

After you submit your application you will be sent your ID number by email with your invitation to use the applicant portal. If you are a new applicant to UCL, your ID number will begin with the digits 14. In the applicant portal, your number will be displayed in the footer of every page.

How can I change my details?

Once you have received your email invitation to access the applicant portal, you will be able to go in and update your address details. If you wish to make a change to your name, however, you will need to contact us as we may require supporting documentation.

Making an application

What are the different types of programmes UCL offers?

UCL offers a wide variety of programme types at both taught and research levels. Further information on the types of degrees available can be found on the relevant taught and research programme pages on UCL's website. 

How do I find the right programme to apply for?

First, decide whether you want to study for a taught, or for a research programme. You can view the different taught and research programmes on the UCL website. You can also look at the faculty and departmental pages for areas of interest and general information about the programmes.

Is there a deadline?

Some programmes do have an application deadline. You can check whether your chosen programme has a deadline on UCL's graduate pages. If it does, you must submit your application by 5.00 pm on the deadline date. All programmes that do not advertise a deadline are subject to the general UCL deadline of 1 August 2014. The deadline, if advertised, applies to your application and not to your references, although you are strongly encouraged to ensure your referees submit their references within two weeks of any advertised deadline.

Can I apply using an agent?

No. UCL does not deal with agents and expects all applicants to complete their applications themselves. We will not communicate with an agent regarding your application and we are unable to send email alerts regarding applications to agency email addresses.

Is there an application fee?

Yes, the fee is £50 for online taught programme applications and £75 for paper taught programme applications. Exceptions are the UCL Eastman Dental Institute and the UCL Slade School of Fine Art. The UCL Eastman Dental Institute's fees are £85 for online applications and £110 for paper applications. The Slade School of Fine Art's fees are £75 for online applications (it does not accept paper applications). Additionally, there are a small number of programmes that are exempt from the application processing fee (see below). Please note, the online application will not be submitted to UCL until the fee has been paid.

How can I pay the application fee?

The fee can only be paid online using a credit card for online applications. If you do not have a credit card you can ask someone else to make the payment for you.

Which programmes do not have an application fee?

Research level and MRes programmes are exempt from application fees. In addition, the following taught programmes are also exempt:

  • PG Cert CYP IAPT Management
  • PG Cert Child and Young Person IAPT Therapy
  • Int MA Economy, State and Society: Economics and Business
  • Int MA Economy, State and Society: Nation, History and Society
  • Int MA Economy, State and Society: Politics and Security
  • MSc Conservation for Archaeology and Museums
  • MSc ICT Innovation
  • MSc Brain and Mind Sciences
  • PG Dip Child and Young Person IAPT Therapy
  • PG Cert Clinical Ophthalmic Practice

What you need to provide with your application

What documents and supporting information do I need to include?

All applicants need to provide two references and a transcript. Research applicants must also provide a research proposal. Applicants for taught programmes in the Department of Economics, who have not undertaken an undergraduate degree in the UK, will also need to provide GRE scores. If you are applying for MSc Speech and Language Sciences you will also need upload a work experience form, which you can find on the relevant prospectus entry.

Do my references have to be academic?

At least one of your references must be academic. You can substitute one professional reference for an academic one if you wish or you can supply two academic references.

What is a transcript?

A transcript is a breakdown of the modules you have studied in your degree and the marks received. Your university’s records office should be able to provide this to you or you may be able to access it yourself online. If you are a current student you can still obtain a transcript of your marks to date.

What do I include in a research proposal?

A research proposal should contain information on your proposed area of research, your planned methodological approach and a summary of the research on this topic that has already produced. You can find detailed guidance for prospective graduate students on the UCL website. 

What is the GRE and how do I take it?

The GRE is an international standardised test of verbal, quantitative and analytical reasoning skills. You can take the test in many different centres throughout the world. Details of how to take the test along with information about practice papers can be found on the ETS website.

My transcript is not in English, do I have to provide a translation?

Yes. All documents need to be provided in English and officially translated.

Will you return documents to me?

No. You must not send to us anything that you require back. We will not return documents sent to us. If you are made an offer you will be required to send us official evidence of your degree award and you will receive information about how to go about doing this.

Can I defer my offer?

You may request to defer your offer for one year only. If your request is successful but you are still unable to attend the following year, you will need to make a new application. To request a deferral, please email Graduate Admissions, giving reasons for your request to defer.

What to expect after applying

When will I hear from you?

Within one working day of submitting your online application you will be contacted with your ID number and information about how to access the applicant portal. You can use the applicant portal to check if your referees have submitted references and to track the progress of your application.

When will I get a decision?

This can vary significantly, depending on a number of factors. In general, decisions on research applications take longer than applications to taught programmes, as they may be considered by more than one person. If your application is missing any item, such as a legible transcript or GRE scores (where relevant), it will only be considered once these are received. We aim to be able to provide you with a decision within seven weeks. For some programmes this may be much quicker. At busier times of the year the process may be slower.

Will I be invited to an interview?

Very few taught programmes invite applicants to interview. If you have applied to one of these, you may be asked to come for an interview. You may also be invited to an interview if you have applied for a research programme.

How will I find out what decision has been made?

Once a decision has been made you will be sent an email asking you to check the portal. You will see there what the decision is and if you have been made an offer you will see the details of it there. You can also respond to your offer (accepting or declining it) in the portal.

When do I need to respond to an offer?

We ask you to respond within four weeks, but this is not essential. If you need more time you can take longer and your offer will not be withdrawn. You do not need to contact us to tell us that you will not respond within the given period.

Fees and fee status

When will I know what fee status I have been classified as?

Your fee status is determined only at the point of offer if you are successful. The information about your classification and the exact fees due is included in your offer letter.

How do I appeal about my fee status?

Information about how your fee status is determined is available on the relevant pages of UCL's website. If, after reading this, you feel you have been classified incorrectly you can contact us and we will ask you to complete a fee classification questionnaire.

If you are a referee

How do I provide an online reference?

If you are asked to provide a reference, you will be sent an email containing a link to our reference system. This will give you the option to either complete an online form or or to download the form in Word to complete and upload.

I am being asked to log in but I don’t have a username or password

The link that was emailed to you should take you straight into your reference, as your access is embedded in the link. If you are being asked for a username and password then the entire link has not been used. It may be that your email provider has entered a gap in the URL. If you copy and paste the entire URL into your browser this should not happen.

Why can’t I attach an existing document to my online reference?

UCL asks all referees to submit a standard reference form, either by completing one online or by downloading it in Word version to complete and upload. With either option, as well as being asked some specific questions, you will be given a space to include a free statement. We ask all referees to complete this standard form to ensure all references are in the same format, allowing for fair and equal consideration of each candidate.

If I don’t want to provide a reference, how can I decline?

If you do not wish to provide a reference for an applicant, please use the link in the email that was sent to you and select the third option that appears on the screen, which allows you to decline. The applicant will be notified that you have chosen not to provide a reference and he or she will be able to choose a different referee.

Can an applicant see the reference I provide for them?

References are not automatically displayed to any applicant. However, if the applicant requests to see a reference as a Subject Access Request under the Data Protection Act, we would consider that request and act accordingly. If you tick the box to state you are happy for the applicant to see it, then we would allow him or her to see it. If you say you are not happy for the applicant to see his or her reference, however, we will contact you to ask for reasons. Please note that, under the terms of the DPA, even if you do not wish to release a reference we are obliged to do so, unless there is a compelling reason not to.

I have received more than one request for the same applicant for a different programme. Do I have to provide a new reference?

References are requested for each application to each programme. Whilst this may mean that you are occasionally asked to provide a second reference for the same applicant, we have this requirement so that references can be tailored specifically to the programme in question to the applicant’s benefit.

Technical questions and problems

How do I get back into an application I’ve started but not submitted?

Whenever you start or continue an application online, you are sent an email with a link in it that will take you back to that application. If you have not received an email, please check your junk mail folder and if you still cannot find it or have deleted it please contact us and we will resend it.

I have an error message on my application

If you see an error message on the screen while you are viewing your application that you do not understand, please take a screenshot and email it to us.

I can’t remember my password for my application

You can set up a new temporary password via the 'Forgotten Password' option on your application. You will be asked to enter some personal details to confirm your identity and a new temporary password will then be emailed to you.

How do I track my application?

After you have submitted your application, you will receive an email within 24 hours inviting you to the Applicant Portal, where you can see the progress of your application and find out the decision on it once it has been made. You can also see when your references have been received and change your referee if you need to. Please note that this time frame is approximate. Weekends and college closures will affect response times.

I’ve forgotten my password for the portal

In the Applicant Portal you will see a help link labelled “Graduate and Research Applicants”. This will outline how to log in and provide a link to change your password online if you have forgotten it.

I haven’t been invited to the portal

All applicants should be sent an invitation to the portal within 24 hours, but this period will be extended if you submit your application on a weekend or on a day when the university is closed. Occasionally, there may be a delay of a couple of days if there is a technical issue to fix. If you have been waiting for more than three working days for your invitation email, please first check your junk mail folder and if you have still not received an invitation, contact us.

The portal is showing an error message

If you see an error message in your on-screen application, please take a screenshot and email to us, remembering to include your ID number.

Unfortunately, this is not possible. If you have changed or amended your contact details with us then all correspondence will be sent to your new email address. Your username will, however, remain the email address you originally provided.

CASs and visa application

When will you send me my CAS?

For anyone starting a programme in September, we will send out CASs from early summer onwards. For anyone starting a programme of study at any other time of the year, we will send your CAS approximately three months before your start date.

How do I get my CAS?

Before we issue you with your CAS, we will invite you to check the details that are included in it first. You will receive an email inviting you to check your details in the portal. When you do this, you will either be able to verify that the details are correct or submit amendments by uploading a copy of your passport. Once you have verified that your details are correct, we will issue your CAS by email infive to ten working days. The CAS number will also appear on the portal.

What is the “Five Year Rule”?

In April 2012, the UK Border Agency introduced a new rule stating that nobody could study for more than five years at degree level on a Tier 4 visa. If the degree for which you currently hold an offer would take you over this five-year period you must inform us. There are some exceptions to the rule that may apply to you and you should check these the advice from the UKCISA.

Do I need an ATAS certificate?

Some of the programmes we offer require you to apply for an ATAS certificate before you can apply for a visa. If you require an ATAS certificate, your offer letter will state this. If you are a research applicant and require an ATAS certificate, your offer letter will also include an agreed summary of your research that you will need to include in your ATAS application.

Contact us

How can I contact the Admissions Office?

Please see the contacts page for details of how to contact us by email or phone.

How can I contact my department?

Please see our departments information page. Each department is listed alphabetically here.

Can someone else call you on my behalf?

We expect all applicants to make their own application and to communicate with us themselves regarding this. However, we understand that in some cases this is not possible if, for example, the applicant is travelling or living somewhere without reliable telephone and internet connection. In such cases, you may contact us to nominate a friend or family member to communicate in your behalf about your application. Due to data protection regulations, however, we can only do this with the applicant’s express permission. If you wish to nominate a friend or relative to communicate on your behalf you must email us, giving your name and ID number and the name of the person you are nominating. Please note that we do not deal with agents at all.

Re-applying and deferring

Can I apply for the same programme again this year?

No. If you have been unsuccessful for the current session you cannot be reconsidered for the same session. You can choose to apply to another programme if you wish

I want to apply again next year, do I need to send all my documents again?

Yes. If you make a new application for the following year you will need to send all supporting documentation again as documents are not carried over from one year to the next

How do I apply for another programme this year?

For each programme you wish to apply to you need to make an individual application. Each application needs to be supported with the relevant additional documentation and is subject to the application fee. Each application is considered separately.

Can I defer my offer?

You can request to defer an offer for one year only. If your deferral is agreed then you will be issued with a new offer for the following academic year. Please note that if you take up an offer in a following year it will be subject to the tuition fee for that year and not the year in which your offer was originally made. The new fee will be slightly higher.

Can I defer my offer for a second time?

No. A deferral can only be made for one year. If you are no longer able to take up your deferred offer and wish to be considered for the next year you will need to make a new application.