UCL English


Application Process

Applying for the BA in English at UCL is competitive. We receive over 1000 applications a year and usually make around 350 offers for the 100 places on the programme.

We assess applications by looking very carefully at the UCAS Form, including GCSE grades, and A Level predictions (or equivalents), the tutors’ reference, and the UCAS Personal Statement. We then shortlist the strongest candidates. Most shortlisted candidates are then invited to an online interview, where applicants talk to tutors for around twenty minutes and then write a short essay. We then make our final decisions based on a combination of all of the above criteria. In some cases, students receive offers without being interviewed.

    Given the large number of applications, it is unfortunately not possible for us to interview every candidate who is predicted to achieve our A Level requirement of AAA or equivalent (we normally shortlist around 400 applicants). We therefore place considerable weight on the UCAS Personal Statement when deciding who to invite for interview. Our advice for a strong personal statement is that it is subject focused. We do not recommend that you devote more than a sentence or two to extracurricular activities. You should use the statement clearly demonstrate that you are widely read, that you are passionate about studying English, and that you understand what this kind of degree involves. You should provide evidence that you can analyse the texts you talk about to a high level, showing us how you engage with the texts you have read in order to provide the admissions tutor with insights into your individual approach to thinking about literature. 

    Interviews (online)

    Candidates who are shortlisted for interview should not worry- the interview is not intended to be combative or stressful! This is primarily an opportunity for tutors to find out a little more about you and your reading interests, and although your tutors will seek to push you a little bit, and ask some academically searching questions, this is more an opportunity for you to talk about texts you enjoy and that you’ve been studying at school than a test of your wider knowledge. The best preparation for the interview is simply to:

    • Revise what you have been studying at school and the texts/authors mentioned in your personal statement
    • Make sure you have been reading in your spare time in the run up to the interview
    • Try not to worry about it!

    On the day of the interview, in the morning, Interviewees are emailed a poem or piece of prose. The requirement is for candidates to write a short essay (600 words max), highlighting everything that they find interesting or noteworthy in the text

    After an interview, we aim to give shortlisted candidates a final decision on their application as soon as possible, although unfortunately this may take a few weeks at the busiest times of the year. 

    Candidates applying from overseas

    Most Overseas candidates will be considered without an interview. If shortlisted, overseas students will be sent a short questionnaire, which asks many of the same questions that an interview would, and you will also be sent a piece of poetry or prose to comment on as well. There is no particular difference in application success rates between candidates who attend an online interview, and those who complete this questionnaire.

    Offer Holders

    Information about offer holder open days will be sent directly via email from the department.

    General information for all those with an offer from UCL can be found on the Undergraduate Offer Holders webpage.

    Further Information

    Additional information, including international entry requirements, can be found on the BA English prospectus page.

    If you have any further questions about the application process, please email Natasha Clark