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Optional subject selection guide

Are you unsure which subjects to take on the UPC foundation year? This guide will help you decide the best optional subjects to take to enter your future undergraduate degree.

Advice for selecting the right UPC optional subjects


Here are some important factors to consider when choosing your UPC optional subjects:

Choose optional subjects relevant to your future degree

The UPC's aim is to prepare you for the undergraduate degree you want to study. You need to select the optional subjects that fit that degree's entry requirements.

You should select the subject you want to study at university as one of your two optional subjects. For example, if you want to study a biology degree you should select the biology subject. Otherwise, you should select the two subjects most relevant to that degree subject. 

Choose optional subjects that interest you 

Choose optional subjects that you have an interest in. Enthusiasm for the subject is crucial for a successful UCL foundation year.

Consider the entrance tests

Choose your entrance tests subjects carefully. These subjects will form the optional subjects of your UPC course.

You won't be able to change subjects later 

Changing your UPC subjects – once you have been made an offer – is not usually possible. However, we can make exceptions in circumstances where timetabling and student numbers allow.

Popular undergraduate degrees with recommended UPC optional subjects 


See below for a list of UCL undergraduate degree courses and their related UPC optional subjects. These are subjects on the UCL foundation year that we recommend you choose if you aim to study that degree. This list is not exhaustive.

UCL accepts the UPC for entry onto all undergraduate degrees, except:

  • Fine Art
  • Medical Sciences Engineering
  • Medicine

Check our undergraduate prospectus for entry requirements for other degree programmes and see what the A level subject requirements are. These will be the subjects you will need to take on the UPC.

Contact the UPC administrator if you’re unsure which subjects to take during your UCL foundation year.


A | B | C | E | G | H IL | M | | P | R | S | T | U |


A

UCL degree aimRecommended UPC optional subjects
Ancient History BAUPCH: Classical Civilisation: Literature, Philosophy and Politics and Modern European History and Politics
Ancient Languages BA

UPCH: Classical Civilisation: Literature, Philosophy and Politics and Modern European Culture

Also requires an ancient or modern language at grade A (see UPCH - MFL options, or an ancient and a modern language at GCSE at grade C or above.)

Ancient World BAUPCH: Classical Civilisation: Literature, Philosophy and Politics and Modern European Culture

Anthropology BSc

UPCH: Geography and the Built Environment and any other subject

UPCH students should be aware that a strong science background is desirable for this degree. 

UPCSE: Your choice

Applied Medical Sciences BSc

UPCSE: Chemistry and Biology
Archaeology BA / BSc

UPCH: Classical Civilisation: Literature, Philosophy and Politics and Modern European Culture or Geography and the Built Environment

UPCSE: Your choice

Architectural and Interdisciplinary Studies BSc

UPCH for Architecture: Visual Studies for Architecture & Academic Research: Approaches & Methods*; Geography and the Built Environment plus one other optional subject

*Compulsory UPC for Architecture subject

In addition to your application, you will also need to present a portfolio of artworks (PDFs preferred). You are expected to demonstrate existing art and design skills.

We recommend The Bartlett Summer School or The Slade Summer School before you start a UPC for Architecture course.

Architecture BSc / MSci

UPCH for Architecture: Visual Studies for Architecture & Academic Research: Approaches & Methods*; Geography and the Built Environment and Modern European Culture

UPCSE for Architecture: Visual Studies for Architecture & Academic Research: Approaches & Methods*; Mathematics and Physics

*Both UPCH and UPCSE students will take their respective Visual Studies for Architecture & Academic Research: Approaches & Methods compulsory subject during their UPC course.

In addition to your application, you will also need to present a portfolio of artworks (PDFs preferred). You are expected to demonstrate existing art and design skills.

We recommend The Bartlett Summer School or The Slade Summer School before you start a UPC for Architecture course.

Arts and Sciences BASc

UPCH: For Cultures and Societies pathways: either Economics or Mathematics plus one other optional subject*

*Students not taking Economics or Mathematics would be required to demonstrate a suitable level of science knowledge.

For Sciences and Engineering pathways: both Economics and Mathematics

UPCSE: Your choice

Astrophysics BScUPCSE: Mathematics and Physics

B

UCL degree aimRecommended UPC optional subjects
Biochemistry BScUPCSE: Chemistry and Biology
Biological Sciences BScUPCSE: Chemistry and Biology
Biomedical Sciences BSc

UPCSE: Chemistry and Biology

You will be expected to have studied mathematics in High School, at a GCSE level (grade B or 6) or equivalent.

C

UCL degree aimRecommended UPC optional subjects
Cancer Biomedicine BScUPCSE: Chemistry and Biology
Chemical Engineering BEngUPCSE: Mathematics and Chemistry
Chemistry BScUPCSE: Chemistry plus one other subject
Chemistry with Management Studies BScUPCSE: Chemistry plus one other subject
Civil Engineering BEngUPCSE: Mathematics and Physics
Classical Archaeology and Classical Civilisation BAUPCH: Classical Civilisation: Literature, Philosophy and Politics and Modern European Culture or Geography and the Built Environment
Comparative Literature BAUPCH: Modern European Culture and Classical Civilisation: Literature, Philosophy and Politics or Modern European History and Politics
Computer Science BScUPCSE: Mathematics plus one other subject

E

UCL degree aimRecommended UPC optional subjects
Earth Sciences BScUPCSE: Any two optional subjects
Economics and Business with East European Studies BAUPCH: Mathematics and EconomicsGeography and the Built Environment or Modern European History and Politics
Economics and Geography BSc (Econ)UPCH: Mathematics and Geography and the Built Environment
Economics and Statistics BSc (Econ)UPCH: Mathematics and Economics

UPCSE: Mathematics plus one other subject
Economics BSc (Econ)UPCH: Mathematics and Economics
Education Studies BAUPCH: At least one essay-based subject from the following selection: Classical Civilisation: Literature, Philosophy and PoliticsGeography and the Built EnvironmentModern European CultureModern European History and Politics

UPCSE: Any two optional subjects
Electronic and Electrical Engineering BEngUPCSE: Mathematics and Physics
Engineering and Architectural Design MEng

UPCSE for Architecture: Visual Studies for Architecture & Academic Research: Approaches & Methods*; Mathematics and Physics

*Compulsory UPC for Architecture subject

In addition to your application, you will also need to present a portfolio of artworks (PDFs preferred). You are expected to demonstrate existing art and design skills.

We recommend The Bartlett Summer School or The Slade Summer School before you start a UPC for Architecture course.

English BAUPCH: Modern European Culture; Modern European History and Politics; or Classical Civilisation: Literature, Philosophy and Politics
Environmental Geoscience BScUPCSE: Any two optional subjects
European Social and Political Studies BAUPCH: Modern European History and Politics and Mathematics for full Economics specialism 

G

UCL degree aimRecommended UPC optional subjects
Geology BSc
 
UPCSE: Any two optional subjects

Geography BA

Geography BSc

UPCH: Geography and the Built Environment plus one other subject
Geophysics BScUPCSE: Mathematics and Physics
Global Humanitarian Studies BScUPCH: Geography and the Built Environment or Modern European History and Politics plus one other subject

H

UCL degree aimRecommended UPC optional subjects
History (Central and East European) with Jewish Studies and Year AbroadUPCH: Modern European History and Politics plus one other subject
History and Philosophy of Science BScUPCH: Modern European History and Politics plus one other subject
History and Politics of the Americas BAUPCH: Modern European History and Politics plus one other subject
History, Politics and Economics BAUPCH: Mathematics (compulsory for the full Economics pathway) plus Modern European History and Politics or Economics

History of Art BA

History of Art, Materials and Technology BA

UPCH: Classical Civilisation: Literature, Philosophy and Politics and Modern European Culture.
Human Sciences BScUPSCE: Biology plus one other subject

I

UCL degree aimRecommended UPC optional subjects
Infection and Immunity BScUPCSE: Chemistry and Biology
Information Management for Business BSc

UPCH: Economics and MathematicsGeography and the Built Environment or Modern European History and Politics

Students not taking Mathematics on the UPC will need a GCSE (grade A or 7) or equivalent in Maths.

International Social and Political Studies BAUPCH: Modern European History and Politics
plus one other subject
Maths required for full Economics pathway

L

UCL degree aimRecommended UPC optional subjects
Language and Culture BAUPCH: Two subjects from: Classical Civilisation: Literature, Philosophy and PoliticsGeography and the Built EnvironmentModern European CultureModern European History and Politics
Languages and Cultural Studies

UCL offers study across a range of languages and associated cultural studies including: East European Studies; Film Studies; History; History of Art and Management Studies. Often no previous knowledge of the language is needed.

UPCH: Two subjects from: Classical Civilisation: Literature, Philosophy and PoliticsEconomicsGeography and the Built EnvironmentModern European CultureModern European History and Politics

Language with Film Studies BAUPCHMel: Modern European Culture and Classical Civilisation: Literature, Philosophy and Politics; or Modern European History and Politics
Law LLB

UPCH: Classical Civilisation: Literature, Philosophy and Politics and Modern European History and Politics.

You must be prepared to sit the LNAT shortly after beginning the UPCH in September. We offer guidance to UPCH students as part of the course.

Students interested in studying Law LLB should read 'applying to Law' before making a UPCH application. 

Linguistics BA

UPCH: Mathematics* and Modern European Culture or Classical Civilisation: Literature, Philosophy and Politics

UPCSE: Your choice*

*We recommend Mathematics for the Linguistics BA. It is a requirement if you wish to take the Experimental Psychology pathway.

M

UCL degree aimRecommended UPC optional subjects
Management Science BScUPCH: Mathematics plus one other subject
Mathematics BScUPCH: Mathematics and Economics

UPCSE: Mathematics plus one other subject
Mathematics with Economics BScUPCH: Mathematics and Economics

UPCSE: Mathematics plus one other subject
Mechanical Engineering BEngUPCSE: Mathematics and Physics
Media BAUPCH: Modern European Culture and Geography and the Built Environment
Medical Innovation and Enterprise BScUPSCE: Biology and Chemistry or Mathematics

N

UCL degree aimRecommended UPC optional subjects
Natural Sciences BScUPCSE: Optional subjects depend on chosen pathway
Neuroscience BScUPCSE: Chemistry and Biology
Nutrition and Medical Sciences BScUPCSE: Biology plus one other subject

 

P

UCL degree aimRecommended UPC optional subjects
Pharmacology BScUPCSE: Chemistry and Biology
Pharmacy MPharmUPCSE: Chemistry and Biology
Philosophy and Economics BAUPCH: Mathematics plus one other subject
Philosophy and History of Art BAUPCH: Modern European Culture and Classical Civilisation: Literature, Philosophy and Politics or Modern European History and Politics
Philosophy BAUPCH: Classical Civilisation: Literature, Philosophy and Politics
and Modern European Culture or Modern European History and Politics
Philosophy, Politics and Economics BScUPCH: Mathematics and Modern European History and Politics or Classical Civilisation: Literature, Philosophy and Politics
Physics BScUPCSE: Mathematics and Physics
Politics and International Relations BScUPCH: Modern European History and Politics plus one other subject
Politics, Sociology and East European Studies BAUPCH: Modern European History and Politics plus one other subject
Population Health BSc

UPCH: any subjects possible but Social Sciences related subjects preferable: Geography and the Built EnvironmentModern European History and PoliticsEconomics.

UPCSE: Biology and Chemistry or Mathematics

Professional Policing BScUPCH: Any two optional subjects

UPCSE: Any two optional subjects
Psychology and Language Sciences BSc

UPCH: Mathematics and either Classical Civilisation: Literature, Philosophy and PoliticsGeography and the Built EnvironmentModern European Culture or Modern European History and Politics

UPCSE: Mathematics and Biology or Physics

Psychology BSc

UPCSE: Biology and Chemistry; or Mathematics and Chemistry; or Mathematics and Biology 

Psychology with Education BSc

UPCH: Mathematics plus one other subject

UPCSE: Mathematics and/or Biology 

You will be expected to have studied mathematics in High School, at a GCSE level (grade B or 6) or equivalent.

R

UCL degree aimRecommended UPC optional subjects
Russian and History BAUPCH: Modern European History and Politics plus one other subject

S

UCL degree aimRecommended UPC optional subjects
Security and Crime Science BScUPCH: Any two optional subjects

UPCSE: Any two optional subjects
Social Sciences BSc

UPCH: Any two optional subjects

Social Sciences with Data Science BScUPCH: Any two optional subjects
Sociology BScUPCH: Geography and the Built Environment plus one other subject
Sociology and Politics of Science BSc

UPCH: Geography and the Built Environment plus one other subject

UPCSE: Any two optional subjects

Sport and Exercise Medical Sciences BScUPCSE: Biology plus one other subject
Statistics BSc

UPCH: Mathematics and Economics
 

UPCSE: Mathematics plus one other subject

Statistics, Economics and a Language BSc

UPCH: Mathematics and EconomicsGeography and the Built Environment or Modern European History and Politics

UPCSE: Mathematics plus one other subject

Statistics, Economics, and Finance BSc

UPCH: Mathematics and Economics

UPCSE: Mathematics plus one other subject

Statistics and Management for Business BSc

UPCH: Mathematics and EconomicsGeography and the Built Environment or Modern European History and Politics

UPCSE: Mathematics plus one other subject

T 

UCL degree aimRecommended UPC optional subjects
Theoretical Physics BScUPCSE: Mathematics and Physics

U

UCL degree aimRecommended UPC optional subjects
Urban Planning, Design and Management BScUPCH: Geography and the Built Environment plus one other subject
Urban Planning and Real Estate BScUPCH: Geography and the Built Environment
and Economics is recommended
Urban Studies BScUPCH: Geography and the Built Environment plus one other subject