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Advice and signposting for prospective students from Japan

The Chōshū Five, courtesy of Nippon.com and the Hagi Museum
Monument to the first Japanese students at UCL, in our Japanese Garden
Fragments of Memory by Bouke de Vries in our Japanese Garden

Over 150 years of history: Chōshū and Satsuma clan students

Our first Japanese students were five young samurai of the Chōshū clan. They were smuggled out of the country because travel abroad was forbidden during the Edo period. They enrolled in 1863 and were placed into the care of Professor Alexander Williamson (1824–1904), who also taught analytical chemistry to four of them.

At the time, UCL was the only university in the UK to accept students irrespective of race or religion. Itō Hirobumi eventually became Japan's first Prime Minister, in 1885. He established the cabinet system of government in Japan and drafted the constitution of 1890. The other students made similarly significant contributions to the transformation of Japan: in government, finance, the railways, and education.

Two years after the Chōshū group's arrival, 19 young samurai from the Satsuma clan followed. 14 enrolled at UCL. They also went on to hold major positions in Japanese public and commercial life. Mori Arinori, for example, became Japan's first minister of education. Machida Hisanari became the first director of the Tokyo National Museum.

Today, we have over 250 students from Japan on a wide range of programmes, in addition to research collaboration with Japanese universities and other institutions. We also have an active Japan student society and an alumni club.

Student life

Bachelor's degrees

Introduction

Most bachelor's degrees in the UK are three years in duration (e.g. BA, BSc, BEng, LLB).

For some subjects UCL also offers four-year programmes. This is usually a bachelor's degree with an integrated master's (e.g. MSci, MEng) or a year abroad.

We offer very few programmes with a placement year for three main reasons. Firstly, because programmes with a single or limited amount of fixed (i.e. guaranteed) placement options are unlikely to be the best fit for all students, and your preferences may change after studying the subject at university level for two years. Secondly, because you may subsequently decide to work in a field that is not among the available placement options. Thirdly, because the summer vacation between each year of study is a long one, from June until October, and our extensive careers support and links to industry will help you find summer placements and vacation schemes that align with your ambitions.  

A UK degree is comprised of modules, which are courses on a specific topic. Each module has its own lectures, classes, tutorials, labs, and so on. Your degree programme will specify a set of compulsory and optional modules over its duration. Our size, history, and multidisciplinary structure means that we can offer a uniquely wide selection.


Application process

All UK bachelor's degree applications are made via UCAS, a centralised application portal. It allows you to apply to up to five programmes at UK universities, but you can submit only one personal statement. It also requires final or predicted grades and a teacher's reference.

If you are successful and yet to complete your final exams, you will receive a conditional offer. This will become unconditional once we have received your results.

A small number of programmes require additional documents, tests, or a portfolio. This can change year-to-year and will be indicated on the programme page in the prospectus.


Entry requirements

Our grade requirements are high, but UCAS gives you five programme options, so if your predicted grades are in line with the minimum, we encourage you to apply.

Grade and subject requirements for A Levels and IB Diploma are listed on each programme page in the prospectusEquivalent qualifications can be viewed by selecting a country in the same section.

The Upper Secondary School Leaving Certificate from Japan is not accepted as an entrance qualification. In general, applicants require one of the following:

  • An accepted international school leaving qualification, e.g. A Levels, IB Diploma, French Baccalauréat, AP.
    • If you have US qualifications such as APs and ACTs, you should choose USA in our prospectus to see the exact entry requirements for that programme; for the French Baccalauréat choose France, etc.
  • A UK university-based foundation course accepted by UCL, e.g. our Undergraduate Preparatory Certificate (UPC).
  • Completion of one year of a bachelor's degree (gakushi) at a recognised university with (equivalent to upper-second class UK grades):
    • S–F/A+–F MARK SCHEME
      • Bachelor's from a top-20 institution, with at least 50% of credits achieved at grade B or above.
      • Bachelor's from any other recognised institution, with at least 50% of credits achieved at grade A or above.
    • A–F MARK SCHEME
      • Bachelor's from a top-20 institution, with at least 50% of credits achieved at grade C or above.
      • Bachelor's from any other recognised institution, with at least 50% of credits achieved at grade B or above.
    • A–D MARK SCHEME
      • Bachelor's from a top-20 institution, with at least 50% of credits achieved at grade B or above.
      • Bachelor's from any other recognised institution, with at least 50% of credits achieved at grade.

Deadlines

  • If applicable, your school's internal deadline should take precedence
  • Medicine MBBS BSc or applications that include programmes at Oxford or Cambridge: 15 October (18:00 GMT)
  • All other programmes for equal consideration: 25 January 2023 (always late January, changes annually)

Post-deadline vacancies, Adjustment and Clearing

If a programme has places after the deadline, it will remain listed on UCAS. This typically applies to very few programmes at UCL.

UCAS Adjustment gives you the chance to apply for open programmes in addition to the ones on your original application if you have outperformed your offer requirements. UCAS Clearing is similar, but for when you have missed the offer requirements for your firm (i.e. first preference) and insurance programme choices.

The vast majority of UCL programmes will not open for applications via Adjustment or Clearing. More information will be published on our results pages in the spring.


Tips

PERSONAL STATEMENT
  • Your personal statement is the most important part of your application.
    • Your grade requirements are just a minimum threshold.
    • You will not be able to edit it after submitting your application.
    • You can only submit one personal statement, so it should not refer to the content that is unique to a single programme. 
      • If a programme is unusual, you may be able to submit an additional personal statement or similar essay to do your application justice. This will be specified in its prospectus entry on the university website.
  • A personal statement for UK universities is different from a USA college essay. We want you to have a fulfilling student life, and our location, clubs, and societies will help, but for the personal statement we are primarily concerned with how you have engaged with your academic subject(s). 
    • You should devote at least 75% of your personal statement to your academic area(s) of interest, demonstrating enthusiasm and development with examples.
    • The remaining portion should be about extra-curricular activities not related to your academic field. In general, it is best to use examples that demonstrate desirable qualities for your field or in general, as leadership, teamwork, perseverance, and self-motivation.
  • A UCL degree is research-based, and the curriculum changes every year – you should be aware of and enthused by this.
  • Start undertaking experiences and learning about your field early. You might not write about all these experiences, but they will inform your decisions and future career.
  • Make reflective notes as you undertake extra-curricular experiences and learning.
  • Where you undertake your experience is unimportant, as is its duration. We are concerned with what you learned and how it developed your interest in the subject.
  • Leave time to write multiple drafts if possible, and to review thoroughly.

Further advice is available from UCAS.

CHOOSING PROGRAMMES AND UNIVERSITIES
  • Does the university and department have a good international reputation?
  • Is the location a good fit for you? Central London is convenient for your career – insight events, internships, assessment days, and interviews are likely to take place in London for any large company. It is also great for food, culture, and sports. But it is not quiet or pastoral.
  • Consider the content of programmes, especially the module options after your first year. 
    • Our location, size, and multidisciplinary structure means that we can offer a uniquely wide selection.
  • Look at the career destinations of previous graduates of the programme, either in the prospectus or on the departmental website.
  • Are there other, less competitive programmes that offer a route into the same career? You do not need a LLB to become a solicitor or barrister, for example.
    • Check if we offer other programmes in the subject area. A slightly different programme or combination may be a better fit, and less competitive.
  • Talk to staff and students directly: at open days, offer holder days, or one-to-one appointments.
Master's degrees

We offer hundreds of master's degrees across the academic spectrum, based on cutting-edge research.

Almost all are one year in duration and begin in September. 


Entry requirements

Our master's degrees require either an upper or lower second-class bachelor's degree or equivalent from a recognised university. Some programmes may be flexible in this regard if you have several years of relevant work experience.

Applicants already in possession of a master's degree or doctorate are eligible for all programmes.

Subject background, experience, and other requirements will be indicated on the programme page in the prospectus

Lower second-class (2:2) equivalent
S–F/A+–F MARK SCHEME
  • Bachelor's from a top-20 institution, with at least 50% of credits achieved at grade B or above.
  • Bachelor's from any other recognised institution, with at least 50% of credits achieved at grade A or above.
A–F MARK SCHEME
  • Bachelor's from a top-20 institution, with at least 50% of credits achieved at grade C or above.
  • Bachelor's from any other recognised institution, with at least 50% of credits achieved at grade B or above.
A–D MARK SCHEME
  • Bachelor's from a top-20 institution, with at least 50% of credits achieved at grade B or above.
  • Bachelor's from any other recognised institution, with at least 50% of credits achieved at grade A.
Upper second-class (2:1) equivalent
S–F/A+–F MARK SCHEME
  • Bachelor's from a top-20 institution, with at least 50% of credits achieved at grade A or above.
  • Bachelor's from any other recognised institution, with at least 50% of credits achieved at grade S/A+.
A–F MARK SCHEME
  • Bachelor's from a top-20 institution, with at least 50% of credits achieved grade B or above.
  • Bachelor's from any other recognised institution, with at least 50% of credits achieved at grade A.
A–D MARK SCHEME
  • Bachelor's from a top-20 institution, with at least 50% of credits achieved at grade A.
  • Bachelor's from any other recognised institution, with at least 75% of credits achieved at grade A.

Application process

You can apply directly from the programme page in the prospectus.

We normally require a personal statement, details of 1–2 referees, and your transcript(s). Some applicants also include a CV.

A small number of programmes require additional documents, tests, or a portfolio. This will be indicated on the programme page in the prospectus.


Deadlines

The deadline for applications to most programmes is 31 March, but some will close earlier. This will be indicated on the programme page in the prospectus.

The deadline for UCL accommodation for graduate students is 30 June.

Funding deadlines may be earlier than degree application deadlines – you should check as early as possible, ideally in September or October.


Tips

Are you motivated?
  • Why are you applying for a programme in this field? Tell us about how you became interested.
    • It may seem obvious, e.g. if it’s in the same field as your bachelor’s degree, but the content will not be the same, or the level. Tell us why you want to continue if this is the case.
  • Are you a member of any relevant professional bodies, societies, or networks?
  • Know the content of the programme. Even programmes with the same title can vary across different universities.
  • Talk to staff and students directly: on open days, offer holder days, or one-to-one appointments.
Are you choosing the right programme for your future ambitions?
  • Know the content of the programme. Even programmes with the same name can vary across different universities.
  • Familiarise yourself with departmental research and areas of expertise.
  • How will you apply your learning? What do you plan to do afterwards?
After you have applied
  • Talk to your referee(s) about your application and tell them to expect an email from UCL.
  • Reviewing your application thoroughly takes time – usually 1–2 months, and sometimes longer. 
Teacher training

The UCL Institute of Education (IOE) is a global leader in teacher education and has been rated as the world number one for education for eight years in a row.

Our teacher training programmes (PGCE) are rated Outstanding by Ofsted (UK Office for Standards in Education, Children's Services and Skills) across all subjects and phases. IOE teacher-educators are actively engaged in innovative education research, with many of them writing textbooks on every aspect of teaching.

We offer programmes to prepare you for each stage of teaching:

You can apply directly from the programme page in the prospectus.

PhD and research programmes

Start a dialogue

You must begin by establishing a dialogue with a prospective supervisor. A speculative application without prior communication will be unsuccessful, regardless of your funding.

Start by sending an informal research enquiry either to an individual academic, or to the departmental contact. The process varies by department – get in touch if you are unsure. You can find a list of graduate tutors and research administrators on our Doctoral School website.

We receive many research enquiries, and they are reviewed alongside teaching and other day-to-day responsibilities. It is important to explore your prospective supervisor’s interests thoroughly before you contact them, and to communicate clearly and concisely.

Academics at UCL undertake a lot of interdisciplinary research – you should consider various departments, academics, and research groups, not just the most obvious.

On our Institutional Research Information System (IRIS) you can search for academics and centres of research by keyword and filter the results.

You can also search Discovery, our online research repository. If you identify a paper that interests you, it is possible that one of the authors could be a suitable supervisor. 

Your email should include:

  • Your qualifications (with institution, overall grade/classification, and year of graduation).
  • A summary of your research experience.
  • A summary of any published research.
  • How you plan to fund your studies, or if you need advice in this area.

Research proposal

Research proposals are common in the arts and social sciences, but not usually required in STEM, where research is usually undertaken in groups. If applicable, you should clearly describe the topic, aims, objectives, and methodology as concisely as possible. In the first instance it should be around 500 words.

If a prospective supervisor is interested, you can refine and develop your initial outline to produce a final proposal.

A proposal should include:

  • A clear and descriptive working title.
  • Some background, rationale, and any relevant issues.
  • Your aims and objectives.
  • A description of your theoretical framework and methodological approach.
  • Sources or data you plan to use.
  • What valuable and useful knowledge will come out of your research.

Application

An application is the final stage of the process and should only be submitted when requested, or when you have agreed on a research project with your supervisor.


Decision

You will be able to track the progress of your application via the UCL Applicant Portal – details will be sent to you when your application has been received.

Recognised institutions

Top-20 institutions

  • Chiba University 
  • Gunma University 
  • Hiroshima University 
  • Hokkaido University 
  • Japan Advanced Institute of Science and Technology 
  • Kanazawa University 
  • Keio University 
  • Kobe University 
  • Kyoto University 
  • Kyushu University 
  • Nagoya University
  • Nara Institute of Science and Technology
  • Okayama University
  • Osaka University
  • Tohoku University
  • Tokyo Institute of Technology
  • Tokyo Medical and Dental University
  • University of Tokyo
  • University of Tsukuba
  • Waseda University

Other institutions

  • Aichi University of Education
  • Akita University
  • Ehime University
  • Fukui Medical School
  • Fukui University
  • Fukuoka University of Education
  • Fukushima University
  • Gifu University
  • Graduate University for Advanced Studies
  • Hamamatsu University School of Medicine
  • Hirosaki University
  • Hitotsubashi University
  • Hokkaido University of Education
  • Hyogo University of Teacher Education
  • Ibaraki University
  • Iwate University
  • Joetsu University of Education
  • Kagawa Medical School
  • Kagawa University
  • Kagoshima University
  • Kitami Institute of Technology
  • Kobe University of Mercantile Marine
  • Kochi Medical School
  • Kochi University
  • Kumamoto University
  • Kyoto Institute of Technology
  • Kyoto University of Education
  • Kyushu Institute of Design
  • Kyushu Institute of Technology
  • Mie University
  • Miyagi University of Education
  • Miyazaki Medical College
  • Miyazaki University
  • Muroran Institute of Technology
  • Nagaoka University of Technology 
  • Nagasaki University
  • Nagoya Institute of Technology
  • Nara University of Education
  • Nara Women's University
  • Naruto University of Education
  • National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies (GRIPS)
  • National Institute of Fitness and Sports in Kanoya
  • Niigata University
  • Obihiro University of Agriculture and Veterinary Medicine
  • Ochanomizu University
  • Oita Medical University
  • Oita University
  • Osaka Kyoiku University
  • Osaka University of Foreign Studies
  • Otaru University of Commerce
  • Saga Medical School
  • Saga University
  • Saitama University
  • Shiga University
  • Shiga University of Medical Science
  • Shimane Medical University
  • Shimane University
  • Shinshu University
  • Shizuoka University
  • Tokyo Gakugei University
  • Tokyo Geijutsu Daigaku (Tokyo University of the Arts)
  • Tokyo University of Agriculture and Technology
  • Tokyo University of Foreign Studies
  • Tokyo University of Marine Science and Technology
  • Tokyo University of Mercantile Marine
  • Tottori University
  • Toyama Medical and Pharmaceutical University
  • Toyama University
  • Toyohashi University of Technology
  • University of Electro-Communications
  • University of Library and Information Science
  • University of the Ryukyus
  • University of Tokushima
  • University of Yamanashi
  • Utsunomiya University
  • Wakayama University
  • Yamagata University
  • Yamaguchi University
  • Yamanashi Medical University
  • Yokohama National University

This is an indicative list. Please contact us for clarification or if your university is not listed.

English language requirements

You do not need evidence of your English language proficiency at the time of your application – it can be submitted later.

The required level of English varies and will be listed on each programme page: Standard, Good, or Advanced.

Types of evidence, accepted tests, and grade requirements for each level are listed on our English language requirements pages.

If your application is successful and you did not include evidence of your English language proficiency, you will receive a conditional offer.

You will need to prove that you have the required level of English for your programme before you can enrol (and your offer is made unconditional, allowing you to apply for a visa). If this applies to you, we recommend booking a recognised English test by July, to allow time for us to process your results and for you to subsequently apply for a visa.

Pre-master's, pre-sessional, and English language support

Our International Pre-Master’s (IPM) is a preparatory course for international students who are aiming to study for a graduate degree at UCL or elsewhere in the UK. It is a stimulating and academically challenging course which provides you with the levels of English language and academic skills required to succeed at graduate level.

Our pre-sessional English courses are an intensive and academically challenging option normally intended for international students who are planning to study a graduate degree at UCL, but do not meet the English language requirement of their conditional offer.

We also offer a wide range of free English language and communication support during your studies. You can focus on areas that you seek to develop, ranging from written academic English to informal conversation.

Careers and alumni

We take your future ambitions seriously and provide you with the support you need to realise your full potential.

Our graduates are in-demand, and more than 800 employers attend our careers events every year. UCL is ranked among the top 20 universities worldwide for graduate employability in the QS Graduate Employability Rankings 2022

Every week, more than 20,000 jobs, internships and work experience opportunities are promoted on the myUCLCareers portal. Through the UCL Talent Bank, we can connect you directly to small-to-medium-sized employers who are actively recruiting UCL graduates. Our Japan Society also runs careers events.

Our specialist careers consultants offer advice tailored to your field of study and intended industry. They can support you with every aspect of applications. We also run employer-led coaching in areas such as leadership, negotiation, and interview skills; workshops and advice sessions to help with your applications; and dedicated internship programmes. Many of our services are available for three years after you leave.

We have an alumni community of more than 350,000 and our Bentham Connect tool will help you network and make new connections. This can be especially useful if you are new to the industry or country.

UCL Japan Club runs a variety of events for our alumni in Japan.

Accommodation

UCL accommodation

We offer accommodation to both undergraduates and postgraduates in our halls of residence (known as dormitories or hostels in some countries) and shared houses.

UCL accommodation is guaranteed for new international students if you apply by the deadline and meet a few other conditions.

We have single rooms, shared rooms, and studio apartments. Some are catered, with a restaurant inside the building, and others are self-catered, with access to a kitchen. Some are en-suite, while others have a shared bathroom.

The location varies. Some are on campus, while others are a short walk away (see layered map below).

Accommodation is assigned based on your preferences – you are asked to rank variables pertaining to room type.

Families

We have a limited amount of accommodation for couples and families

The Students' Union also maintains a page on accommodation options for couples and families.

For larger residences you should look to the private sector.

Deadlines
  • Undergraduate and non-degree students: 10 June
  • Postgraduate students: 30 June

Privately managed accommodation

Private halls of residence

London has a growing number of private student accommodation options. They typically operate in the same way as our halls of residence, but on a for-profit basis.

Private landlords

London has a large, diverse, and fast-moving private accommodation market. Most rental properties are advertised no earlier than one month before they are available. We recommend viewing properties in person before paying any deposits or signing a contract. Students often travel to London a little earlier to undertake viewings. 

Because UCL is conveniently located for most London Underground lines and many bus routes (see the Travel section below), there is no one optimal area to live in; you can live quite far in terms of distance from campus, while maintaining a short commuting time.

UCL can act as your rent guarantor

The University of London (UoL) Housing Services website has extensive advice, including a contract checking service, and property listings.

Sharing

Most students share an apartment or house. Common ways of finding people to share with include offer holder groups on various platforms, social media, mutual acquaintances, and via UoL Housing Services.


Childcare

In general, it is best to find childcare or a school that is conveniently located for your residence, as opposed to one that is close to UCL.

Childcare is available from the UCL Day Nursery on campus, or you can contact your local authority for private nurseries, day-care, or childminders.

For primary and secondary education, you can search for a local schoolIf your children are aged between 5 and 16 and in the UK as your dependants, they can attend state primary and secondary schools for free. However, schools may refuse places for children if they consider their stay in the UK to be too short. There are also private/prep school options across London.

Travel

Public transport

Our main campus in Bloomsbury is conveniently located for most of London because of its proximity to stations serving most London Underground (metro) lines, and nearby bus stops. This means that journeys can be deceptively short, relative to the actual distance. 

Google Maps and Apple Maps should give you accurate door-to-door journey times.


Cycling

Travelling to UCL on a privately owned or hired bicycle is easy. 

Google Maps and Apple Maps should give you cycle-friendly routes and journey times.

Showers and storage are widely available on campus.


Airports

UCL and central London are easily accessible by public transport and private hire vehicles from Heathrow and Gatwick. We do not offer a pick-up service.

Uber operates in London, and you will be able to start your journey using airport Wi-Fi. The app will advise you about where to wait in each terminal.

On weekdays and at times of high traffic, it may be quicker to take the Heathrow Express to Paddington station, before taking a taxi or Uber to your destination. The Uber pickup area at Paddington is the pre-booked section of the taxi rank.

Funding and scholarships

All scholarships administered by or linked to UCL can be found via our scholarships finder. 

The tool is not exhaustive, and many students receive funding from non-partner external sources, such as employers, private and corporate foundations, government departments, and NGOs. A few examples are listed below.

For partnership enquiries, contact Aameer Patel (a.x.patel@ucl.ac.uk).

Visits and events

We run regular university and department level events throughout the year, virtually and in person. If you have not yet applied, you can register your interest to hear about events relevant to your chosen field(s) of study.

You can also take a campus tour if you visit London.

Upcoming public exhibitions and other events we are attending in Japan will be displayed below.


Visas and immigration

Timeframe

A visa application usually takes 3–4 weeks. You normally begin the process on the GOV.UK website, before attending an appointment for biometrics and other checks at a local visa office.

If you have a conditional offer, you should allow for an extra 2–3 weeks, to allow us to process your documents and issue you with a CAS number. 

CAS

A Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) number is a unique 14-digit reference given to you by UCL, as your visa sponsor. It is required for your student visa application. 

You do not need to request a CAS. If you have firmly accepted a conditional or unconditional offer, UCL will email you around four months before the start date of your programme to confirm your details. Once your offer is unconditional and firmly accepted, and your details are confirmed, UCL will aim to issue your CAS within 5–10 working days, starting in July (i.e. no earlier than three months before your programme's start date).

CAS numbers are generated by the following offices:

  • Undergraduate Students: Admissions Office; Faculty of Laws; the Bartlett, Faculty of the Built Environment
  • Graduate Students: Admissions Office
  • Affiliate Students: Admissions Office

Part-time student visa

UCL does not support part-time student visas. This is primarily because this visa does not allow you to bring dependants, nor does it allow you to work in the UK.


Families

You can bring your husband, wife, unmarried partner, and children (under 18) to the UK with you as a Student visa dependant if one of the following applies:

  • You are studying a postgraduate course of 9 months or more.
  • You are a government-sponsored student and studying a course at any level of 6 months or more.

Your dependants can apply to enter the UK at the same time as you or they can apply separately later. If they do not apply at the same time as you, they should ensure that you have received your visa first. 


Help and advice

Only staff from our dedicated team are qualified to advise you on visa and immigration matters.

  • If you have already applied: use askUCL
  • If you have not applied: use this form
    Contacts