Information for Counsellors and Teachers


Applying to UCL

Applying to UCL

Applications for undergraduate study at UCL (including those from outside the UK) must be made online through UCAS.

Students are welcome to apply for more than one UCL programme. Please remember though that each programme (rather than each institution) is counted separately, so if a student applies to two UCL programmes that will take up two of their five permitted choices on the UCAS form.

Applications to the UCL International Foundation Year and the Pre-Sessional English Courses are made directly via the website (not via UCAS)

How to choose a programme

UCL has hundreds of undergraduate programmes. They include single subjects, combinations, vocational programmes, and interdisciplinary options.

A full list can be found here.

If you have students who are undecided or are looking to explore a new subject area, we have many interesting programmes apart from the conventional (and often oversubscribed) programmes. We have identified these as ‘do something different’ programmes and collated them in the list below. Together they represent some of our newest, most ground-breaking programmes, offering routes into highly rewarding careers.


Is my student eligible to apply?

UCL is a popular university – for 2021 entry we received more than of 68,000 applications. Given the competition for places, our entry requirements are challenging and in order to be considered students must have met or be predicted to meet the minimum requirements for the programme they are interested in.

We therefore recommend that students only apply to programmes for which they meet the requirements. 

Each of our programmes has specific requirements and those requirements are stated on the programme information pages of our website here.

You can find the requirements for students offering qualifications other than A levels and the IB within the above pages by selecting the relevant country from the International applications tab.

If the High School you work for does not offer a qualification recognized by UCL for direct entry, your students would be considered for the UCL International Foundation year.

UCL offers Pre-Sessional English courses for UG applicants with a UCL conditional offer.

How we select applicants

We take a holistic approach when making decisions on applications and look at:

  • Qualifications (actual marks achieved at point of application and predicted final marks)
  • Personal statement
  • Reference from the school
Programmes with additional requirements: aptitude tests

European Social and Political Studies / International Social and Political Studies

If your student meets (or is expected to meet) our entry criteria they will receive an email inviting them to an online EISPS Admissions day, which they will be expected to attend. Applicants taking a gap year are also expected to attend an Admissions Day.

The Admissions Day provides an opportunity for students to find out more about the structure of the degree programme and meet academic staff and current students. 

Please note that a limited number of exceptional candidates may be given an offer on the basis of their UCAS form alone, during the first stage of selection.

The Thinking Skills Assessment (TSA) test

In addition to attending an EISPS Admissions Day, students will be required to sit the online Thinking Skills Assessment test for UCL Thinking Skills Assessment (TSA). There will be two sittings of the online test - one in January and one in March – and students will be required to register for one of these. Exact dates will be confirmed at  https://www.admissionstesting.org/for-test-takers/thinking-skills-assessment/tsa-ucl/dates-and-costs/


We require all applicants for our LLB programmes to take the LNAT (National Admissions Test for Law)

The LNAT measures the verbal reasoning skills at the heart of legal education including, amongst others: comprehension; analysis; induction and deduction. It’s a computer-based test and can be taken all around the world. You can find out where the nearest test centre is to your school here.

The LNAT is a 2 part test. In the first part students have to answer multiple choice questions based on passages of text. The second part involves writing an essay (choice of 3 questions).

Students receive a mark out of 42 which is known as the LNAT score. We do not have a benchmark or minimum score required for the LNAT. The majority of successful candidates usually score in the region of 22 or above.

Offers can be made to applicants who score lower when all other elements of their application, including the LNAT essay, are particularly strong. Conversely, a high score in the LNAT is not a guarantee of an offer as applications are considered on the basis of all the information provided (including the academic profile, personal statement, reference, LNAT score and essay).

Students applying for the LLB with another European Legal System may be called for interview if the department is considering making an offer.  Where possible a week’s notice of an interview date is given. If the date offered clashes with mock-exams or something equally important at school then efforts will be made to reschedule. All interviews will take place via Microsoft Teams and will last about 30 minutes.  The interview will include a section conducted in the relevant language for the programme applied for.


For the 2021/22 admissions cycle candidates must sit the BMAT in November 2021 (exact date to be confirmed shortly). 

Cambridge Assessment Admissions Testing (which runs the BMAT test) is monitoring the situation with the spread of Novel Coronavirus very closely. To see the latest updates and to find out if the BMAT test is affected , please visit the dedicated COVID-19 webpage.

Useful BMAT preparation advice can be found here: https://www.admissionstesting.org/Images/238518-bmat-preparation-guide.pdf

We do not use a cut-off score for BMAT but as a guide you may be interested to see the average scores for both UCL applicants and offer holders in the most recent application cycle:

Average BMAT scores for UCL Medicine applicants

Section 1: 4.8

Section 2: 4.8

Section 3: 3.1A

Average BMAT score for UCL applicants interviewed

Section 1: 5.7

Section 2: 5.8

Section 3: 3.4A

Average BMAT score for UCL Medicine offer holders

Section 1: 5.7

Section 2: 5.8

Section 3: 3.4A

Applicants will find it useful to refer to this guidance on gaining relevant experience for studying medicine in the time of Covid-19.

Due to the current Covid-19 pandemic, we will be running our panel interviews for Medicine online this cycle.  Each interview will last approximately 20 minutes and will have two interviewers present.  They will ask a series of structured questions and provide a score for the responses given. Those applicants who are invited to interview will be provided with further information about the online platform, timings and example questions. In the meantime, we suggest that students review information about interview preparation on the Medical Schools Council website. On this website they have also provided some information about online interviews.

Our planned interview dates will be listed below when available. Applicants are asked to keep us regularly notified of dates that they are unavailable during our interview season. Notification should be sent by email (using the subject line 'Unavailable for interview') to undergraduate-admissions@ucl.ac.uk. Applicants will need to include their full name, UCAS ID (and UCL student number) and the dates from the below list that they would not be available. It is not necessary to provide a reason for being unavailable, but by contacting us in advance this will ensure that, if selected for interview, we can offer a date that your student is able to attend.  Please note that it is not possible for us to reschedule interviews and we do not make any offers for Medicine without an interview.

We advise candidates to monitor their Junk Folder and the UCL Applicant Portal for emails from UCL. If invited to interview we expect acknowledgment of attending within 5 calendar days. If a candidate does not confirm that they are attending, or the interview is not confirmed within the above time frame, the interview spot will be given to another candidate.

Planned Interview Dates for Overseas/EU candidates - to be confirmed. 

Planned Interview Dates for Home/UK candidates - to be confirmed. 

As entry to Medicine is so very competitive it is worth bearing in mind that we offer several other programmes in medically related areas:

Applied Medical Sciences BSc

Cancer Biomedicine BSc

Medical Innovation and Enterprise BSc

Medical Sciences and Engineering BSc

Nutrition and Medical Sciences BSc

Pharmacy MPharm

Pharmacy with Integrated Pre-registration Training MPharm

Population Health BSc

Sport and Exercise Medical Sciences BSc

It is also worth noting that none of the above programme have quotas on the number of international students they can accept.

Programmes with additional requirements: portfolio


Architecture applicants who we judge to meet the entry requirements are asked to share their work with us as follows:

·         Architecture BSc and Architecture MSci applicants will be invited to submit an assessment task, responding to a brief. The assessment task must be uploaded via the Applicant portal. The brief for the task changes every year and we are looking for a quick, creative and spontaneous response.

·         Architectural and Interdisciplinary Studies BSc and Engineering and Architectural Design MEng applicants will be invited to upload a small portfolio of up to 10 images of their creative work.

On the basis of these tasks some candidates will be shortlisted for an online interview.

If invited to interview, students are asked to provide a short personal statement outlining why they would like to study architecture at UCL. They also need to prepare a portfolio of creative and original work.

For the portfolio we are interested in seeing a student’s ability to think creatively, intellectually and three-dimensionally, and to draw and use different media.  This may include sketches, drawings, photography, paintings, sculpture, ceramics, models, product design, computer code, fashion design, lighting design and jewellery.

We particularly like to see work completed outside the school curriculum and are interested in seeing personal sketchbooks and unfinished work. 

Fine Art


All applicants are required to submit one portfolio for inspection by the entrance examiners.


All applicants must pay an inspection fee of £15 or US$20. The handling fee is not returnable.

Once a student has submitted their UCAS application, they will be sent a link to Slideroom (please note that this may take a few days, whilst UCAS transfers the application to us). Applicants should submit up to twenty images with each image no larger than 5mb. Titles should be included for each image including the date the work was made, size and materials. Applicants with time-based or performance elements to their work may include a showreel with a maximum duration time of five minutes, no larger than 500mb. We also encourage applicants to upload a short video featuring pages from sketchbooks. 

Applicants must upload their portfolio to Slideroom by the published deadline (date for 2022 entry to be confirmed). Portfolios will be reviewed in early February.

Please note that if portfolios are not sent in the specified format, they will not be viewed and the application will be rejected. Portfolios will not be viewed without payment of the Portfolio Inspection Fee. The inspection fee is not returnable.


Shortlisted applicants will be invited for interview. Interviews take place in late February or early March.

If selected for interview, your student will be sent a date and time.

Programmes with additional requirements: interview


Most UK-based shortlisted applicants are invited to an online interview, where they talk to tutors for around twenty minutes. On the day of the interview, in the morning, candidates will be emailed a short piece of poetry or prose, to write a short essay, highlighting everything that they find interesting or noteworthy in the text.  

Most applicants from outside the UK will be considered without an interview. Those who are actively under consideration may be contacted for further information or asked to complete a questionnaire.

In some cases, UK and non-UK students receive offers without being interviewed.


Applicants for 2021 entry will be contacted by the School of Pharmacy by email about an online test, which is to be taken by all candidates.

Programmes with additional requirements: Arts and Sciences

Due to the unique nature of the Arts and Sciences programmes we understand it may not possible for students to provide a personal statement that reflects the student's interest in this degree in addition to their other UCAS choices. Students should be encouraged to write what is most appropriate to the majority of courses they are applying to. This will be taken into account and we shall not look at the main UCAS statement. If a student is eligible, they will be asked to complete a questionnaire.

What are we looking for in applicants?

We are looking for evidence that applicants have academic ability along with a deep and demonstrable interest in the subject they are applying to. Their motivation and enthusiasm should come across, particularly the ways in which they have extended their learning beyond the classroom.

Some understanding of what the chosen programme of study involves is useful as it shows that students have done some research. We also look for an indication that students have developed transferable skills such as critical thinking, communication and time management and that they are able to undertake independent learning.

Finally, the potential to contribute both in and outside of class is important as we encourage students to make the most of the many opportunities being a UCL student affords them.

Personal statement guidance

Once we have checked a student’s eligibility for the programme, and that they are expected to meet our entry requirements, we use the personal statement in the following way:

  •  As an element to select or deselect candidates
  • To identify those to take to the next stage of the selection process
  • At interview

There are further tips on writing personal statements including structure, content and avoiding pitfalls on UCAS.

Remember that no matter how good the personal statement, from it cannot compensate for predicted grades below our minimum entry requirements. 

Our Director of Admissions recently contributed some top tips to The Times and the Head of Undergraduate Admissions has created a great video on Applying to UCL via UCAS. We also have Personal Statement guidance for students here.

And this article offers a useful student perspective and contains some excellent tips on practical steps that prospective applicants can take to continue to boost their application during the pandemic.  


We view the reference as an important element of the application and encourage teachers and counsellors to make sure the reference provided is as accurate and thorough as possible. A video guide of our reference advice can be found here. 

The reference can be written by a counsellor or a subject teacher or whoever else writes UCAS references at your school. Whatever the case we encourage a collaborative approach to reference writing. We welcome multi-voiced references featuring comments from a combination of teachers, advisors or counsellors as this can often provide the most well-rounded picture of a student.

What to include:

  • Applicant’s academic performance and potential for success in higher education
  • Suitability for chosen subject plus attitude, motivation and commitment
  • Skills and qualities and current / past achievements that connect to the chosen subject area
  • How the applicant compares with others in their class
  • Achievements, work experience and extra-curricular activities that relate to their chosen programme
  • Any contextual information which might warrant special consideration
  • Any mitigating factors that might affect the applicant’s performance

Predicted grades:

  • Explain discrepancies
  • Be honest and clear
  • Mention obstacles the applicant has faced

Useful guidance for reference writing on the UCAS website here

Things to consider
  • All applications which we receive by the main UCAS deadline, 26 January for 2022 entry, will be given equal consideration. Applicants for Medicine must apply by the early deadline – 15 October.
  • Not all programmes are willing to consider resits from A level applicants. If in doubt please check directly with the relevant programme contacts.  
  • We do not participate in UCAS Clearing.