Information for Counsellors and Teachers


How to apply 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.

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 2019 entry we received more than of 55,000 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.

How we selects 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

Applicants who meet the selection criteria and who are applying from within Europe will be invited to an assessment day on the UCL campus. During the assessment day applicants will sit the Thinking Skills Assessment Test and take part in a discussion group.

Those applying from beyond Europe will have a telephone interview and will be asked to submit an essay on a set topic, written under exam conditions.


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.  Wherever possible at least two weeks’ notice of an interview date is given, if the date offered clashes with mock-exams or something equally important at school efforts will be made to reschedule. All interviews take place at the Faculty and usually last about 30 minutes.  The interview will include a section conducted in the relevant language for that programme.


All applicants for our Medicine programme are required to sit the BMAT (Biomedical Admissions Test)

The BMAT is used to assess scientific aptitude and focuses on scientific abilities relevant to the study of medicine. The BMAT score a student achieves is used, along with other information in the UCAS application, to help us select candidates for interview.

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 last (2018/19) application cycle:

Average BMAT scores for UCL Medicine applicants

Section 1: 4.2

Section 2: 4.5

Section 3: 3.1A

Average BMAT score for UCL Medicine offer holders

Section 1: 4.9

Section 2: 5.2

Section 3: 3.3A

We do not make any offers for Medicine without an interview. All applicants, including those who live overseas, must therefore be prepared to attend an interview in London.

Our interview season begins in December and runs through March. January is usually the time that we interview overseas students. UK school-leavers are normally interviewed in February and March. However, it is possible for any applicant to be called to interview at any time during the season. Invitations to interview are issued on a rolling basis, with candidates normally being given two weeks’ notice.

Interviews usually last approximately 15-20 minutes and are conducted by a panel of 2-3 interviewers, including clinical and basic medical science staff, a senior medical student or ‘lay’ interviewer (e.g. Head of Sixth Form or current UCL Medical Student).

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 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 are shortlisted for 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

Once students have applied for Fine Art they will receive details on how to submit their portfolio. This can be in person (by booking a slot on one of three days in early February) or through an online portfolio system called Slideroom (the deadline for this is 30 January).

Shortlisted applicants will be invited for interview at the Slade School. If selected, your student will be expected to bring further examples of their work, including larger pieces, as well as their portfolio.

If a student is selected for interview they are invited on a specific day and time. 

Students who cannot attend the interview, but still want to be considered, can submit a revised (and potentially expanded) portfolio for consideration, or ask the interview panel to review the portfolio already submitted at the earlier stage.

Due to the high numbers of applicants and the difficulties of scheduling we do not offer phone or Skype interviews.

Programmes with additional requirements: interview


We will invite UK-based applicants who are actively under consideration for English BA to interview. After a 20 minute interview candidates will be asked to complete a 40 minute written assessment in the form of a critical commentary on an unseen passage of poetry or prose.

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.


There is an in-house selection test/interview.  It will be sent to students located outside the UK.

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?
  • Academic ability with a deep and demonstrable interest in the subject
  • Motivation and enthusiasm for study
  • Understanding of what the chosen programme involves
  • Transferable skills, critical thinking, communication, time management and independent learning
  • Potential to contribute both in and outside of class
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

Our Director of Admissions recently contributed some top tips to The Times.

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. 


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.

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, 15 January, 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.