Undergraduate prospectus 2021


A level, AS and GCSE qualifications

You are required to satisfy UCL's general entrance requirements listed below as well as the specific degree programme requirements outlined in our programme descriptions. 

We may issue conditional offers based on future examination performance; unless otherwise stated, any conditions for these must be fulfilled by 31 August 2020 for applications made in the 2020 UCAS Cycle, and 31 August 2021 for applications made in the 2021 UCAS Cycle.

A level qualifications

Depending on the degree programme, UCL makes offers in the range A*A*A–ABB. The requirements for individual programmes can be found on the relevant degree page.

  • We do not recognise General Studies and Critical Thinking for admissions purposes.
  • If you wish to study at UCL you should offer a minimum of two A level subjects from the list of preferred subjects. We are happy to accept any subject as the third A level you offer, provided the other two subjects appear on the approved list. If you are not able to offer two preferred subjects, you should contact the relevant degree programme contact to ascertain whether you can still be considered for admission.
  • We prefer that students take three A levels together in year 13 (or the final year of high school). Applicants taking fewer than 3 A levels in one sitting may be considered less competitive in the admissions process. Where A level Further Mathematics is required, applicants may take A level Mathematics in Year 12, whilst taking Further Mathematics and their other A level exams in Year 13.

If you have accepted a place at UCL and subsequently decline any of your A level results, you may render yourself ineligible to take up a place on a degree programme or, if you have already enrolled, liable to be deregistered from UCL.

UK Curriculum reform

In England, Wales and Northern Ireland reforms to AS and A levels and GCSEs began in September 2015, with different subjects being phased in over the subsequent two years. For universities one of the key challenges that we have is the mixture of qualifications that an applicant may present. Not only are the constituent countries of the UK providing different styles of existing qualifications, but as subjects are phased in we are seeing applicants offering a mixture of both old and new style GCSEs and A levels. We look at each applicant on an individual basis, but the reference is key in explaining the teaching within the school to the admissions selector. We also ask that referees provide a clear explanation of any restrictions or difficulties they have faced in terms of funding and subject availability, along with an explanation of the styles of GCSE/A levels that have been taken.

Predictions and AS modules

With the introduction of curriculum reforms we understand that it will be more difficult for teachers to predict final grades in the initial year of study. In the past, AS modules have been useful as an indication of a student's level of achievement and likelihood to achieve their prediction. As this information will no longer be available we will be more reliant on applicants' past academic history and references. We would also encourage referees to comment on an applicant's level of achievement in the end of year 12 examinations where these have been held, and also provide a picture of the applicant's progress through both GCSE and A level study.

Core Mathematics

The Core Mathematics qualification does not form part of our standard entrance requirements, but UCL welcomes the opportunity for students to be able to continue their mathematics studies. For programmes where GCSE Mathematics is required at grade 6 (or grade B), Core Mathematics will be accepted as a supplement to grade 5 (or grade C) at GCSE.

A level Practical Science Component

Students offering Biology, Chemistry and Physics A levels taken in England are required to achieve both the overall grade and a pass in the practical component.  Self-studying students who are unable to take the practical science component must provide reasons for this in the personal statement and will be considered on an individual basis.

Extended Project

The Extended Project Qualification does not form part of our standard entrance requirements, but UCL recognises its value as preparation for independent study, which is key to university-level study.

GCSE and equivalent qualifications

All programmes require GCSE or equivalent passes in English Language and Mathematics at grade 5 or higher. Some programmes require grades higher than 5 or additional GCSE passes in specific subjects, as outlined on individual degree pages.

GCSE grades 1–9: UCL equivalencies

  • 8 = A*
  • 7 = A
  • 6 = B
  • 5 = C

Qualifications accepted as GCSE equivalents include the following:

  • IGCSE at grade C or higher;
  • O level at grade C or higher;
  • Scottish Credit Standard Grade/Intermediate 2;
  • Hong Kong Certificate of Education (HKCEE) at grade C or higher;
  • IB Middle Years Programme (MYP) at grades 4 to 7;
  • Malaysia Sijil Pelejaran (SPM) at grades 1 to 6;
  • Singapore/Cambridge GCE Ordinary level at grades 1 to 6.

GCSE foreign language requirement

UCL encourages intercultural awareness in all its students, and considers experience of learning a foreign language a vital element of a broad and balanced education. We wish to ensure that all of our graduates have had some experience of exploring another culture through language – but we are concerned to ensure that our admissions requirements do not disadvantage those who did not undertake language study to GCSE or above at school.

UK students who do not have a GCSE grade 5 (or grade C) or equivalent in a foreign language (other than Ancient Greek, Biblical Hebrew or Latin) on admission to UCL will be required to acquire an equivalent level of language proficiency once they are enrolled with us.

Visit the UCL Centre for Languages and International Education (CLIE) website for more information.

Other qualifications

UCL accepts a number of other UK qualifications as well as the International Baccalaureate and a range of international qualifications.

Mix of qualifications

We understand that it is becoming more common for applicants to offer combinations of qualifications, such as A levels and Cambridge Pre-U, or A levels and BTECs at level 3. Our qualification requirements are set to ensure that individuals are suitably prepared for the rigour of study at UCL, so we would usually be looking for an applicant to offer all their qualifications from one suite, such as three A levels, or an IB Diploma. However, some departments may be willing to consider a mix of the qualifications that UCL usually looks for. Each case would be considered on an individual basis, in conjunction with an explanation from the referee, and we would be looking to see that an applicant had obtained the breadth and depth of knowledge in their chosen subjects to succeed at UCL.

Applications from 'fast track' students

Some schools, both in the UK and overseas, fast track their students and limit the number of examinations they take. As a result, you may not be sitting some GCSE or equivalent qualifications. We will be pleased to consider your application on its individual merits.