How to Apply for a UCL Masters

UCL is one of the best universities in the UK and a popular destination for both UK and international students to study Masters degrees. The UCL Masters application process is relatively simple, however there are many things you should take into account before making your application, such as which course is a best fit for you, your chances of success, and how you can make your application stand out.

This guide covers everything you’ll need to apply for a UCL Masters degree course and maximise your chances of receiving an offer. Our postgraduate admissions team has helped many students get into Masters courses at UCL and have a more than 90% success rate of helping students receive offers from their first or second choice universities.

How hard is it to get into UCL Masters?

UCL Masters programmes are very competitive. Across all of its postgraduate courses, UCL has an offer rate of approximately 38%, meaning less than 2 in 5 applicants receive an offer. The most competitive Masters courses at UCL include: MA Landscape Architecture, MSc Data Science, and MSc Computer Science, all of which have offer rates below 8%.
Due to the competitiveness of its courses, UCL Masters are very hard to get into. They require excellent performance in previous degree level studies (a minimum 2:2, usually 2:1 class degree) as well as a broad and in-depth knowledge of, and commitment to, your subject area.

Although UCL Masters are hard to get into, they are certainly not impossible to receive offers for. If you have consistently high academic achievement, a true passion for your subject, and a strong application, there is every chance that you could receive an offer. The Profs can provide expert guidance on developing a strong academic profile and writing a stand-out application for your chosen UCL Masters course; get in touch with our team to find out more.

7-step UCL Masters application process

Step 1. Research available courses

There is lots of variety in the types of Masters courses UCL offers, so it’s important to do your research ahead of time. Here are four things you should always research before beginning an application:

1. Entry requirements

Each UCL Masters course sets its own entry requirements. The minimum entry requirement is usually a second class (2:2) undergraduate degree from a UK institution, or an international equivalent (e.g. US GPA of 3.0/4.0). However, many courses require at least a high 2:1 and may also specify specific subject requirements. For example, MSc Financial Mathematics applicants are required to have a high 2:1 UK honours degree (or equivalent), including evidence of high performance in key areas such as probability, analysis, and differential equations.

Make sure that you check the specific entry requirements for your chosen course before applying, and reach out for any support necessary to meet the entry requirements.

2. Course content

Not all courses are created equal, so researching exactly what different UCL courses will entail before you apply is vital. Make sure you look at the title of the course/s, the type of Master’s it is (i.e. a taught Master’s, which is most similar to undergraduate study, or a research-based Master’s, which can help prepare you for studying a PhD), and the specific modules you may be covering. The better you know the ins and outs of your chosen UCL course, the easier it will be to write a stand-out personal statement and perform well in any potential interviews.

3. Deadlines

UCL’s graduate courses typically have provisional deadlines of late April for courses beginning in September. However, deadlines can differ between courses and, due to the popularity of its Master’s programmes, UCL sometimes closes applications early. For this reason (and because competition for places increases throughout the application cycle), it is encouraged that you make an early application. You can also register your interest in the course to be notified by UCL of the most up to date information.

If you’re relying on funding to study your Master’s, there may also be a separate deadline you need to meet in order to apply for this. For example, if you are applying for the DeepMind Science, Technology and Society Scholarship, you will need to submit your funding application by the 6th June. Always check funding information before applying for your chosen course to ensure that you have enough time to apply and are able to begin your course smoothly if you are offered a place.

4. Admissions tests

One Master’s course at UCL requires an admissions test: MSc Economics. Applicants to MSc Economics must take the GRE (Graduate Records Examination). You must achieve a quantitative score of at least 162 to be considered for the programme.

We recommend that you take the GRE around 6 months prior to submitting your application for MSc Economics at UCL. You will need to leave time to prepare thoroughly for the test and ensure that you are submitting the best possible score. You can retake the GRE up to five times in a one-year period, so if you don’t do as well as you need for your chosen university, you can retake it in 16-21 days.

Step 2. Choose your course(s) and begin the application process

Once you’ve done your research, you can decide which course you’d most like to apply for and begin the application process. Unlike undergraduate applications, you will not be required to apply via UCAS for a UCL Master’s course. Instead, you will apply directly to UCL via its online application portal.

Each course will specify its own application requirements, including any specific additional entry requirements and supporting documents. Most UCL Master’s courses require applicants to submit the following documents:

  • Your official transcript. This details the degree you studied, including specific modules, and your performance throughout your previous course. There are rules around what UCL can and cannot accept, so make sure you read its guide to getting your academic transcript.
  • A personal statement. This is a maximum 3,000-character long document explaining what makes you a unique candidate and why you would be well-suited to your chosen course. Read our guide to writing a Master’s personal statement for more tips.
  • If you need a visa to study at UCL, you will need to provide a copy of your current passport. If you do not have a valid passport, you can complete UCL’s Missing passport document and provide your passport later.
  • Any additional documents. Some courses may require, for example, a design portfolio or written pieces of work. Full details of any necessary documents can be found on individual course pages and on UCL’s additional programme requirements page.
  • A UCL-recognised English language proficiency, if required. UCL accepts a wide range of English language tests, including the IELTS, TOEFL, and Cambridge English. Its undergraduate and Masters courses are labelled with a level from 1-5 which expresses the level of English required for that particular programme. Read more about UCL’s English requirements on its graduate language requirements page.

After you have submitted your application, UCL may ask you to attend a postgraduate interview (see step 6) before making an offer. Make sure you always find out which stages you’ll have to go through as part of the application process so that you can prepare and successfully complete each one. Mapping out an application calendar can help you stay on track and reach out for help when you need it. The Profs’ consultancy team can help with this process as part of our admissions packages – get in touch to find out more.

Step 3. Academic references

UCL Master’s courses typically require either one or two references. The number of references you need to support your application can be found on your chosen course page, so make sure to check this in advance.

You will be asked to enter the details of your referee/s in the references section of your application form. You should use your referee’s academic or professional address rather than their personal address. When you submit your application, your referee/s will automatically be sent an email asking them to write your reference and submit it using the portal link.

If your programme requires just one reference, you should ensure that this is an academic reference from someone who has taught you at degree level. If you are not able to provide an academic reference (for example, if you have been out of higher education for more than four years) then you can provide a professional reference instead.

If your programme requires two references, you will need to provide at least one academic reference from someone who has taught you at degree level (unless you have been out of higher education for more than four years, in which case you can provide a professional reference). Your second reference can be academic or professional.

You should contact your nominated referee/s before starting your application to check that they are happy and able to provide a reference for you. You should also contact them after you have submitted your application to let them know to expect an email from UCL.

In most cases, the best person to provide a reference for your Master’s application would be an academic advisor or tutor who has taught or worked with you during your undergraduate level studies. This is because academic staff are the best placed to be able to comment on your subject-specific abilities and potential to succeed at postgraduate level.

Step 4. Write your personal statement

Your personal statement is an important part of your Master’s application because it is your first chance to show that you are the best candidate for a place on your chosen UCL course.

Unlike during the undergraduate application process, where you are only allowed to submit one personal statement that is then sent to every university via UCAS, your postgraduate personal statement can be personalised to UCL (and any other universities you apply to). This means that UCL will expect to see more research into your chosen course along with your motivations for studying there (as opposed to any other university) and how the course aligns with your future goals.

Our guide to writing a Master’s personal statement gives detailed stages and top tips on how to stand out to even the most competitive universities. Click the button below to read it for free:

How to Write a Master’s Personal Statement

You can also access more personalised, one-to-one support with your postgraduate personal statement by reaching out to our admissions team today. Our network of tutors have a more than 90% success rate of helping students receive offers from their first and second choice universities so are best placed to give you the expert guidance you need.

Step 5. Submit your application

Once you have completed all of the stages of UCL’s application process, it’s important to have a friend, family member, or ideally an admissions expert review it. This not only helps to ensure your application is free of grammatical or spelling errors – which can detract from your fantastic skills and experience if left unchecked – but also allows you to make any changes that will maximise your chances of success.

Once your application has been completed and checked, you can submit it with confidence and await contact from UCL.

Step 6. Prepare for your interview

Some UCL Master’s courses interview applicants as part of the admissions process. Whether you have previous interview experience or not, the structure of a postgraduate interview is unique and will probably be unfamiliar to you. It’s therefore important to know which type of interview you will be facing and how you can best prepare for it.

There are three main types of postgraduate interviews: online video interviews (such as Kira Prep), interviews with admissions staff, and interviews with university alumni. Make sure you check on your chosen course page (or with UCL directly) for details on a potential interview.
Our helpful guide to preparing for a postgraduate interview gives more information on each as well as offering top tips on how to prepare. You can read the guide via the button below:

How to Prepare for a Postgraduate Interview

Step 7. Accept your offer and begin your course

Once you have completed all stages of the UCL Masters application process, it is time to find out if you have received an offer. You will usually receive a decision within 10 weeks of submitting your application. If you do receive an offer, you should accept that offer as soon as possible and begin planning for the start of your course.

If you are applying from abroad and require a UK visa to study at UCL, this is the time when you should receive your Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) number and can apply for a student visa.

We also recommend that all students do wider reading before their course starts to ensure that you are as prepared as possible. Some courses and departments publish recommended reading lists (such as the Department of Science and Technology Studies) which you should work through in the weeks leading up to your course start date. If there is no specific reading list, look through the modules or research areas you will be studying and explore readings related to those.

FAQs

When do UCL Masters applications open?

The applications for the majority of Master’s courses open in October (applications for the 2023/24 academic year open on 17 October 2022). Check your individual course page for specific application dates.

How long does UCL take to give offers Masters?

UCL does not send out offers on a specific date, however it does aim to provide applicants with a decision within 10 weeks of submitting their application. If UCL encounters any delays regarding your application, it will either let you know via your applicant portal or via email.

If you do receive an offer, you must accept it by going to the offer page of your applicant portal. UCL cannot accept written confirmation of your acceptance via email.

What is the deadline for accepting a UCL Master’s offer?

There may be a deadline for accepting a Master’s offer at UCL on your offer letter. If there is no deadline or timeline specified, then there is no fixed deadline, however it is encouraged that you make your decision as soon as possible to allow time for both you and UCL to prepare for the start of your studies. For example, if your course starts in September or October and you receive your offer after the 30th June, UCL strongly recommends that you respond within two weeks.

If you will be applying for a student visa, you should aim to accept your offer as soon as possible to allow enough time for your Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) number to be issued and for your visa application to be processed. UCL cannot prepare your CAS until you have formally accepted your offer. 

How many Masters can you apply for at UCL?

You can apply for a maximum of two graduate programmes at UCL in any one application cycle.

Can I switch my Masters degree UCL?

It is not possible for you to transfer your offer to another Master’s programme at UCL. If you would like to be considered for another course, you will need to apply for that course separately.