Why Study at UCL?

University College London (UCL) is the biggest university in the UK. Located in central London, England, UCL is considered among the best universities in the city and the UK by many national league tables, and offers both undergraduate and postgraduate students access to first-class researchers, facilities, and educational resources.

There are many reasons why students choose to study at UCL. This guide rounds up five of the top reasons you should consider UCL when making your university choices.

1. Academic reputation

UCL is one of the most well-known and academically prestigious universities. Since its founding in 1826, UCL has built an esteemed academic reputation in a vast range of disciplines and now houses a wealth of top researchers.

League table rankings

UCL’s position in national league tables is consistently within the top 10 and, as the biggest and one of the most internationally diverse universities in the UK, it is well-respected on the international stage. It is currently ranked:

Research excellence

As well as ranking highly in league tables, UCL is also one of the world’s top research universities and is famous for its research excellence and innovation. Its research was ranked second in the UK for research power and, in the most recent Research Excellence Framework (2021), it maintained top position in the UK for research power in Medicine, Health and Life Sciences and Social Sciences. In the same report, 93% of its research was judged as ‘world-leading’ or ‘internationally excellent’ in the latest. 

2. Range of undergraduate and postgraduate courses

University College London offers a vast number of courses at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels. With the largest number of students of any UK university, UCL offers an extensive range of programmes in a number of disciplines and niche subject areas.

Undergraduate

UCL offers more than 400 different courses at undergraduate level covering a huge range of subject combinations. Its entry requirements typically range from A*A*A to ABB at A level (equivalent qualifications are also accepted), depending on the course. Each of its courses is tailored to provide the most up to date and globally relevant knowledge delivered by top academics in the field. 

See UCL’s full list of undergraduate courses on its website. 

Postgraduate

UCL’s graduate school is a large, thriving community of researchers and postgraduate students. There are over 25,000 graduate students from over 150 countries at UCL who form just over half of the university’s overall student population. Its course offering is just as vast, with more than 650 different Master’s and Doctoral level programmes in subjects ranging from Data Science to Comparative Literature.

See UCL’s full list of graduate courses and their entry requirements on its website.

3. Top facilities

UCL’s undergraduate and postgraduate students have access to some of the best resources and facilities in the UK. These include:

  • The Bloomsbury Theatre, a professionally run, onsite theatre that hosts both professional and student performances;
  • State of the art learning spaces, including refurbished labs in the Departments of Chemistry and Earth Sciences and a Virtual Trading Floor in the Department of Computer Science;
  • The UCL Centre for Languages and International Education (CLIE), a centre offering courses in Arabic, Dutch, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Mandarin, Portuguese, and Spanish at various levels of proficiency, as well as Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) courses and a British Sign Language (BSL) course;
  • 16 specialist libraries, including a refurbished Language and Speech Sciences Library;
  • A huge range of museums and collections, including UCL Art Museum, UCL Petrie Museum of Egyptian Archaeology, UCL Grant Museum of Zoology, and UCL Ethnography Collection.

4. Student life

UCL is located in central London, with its main campus located in Bloomsbury, a short walk from Euston Square and several other tube stations. Thanks to its location in one of Europe’s biggest and most bustling cities, there is an abundance of cafes, bars, museums, and other social spaces for students to enjoy. 

Within UCL itself, there are also countless ways to make the most of your time as a student and enjoy your free time. The university has more than 300 clubs and societies, opportunities to partake in campaigning and volunteering, and its own student news platform, Pi Media, UCL’s oldest and largest student journalism society. Whatever your interests, talents and career goals, there will almost certainly be opportunities to pursue them at UCL.

London’s ‘Global University’

UCL is known as London’s ‘Global University’ thanks to its large population of international students and its longstanding connections with many different countries. 53% of UCL students are international and their student body represents more than 150 different countries. This diversity extends to its staff, 37% of whom are international, and its 300,000 alumni located in 190 different countries. 

Thanks to its international connections, UCL is one of the most attractive universities to global organisations. The university has partnerships with institutions worldwide, as well as over 150 Erasmus+ partnerships, meaning around a third of UCL students study abroad as part of their degree.

5. Work opportunities and job prospects

Thanks to its outstanding reputation, UCL is one of the most well-known and respected universities in the world amongst employers. In 2021-22, UCL was the 12th most targeted university by top employers (High Fliers Research), and the university has links to a range of top organisations and industries both in the UK and globally.

As a result of this reputation among employers and the skills and links built while at UCL, 90% of UCL leavers are employed or in further study 6 months after graduating. UCL graduates also earn an average salary of around £26,000, compared to an average graduate salary of £22,000 in the UK.

How to get into UCL

There are many reasons to study at University College London, and that’s why thousands of top students aspire to apply there. However, knowing you want to apply is just the first step; knowing how to meet the entry requirements and write a stand-out application is the most important part.

That’s where The Profs can help. Our network of expert admissions tutors can provide you with tailored support on how to maximise your chances of receiving an offer for your chosen UCL course. In fact, 95% of university applicants who work with us receive an offer.

To read more about how to get into UCL and learn top tips from The Profs’ application experts, read our helpful UCL application guide. To talk to a member of our team and access the support of one of our highly qualified tutors, complete the contact form at the bottom of this page.

FAQs

Is UCL a good university?

UCL is one of the best universities in the UK. It is ranked in the top ten of both UK league tables and the QS world university rankings. UCL is also a Russell Group university and, in the latest Research Excellence Framework (REF) report (2021), 93% of its research was assessed as ‘world-leading’ or ‘internationally excellent’.

Where is UCL?

UCL is located in central London, with its main campus located in Bloomsbury, a short walk from Euston Square and several other tube stations. The university has also very recently opened a new campus, UCL East, located in Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in east London.

What does UCL stand for?

UCL stands for University College London.

When do UCL give out offers?

If you have applied to UCL by the correct UCAS deadline (October or January), you should receive a decision via UCAS by the end of April. You will also receive a formal UCL offer letter and notification of your fee classification via the UCL Applicant Portal. You can check the status of your UCL application at any time via UCAS Track or UCL’s Applicant Portal.

Does UCL do Clearing?

UCL does not offer places via Clearing and is one of just a handful of universities not to do so. Other universities that do not participate in Clearing include Oxford, Cambridge and LSE, as well as some other competitive and Russell Group universities that do not have free spaces to offer on their courses (this can change from year to year).

Does UCL accept BTEC?

Some UCL courses accept BTEC qualifications. In general, these courses will accept Edexcel level 3 BTEC National Extended Diploma (NQF) (pre-2010), Edexcel level 3 BTEC Extended Diploma (QCF) (pre-2016), and BTEC Level 3 National Extended Diploma (RQF) (post-2016). However, some courses do not accept BTEC qualifications, so you should always check on your chosen course page before applying.

How many students at UCL?

UCL has the largest student body of any university in the UK. According to Statista, as of 2020/21, UCL has more than 45,000 students from around 150 different countries.

Does UCL give contextual offers?

UCL does give systematic contextual offers for its courses if you meet its criteria. These contextual offers are lower than its standard offers and seek to increase higher education participation among underrepresented and disadvantaged students. The majority of students won’t meet this criteria and will be made standard entry offers ranging from A*A*A to ABB, but it’s still worth checking if you are eligible for the Access UCL Scheme.