Admission Procedure to Study in UK

Cyril Zachariah
Updated on Dec 21, 2022 1:11 PM IST

Intakes to Study in the UK

With the UK being one of the most popular study destinations in the world and hosting a number of top-ranked global universities, nearly 40,000 Indians choose to study in the UK. From intakes in the UK to the admissions tests required for admission to UK universities, here’s a guide to what the admission process looks like in the UK.

Autumn Intake

Also called autumn intake, most Universities in the UK offer all the courses in the September intake. The application deadlines for the September intake start from February and end by May of the given academic year.

Spring Intake

January/Spring intake in the UK is the secondary intake and the application deadlines in this intake fall between June and September. While this intake has not that many courses to offer, it gives an opportunity to students who missed the September intake to try in January. 

Summer Intake

The Summer intake in the UK may start in June and end in August. Only a limited number of UK universities offer courses in the Summer intake.

Also Read: Which Country Has the Best Higher Education System?

See if You Qualify for Admission in the UK!

Application Deadlines for UG Courses in the UK 2021

The deadlines that have been listed are UCAS application deadlines for the 2023 undergraduate sessions. It should be noted that these deadlines are usually unflexible, i.e. these dates usually do not change and there are no exceptions to late application submissions.

  • 15 October 2022 - All courses at the universities Cambridge and Oxford and most courses in the fields of medicine, veterinary medicine and dentistry at all other institutions

  • 25 January 2023 - For the majority of undergraduate courses

  • 30 June 2023 to 20 September 2023 -  All applications received after July 30 will be classified as “Clearing”. In other words, students may not get guaranteed admission to their first choice.

These deadlines require students to submit their application form along with their Statement of Purpose (SOP) and Letters of Recommendation (LORs) by the specified dates.

Also Read: Top Courses to Study in the UK for International Students

Application Process To Study In The UK

Given below is a complete compilation of the application process to study an undergraduate or postgraduate course in the UK. It is, however, important to note that this is only for reference, which should be cross-checked with the university before applying. 

General Requirements to Study in the UK

  • Required Qualifications.

  • A well-written personal statement displaying your interest in the subject area, while showcasing your passion, motivation, enthusiasm, and the skills and experiences that will push you towards succeeding at the university.

  • Quality and content of the reference- 

  • Knowledge of and commitment to the subject discipline.

  • Good attitude to learning and personal development.

  • Ability to articulate yourself fluently and accurately in writing – it is a sign of what's to come for tutors.

Also Read: Documents Required for UK Visa Application for Indian Students

UCAS Application Portal

Universities and Colleges Admissions Service or UCAS is a UK-based organisation offering admission services to UK, EU and international students. Primarily focusing on helping millions of students to apply to undergraduate courses across the UK, the organisation boasts of supporting 1.5 million every year to get admissions to full-time undergraduate admissions across 380 universities and colleges in the country.

In addition to helping students apply to a number of universities across the country, UCAS also offers services such as research, consultancy and advisory services to schools, colleges, career services, professional departments and organisations, employers and more.

Undergraduate Admissions in the UK

University admissions in the UK are made based on a standard application portal every year for various undergraduate courses. The common application portal also called the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS), is an online website where students will be able to fill in and submit their undergraduate application forms.

For those interested in applying for UG courses in UK, then, here are the steps that need to be completed for UG admissions in UK.

  • Visit and register with the UCAS website

  • Write and submit a personal statement to stand out from the crowd and submit a reference letter as well from one of your school teachers or tutors.

  • Make a note of all the application deadlines:

    • October - The application deadline for courses offered by Oxford and Cambridge as well as most medicine, dentistry and veterinary medicine/science courses.

    • 15 January - The “on-time” application deadline for most undergraduate courses.

    • March - The application deadline for a number of arts and design courses.

    • 30 June - The late application deadline for all undergraduate courses. In other words, any applications received after this date will be classified as “clearing” which means that the candidate’s first choice may not be guaranteed.

  • Receive an Offer: After submitting the application form, candidates will receive either an unconditional or conditional offer.

    • Unconditional Offer - Candidates have been confirmed a seat at the desired university and course without having to meet any additional conditions.

    • Conditional Offer - Candidates will be required to achieve a certain level of results in their current academic programme or in English proficiency tests.

  • Accept the Offer: After receiving offers, candidates will be required to accept the offer that they consider the best for themselves. They can do so through the UCAS portal itself.

Postgraduate Admissions in the UK

Those interested in pursuing graduate studies in the UK will be required to follow the PG admission requirements and guidelines in the UK. Currently, students can directly apply to PG courses at UK universities through the official websites of the respective universities. However, there are certain conditions and requirements that need to be met when applying for PG admissions.

  • All academic transcripts as well as all other personal details as specified by the desired university.

  • Reference letters and contact details of the referee who will be able to confirm an applicant’s candidature for a particular course.

  • A Statement of Purpose (SOP) highlighting the applicant’s motives for applying as well as their skills, qualifications and experience that make them suitable for the course.

  • English language proficiency scores from one of the accepted testing services, i.e. IELTS, TOEFL, Pearson PTE, Duolingo, Cambridge, and much more.

While these are some general guidelines, each university offering master’s courses in UK to international students will specify individual requirements and guidelines which need to be met. Therefore, it is advisable to go through the admissions requirement of the desired university or college before sending in your application forms.

How to Apply to University in the UK?

Step 1: Register on UCAS: The Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) is the British organisation responsible for operating the admissions process for universities in the UK. Register on UCAS by providing personal details, after which a username will be shared and one would have to create a password and set security questions.

Step 2: Sign in to Fill all Details: Enter all the rest of the details including funding options, special needs (if any), residential status, criminal convictions (if any).

Step 3: Add Course Choices: Students can choose up to five courses without any course order. If applying to medicine, veterinary science, dentistry, or veterinary medicine, one can apply to up to four courses. Those students applying to Oxford or Cambridge can apply to only one course at either the University of Cambridge or the University of Oxford.

Step 4: Full Education Background: One must list all qualifications by name and country. Evidence of the same shall be sent along with. 

Step 5: Full Employment History: In case an applicant has had any paid jobs, he/ she should mention the same in the application form.

Step 6: Submit Personal Statement: A personal statement should include the applicant’s strengths and weaknesses, reasons why the university must accept them, why they want to study the chosen course. 

Step 7: Review: Take a final look at the application before submitting.

Step 8: Add Reference, Pay the Fee and Submit: A written recommendation written by an advisor, teacher or professional who knows the applicant professionally or academically should be submitted along with an application fee (£20 for one course; £26 for multiple courses).

Also Read: Popular Scholarships for Indian Students to Study in UK

Non-EU Students in the UK

Documents Required for UK University Admissions

As proof of eligibility, applicants will be required to submit documents supporting the same. The list of documents required for UK University admissions will differ from course to course and university to university. However, outlined below are some of the documents that students need to submit for UK university admissions.

Documents Required for UG Admissions in UK

Those interested in pursuing undergraduate programmes in the UK need to submit the following documents:

  • All academic transcripts including Class 10 and 12 Board exam certifications and report cards.

    • The commonly accepted boards in UK universities include CBSE, ICSE and various state education boards.

  • A statement of purpose highlighting their motives behind applying for a particular course, their skills, qualifications and experience that make them suitable for a particular course.

  • A reference letter written by a teacher at the school where they cleared their secondary education.

  • Valid English proficiency test score reports from a testing agency recognised and accepted by the desired university.

    • Some of the accepted tests include IELTS UKVI, TOEFL iBT, PTE Academic, UCLES and much more.

  • Any other document specified by the university or college for the specific course must also be submitted along with these documents.

Note: Some universities may also require applicants to present additional documents to support their claim of candidature.

Documents Required for PG Courses in UK

When applying for postgraduate courses in the UK, there are a number of documents that need to be submitted along with the application form at any recognised university in the country. Some of the documents needed for PG courses in the UK include;

  • All academic transcripts including a valid and recognised UG degree as well as Class 12 board exam reports.

    • All other documents required will be specific to the courses that the applicant is interested in pursuing.

  • A Statement of Purpose (SOP) should also be submitted relevant to the course that is being applied to.

  • Candidates may be required to submit at least 1-2 Letters of Recommendation (LORs) at the time of admission. Referees for the LORs can either be the previous academic tutors/professors/teachers or immediate supervisors or team leads at the previous place of employment.

  • Additionally, Indian students are required to submit an English language proficiency test score from one of the accepted tests, i.e. IELTS UKVI, TOEFL iBT, PTE Academic or any other accepted by the desired university.

  • For many graduate courses, international applicants may also be required to submit entrance test scores of popular tests such as GRE and GMAT.

It should be noted that the university offering the desired graduate programme will individually define the admission requirements, which should be met by the applying foreign national. Therefore, thoroughly read the admission requirements of the shortlisted universities before submitting the application form with any other documents.

See if You Qualify to Study in the UK?

Eligibility Criteria to Study in the UK

Entry requirements for higher education courses at UK universities and colleges may vary depending on the course, university, degree level and subject. Some of the general eligibility criteria to study in the UK include: 

  • Qualifications, subjects, and exam grades- The candidate’s advanced higher or equivalent-level qualifications would be converted into UCAS tariff points. Some may also ask for pre-16 qualifications like GCSE English and maths or their equivalents. 

  • Suitability- The university would also look into your suitability for the applied course which would take your skills, experience and interests into consideration.

  • Admissions test(s)- Universities and colleges in the UK often require applicants to clear an admissions test applying to the chosen course and degree level.

  • English proficiency test- Prospective applicants should demonstrate their proficiency in the English language by scoring well in English languages proficiency tests such as the TOEFL, IELTS or PTE Academic. The same must be approved by UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI).

  • Interview- After submitting all documents along with your test scores, the university may conduct an interview which you should attend. In the same, you might be expected to showcase your portfolio and be thoroughly prepared. 

  • Further requirements- Your university may ask you for more information related to your health, finances, criminal record (if any), and more. 

Also Read: Top Countries to Study MS in Computer Science

Admissions Tests Required to Study in the UK

Here is the list of admissions tests that you might have to sit in order to take up a course at a UK university:

English Language Proficiency Tests

  • International English Language Testing Systems (IELTS)

  • Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL)

  • Pearson Test of English (PTE)

  • University of Cambridge Local Examinations Syndicat (UCLES)

Wide-range Entrance Tests

  • Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT)

  • Graduate Record Examinations (GRE)

Course-related admissions tests


  • Cambridge Law Test

  • LNAT – National Admissions Test for Law


  • Mathematics Admissions Test (MAT)

  • Sixth Term Examination Paper (STEP)

  • Test of Mathematics for University Admissions

Medical courses

  • BioMedical Admissions Test (BMAT)

  • Graduate Medical School Admissions Test (GAMSAT)

  • Health Professions Admission Test (HPAT Ulster)

  • University Clinical Aptitude Test (UCAT). Read UCAT's 2020 update on how the test will be delivered this year.

  • Thinking Skills Assessment

  • Thinking Skills Assessment Cambridge (TSA Cambridge)

  • Thinking Skills Assessment Oxford (TSA Oxford)

  • Thinking Skills Assessment University College London (TSA UCL)

University-specific Admission Tests

University of Oxford

  • National Admissions Test for Law (LNAT)

  • Classics Admissions Test (CAT)

  • English Literature Test (ELAT)

  • History Aptitude Test (HAT)

  • Mathematics Admissions Test (MAT)

  • Modern Languages Admissions Test (MLAT)

  • Oriental Languages Admissions Test (OLAT)

  • Physics Aptitude Test (PAT)

  • Philosophy Test (PHIL)

  • Thinking Skills Assessment Oxford (TSA Oxford)

University of Cambridge

  • Cambridge Admissions Assessments

  • BioMedical Admissions Test (BMAT)

  • Sixth Term Examination Paper (STEP)

  • Thinking Skills Assessment Cambridge (TSA Cambridge)

  • Cambridge Law Test

  • Other course-specific admissions tests

Other UK universities such as Birkbeck, University of London; City University London; City University London; The University of Hull; the University of Nottingham; among others may also conduct admissions tests depending on the course.

Also Read: Top Countries Open to International Students' Admission Amid COVID-19

Know What You Need to Apply to Your Dream UK University Here

English Language Tests to Study in the UK

Mentioned below are the English language proficiency tests that any international student wishing to study in the UK would be required to take and clear:

Interview Guide to Study in the UK

In the UK, it could either be an interview or an audition, where you might be asked to demonstrate your skills through a portfolio or an essay. Your interviewers are usually trying to find out why they should pick you for the course and how you would be a good fit for it. 

They could send you an invitation directly or in UCAS Track facility right towards the end of the application process.

Try to report at the interview location at the given time, although the university might sometimes reschedule it. The UCAS Track does also give the option to request a different time for the interview, after agreeing to which the university/ college would update the invitation.

After you have attended the interview, the decision would be communicated through Track. You can reply to your offers through the same facility.

Also Read: Part-Time Job Options in the UK for International Students

FAQs on Admission Procedure to Study in UK in 2024

Do I need to attempt an entrance test for Law courses in the UK?

Depending on the admission requirements of individual universities in the UK, applicants may be required to display valid scores in recognised tests such as the National Admissions Test for Law (LNAT), Cambridge Law Test, etc.

What is the application fee for admissions in the UK?

The application fee for admissions in the UK varies depending on the course and university you apply to. The application fee via UCAS can vary between single choice or multiple choices and usually range between GBP 22 to GBP 27. However, fee is subject to change at the discretion of the admissions office.

What documents do I need to submit for admissions in the UK?

For both graduate and undergraduate admissions, international students must submit the previous academic transcripts, which should include Class 12 and Class 10 reports, English Proficiency test reports, proof of identification, letters of recommendation, statement of purpose, etc. For graduate studies, applicants may be required to submit additional documents depending on the course they wish to study in the UK.

When can I start applying for the September Intake in the UK?

As an international student, if you are planning to start your studies in the UK, you must start your application process as early as possible, which can even be as early as a year before the application deadline, however, you must have all the documentation and test score reports ready at least one month before the application deadline at each individual university.

What is the application deadline for September intake in the UK?

The application deadlines for the UK's September or Autumn Intake usually stand around the middle of October each year. However, the application deadlines for each university varies, with some scheduling their deadlines before October while others may postpone their deadlines till even December of each year.

How do I start applying for undergraduate studies in the UK?

First, start by shortlisting your desired course and subsequently shortlist the best universities offering the courses. Research all you can about the admission process at each individual university and follow the defined steps. To get started, register with us now. Our comprehensive search tool will help you find the perfect UK university and help you shortlist universities based on your qualifications and interests. You may also avail of step-by-step guidance from our professional study abroad experts.

How can I apply for admissions in the UK?

Applications to undergraduate or graduate studies usually starts with your application to the UK admissions organisation, UCAS, or you can register with us and let our study abroad experts help you apply to the perfect university for you.

What English Proficiency test scores are accepted in the UK?

Students interested in studying in the UK may be required to attempt and secure a good score in any of the following tests - IELTS, TOEFL or PTE (Academic), or any other defined individually by universities for the purpose of admissions.

What do I need to apply for admissions in the UK?

While the admission requirements for each university in the UK will vary individually, generally, students must provide proof of good academic standing, preferably in a relevant field of study, proof of English Proficiency, if English is not their first language, and relevant entrance test scores, such as GRE or GMAT, if applicable.

When can I apply for admissions in the UK?

Universities in the UK usually accept applications via three admission intakes, i.e. Autumn Intake (September), Spring (January) and Summer Intake (May/June). Interested students must follow the official deadlines for admissions in the UK defined by individual universities.

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