Applying to a British University

How and When to Apply

All applications to UK universities are made through UCAS (the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service). Simply fill in a UCAS application form on the UCAS website.

  • Make sure you get your application in well before the deadline, particularly if you want to study at one of the top universities in the UK. See our handy page listing all UCAS deadlines here.

There are 5 steps to UCAS applications:

1. Registration 

First and foremost register your details with UCAS. This bit is simple just make sure you input it all correctly.

2. Find a course

Possibly the most important stage, you'll need to identify a course you want to spend the next 3 or more years of your life committed to. Our advice on Choosing a Course takes you through the process.

Use our CUG Course Chooser to search through over 100,000 courses.

Once you've found a course take a note of its unique UCAS code, you'll need this to fill out the application form.

3. Find a university

You've found the perfect course now you need to make sure you study it at the right university. Advice on Choosing a University will help you come to the right decision. Think about more than just league table position – what about the location, the accommodation and the facilities?

Once you've made your shortlist of universities make a note of their unique UCAS codes.

4. Fill out the application form

One application form is used to apply for 5 different choices. You can apply to 5 different universities for the same course or 5 different courses at the same university, it's up to you. 

Remember you'll only have room for one personal statement and these are normally quite specific to the course. Read our insider advice on successful personal statements, courtesy of James Seymour, Director of Marketing and Student Recruitment at the University of Gloucestershire.

5. Send and wait for replies

Once you've submitted your application universities will have time to consider your application.

Non-EU international students

  • International students from a non-EU country can submit an application to UCAS at any time between 1 September and 30 June in the year preceding the academic year that studies commence.
  • However, most students apply well before 30 June to make sure that places are still available and to allow plenty of time to make immigration, travel and accommodation arrangements.

EU international students

  • Applicants from within an EU country must ensure their application form is received by UCAS by 15 January; otherwise they will be treated as late applicants. Different, usually earlier, dates apply for Oxford and Cambridge, and for medical and art and design courses. Check when an application is due on the application timetable.
  • As well as the UCAS application, remember to check on eligibility for any possible scholarships, loans and grants.
  • Find out more about the UK application process in our Applying to university section.