What is UCAS?

The Universities and Colleges Admissions Service - or UCAS as it is usually known - is an independent organisation that manages university applications in the UK. Anyone who wants to apply to study a full-time degree anywhere in the UK has to apply through UCAS - including all Birkbeck applicants.

You can start applying for UCAS courses as soon as the courses are published online (around May each year, for courses starting the following year).

Do I have to apply through UCAS?

  • You have to apply through UCAS for the following courses at Birkbeck:

    • A full-time undergraduate degree (BA/BSc/LLM)
    • A full-time undergraduate degree (BA/BSc/LLM) with Foundation Year
    • A full-time Foundation Degree
    • A full-time Certificate of Higher Education. 
  • It doesn’t matter which country you live in, or your age and educational background, or when you left school.
  • If you are applying for a 4-year or 6-year part-time undergraduate degree, or a part-time Foundation Degree, you make your application directly to Birkbeck.

How do I apply through UCAS?

I don't have the required UCAS tariff

  • The UCAS tariff only applies to you if you have recent relevant qualifications. If your Level 3 (such as A Levels, BTECs, HNCs) qualification was taken over three years ago, the UCAS tariff will not apply. Do always take account of your whole application, not only your previous qualifications, so make use of the personal statement to highlight your ability and commitment to become a successful student.

How many courses can I apply for through UCAS?

  • You can apply for five courses at any five universities. You can also apply to more than one course at your university of choice, although you may only be offered a place on one course. Typically, students apply for similar courses at their chosen universities, as this demonstrates commitment to, and passion for, a subject area. It also makes writing the personal statement more straightforward.
  • You don’t have to apply for your courses all at the same time. If you use fewer than five of your choices, you can use the ‘Track’ function to add further choices later. For example, if you apply for a course with a 15 January deadline, but, after that deadline, you want to apply to another course, you can do so (as long as you haven’t used up all five of your choices already).

How do I write a UCAS application?

  • We advise that you set aside plenty of time to fill in and double-check your UCAS application form before you submit it. You will have to include your educational history, your qualifications (including predicted grades for any pending examinations) and your employment experience, and write a personal statement. Check the UCAS website for advice on personal statements.
  • If you are applying for a 3-year full-time degree through UCAS, you should not name a particular university in your personal statement as you may be applying to other institutions as well.
  • Visit us at an Open Evening for application advice or come along to a Get Started workshop.
  • Use the personal statement tool  to help write and receive feedback on your personal statement draft.

Costs

  • UCAS currently charges £13 to apply for one course and £24 to apply for two or more courses. Schools, colleges and education centres can advise on payment, while those applying independently can pay online.

Deadlines

  • 15 January is the first UCAS deadline and the majority of university applications through UCAS are made by then.
  • Birkbeck welcomes applications outside this first UCAS deadline, so you can still apply through UCAS after 15 January, depending on the availability of places. We also take late applications via the UCAS Clearing system in August.

UCAS Extra

  • UCAS Extra runs from February until early July and gives applicants who are holding no offers a further opportunity to make additional applications. Any courses that accept applications via UCAS Extra will be posted on the UCAS website.

Do I apply for student finance through UCAS?

  • No, student finance applications are completed online through Student Finance England.
  • We advise that you complete this application at the same time or immediately after your UCAS application, to ensure that it is processed - and that you receive the full amount of loan you are eligible for - before the start of the academic year. Find out more about student loans and financial support.

What happens once you apply

  • UCAS will provide Birkbeck with access to your application, which will be reviewed by an academic member of staff, who may award you a place to study at Birkbeck.
  • If you are successful, confirmation will be sent to UCAS, who will then update your Track account with the confirmation details. UCAS will send you a confirmation letter once your place has been officially confirmed.
  • If you submit your application ahead of the 15 January deadline, you will receive notification of our decision by early May at the latest.
  • If you apply after 15 January, you will be considered a ‘late applicant’ and we will notify you of our decision by July at the latest.
  • If you receive an offer from us, you will be invited to an Offer Day in March, to visit Birkbeck's campus in Bloomsbury, central London, and meet staff, current students and other applicants.
  • Decisions on applications made through Clearing in August are usually made at the time of application. Please note that during Clearing you need to be available in person to speak with Admissions Tutors and to make decisions.