Applying to university through UCAS

This page explains how to apply to university. Links are provided so you can find out more. There are also pages that give you tips on applying for particular types of health courses. 

How it works

Applications for most full-time university courses are made through UCAS using its secure, online Apply system. Contact universities directly to find out their procedures for applying for part-time ot postgraduate courses.

woman on phone with computer

You have up to five subject and/or university course choices. For medicine and dentistry courses, you can only make four choices, but you can use your fifth choice for another subject (including dentistry if you apply for medicine or medicine if you apply for dentistry).

You can follow the progress of your application using Track. You are only able to accept two offers – one that you want to accept firmly and one ‘insurance’ place.

  • You can apply to UCAS from mid-September to the end of January in the academic year before the course starts. If you are applying for dentistry or medicine, or to Oxford or Cambridge, the deadline is 15 October.

    From February, you apply through UCAS Extra until the end of June, with Clearing opening at the beginning of July. 

  • A very important part of your application is your personal statement. In a limited amount of space you have to state your reasons for your choice of course, explain why you feel you are suitable and outline your future career plans. This is your chance to really promote yourself. Make sure you mention any relevant paid or unpaid experience, interests etc.

    Find out more about the personal statement on the UCAS website

  • For some courses you will be invited to an interview. If so, prepare as much as possible, think about the questions you may be asked and show that you have the motivation and enthusiasm required.

    If you're applying for medicine or dentistry, you may also have to take an aptitude test, such as the University Clinical Aptitude Test (UCAT) or GAMSAT 

    If you’re applying for a university programme leading to a role providing NHS healthcare, you’ll be asked to show how you think the NHS values would apply in your everyday work. Find out more about the NHS values.


  • If you have used all your choices and either have no offers or have not accepted any, you can apply for further courses using Extra.

    Clearing is available from July to September every academic year. Clearing allows you to apply for further courses if you:

    • haven’t received any course ‘offers’
    • didn’t get the grades required
    • applied through UCAS later than the deadline.
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