UCAS Undergraduate: when to apply

Some courses have different deadlines, and many are a long time in advance of the start of the course. Find out which deadlines apply to you.
Relevant to

Deadlines for on-time applications

For courses starting in 2017, your application should be with us at UCAS by one of these dates – depending on what courses you apply for. If your completed application – including all your personal details and your academic reference – is submitted by the deadline, it is guaranteed to be considered.
  • 15 October 2016, 18:00 (UK time) – any course at the universities of Oxford and Cambridge, or for most courses in medicine, veterinary medicine/science, and dentistry. You can add choices with a different deadline later, but don’t forget you can only have five choices in total.  
  • 15 January 2017, 18:00 (UK time) – for the majority of courses. Some art and design courses have a 24 March deadline, so you can add these later; but don’t forget you can only have five choices in total.  
  • 24 March 2017, 18:00 (UK time) – for some art and design courses. Others have a 15 January deadline, so make sure you check the course details to confirm the correct deadline you need to apply by.
  • Some course providers require additional admissions tests to be taken alongside the UCAS application, and these may have a deadline. Find out more about these tests.
Check course information in our search tool to see which deadline applies to you.

All applications received after 30 June are entered into Clearing find out more about Clearing.

If you’re applying through your school or college, sometimes they give you earlier deadlines to fill in your application than ours – this is to make sure they can write your reference and send your application to us on time.

  • Missed your deadline?
    If you don’t meet the main application deadline, you can still apply for many courses.

    We recommend you ask the universities whether they have vacancies first – especially for courses with a 15 October deadline, as it’s unusual for them to consider late applications because their courses are really competitive.

    • 30 June, 18:00 (UK time) – the final deadline for late applications with course choices
    • 20 September, 18:00 (UK time) – it’s still okay to apply by this date, but instead of choosing courses, you’ll be entered into ‘Clearing’ – the process universities and colleges use to fill any places they still have on their courses
  • International and EU students

    While the 15 October deadline is usually inflexible, don’t worry if you miss the January deadline.

    Many universities and colleges will continue to accept applications from international students until later in the year, nearer the beginning of the course.

    Don’t leave it too late though, because if you do get a place, you’ll still need to arrange a visa and your accommodation.

  • Part-time students

    Because part-time study options vary by duration, study mode and location, you'll need to contact course providers direct to apply. This way you can discuss your requirements and your experience to see which course provider will be the most suitable for you.

    Our part-time course search is available each year from July until September. Unlike full-time applications, you don't need to find a course as far in advance, so the application process is much shorter.

What needs to be done by these dates?

You'll need to leave enough time to complete your application, resolve any queries and make sure it reaches us by the deadline.

After you find courses and you’re ready to apply, we’ll explain everything in more detail, but here’s a brief overview:

  1. Fill in your details, qualifications and course choices.
  2. Write a personal statement to demonstrate you’ll be a good student.
  3. Include your reference and pay your application fee. For 2017 entry, the application fee is £13 for a single choice, or £24 for more than one choice. 
  • Independent applicants (not through a school)

    If you're applying as an independent applicant (not through a school), we recommend you ask your referee to complete your reference well in advance of the deadline to avoid any delays.

    Remember to look into student finance too. If you need a loan or financial support, you can apply to a student finance organisation.

  • Does your course start early between January and May?
    A few courses start between January and May, rather than the more typical start dates of September/October.
    • This kind of variation in course start dates can affect deadlines, so if you’re interested in one of these when you search for courses, check the application details in the course listings or by contacting the university or college.
    • Please note, you can still add further choices with more typical start dates to your application later on, (as long as you haven't yet accepted any offers), but if you're interested in any courses with earlier start dates, make sure you don't miss any of the earlier deadlines.
  • Are you deferring your application until the following year?
    If you decide to delay your studies you can still apply now and defer your start date by a year.

    This way you can get your results confirmed and hopefully receive an unconditional offer for the following year.

    • If you're applying for deferred entry in 2017 you need to meet offer conditions by 31 August 2016. However, make sure you check with the university or college that they're happy to consider an application for deferred entry – otherwise your choice might be wasted.
    • Make sure you’re sure about the course though, because if you secure a place you’ll be committed to it, and could only be released from the course if the course provider agrees to let you.
  • International and EU students

    Most students apply independently – all the advice and help you need can be found here on ucas.com, or by asking us questions on Facebook or Twitter

    Alternatively, you could choose to seek help from a local adviser – a member of staff at a school, college, university, advisory service or agency that provides information about studying in the UK.
    • They can sometimes help you with your UCAS application or visa application.
    • It’s your choice whether you use an adviser or not – they can offer valuable support, but if you don’t use an adviser you’ll not be disadvantaged in any way.
    • If the adviser is registered as a UCAS centre they will have access to the best advice and can oversee your application through UCAS’ online system. These centres are widely considered as a trusted source of applications by universities and colleges.
    • Please note some advisers may charge for their services if they are agents.
  • Siaradwyr Cymraeg
    Os ydych yn cyflwyno cais i ddarparwyr cwrs drwy gyfrwng y Gymraeg, gallwch wneud eich cais i gyd yn y Gymraeg.
    1. I gofrestru yn Gymraeg, pan fyddwch yn mynd i’r gwasanaeth Ymgeisio, (Apply), dewiswch ‘Cymraeg’.
    2. Pan fyddwch wedi mewngofnodi i’ch cais, gallwch newid yr iaith i Gymraeg neu Saesneg ar y dudalen Opsiynau.
    3. Mae’r testun help ar gael yn y Gymraeg yn Ymgeisio hefyd.
    4. Yn y gwasanaeth Ymgeisio, gallwch ddewis derbyn gohebiaeth gan ddarparwyr cyrsiau a gennym ni yn y Gymraeg.

How to meet entry requirements

Each course has different requirements you should have or be working towards in school or college – usually a mix of qualifications, subjects and/or exam grades.

As such, many applicants apply during their final year at school or college.

  • When you go to find courses, you’ll need to check the entry requirements so you can apply for courses you have a good chance of getting a place on.
  • This is where the option to apply for up to five courses comes in handy – you can choose courses with higher and lower requirements so that you’ll have a backup.
  • International and EU students
    You can use equivalent international qualifications that you’ve already completed, or that you’re still studying now.

    This allows you to apply earlier in the year, to give yourself more chance of getting a place on a course you want.

    You’ll also need to demonstrate your English language skills.

  • Mature students (over 21)
    Don’t worry if you don’t have the right qualifications.

    You can discuss alternatives with course providers, such as taking an Access course, or getting accreditation for prior learning, life experience or work experience.