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Essential coronavirus info
We can’t wait to welcome our new and returning students from 19 October 2020. Your safety is our first priority.

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Application advice

Explore our advice for international students on how to apply, what documents we’ll need from you and how to apply for a visa to study in the UK.

How to apply

International students can apply to UAL courses through 1 of the following ways:

UAL representatives

Admission to UAL is competitive, so we advise you to apply as early as possible. Some courses have strict application deadlines.

Check individual course pages for specific information or contact 1 of our official representatives who can support you through the whole application process for free.

Find representatives


You can apply for Undergraduate courses through the University and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS).

This is particularly useful if you are applying to more than 1 university in the UK.

Find out more

Directly to UAL

Direct applications for pre-degree, undergraduate and postgraduate courses are made on our online application system and can be found in the 'How to Apply' section of your chosen course page.

Find out more


Supporting documents

As part of the application process, we usually require the following:

  • Personal statement
  • A copy of your academic transcripts (officially translated into English)
  • A copy of your English language certificate, if English is not your first language
  • A copy of your passport and any current UK visa
  • Immigration history form
  • A portfolio of relevant work for practice-based courses

Check the page of your course for specific details of supporting documents and entry requirements.

English language

If English isn’t your first language, you will need to prove your language level with a qualification like the International English Language Testing System (IELTS). Find out more about English language Requirements and accepted qualifications.

You can still apply to a course with a different qualification. However, if you don't qualify for a testing exemption, you will need to have a valid English language qualification for both UAL and UKVI purposes.

UAL Language Centre offers a Presessional English programme to help you achieve the level required for your course without taking another English language test.


If you're not an EU, EEA or Swiss national, you will need a Tier 4 (General) visa to study in the UK.

The amount of time you can study in the UK is limited. You should plan your study carefully so you can complete all of your chosen courses.

Our Student Advice Service and our official representatives can help you with your visa application. Visit the Home Office and UK Council for International Student Affairs websites for official guidance.

Portfolio preparation

When you're preparing your portfolio you'll likely have a lot of questions. What to include? How to present it? What should it look like? To make life easier we've asked UAL staff and students their advice on everything from the type of work to put in your portfolio to tailoring it to specific study levels.


A portfolio should really tell us who you are.


Portfolios are a visual, or sometimes digital representation of someone's work.


It's the place where you show people what you're about and what you're interested in.


You can show video, you can show audio you can show drawing, painting sculpture, whatever. It is something that you're proud of.


It can be a range of different types of work, it can be a range of different techniques but really we just want to see who you are as an artist, designer, maker.


It's really about cherry-picking the things that students are most proud of, that they can really think of as “this represents who I am as a person and where I want to go, the things I want to develop and progress further”.


Think of a portfolio as a visual diary, if you're writing a diary you can't do it in a day, it takes place over time.


Show the process of how you got to an idea from the original research documented, the concepts and then a selection of those concepts into more finished and refined pieces of work.


So it needs to tell a story that you can't be there to tell.


If you can show how you've progressed from a really dodgy doodle in your maths text book four years ago, slowly to a beautiful life-size sculpture, they can understand a lot about you and how your mind works.


When we actually do portfolio reviews or interviews, we're looking for the individual. From everything from fashion to filmmaking we want to see how their future is going to be supported by the work they've done to date.


Often we have portfolios that look very similar and that is a problem for us, so when when we review them we'll see 1 portfolio and think “oh that's a really interesting portfolio” and then we'll see the next 1 and it just looks the same and the next 1 and it just looks the same, and we think actually that's not a real indication, that's not that applicant’s story.


What we want to see is all the aspects of your creativity, your personal journey that's brought you there, nobody can do that for you and the more we learn about you through your portfolio the better it is for us to know you're right for 1 of our courses.


It gives you an opportunity to see how you've grown yourself as a filmmaker, an animator, a sound artist so you can really see “okay I started off here” and you know that it tells a story of your own development.


It's okay to be messy people want to see the mess. It has to show us the potential, it has to show us curiosity, it has to show us how you've worked through things.


I should hopefully be able to look at your portfolio and then meet you and go “oh yes that kind of matches up.”

Portfolio advice videos

Watch the first video in our portfolio playlist, 'What is a portfolio'.

Head over to our YouTube channel to explore the full series which covers everything you need to know about preparing a portfolio for UAL. Our videos include animations by Rosa Beiroa, graduate of MA Animation at London College of Communication.

Our videos cover the themes:

  • what is a portfolio
  • what to include in a portfolio
  • how to structure your portfolio
  • preparing a portfolio for foundation, undergraduate or postgraduate level
  • interviewing with a portfolio.

The selection process

We process applications as soon as possible, but the time may vary depending on your course, College or how you applied.

If you applied through an official UAL representative

You can attend a face-to-face interview with 1 of our travelling academic staff. If you are not accepted on your chosen course, you may be offered a more suitable alternative at 1 of our other Colleges. This process applies to most Pre-degree and Undergraduate courses, and some Postgraduate courses.

If you applied through UCAS or directly to UAL

If you live outside the UK, you may be invited to a telephone interview. If you are already in the UK or you’re able to travel, we may invite you to face-to-face interview at your chosen College.

Find more about the selection process and what happens next.

Help and support

Woman holding a black ball against white wall
Degree show work by Jeff Chun-Hee Luu 2013

Meet us in your country

Find contacts for UAL representatives and events in your country

Black words printed on white paper
Typography. Image courtesy of UAL.


Find out more about visa requirements to live and study in the UK

Two people looking at art in a gallery
Wimbledon 2013 Summer Show. Paintings by Jasmir Creed.

International fees

Find out about study costs for international students

Sign post in Tooting Bec Common
Tooting Bec Common. Image courtesy of UAL.

Contact International

Get in touch with the International Office at your College