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University College London Exchange

London, England

London, England

Program sponsor: Northwestern

Big Ben, London
Big Ben, London

In this exchange program, students enroll directly at University College London (UCL) and take classes with local and other international students. Northwestern students have the option of studying abroad for a semester or full academic year. Students will pay Northwestern tuition and are responsible for travel and all other expenses (including room and board). Information on the visa process can be found through the exchange student website.

Interested in studying in London, but not sure which program is the best fit? Check out our London Study Abroad infographic to compare each program's specialties, location, housing options, and more.

Begin Application Process


Students will be expected to enroll in four courses per term. Students will apply and be admitted to a home academic department, where they must take 50 percent of their courses (two per term). The following UCL departments are included in the UCL exchange program and will be available to Northwestern students to enroll, if they meet the eligibility requirements of that department: archaeology, biological sciences, biomedical sciences, chemistry, earth sciences, economics, engineering, geography, history, liberal arts and sciences, mathematics, molecular biosciences, neuroscience, political science and international relations, psychology, physics & astronomy, science & technology studies, and statistical sciences.

For the remaining 50 percent of their courses (two per term), students may enroll in courses outside of these departments. Each department has a study abroad tutor, or academic adviser, who will assist Northwestern students in making course selections and completing course enrollment. Course registration happens during the International Student’s Orientation Programme on arrival.

Students typically take 4 courses, each worth 15 UCL credits. A 15 UCL credit class will appear on your transcript as .5 UCL credits. Refer to the Credit Conversion page for information on how .5 UCL credits transfers to NU credit.

Program Requirements


Students must have a major or minor corresponding to one of the faculties(departments) at UCL with which Northwestern University is partnered which include: archaeology, biological sciences, biomedical sciences, chemistry, earth sciences, economics, engineering, geography, history, liberal arts and sciences, mathematics, molecular biosciences, neuroscience, political science and international relations, psychology, physics & astronomy, science & technology studies, and statistical sciences.

A GPA of 3.3 or above. Some departments require a 3.5 GPA within the subject area including: economics, biological sciences, biomedical sciences, neuroscience, molecular biosciences, mathematics, physics & astronomy and statistical sciences)

Students should normally have completed, or expect to complete, two years of study at university level prior to entry to UCL.


No language requirement is needed.


  1. Apply for permission to study abroad
    All students are required to apply for permission to study abroad. Learn more about the process, deadlines, and access the application on the apply to study abroad page.
  2. Interview for your program
    • For the interview, please be prepared to:
      • Discuss your specific motivations for study abroad and reasons for selecting this program
      • Explain how the program and coursework aligns with your personal, academic, and/or professional interests, and
      • Ask informed follow-up questions about program details that you have reviewed on the program website
  3. Apply for your study abroad program
    All affiliated programs and all Northwestern exchange programs require an additional external program application. Please check the program’s website for more details and deadlines.

Program Contacts

Estimated Credit

6 Northwestern units. Refer to the Credit Conversion page for information on the “C” grade equivalent and minimum credit requirement for this exchange program. Visit Registration & Credit to learn more about credit types and requirements, registration, and other considerations.


UCL will assist students with housing, and most Northwestern students will be housed in UCL residences, alongside local and international students. Students will typically have their own room with a shared bathroom, and most have self-catering options. All residences are within a 2-mile radius of UCL with easy access to local food stores and other restaurants. Meals are also available at UCL’s Student Union for under £3.00. If students cannot be accommodated in UCL residences, they may be housed in privately leased residences, with assistance from UCL.

Host Institution

UCL is one of the top universities in the world and was ranked 5th in QS World University Ranking 2014-2015. It was founded in 1826 and in 1878 it became the first university in England to admit female students on equal terms with men. UCL has the best academic to student ratio in the UK (1:10), enabling small class sizes and outstanding individual support. UCL is also the top-rated university in the UK for research strength. At least 32 UCL academics and students have received Nobel Prizes, including Mahatmi Gandhi, Alexander Graham Bell, and John Stuart Mill.

UCL is located in central London in the Bloomsbury area, which is filled with academic institutions, museums, libraries, restaurants and some of London’s finest parks. For example, the British Library, British Museum, National Theatre, Royal Opera House, and National Gallery are all within walking distance. The city is very well outfitted with public transit trams, buses, and underground rail.

2019 Program Handbook

Browse the program handbook for more detailed information about excursions, courses, and identity-based considerations. Note: This is the previous year's handbook and should be used for informational purposes only. Do not make and travel plans based off of the dates or information provided here. 

Program Cost

Study abroad program costs vary widely and may be more or less expensive than studying at Northwestern. Review the comparison.

Fall 2020: $30,309*

Review estimated costs for other terms on the program budget sheet.

*Budget sheets for exchange programs were last updated on September 14, 2020. All international travel associated with undergraduate credit-bearing study abroad programs slated to begin during the Fall 2020 quarter, including all Fall 2020, Fall/Winter 2020-21, and Full Year 2020-21 exchange programs, was cancelled due to the global COVID-19 pandemic.

Billed by Northwestern
  • Program fee: $19,409

Students attending exchange programs will be charged a program fee equivalent to Northwestern tuition, which covers academic fees, program administration, orientation, and GeoBlue health insurance.

Estimated Additional Costs
  • Room & board: $7,800
  • Airfare: $1,500
  • Visa fees: $0
  • Books & supplies: $200
  • Local transportation: $400
  • Personal expenses: $1,000

Total: $10,900

Financial Aid & Scholarships

Program Financial Details

This section outlines some of the billing and financial arrangements for Northwestern exchange programs, and is intended as a guide to help you navigate the financial aspects of your study abroad process. You should always refer to your program materials for the most current information and instructions.

Program Confirmation

Once you are approved to attend an exchange program, you will need to complete a Program Confirmation form to confirm your participation. You are not required to pay a confirmation deposit, but will be charged a cancellation fee for withdrawing from the program after confirming.

Program Fee

Students participating in exchange programs will be charged a program fee equivalent to the NU tuition rate for:

  • 1 quarter for fall quarter or spring quarter exchange programs
  • 1.5 quarters for fall-winter or winter-spring exchange programs
  • 3 quarters for full-year exchange programs

The program fee includes tuition and GeoBlue health insurance. It does not include additional program-related costs, such as housing, meals, or airfare. Refer to your estimated budget sheet above for the full estimated breakdown of your expenses abroad.

Student Visa Financial Certification

If you are required to obtain a student visa, you may need to provide documentation that you will be supported financially for the duration of your time abroad. This may require bank statements from your parents and/or a financial aid award letter; review your visa application instructions carefully to be sure you are providing the appropriate documentation, and contact GLO for assistance.

If you primarily fund your education through financial aid and/or loans, you may contact Krista Bethel in the financial aid office to request a letter of financial support from Northwestern.

Northwestern Invoice

You should not pay your exchange institution directly for tuition. Your Northwestern invoice will be issued through CAESAR on the regular quarterly schedule, and will include your program fee (outlined above). You will not be billed for on-campus student fees, and exchange programs are exempt from the study abroad administrative fee.

It is your responsibility to pay directly for all other charges abroad, including your housing. Review estimated costs on your budget sheet, linked above.

If you receive financial aid and/or loans from Northwestern, these funds will continue to apply directly to your Northwestern account.

If you use the Northwestern 9PAY plan, you may continue to use 9PAY for your NU-billed study abroad expenses, but you should request a study abroad 9PAY estimate to have your plan set up appropriately.

Withdrawal & Refund Policies

If you withdraw or are dismissed from an exchange program abroad after submitting your program confirmation form, you are subject to the withdrawal & refund policies for Northwestern programs.

Program Website