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Checklist: university and degree subjects you might be interviewed for

Not sure if you'll be asked for an interview or not? It depends on the course and university you're applying for...

Don't worry if you're asked to attend a university interview, it's a standard part of the process for certain degrees.

Here's why universities do interviews, as well as which courses are more likely to ask for one. 

How universities use interviews

Interviews and auditions can be important, but they're not the final deciding factor – it's just one part of the university admissions process along with your:

  • predicted grades
  • GCSE and other confirmed grades
  • Ucas reference
  • personal statement
  • submitted work, where requested
  • entry test results, where applicable

Whether or not you'll be invited to an interview depends on the universities or courses you’re applying for.

Universities that tend to interview

Very few universities tend to interview all or most of their applicants. The main exceptions are Oxford and Cambridge, where the interview forms an important part of the process.

But they’re not the only ones. Imperial College London and University College London will also interview most of their applicants.

Many of our courses require applicants to be interviewed as part of the application process. You can find more information about a department’s interview process, on individual department websites.

Imperial College London

Some departments might ask you to participate in group tasks and selection activities or attend an interview during the open day. For some degrees, such as fine art and architecture, the portfolio of work you are asked to bring is vital to the consideration of your application.

Other departments may ask you to take certain tests and exercises during the day, such as writing a short essay.

University College London

Courses that tend to interview

If you have chosen the course that you want to study, it is useful whether or not to expect an interview invite.

A lot of the time it comes down to an individual course department as to whether you’ll be interviewed, but you can have a general idea based on the subject area you're planning to study. 

  • Most likely to have an interview: professional training degrees – such as dentistry, primary education, social work and nursing
  • Possible interview: talent-based degrees such as music, acting, art and design
  • You never know: sciences, engineering, computing
  • Least likely to have an interview: humanities and social science degrees such as English, politics, history and geography

Don’t let a potential interview put you off applying though. If you prepare for it properly, you should do well. Take a look at our how to prepare for an interview article for some useful tips.

If in doubt, read the small print

Occasionally, some universities will ask for an interview whereas other universities won't – even though the course is the same. Here are a few examples.

Computing: less likely to be interviewed, but some universities will ask for one.

  • No interview: University of Nottingham
  • Occasional interview: University of East Anglia
  • Yes, interview: Imperial College London

English Literature: a lot of universities won't ask for an interview, but some might.

  • No interview: University of Bristol, Cardiff University, University of Nottingham, University of Sheffield
  • Possible interview: Durham University, Kings College London
  • Yes, interview: University of Cambridge, Queen Mary University of London, University College London

Architecture: portfolio or interview?

  • Interview and portfolio: University College London
  • Portfolio, not interview: Kingston University London, Cardiff University, University of Sheffield, University of Manchester

Whatever you’re applying for, it's worth doing some research on the university's website to find out about interviews – or note it down as one of your questions to ask at an open day.

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