Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS)

The Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS) aims to help stop the spread of knowledge and skills that could be used in the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) and their means of delivery. The scheme is specifically designed to ensure that those applying for study in certain sensitive subjects do not acquire knowledge that could potentially be used in WMD programmes.

Who needs ATAS clearance ?

You must obtain ATAS clearance before you can register at the University if you meet all the following criteria:

  • you are a non-EEA / Swiss national;
  • there is time limit on your right to enter or remain in the UK (e.g., if you need a visa of any kind for a stay of six months or more);
  • you will be studying or carrying out research for six months or more in the UK (study of less than six months does not need ATAS clearance);
  • you will be registered in one of the subject areas listed below.

Additionally, if you require a Tier 4 Student Visa you must obtain ATAS clearance before we will issue a Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) for you to make your visa application.

Individuals with the immigration status mentioned above (including current students) must also obtain ATAS clearance: (a) before you can change your course to one of those listed below; (b) if you change your area of research (even if you have already been granted ATAS clearance for a subject area with the same JACS Code); (c) if you are registered on a course which requires ATAS and you need to extend your visa to stay in the UK.

Sussex subject areas which require ATAS clearance

Research (MPhil / PhD)
Subject areaJACS Code
Astronomy F500
Biochemistry C700
Biology C100
Chemistry F100
Cognitive Science I450
Engineering H100
Genome Stability C450
Geography F800
Informatics I100
Mathematics G100
Neuroscience B140
Physics F300
Masters by Research (MRes)
CourseJACS Code
Animal Behaviour C120
Conservation Biology C184
Evolutionary Biology C150
Neuroscience B140
 Master of Science (MSc)
CourseJACS Code
Advanced Mechanical Engineering H300
Frontiers of Quantum Technology F300
Particle Physics F370
Physics F300
Physics (Euromasters) F300


How to apply for ATAS clearance

The ATAS application is made online on the Foreign and Commonwealth Office website and is free of charge. The ATAS team aim to respond to all applications within 20 working days of successful completion.

If you apply for a course which requires ATAS clearance we will enclose with your offer letter a form containing the information that you need in order to make the ATAS application.

If you require a Tier 4 Student Visa you must obtain ATAS clearance before we will issue a Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) for you to make your visa application.You must allow sufficient time for your University application to be considered and processed in time for you to apply for ATAS clearance and your Tier 4 visa. For example, for Masters courses starting in September, applications should be received by 1 August at the latest. Research applicants will need to allow more time for their application to be considered. You should note that the possession of ATAS clearance does not guarantee you a visa or extension of stay.