Dr McVicar, who took up the post on 1 October 1998, said it was an “appropriate” time to retire as the institution was now considering “the structures needed to take the university forward over the next 10 years”.
“It has been a privilege to be vice-chancellor of such an excellent university since 1998 and UCLan is well set for the challenging future.
“UCLan is a very different university in 2012 than it was in 1998 and we can all be proud of what we have achieved together.”
The university said in a statement said that under Dr McVicar’s leadership, it has gone “from strength to strength through a focus on a superlative student experience, a strong international dimension and the development of areas of world-leading research”.
Dr McVicar has overseen the opening of a new campus in Burnley, as well as the redevelopment of its main Preston campus. The university is also set to launch campuses in Cyprus and Thailand.
Brian Harris, chairman of the university’s board of governors, said: “During his period as vice-chancellor the university has been transformed from a regional player into a major university, not just in the UK but also abroad.
“As a consequence UCLan is now poised to enter an exciting new era of international development.”
The university said its board would announce the process for recruiting a replacement “in due course”. Dr McVicar aims to step down “no later” than 30 June 2013.