UCL Centre for Languages & International Education (CLIE)




UCL Pre-Master’s Certificate in Architecture

Pre-Masters Architecture students with academic

Course aims

The UCL Pre-Master’s Certificate in Architecture (Pre-MArch) is a six-month intensive course, beginning in January. It is intended for applicants interested and designed to prepare you specially for the following MArch programmes offered at the UCL Bartlett School of Architecture:
•    MArch in Architecture (ARB/RIBA Part 2)
•    MArch Urban Design
•    MArch Architectural Design
•    MArch Design for Manufacture
•    MArch Design for Performance and Interaction

You will receive guidance on which MArch programme is most suited to you while you are studying on the Pre-MArch and you will be required to apply for that programme before the application deadline. The MArch in Architecture (ARB/RIBA Part 2) programme has an application deadline in March; the other programmes listed above have an application deadline in July.

What we are looking for:

The Pre-MArch is designed to prepare you specifically for the above MArch programmes which require:

  • A high level of initiative and learning autonomy
  • An ability to work under pressure
  • An ability to defend your own design projects
  • Sound academic skills such as understanding and utilising relevant academic literature and writing coherent, well-supported essays
  • An ability to think abstractly critically, and conceptually

What you will learn on the Pre-MArch:

The Pre-MArch will thoroughly prepare you for your future Master's programme by developing a range of key skills, including:

  • Academic research and critical thinking
  • Analysis, evaluation and effective use of resources
  • Critical engagement with texts and debates in the field
  • Independent research skills through in-depth study of issues related to architecture and design
  • Use of key concepts and terminology
  • Personal and well-supported arguments
  • Reflective writing on learning and practice as professionals

Architecture and design

You will be introduced to the MArch subjects that you will be studying and researching in your future Master’s programme at the Bartlett, including:

  • Media Studies
  • Engaging with theory and history
  • Acquiring the skills of interdisciplinary thinking and knowledge; a key strength of UCL.
  • Preparing a small design portfolio in order to understand the process of design, and prepare for the next academic year interview.

In addition, the Pre-MArch will offer full access to the academic and support facilities of a top UK university, in the heart of the capital.  Social events and sporting facilities are also available to you.

Application and entrance requirements


Applications for January 2018 entry are now open.

Please apply as early as possible to secure your place on the course and in UCL accommodation. The absolute deadline for applications is the 30 September, but the course may close sooner if it is full.

Application process

  1. Complete the online application form and pay the appropriate application fee of £60 on the UCL Online Store.
  2. When your application has been assessed we will contact you to confirm whether we can offer you a place on the course. Entry will depend on your existing level of English (including subtests) and academic history. Students who have not already done so as part of a UCL application may be asked to submit their final academic transcript and a design portfolio.
  3. Offer holders will receive information, via email, on how to formally accept their offer, pay the course fees and apply for UCL accommodation

Entrance requirements

English language requirements:

Pearson PTE
Cambridge English Scale
Listening 6.0 19 56 169 60
Reading 6.0 20 56 169 60
Speaking 6.0 22 56 169 60
Writing 6.0 19 56 169 60
Total 6.0 80 56 169 60

The above entrance requirements are the minimum levels required and will normally result in suitable candidates being offered a place on the course. 

Course structure

The Pre-MArch has been developed by the UCL Bartlett School of Architecture and the UCL Centre for Languages & International Education (CLIE). It is a joint endeavour based on the needs of MArch students who will benefit from the teaching and expertise offered at this level. You will be taught by staff in both UCL departments.

The course provides 15 hours teaching contact time on average per week by the UCL Centre for Languages & International Education. In addition you will receive tuition by the UCL Bartlett School of Architecture which will include workshops and guest lectures.

Teaching includes lectures, seminars, workshops as well as studio work and fieldtrips. In addition, you will receive individual academic tutorials every week.

Classes are taught in small groups with a maximum of 14 learners per class.

Throughout the course, you will develop and enhance your academic study skills, research skills, and subject knowledge to ensure you have a solid foundation for success in your graduate study at one of the world’s leading schools of Architecture.

You will study two compulsory modules:

  • Design
  • Academic Research and Reflective Practice
Module taught at the Bartlett

The design module runs from January to May. It offers an introduction to UCL’s Bartlett School of Architecture, with an emphasis on architectural speculation through drawing and model-making.

The design module begins with weekly city explorations and tutorials, followed by a 2-week intensive workshop in March/April at the Bartlett. In this period you will be working with a studio brief and are encouraged to develop your way of seeing, interpreting and proposing concepts for small scale interventions within the city.

You will be taught by tutors from the Bartlett and have an opportunity to engage with the school’s open lecture programme and studio life. At the end of the course you are expected to produce individual projects

Module taught at the UCL Centre for Languages & International Education

The academic research module runs from January to June. It focuses on academic skills and literacies with an emphasis on reflection, criticality, research, as well as efficient communication and coherent argumentation.

In January, you will learn core skills and strategies needed to understand, analyse and reformulate texts as well as engage in reflective writing on their learning. You will then develop your critical thinking, academic skills and learning autonomy by engaging with academic literature and developing your own research proposal. In parallel you will further reflect and analyse how you engage with the design and research process. From May, you will develop your research project to produce an academic essay as well as finalise your reflective report

Course assessment

You will receive the Pre-MArch qualification based on a combination of formal course assessments. These include academic writing coursework (e.g. research proposal, reflective reports, essay) for 60% of the final grade. The design component represents 40% of the final grade and is assessed via a final verbal presentation and a physical portfolio of photographs, drawings and propositional models.


83% of Pre-MArch students progressed to a Master's degree at the UCL Bartlett School of Architecture in 2017.

Other students progressed to The Architectural Association School of Architecture and the Royal College of Art.

The UCL Pre-Master’s Certificate in Architecture (Pre-MArch) is a six-month intensive course, beginning in January. It is intended for applicants interested and designed to prepare you specially for the following MArch programmes offered at the UCL Bartlett School of Architecture:

The MArch Architecture (ARB/RIBA Part 2) is a two year full-time Master’s programme which, in addition, leads to exemption from ARB/RIBA Part 2.

The MArch Urban Design is a one year full time design-oriented and project-based programme, with a strong research component, which aims to enhance the quality of our cities by bringing innovative design into a new relationship with the latest theoretical research on the special structure of urban form.

The MArch Architectural Design is a one year programme concentrating on advanced design. It encourages the individual to discover his or her individual expression. Students on this programme benefit from continuous discussion of work via tutorials and reviews and the opportunity to study at an internationally renowned centre for innovative design.

The MArch Design for Manufacture is a 15-month Master's course which will teach you how to place your design skills in the context of pioneering developments in construction, fabrication, assembly and automation (including robotics).

The MArch Design for Performance and Interaction is a new 15-month Master's programme which teaches design in four dimensions. You will design the performance and interaction of objects, environments and people using the latest fabrication, sensing, computation, networked and responsive technologies. Emphasis is placed on prototyping, from interactive objects and installations to staged events, and performance architecture.

" I meet so many able students overseas who wish to come and study the MArch programme. Their portfolios and academic levels are very strong indeed but it is the students’ ability to communicate their ideas verbally and in writing that is the key to success on the MArch programme. The strongest MArch students will be able to think critically and engage in debates at the Bartlett. Written work at UCL is so important and the strength of their essays will determine to a large extent their success on the course. The UCL Pre-Master’s Certificate in Architecture has been specifically developed to enhance the performance of MArch students.

Professor CJ Lim
Professor of Architecture and Urbanism
Director of International Affairs
UCL Bartlett School of Architecture

Course dates and fees

Tuition fees

Start date
Tuition fees
08 January 2018

Course fees include the costs of all course tuition (including an English language course book), access to the UCL IT network with Internet and e-mail facilities and research rights at UCL libraries.

Term dates

Winter term
Monday 08 January 2018 - Friday 23 March 2018
Bartlett School of Architecture Boot Camp
Monday 9 April 2018 - Friday 22 April 2018 (to be confirmed)
Spring term Monday 16 April 2018 - Friday 29 June 2018

The Pre-Master's Certificate in Architecture finishes on 29 June 2018. Course dates include examination results and additional course administration, where necessary. Tuition and course examinations end no later than the 15 June 2018. Term dates may differ from UCL Main College term dates.

Paying tuition fees

Course fees will normally be paid in full prior to the beginning of the course. Offer holders will receive information via email on how to formally accept their offer, pay the course fees and apply for UCL accommodation.

Full refunds of course fees minus a £100 administration charge will be made in the event of formal visa refusals where a further visa application is not possible. Claims must be made in writing and be supported by the relevant Refusal of Entry Clearance letter. Other requests for refunds will be considered only in the event that the course is full and a replacement can be found to take the applicant's place on the course.

Field trips and excursions

During the course you will be invited to attend regular trips and outings to places of interest in and around London for social and academic purposes. As far as possible the cost of these trips is covered by the Centre however you will be responsible for travel costs for the visits. An Oyster card can help you save time and money when traveling around London.

Living expenses

In addition to paying your tuition fees you will also need to consider how you are going to meet your living costs while you are studying. Funds will be required to cover the costs of your accommodation, food and travel as well as other costs associated with your studies, such as books, and everyday life, such as clothes and entertainment.

Estimates of how much money you will need may vary considerably, as the lifestyles and circumstances of individual students differ. For a single, graduate student studying for a calendar year, an estimated average would be in the region of £338 per week. This should be considered only as a guide; some students may find they can live within this allowance, yet others may find it insufficient to meet their expectations.

Students who have a dependent spouse and/or children will require a significantly greater amount. All students should be aware that they will probably incur initial expenses such as a deposit for accommodation and purchase of books. International students may also need to buy clothing suitable for the British climate.

More information can also be found on UCL International Student Support webpages.