UCL Centre for Languages & International Education (CLIE)


International Pre-Master's

The UCL International Pre-Master’s is a preparation course for international students who are aiming to study for a postgraduate degree at UCL or elsewhere in the UK. The International Pre-Master’s is a stimulating and rigorous course which provides you with the levels of English language and academic skills required to succeed at graduate level.

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Coronavirus (COVID-19) update  

This 6-month course (January – June 2021) will be delivered by blended learning, which will combine the best of our classroom based teaching with engaging online learning.

The Pre-Master’s will continue to prepare you to the level of English and academic skills required to succeed at graduate level at UK universities. You will receive the same high-quality provision and support, with the same learning outcomes and postgraduate progression opportunities.

To achieve this, we will support your learning through:  

  • high-quality online classes to equip you with the academic skills and language necessary for success at a leading university
  • classes on campus
  • interactive sessions, online and on campus, in which you will be guided and challenged in discussion with peers and tutors
  • weekly one-to-one tutorials, online with your Personal Tutor to discuss your studies, coursework, extended writing and university applications
  • a rich range of online materials to support you with independent learning
  • study groups, to support you with self-study and develop your skills
  • training in the use of UCL online learning platforms, including Moodle, Blackboard Collaborate, MS Teams.

As the pandemic progresses, social distancing requirements from the government and university will guide how much teaching we can deliver in person at any given time.  We will regularly review the balance to make sure you receive an outstanding educational experience.

Preparations at the university have been guided by our own faculty – the UCL Institute of Education, ranked first for education in the world* – so you can be confident that we will help you fulfil your potential, as you progress from the IPM to postgraduate courses at UCL and other top-ranking universities.

Technical requirements

Please note the following technical requirements:

  • access to a laptop or PC with internet connection;
  • a headset (recommended) or speakers and a microphone;
  • a webcam;
  • a modern browser, upgraded to the latest version (Chrome recommended);
  • a reliable internet connection. 

Training will be provided in the use of UCL online platforms during Student Orientation and ongoing technical support will be available during UK office hours.

Entry requirements

You need to show that you meet our English language requirements so that you can benefit fully from the course. You can do this by providing one of the following:

  • a certificate from an approved English language test (see below), taken within the last 2 years; or 
  • a completed university degree conducted in a country that UCL considers to be ‘majority English speaking’, completed within the last 2 years.

English Language requirements

ComponentIELTS Academic Version / IELTS indicator**TOEFL iBT / TOEFL iBT Home EditionTOEFL ITP Plus for China**Pearson PTECambridge English Scale
Overall score5.57254351162

**Applicants submitting an IELTS indicator or TOEFL ITP Plus for China test result may be requested to undertake an additional writing task and interview.

***The speaking element will be marked by UCL CLIE.

Minimum academic requirements

You can satisfy the academic entry requirement in one of the following ways:

  • a completed university degree with a result equivalent to a lower second-class (2:2). The university transcript must show the final overall mark or the Cumulative Grade Point Average (CGPA); or
  • a conditional offer for a Master’s degree at a UK university.

To find out if UCL considers your undergraduate score or GPA to be equivalent to at least a 2:2, please refer to your country's entry requirements on the UCL International Students website.

Why study the IPM?

The UCL International Pre-Master’s helps facilitate the smooth transition to a Master’s degree at a leading UK university. You will benefit from:

  1. Highly-qualified UCL academic staff with experience and expertise in preparing international student for postgraduate study.
  2. Small class sizes and personalised feedback on your work- small class sizes of maximum 15 students and personalised feedback on coursework.
  3. Weekly one-to-one tutorials – you will be assigned an experienced  personal tutor to discuss your studies, coursework and research project .
  4. A range of study choices – we offer the opportunity for you to explore the academic tasks and English language in your own or a closely related discipline.
  5. Academic tasks – opportunities to practice of a wide range of academic tasks that you’ll typically undertake on graduate degree programmes, including writing longer essays, literature reviews, giving presentations and participating in seminars.
  6. UK academic culture - familiarising you with the system of higher education in the UK, including its expectations about independent learning and academic behaviour, both generally and within your individual discipline.
  7. More than IELTS – our course goes beyond IELTS to include research skills, critical thinking, reflection, reading full-length academic articles and seminar and presentation skills.
  8. Supporting your university application – our Education Advisor will help and advise you in your university applications, from writing a personal statement to narrowing down your choices.  
  9. Academic life after the IPM – students have gone on to study at a range of UK universities, including UCL, King’s and LSE.
  10. World-class facilities – as an IPM student, you have full access to all of UCL facilities, including libraries, the Student Centre and a range of services through UCL Student Support & Wellbeing.

Course structure

You will study three compulsory modules which will introduce you to the English language, research methodologies and academic skills necessary to succeed on a Master’s degree at UCL or another leading UK university.


Module one: English for Academic Purposes

This module will develop your ability to communicate, build and share knowledge in academic contexts through reading, writing, speaking and listening.

Module two: Research, Argumentation and Criticality

This module examines research methods used at graduate level, whilst developing your critical, analytical and argumentative skills for study at that level and your improvement of language proficiency to support these.

Module three: Discipline-specific Research, Argumentation and Criticality

This module builds on the first two modules by further developing your research, argumentative and critical skills in a chosen discipline or one closely related to it. This involves looking at what knowledge is in that context and how that knowledge is constructed and communicated in your chosen, or a closely related, academic discipline. Options may include:

  • Architecture & Urban Design
  • Business & Management
  • Education
  • Finance, Accounting & Economics
  • Humanities & Social Sciences
  • Law
  • Life Sciences & Medical Sciences

Your learning

You will typically have 18 UCL teaching hours per week during term time (UCL 'teaching hour' = 50 minutes).

In addition, you will be expected to spend an average of 15 hours a week on independent study.

Teaching will be delivered through a combination of online and face-to-face lectures, classes, seminars, study groups, workshops and self-study.

You will also be assigned a Personal Tutor, who will meet you individually and regularly throughout the course to offer you guidance and support.


You will be assessed by a variety of methods, including coursework, long essays, presentations, reflections and examinations. The specific assessment types for each module can be seen in the above module pages.

Your teachers

You will be taught by a number of approachable and highly-qualified UCL academic staff with experience and expertise in preparing international students for graduate degree level study.

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The qualification

The UCL International Pre-Master’s qualification is recognised as satisfying UCL’s English language requirement.

If your ambition is to study at UCL, you are strongly advised to check if the results of your first degree meet the entry requirements of the degree you wish to apply for.

The results from the IPM can be used to meet UCL’s English language requirement. However, successful completion of the IPM does not guarantee you progression onto a Master’s course at UCL, as the results of your first degree will determine this

Fees and expenses

January 202120 weeks£13,600

Course fees include the costs of all course tuition (including some course books), access to the UCL IT network with Internet and e-mail facilities and borrowing and research rights at UCL libraries. Details of how to pay your fees can be found in the application process.

Field trips and excursions

During the course, you will be encouraged to go on trips and outings to places of interest in and around London for social and academic purposes. As far as possible, the cost of trips organised by CLIE 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.

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.

Further information

Term dates

First IPM TermMonday 4 January to Friday 26 March 2021
Second IPM TermMonday 19 April to Friday 11 June 2021

*Source: QS World University Rankings by Subject 2020

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How to apply

Find out how you can apply for the UCL International Pre-Master's course, including the documents you will need to submit, how to pay and important visa information.

Abdullah UCL International Pre-Master's student

Student views and testimonies

Our students come from a diverse range of backgrounds and education systems from around the world. Find out what IPM alumni thought about the course and how it helped them prepare for graduate level study.

UCL Portico, Main quad


UCL International Pre-Master’s students have gone on to study a wide range of Master's programmes at UCL and other leading UK universities.

Student on their laptop in their accommodation/room


A number of different types of accommodation are available to CLIE students, the majority of which is within 10–30 minutes’ walk of the main campus.