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Course information

Everything you need to know about the International Pre-Masters (IPM) including information on the course structure, modules, teaching, assessment, fees, and term dates.

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Who is this course for?


We’ve designed this course for international students aiming to study a postgraduate degree at UCL and other leading UK universities.

You’ll be particularly well suited to the IPM if you have an undergraduate degree that meets the academic requirements of your future degree, but you would like to enhance your academic ability and improve your English language level.

It will appeal equally to recent graduates or those returning to study after some time away, as well as to students changing their future degrees, or those wanting time and support to consider their future options.

The course will benefit all those wishing to prepare for postgraduate study on a UK university campus and be supported as they are introduced to a new academic culture and living in a foreign country.

What this course will give you?


The IPM offers the ideal opportunity to develop your academic abilities and English language and gain an insider’s perspective on what it takes to be successful at UK and other leading UK universities.

The focus is on experiencing authentic academic situations and tasks that you will typically undertake on degree programmes so that you are more academically confident and independent.

On the course, you will develop your ability to:

  • Use English accurately, flexibly, and confidently in an academic context.
  • Understand and critically respond to lectures and academic texts.
  • Write convincing, structured academic texts in an appropriate academic style, with particular emphasis on the essay.
  • Speak effectively in academic contexts, with a focus on seminar discussions and academic presentations.
  • Learn how to think – not what to think - by developing your skills of analysis and evaluation.
  • Reflect on educational experiences in preparation for the challenges of postgraduate study.
  • Conduct effective, library-based research required at postgraduate level.
  • Contribute effectively to your academic community by understanding the expectations and practices both generally and within your individual discipline.
  • Develop independent learning skills and learner autonomy to the level expected for postgraduate study in the UK.

Key information


Start dates and length

You have the choice of start dates and length:

  • September 2022 (three terms/ 9 months)
  • January 2023 (two terms/ 6 months)

The January start date has a higher English language requirement due to its shorter length.

Study options

Term 1 (from Sept)Term 2 (from Jan)Term 3 (from Apr/May)Summer breakFollowing Sept/Oct
September start
Three terms/ 9 months
BreakStart your Master's degree
 January start
Two terms/ 6 months

Course structure


You will study three modules:

  • Two core modules that cover advanced academic skills and English language crucial for all postgraduate study
  • One optional module that relates to your chosen area of study.

Core modules

English for Academic Purposes

You will develop the skills in reading, listening, writing, and speaking required to build and communicate knowledge in academic contexts.

There will also be a focus on grammar and vocabulary that will be most useful in an academic setting.

Research, Argumentation and Criticality

You will examine research skills used at graduate level, whilst developing your critical, analytical and argumentation skills.

Optional module

Discipline-specific Research, Argumentation and Criticality

Alongside your core modules, you will choose one optional module in which you will further develop your research, critical, and argumentation skills in your discipline (or one closely related to it).

Module options
  • Architecture & Urban Design
  • Business & Management
  • Education
  • Finance & Economics
  • Humanities & Social Sciences
  • Law
  • Life Sciences & Medical Sciences
  • Public Policy
  • Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM)

Note: Options are subject to availability, and you will be guided on the best option for your intended degree programme when you arrive at UCL.

Teaching methods


You will learn in a variety of ways, including:

  • Classes: with an average of 14 students so that you have more opportunities for personal attention. 
  • Peer study groups: comprised of 3-4 students from the same class who work together on guided activities that prepare for or follow on from classes.
  • Workshops and lectures
  • Self-study tasks: to be completed independently but which are monitored/reviewed by the teacher 
  • Personal tutorials: with your personal tutor, who will help you get the most out of your studies and provide support throughout the IPM.  
  • Individual study and revision

More about personal tutorials

Personal tutorials are about supporting your learning during your time on the IPM.

You will have a 30-minute personal tutorial every week with your personal tutor, who is also a member of the IPM teaching team.

Your personal tutor will help you get the most out of your studies and provide encouragement and guidance during your time on the IPM.

This personal attention is a distinguishing feature of the IPM and highly valued by students for helping them achieve their educational goals.

What learning technologies will I use?

On the course you will use a range of learning technologies, including:

  • Moodle: a learning platform used for online learning materials and interactive activities. 
  • Microsoft Teams: used from video online classes, one-to-one video/audio calls and to share documents that you can work on with others online.
  • Microsoft OneDrive: cloud storage used to share documents with peers/teacher to work on them together online.

Timetable

The IPM is a full-time, intensive course. A typical week includes:

  • 10 hours of lecturer contact within classes
  • 4.5 hours of study group work outside of class
  • up to 8 hours of guided self-study 
  • 30 minutes of contact time in tutorials

In addition, you will be expected to do private study. During private study time, you will revise material from classes, search for sources and information, read and take notes, and work on assessments. 

See a sample timetable for an idea of a typical week on the IPM.

Your teachers


You will be taught by a team of approachable and highly-qualified UCL academic staff who are experienced in preparing international students for graduate-level study.

How am I assessed?


You are assessed through a combination of coursework and final examinations in June.

Coursework 

  • Extended essay: on a topic related to your intended degree programme (1,800-2,000 words)
  • Reflective essay: as well as several shorter reflective writing tasks (800-1,000 words)

Final exams

You will complete final exams in:

  • Listening and note-taking
  • Reading
  • Speaking (a viva)
  • Writing (an open-book exam)

There are also non-graded, formative assessments to monitor and support your learning, including an annotated bibliography, a research plan, draft essays, seminar discussions, and presentations.

These do not count towards your final marks but are used to give you individual feedback to help you reach your educational goals.

All this ensures you will experience a full range of assessment methods used in UK postgraduate courses.

The qualification


The UCL International Pre-Master’s qualification indicates your English language ability and academic readiness to study for a Master’s degree in the UK.

It can be used to fulfil UCL’s English language requirement for postgraduate study but cannot be used to fulfil the academic requirement at UCL and other universities.

IPM term dates 2022/23


TermDates
Term 126 September – 16 December 2022
Term 29 January – 31 March 2023
Term 324 April – 16 June 2023

Students starting in January begin in the second term.

Fees and costs


Course fees

Start dateLengthFee
September 2022Three terms£18,500
January 2023Two terms£13,800

Course fees include the costs of all course tuition (including course materials), access to the UCL IT network with internet and email facilities, and borrowing and research rights at UCL libraries.

Additional costs

As well as course fees, you should also be aware of general study costs, living costs and other additional expenses.

Visits and field trips

You'll visit places like museums and galleries as part of the course. These are likely to be within London and you should budget for travel costs.

Living costs

As well as paying your tuition fees, you should consider how to meet your living costs while studying. You’ll need to fund your accommodation, food and travel expenses, as well as studying-related costs, such as books. Think about everyday costs too, such as clothes and entertainment. To learn more, please see the cost of studying at UCL guide.

The Which? student budget calculator can help you budget for living and studying in the UK.