UCL Centre for Languages & International Education (CLIE)


Course information

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

On this page:

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.

This nine-month course gives you the time you need to improve your English to the level required by UCL and other top UK universities.

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 IPM gives you the opportunity to explore your interests and options for Master’s study before submitting your Master’s application.

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.

IPM students listening in class

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 UCL 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.

You will also receive support in writing your personal statement in support of your application for a postgraduate degree.

Course structure

Watch Marc introduce the three components that make up the IPM.

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You will study the three components listed below.

1. 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.

2. Research, Argumentation and Criticality

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

3. Discipline-specific Research, Argumentation and Criticality

You will choose one of the options below in which you will further develop your research, critical and argumentation skills in your discipline (or one closely related to it).

Component three options

  • Architecture and Urban Design
  • Business, Management and Finance
  • Education and Psychology
  • Humanities, Social and Political sciences
  • Law
  • Life and Medical Sciences
  • Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM)

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 your 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.


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 teaching 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.


  • 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 2024-25

First Term23 September – 13 December 2023
Second Term6 January – 28 March 2024
Third Term23 April – 13 June 2025

Fees and costs

Course fees

  • £19,850

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 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. For example, you will need a device such as a laptop or tablet to complete your work. 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.