UCL Centre for Languages & International Education (CLIE)


Pre-Master's Certificate in Architecture

The UCL Pre-Master’s Certificate in Architecture (Pre-MArch) is a 6-month intensive course designed to prepare international students specifically for a range of Master's programmes offered at the UCL Bartlett School of Architecture.

The course has been developed by the UCL Bartlett School of Architecture and the UCL Centre for Languages & International Education (CLIE) to give you the skills, experience and confidence to study at one of the world’s best architecture schools on one of the following programmes:

Entry requirements

English language requirements

ComponentIELTSTOEFL iBTPearson PTECambridge English ScaleUSEPT

Minimum academic requirements

Applicants should have a first degree in Architecture or a related discipline and satisfy the UCL general academic entrance requirements. For information on international qualifications, please see the international students website.

A portfolio of work will also be required at the application stage. The nature of the applicant's portfolio will depend on the applicant's first degree or prior experience. No specific skills are required but a design and/or performance capability must be demonstrated.

Applications will not be considered from students who have completed a Bachelor's in Architecture at a UK university.

Course benefits

The Pre-Master's Certificate in Architecture (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 professional practice.

Successful completion of this Certificate with an overall mark of at least 65% in Academic Research and Reflective Practice will also satisfy UCL's standard English language requirement.

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.

Course structure

You will study two compulsory modules:

1. Design

This module runs throughout the first (winter) term from January to April and offers an introduction to UCL’s Bartlett School of Architecture, translating critical thinking into design and architectural speculation through drawing and model-making.

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
  • Lectures in Making Buildings and the history of cities and their architecture
  • 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.

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.

2. Academic Research and Reflective Practice

This module runs from January to June and 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 your 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.

For this module you will be taught by tutors from CLIE, who have expertise in preparing students from around the world for Master's level study in the UK.

See sample Pre-MArch timetable (PDF)

Your learning

The course provides 16 UCL teaching 'hours' (50 minute sessions) contact time on average per week by CLIE. In addition, you will receive tuition by the Bartlett which will include workshops and guest lectures.

Teaching includes lectures, seminars, workshops, as well as studio work and field trips. You will also be assigned a member of staff (a personal tutor) who you will meet with individually on a weekly basis and who will provide constructive academic and personal development guidance and support.

Classes are taught in small groups with a maximum of 16 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 be awarded the Pre-Master's Certificate in Architecture based on a combination of formal course assessments and examinations. You will be assessed by:

• A research project
• A reflective report
• A design project - which will be assessed by a final oral presentation and a physical portfolio of photographs, drawings and propositional models.

Your teachers

You will benefit from the teaching and specialist knowledge of highly qualified academic staff from both UCL Bartlett School of Architecture and UCL Centre for Languages & International Education.

Fees and expenses

Start dateFee
January 2020£12,200

Tuition 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 borrow and research rights at UCL libraries.

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

Winter termMonday 13 January to Monday 23 March 
Bartlett Studio 1Tuesday 24 March to Wednesday 8 April
Bartlett Studio 2Wednesday 15 April to Friday 24 April
Spring termMonday 27 April to Friday 19 June 
Summer ShowFriday 19 June 2020*
*Students need to attend the summer show and conduct research in the days after. They are therefore expected to be in London until 23 June 2020.
The Pre-Master's Certificate in Architecture finishes on 30 June 2020. Course dates include examination results and additional course administration, where necessary. Tuition and course examinations end no later than 12 June 2020. Term dates may differ from UCL main term dates.

Progression: The UCL Bartlett School of Architecture

Progression to graduate degrees

The majority of Pre-MArch students progress to the UCL Bartlett School of Architecture; learn more about the criteria you need to fulfill a conditional offer.

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.