UCL Centre for Languages & International Education (CLIE)


Pre-Master's in Biomedical and Medical Sciences

The UCL Pre-Master's in Biomedical and Medical Sciences is a preparation course for international students who are aiming to study for a Master's degree in UCL's Division of Medicine.

Course outline

This 9-month Pre-Master’s has been designed to prepare you for a Master’s degree in UCL’s Division of Medicine. The course will help you develop your ability in communicating scientific information, alongside exploring the research philosophies and methodological approaches that underpin biomedical and medical sciences research, which you will encounter in your future Master’s degree.

UCL Division of Medicine

UCL is 9th in the world for Medicine and number 1 in London (QS World Rankings by Subject 2019). We offer a unique mix of pioneering research, cutting-edge facilities, and world-renowned partner hospitals and institutions. Our location in the global city of London, makes UCL one of the best places in the world to study medical sciences.

Visit the UCL Division of Medicine's website.

Entry requirements

English Language requirements 

ComponentIELTS Academic Version / IELTS indicator*TOEFL iBT / TOEFL iBT Home EditionTOEFL ITP Plus for China*Pearson PTECambridge English Scale
Listening 5.5175451162
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.

Academic requirements

Applicants will hold a conditional offer (based on English language) for a Master’s programme in the UCL Division of Medical Sciences.  

Course benefits 


The UCL Pre-Master’s in Biomedical and Medical Sciences has been developed by the UCL Division of Medicine and the UCL Centre for Languages & International Education (CLIE) for international students aiming to study one of the following UCL Master's programmes: 

If you complete the Pre-Master’s in Biomedical and Medical Sciences and meet the conditions of your offer for one of the UCL Master degrees listed above, you will progress automatically onto your Master’s degree.

Skills, knowledge and experience

The course has been designed to develop the following key skills, knowledge and experience which will be essential for your future Master’s in the Biomedical and Medical Sciences:

Critical thinking

Developing your understanding of research approaches to the investigation of biomedical problems and your ability to critically evaluate a range of papers in the discipline (e.g. reports, systematic reviews, laboratory based experimental studies, etc.). 

Language skills  

Enhancing your confidence and linguistic ability to write clear and concise scientific reports, essays and extended research projects - as well as orally present topics and debates - with clarity and focus.

Knowledge and understanding 

Increasing your knowledge and understanding of a broad range of topics, such as: current biomedical debates, ethical considerations in scientific research, the approaches used in biomedical research, the historical development of the biomedical sciences and the research philosophies that underpin them.

With a deeper understanding of these important topics and approaches, you will develop your ability to engage with, and critically evaluate, biomedical and medical science research. This will improve your ability to communicate your own ideas and those of other researchers more effectively in your work.

Practical skills 

Developing a number of practical skills, including how to: organise and conduct complex independent research (supervised by Lecturers in the Division of Medicine); develop a research question based on a clear theoretically motivated account of the literature; conduct data entry, run a variety of statistical models and interpret statistical output.   

Transferable skills 

Enhancing your ability to: communicate effectively both orally and in writing in preparation for a professional career in the biomedical and medical sciences; listen and contribute to discussions on biomedical and related societal issues; interpret biomedical issues in the broader ethical and social contexts.

Academic view

Dr Karen Dwyer

"Excellent communication skills are critical to research and clinical practice in the Biomedical and Medical Sciences (BMS).

The strongest BMS students have the ability to communicate scientific information with precision and confidence to different audiences and by multiple mediums, such as academic writing, oral presentations and face-to-face clinical interactions.

The Pre-Master’s provides students with an intellectually stimulating introduction to the conventions of communication in a wide range of BMS contexts. This course has been tailored so that our students are optimally prepared for the communication requirements of research activities and clinical practice during their Master’s programmes in the Division of Medicine."

Dr Karen Dwyer, Programmes Lead for the Pre Master’s in Biomedical and Medical Sciences

Course structure

You will be taught on the UCL Bloomsbury campus by Teaching Fellows at UCL Centre for Languages & International Education and Lecturers in the Division of Medicine. You will receive an average of 18 contact hours per week in lectures, seminars, workshops and individual tutorials. In addition you will be expected commit around 20 hours a week to independent study.

The Pre-Master’s comprises of 7 compulsory modules taught within the academic year. 

1. Scientific language conventions  

Aims to develop your level of English language skills and your ability to write with precision and clarity, with a focus on the language commonly used in biomedical and medical sciences.

You will develop your ability to use appropriate and precise scientific terms, adapt your writing depending on the target audience and understand how context affects your language choices.

2. Approaches to Biomedical research

Explores the development of medical sciences and the philosophies that underpin healthcare research today (including the design of laboratory and clinical trials) to improve your critical thinking and challenge your assumptions about research in the biomedical and medical sciences. 

This module examines a wide range of philosophical questions relevant to recent developments in biomedical and medical sciences, as well as scholars who have played key roles in defining the history, philosophy and practice of research in these disciplines. 

3. Mediums of communication in the Biomedical and Medical Sciences

Develops your ability to present your research in a variety of contexts, e.g. essays, reports, posters, blogs, public information formats or oral format, as well as for publication in an academic journal. 

This module moves beyond scientific communication as academic writing, and considers the wide range of audiences with whom scientists engage with when disseminating their work. 

You will explore the importance of scientists' engagement with the media and the public, whilst also considering how different contexts and audiences influence how researchers shape the presentation of scientific information. The focus of this course is on practical aspects of communication and using theoretical approaches to understanding communication. 

4. Current topics in Biomedical and Medical Sciences

Explores the ethical issues that arise in medical research and health care today. This module addresses topics such as responsibility and accountability, agency, consent, patient rights, abuse of power, rights and advocacy. 

This module will help you develop the skills and attitudes necessary to ensure you apply ethical principles when conducting research in the biomedical and medical sciences, In addition it will provide you with the opportunity to evaluate studies conducted in your field according to the principles covered in the Approaches to Science module. 

5. Research methods

Offers an introduction to the theory and skills required for the successful completion of a systematic review, which you will complete in term 3/the summer term. 

You will undertake ‘Good Clinical Practice’ training (GCP) to become aware of research in modern clinical practice. Sessions on this module will include ethical considerations along with practical sessions on data organisation and analysis,  covering both quantitative and qualitative information. 

6. Biomedicine and Society: Bioscience & Society: Public engagement, policy and funding

Explores the relationship between science and society in both an historical and a contemporary context. 

You will look at how ambitious scientific endeavors require public confidence, communication and funding to turn an original idea to something that has an impact in society.

This module will draw on the unique range of museums, learned societies and organisations based in London to enable you to experience and appreciate the relationship between science and society, and the need for scientists to engage and communicate with the wider world.

7. A systematic review

You will complete a systematic review of 6,000 words on a topic relevant to your area of study in your intended future Master’s programme. This will develop the skills, knowledge and experience which will be essential when completing the Literature Review for the dissertation on your future Master’s programme.

During this module you will be supported by both lecturers in the UCL Division of Medicine and by teaching staff at UCL Centre for Languages & International Education, which will include a series of workshops designed to facilitate your research skills and writing up of your systematic review. 

Your learning


You will be awarded the Pre-Master's in Biomedical and Medical Sciences based on a combination of formal course assessments and examinations. 

During the course you will be assessed by: 

  • A research project (systematic review)
  • Written coursework
  • Open Book Exam Coursework
  • Oral presentation

Your teachers

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

Term dates

TermTerm dates
First termMonday 28 September 2020 - Friday 18 December 2020
Second termMonday 11 January 2021 - Friday 26 March 2021
Third termMonday 26 April 2021 - Friday 11 June 2021

Fees and expenses

Course fees

Course fees include the costs of all course tuition, 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 How to apply section.

Total course fees: £18,450

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.


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How to apply

Find out how to apply for the UCL Pre-Master's in Biomedical and Medical Sciences, including the documents you will need to submit, application process and how to pay.

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Progression to graduate degrees

Learn which UCL Division of Medicine Master's degrees you can progress on to and learn more about the criteria you need to fulfill a conditional offer. 

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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.

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UCL Division of Medicine

UCL's Division of Medicine offers a unique mix of pioneering research, cutting-edge facilities, and world-renowned partner hospitals and institutions.