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Pre-sessional English Courses

UCL Pre-sessional English Courses are intensive and academically challenging courses normally intended for international students who are planning to study a graduate degree (MA, MSc, LLM or MPhil/PhD) at UCL, but do not meet the English language requirement of their conditional offer. We also accept applications from UCL unconditional graduate offer holders and UCL undergraduate (conditional and unconditional) offer holders.

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2021 online Pre-sessional English courses and COVID-19

The 2021 Pre-sessional courses – offered by the UCL Centre for Languages & International Education (CLIE) - will be delivered online in accordance with UCL precautionary measures related to the COVID-19 outbreak.  

We have monitored the situation in the UK and London and our top priority is the wellbeing and safety of our students and staff. We have therefore decided the 2021 CLIE Pre-sessional Courses will be delivered entirely online for a second summer. We delivered our Pre-sessional programme online in 2020 and achieved a 96% pass rate

Whilst this means that you will be able to carry out all your studies remotely, the Pre-sessional is an intensive and full-time commitment requiring active engagement and participation, and up to seven hours of daily study from Monday to Friday.

Technical requirements


Please note the following technical requirements for the online CLIE Pre-sessional course:

  • access to a laptop or desktop computer with an internet connection. Mobile devices are not appropriate;
  • a headset/headphones or speakers and a microphone;
  • a webcam;
  • Chrome and Firefox installed;
  • a fast internet connection. As with all online platforms, the higher the bandwidth of your internet connection, the smoother your experience of our platforms will be. We would recommend speeds in excess of 10 Mbps.

Training will be provided in the use of UCL online platforms (e.g. Microsoft Teams) during Student Orientation and technical support will be available during UK office hours.

Course overview


The course aims to prepare you for success in your final Pre-sessional assessments and future academic studies at UCL.

Teaching & learning 

You will learn through a variety of ways, including:

  • participating in online classes of up to 16 students, as well as smaller seminars of up to 8 students;
  • actively engaging in discussion forums with your class;
  • collaborating on set tasks with your study group;
  • working independently on assignments;
  • having weekly one-to-one or small group tutorials;
  • attending larger webinars;
  • undertaking independent study as directed.

Timetable

Your weekly timetable will typically feature:

  • up to seven hours of virtual classes with your teacher in seminars, classes and tutorials;
  • a one-hour webinar;
  • up to eight hours working collaboratively with your study group. 

In addition, you will work independently on set tasks and assignments for up to three hours a day.

Please see our sample timetable to get an idea of your working week.

Intended learning outcomes

The online course is designed to help you meet the English language entry requirements of your degree course. It aims to develop:

  • Your English language and study skills to the level required to meet your offer in the final assessments and to be successful in your future studies.
  • Skills in understanding and critically engaging in academic texts.
  • The ability to write relevant, well-argued essays in an academic style using appropriate sources. 
  • Skills and strategies to communicate effectively in academic contexts, including presentations, seminars and tutorials.
  • Development of autonomy through conducting guided research and active reflection on feedback, including peer feedback, and self-evaluation. 
  • Your ability to be a collaborative participant through active engagement in the UCL CLIE Pre-sessional online academic community.
  • Your digital literacy and e-learning skills to the level required to be an effective online learner. 

Virtual guest lectures

You will have access to lectures on a range of topics of general academic interest. These lectures, given by UCL academic staff and visiting lecturers, are an integral part of the course and provide practice in listening to lectures and taking notes. Self-study activities and opportunities to discuss the content online are provided.  The lectures are chosen to reflect the most degree programmes that students are hoping to progress to after the Pre-sessional course.

Our sample Pre-sessional virtual guest lecture programme provides a taste of the topics covered.

Your teachers

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

Assessment

If you are a conditional degree offer holder, you will need to achieve an overall pass in all Pre-sessional assessments according to our assessment criteria to pass the course, and will need to meet the English language requirement stated in your degree offer letter in order to progress to your chosen UCL department. You’ll be examined in each of the four skills of reading, writing, listening and speaking.

The Pre-sessional online assessment suite will include:

An Open Book Exam 

You will read and discuss a number of academic texts on a specific issue during your classes. In the exam you will be required to use the texts in order to write an academic essay.

Reading

You will complete a summary task based on an academic text on the same issue as for the Open Book Exam. 

Listening

You will watch an academic lecture and take notes on the content. You will then participate in a seminar discussion with other students in which you explore the content of the lecture. 

Research Project 

You will do research on an issue related to your future academic discipline, and complete a series of individual written coursework tasks. Then, you will record a Research Presentation video summarising your research and provisional findings. Finally, you will participate in a Research Question and Answer session.

If you hold an unconditional degree offer you will only be required to do the Research Project assessments.  

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Entry requirements


Which Pre-sessional English course you can apply for depends on:

  • your current level of English;
  • the English level required for your future degree course.

Who the courses are for

Students with conditional offers for UCL degree courses will be required to achieve a Standard, Good or Advanced level of English. You can check the English level required for your degree course on the UCL graduate or undergraduate prospectus.

LLM students should be aware of the special entry requirements advertised on their website. LLM students who qualify for a 9- or 7-week Pre-sessional may want to consider taking the 11-week, and LLM students who qualify for the 11-week may want to consider the 18-week course to allow more time to meet these special requirements.

English language requirements

If you hold a conditional offer for a UCL degree, you will need an IELTS academic, IELTS for UKVI academic or TOEFL IBT taken within two years of the Pre-sessional English course start date to be considered.

Minimum IELTS level required for each Pre-sessional course

Language level required for your UCL degree course18-week Pre-sessional11-week Pre-sessional9-week Pre-sessional7-week Pre-sessional
UCL Standard level5.0 IELTS overall
(No less than 5.0 in three subscores and no less than 4.5 in the other subscore)
5.0 IELTS overall
(No less than 5.0 in three subscores and no less than 5.5 in the other subscore)
5.5 IELTS overall
(No less than 5.0 in any subscore)
6.0 IELTS overall
(No less than 5.5 in any subscore)
UCL Good level5.0 IELTS overall
(No less than 5.0 in any subscore)
5.5 IELTS overall
(No less than 5.0 in any subscore)
6.0 IELTS overall
(No less than 5.5 in any subscore)
6.5 IELTS overall
(No less than 6.0 in any subscore)
UCL Advanced level
and
UCL Master of Laws (LLM)
5.5 IELTS overall
(No less than 5.0 in any subscore)
6.0 IELTS overall
(No less than 5.5 in any subscore)
6.5 IELTS overall
(No less than 5.5 in any subscore)
7.0 IELTS overall
(No less than 6.0 in any subscore)

Minimum TOEFL iBT score required for each Pre-sessional course

Language level required for your UCL degree course18-week Pre-sessional11-week Pre-sessional9-week Pre-sessional7-week Pre-sessional
UCL Standard level45 overall
(No less than 
7 in Reading
6 in Listening
13 in Speaking
17 in Writing)
 

45 overall
(No less than 
7 in Reading
6 in Listening
15 in Speaking
20 in Writing)

59 overall
(No less than 
7 in Reading
6 in Listening
15 in Speaking
20 in Writing)
 
78 overall
(No less than
12 in Reading
11 in Listening
17 in Speaking
20 in Writing)
 
UCL Good level45 overall
(No less than 
7 in Reading
6 in Listening
15 in Speaking
17 in Writing)
 
59 overall
(No less than 
7 in Reading
6 in Listening
15 in Speaking
20 in Writing)
 
78 overall
(No less than
12 in Reading
11 in Listening
17 in Speaking
20 in Writing)
 
93 overall
(No less than 
18 in Reading
19 in Listening
19 in Speaking
23 in Writing)
UCL Advanced level
and
UCL Master of Laws (LLM)
59 overall
(No less than 
7 in Reading
6 in Listening
15 in Speaking
17 in Writing)
78 overall
(No less than
12 in Reading
11 in Listening
17 in Speaking
20 in Writing)
93 overall
(No less than
12 in Reading
11 in Listening
17 in Speaking
20 in Writing)
101 overall
(No less than
18 in Reading
19 in Listening
19 in Speaking
23 in Writing)

Fees


CourseFees (2021)
18 weeks£9,000
11 weeks£7,000
9 weeks£6,400
7 weeks£5,190

Details of how to pay your fees can be found in the how to apply section.

Start dates


CourseStart date
18 weeks19 April 2021
11 weeks7 June 2021
9 weeks21 June 2021
7 weeks5 July 2021

All Pre-sessional courses finish on 20 August 2021 and results are available on the 26 August 2021.

Progression to graduate level


96% of CLIE Pre-sessional English students progressed to a UCL degree programme after successfully passing the Pre-sessional course in 2020.

UCL degrees

The UCL Pre-sessional English qualification is recognised as satisfying UCL’s English language proficiency requirement.

Further information


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How to apply

Find out how you can apply for the UCL Pre-sessional English courses, including the documents you will need to submit and how to pay.

Two pre-sessional English students discussing in class

Student views

Our students come from a diverse range of backgrounds and go on to study a variety of different graduate courses at UCL and other top universities. Find out what our Pre-sessional English alumni thought about the course.