UCL Centre for Languages & International Education (CLIE)


Course information

Find out everything you need to know about the UPC foundation year. This includes information on course structure, modules, assessment, teachers, fees and scholarships and term dates.

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UCL Undergraduate Preparatory Certificates (UPC) are one-year international foundation courses for students who don’t have the qualifications to enter a UCL undergraduate degree directly.
The pathway you take will depend on the undergraduate degree you’re aiming for after the UPC. We offer two options:

UCL Undergraduate Preparatory Certificate for the Humanities (UPCH): This course is for students aiming for degrees in Arts, Business, Mathematics, Humanities or Social Sciences, including Economics and Law.

UCL Undergraduate Preparatory Certificate for Science and Engineering (UPCSE): This course is for students who want to study degrees in Engineering, Life Sciences or Mathematics and Physical Sciences.

Students aiming for Architecture degrees can study either UPC course with Architecture.

Course structure and modules

Our foundation year courses include four modules:

  • Two compulsory modules
  • Two optional modules of your choice

The modules will quickly advance your subject knowledge. With intensive study, you’ll develop critical and analytic skills. These essential, transferable skills will be key to your chosen area of undergraduate studies.


Compulsory modulesOptional modules


Compulsory modulesOptional modules


UPC for Architecture

If you are aiming for an architecture degree, you can take architecture via either the UPCH or UPCSE pathway. Your decision will depend on which optional modules you are strongest at and will enjoy the most.

UPCH for Architecture

UPCH compulsory modulesUPCH optional modules

UPCSE for Architecture

UPCSE compulsory modulesUPCSE optional modules

How to choose your optional modules

Please check out our optional module selection guide for information on suitable modules for your future degree plans.

See optional module guide

How will we teach you?

We teach UPC modules using face-to-face and online methods.

You’ll have in-person small group teaching sessions. These include seminars, workshops, practice-based sessions and tutorials. Large group teaching, including lectures, is mostly online.

Online learning involves interactive ‘live’ sessions as well as digital activities, to complete at your own pace.

You’ll have an average of 23 UCL class hours (one UCL class hour = a 50-minute session) per week, covering:

  • practical academic skills
  • critical thinking skills
  • academic English
  • research skills and research projects
  • laboratory and practical science skills (UPCSE only)
  • LNAT (Law) Examination preparation (as required)
  • design portfolio (UPC for Architecture)
  • field trips and personal development opportunities.

Each week, you’ll receive one-to-one tutorials with your personal tutor, as well as regular tutorials with your optional module tutors. This is where you’ll receive advice and support and can discuss the academic content of your modules. You can also attend your teachers’ office hours if you need additional help or support during the UCL foundation course.

All face-to-face sessions take place on the UCL campus in central London. You’ll be registered as a UCL student. This will give you access to the academic, welfare, social and cultural resources of both UCL and the University of London.


Take a look at our sample timetables for an idea of a typical week on the UPC.

How will we assess you?

During each term, you’ll have regular assessments in each of your four modules. This might include homework, personal research projects, reading or exercises.

At the start of your foundation year course, you’ll receive a calendar highlighting the key assessments and deadlines throughout the year.

At the end of Term One, you’ll sit a test for each module under exam conditions. The Term One Tests are important for your UCAS application, as admission tutors will use it to check your progress. There will be further Tests in some modules at the end of Term Two. These marks will make up a small percentage of your final mark.

You’ll have final Exams at the end of the course in June. Afterwards, you’ll receive a transcript of your marks (overall and for each module).

You can find more information about assessments for each module on the individual module pages.

Your teachers

You’ll be taught by UCL-appointed subject lecturers. All UPC teaching staff are highly qualified in their subject areas. Many staff members have worked in industry and/or abroad. They’re also specialists in teaching international students.

Student feedback

UCL cares about what students think. That’s why student representatives have regular meetings with UPC senior staff, and tutors respond to their feedback. We also use surveys to collect your feedback, which we use to improve individual modules and the overall course.

Term dates (2022/23)

TermDates (provisional)
Orientation22 September 2022 – 30 September 2022
Term One3 October 2022 – 16 December 2022
Term Two9 January 2023 – 31 March 2023
Term Three24 April 2023 – 23 June 2023

Fees, expenses and scholarships

UPCH with Architecture£23,550
UPCSE with Architecture£23,550

Your course fees include the costs of:

  • all course tuition (including some course books)
  • access to the UCL IT network with Internet and email facilities
  • borrowing and research rights at UCL libraries.

To learn how to pay your fees, visit our how to apply section.

Field trips and excursions

Your course will include regular field trips to places of interest in and around London. These trips will add to your social and academic experience at UCL. We fund these trips as far as possible. When you need to cover costs, such as food and travel, we’ll provide information in advance. (For example, there is a £100 charge for trips during the Reading Week in Term One.)

Living expenses

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.


We offer two scholarships for students from forced migration backgrounds each year. We also offer a scholarship to the top-performing student on each UPC pathway to support them for the duration of their undergraduate studies at UCL. Please see our scholarships page for more information.