Find out everything you need to know about the UPC foundation year. This includes information on course structure, subjects, assessment, teachers, fees and scholarships and term dates.
- Course structure and subjects
- How to choose your optional subjects
- How we teach you
- How we assess you
- Your teachers
- Term dates
- Fees, expenses and scholarships
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.
Our foundation year courses include four subjects:
- Two compulsory subjects
- Two optional subjects of your choice
The subjects 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 subjects||Optional subjects|
|Compulsory subjects||Optional subjects|
Take a look at our optional subjects selection guide for information on suitable subjects for your future degree plans.
We teach UPC subjects using face-to-face and online methods.
Teaching will be in person and includes lectures, seminars, workshops, group tutorials and practice-based sessions. There may also be online material such as further lectures, quizzes and one-on-one tutorials.
You’ll have an average of at least 15 hours 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)
- 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 subjects tutors. This is where you’ll receive advice and support and can discuss the academic content of your subjects. 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 other than field trips 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.
During each term, you’ll have regular assessments in each of your four subjects. 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 subject under exam conditions. The term one tests are important for your UCAS application, as admission tutors will use them to check your progress. There will be further tests in some subjects 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 subject).
You can find more information about assessments for each subject on the individual subject pages.
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.
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 subjects and the overall course.
|Term One||21 September 2023 - 15 December 2023|
(of which Orientation Period: 21 - 29 September 2023
|Term Two||8 January 2024 - 22 March 2024|
|Term Three||15 April 2024 - 21 June 2024|
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.
There may be an additional fee for students wishing to study a degree in Architecture if we are able to offer a compulsory module through the Bartlett School of Architecture.
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.)
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.