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, subjects, 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 - UPCH for Architecture or UPCSE for Architecture.

Course structure and subjects

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 subjectsOptional subjects


Compulsory subjectsOptional subjects


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 subjects you are strongest at and will enjoy the most.

How to choose your optional subjects

Take a look at our optional subjects selection guide for information on suitable subjects for your future degree plans.

See optional subjects page

How will we teach you?

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-to-one tutorials.

You’ll have an average of at least 15 hours teaching per week, covering:

  • practical academic skills,
  • critical thinking skills,
  • academic English,
  • research skills and research projects,
  • laboratory and practical science skills (UPCSE only),
  • design portfolio (UPC for Architecture)
  • 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.

How will we assess you?

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 grade.

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.

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 subjects and the overall course.

Term dates (2024-25)

TermDates (provisional)
Term One30 September – 13 December 2024
(of which Orientation Period: 19-27 September 2024)
Term Two6 January – 4 April 2025
Term Three28 April – 20 June 2025

Fees, expenses and scholarships

CourseFee (2024-25)
UPCH for Architecture£26,750
UPCSE for Architecture£26,750

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 (Bowman Scholarship) and two scholarships for students from Brazil who which to study Electronic and Electrical Engineering BEng (Telles Scholarship).

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.