UCL Centre for Languages & International Education (CLIE)


Academic English

Find out more about the Academic English foundation subject on the UPC. Learn about what you will study, teaching methods, assessments and recommended reading.

Key information 

Subject title: Academic English

Subject type: compulsory

UPC pathway: all

Subject leader: Martin Hall

Number of students (2023-24): 163

Subject description

The Academic English foundation subject is a compulsory part of the UPC course. With this subject, you’ll gain the academic English skills you need to study a degree programme at UK universities.

The Academic English foundation subject provides linguistic support for your other three UPC subjects. We’ll assess you with coursework during the year and final exams at the end of the course. Classes will focus on four key Academic English skills:

  • Writing
  • Reading and Vocabulary
  • Listening and Note-taking
  • Speaking

You will do an Academic English Preparatory Project which will provide you with the skills you need for the UPC. It will prepare you for your research projects in your other UPC subjects. You’ll learn how to avoid plagiarism, develop your English and find your voice when presenting written and spoken research.

We’ll teach you reading and listening skills, and how to apply them at university. You’ll apply all these skills to relevant academic contexts.

How we teach Academic English

We use engaging and practice-based teaching to help you develop the four essential skills.


You’ll learn how to write shorter, timed essays as well as longer written pieces in your specialist areas. You’ll find out how to take notes, summarise, draft and develop a proper structure when writing. We’ll teach you how to integrate academic research, data and sources into your work. You’ll develop the reviewing, editing and proofreading skills you need at university.


You’ll develop reading strategies for studying academic texts. Classes will focus on text analysis and organisation, as well as building vocabulary. You’ll learn to interpret data and separate fact from opinion.


You’ll develop skills in active listening and note taking during lectures. You’ll learn to identify key points and digressions in lectures. These note-taking skills will help you identify important points for future revision.


You’ll focus on essential spoken English skills. These skills will allow you to participate effectively in your seminars. We’ll cover academic presentations and how to deliver them clearly with slide shows. You’ll find out how to run ‘Question and Answer’ sessions. You’ll learn how to use academic language and reflect on feedback.

Intended learning outcomes

By the end of the subject, you should be able to:

  • effectively read and understand academic texts
  • note the key points in lectures
  • fully participate in and lead seminars
  • present your academic research as written projects and oral presentations
  • understand and follow the academic English conventions you’ll need at a UK university
  • meet the academic English written requirements of exams.

Overview of Summative Assessment

OneListening and Note-taking Test5%
 Take-home Reading Test5%
Two Preparatory Project10%
ThreeFinal Oral Presentation20%
 Final Written Exam20%
 FInal Reading Exam20%
 Final Listening and Note-taking Exam20%
  100% Total

Assessment weighting is for the 2022-23 academic year. This may change for 2023-24 entry.

Recommended reading

You don’t have to do any specific reading before you join this subject. However, you should engage with media relating to the degree you’re aiming for. This includes quality English newspapers, magazines, journals, online lectures, documentaries and podcasts.

Please note the information on all the UPC subject pages, including this one, reflects the subject as it was taught in the 2022-23 academic year (unless otherwise stated).