UCL Centre for Languages & International Education (CLIE)


UPC Academic English

The ability to communicate effectively in English is essential in order to be successful both on the UPC and your future degree course. Successful communication involves being able to write and understand academic English as well as speak fluently and listen and process correctly the information conveyed in lectures, seminars and tutorials. A fundamental aspect of the Academic English module is the need for you to develop your reading abilities and extend your existing vocabulary strategies to cope with the amount of new information which is given over the year.

Module structure

With a maximum of 16 students in each class, this module provides 5 hours and 50 minutes* teaching contact hours per week in term 1 and 7 hours and 30 minutes* contact teaching hours per week in terms 2 and 3.

Writing and use of English

In order for you to be able to enter British universities and cope with the varying demands of written academic English, the focus of the writing and use of English classes is essays, reviews and reflective writing for UPCH students and essays, posters, reports and reflective writing for UPCSE students.

Where necessary, some classes may focus on improving your familiarity and accuracy with a range of grammatical structures. Both the macro‐levels of writing, from topic to outline to finished product as well as the micro‐level skills of typical sentence patterns and textual features are covered.

Reading and vocabulary

A key aspect in the improvement of your ability to function at undergraduate level is the development of an extensive vocabulary. Considerable emphasis is placed on learner training so that you are able to understand a variety of academic texts. You are encouraged to read not only in your chosen areas, but also outside them so as to develop your vocabulary skills, and so be more aware of the sorts of issues that affect you as students living and studying in the UK.


These weekly classes focus on the development of English through accuracy and fluency work in pronunciation, practice in giving formal academic presentations and practice in the more informal types of seminar discussion that are common at undergraduate level.

Listening and note-taking

This weekly class focuses on learning how to take notes effectively during lectures. The skill of note-taking involves a mixture of processes including the efficient use of symbols and abbreviations to produce a usable record identifying the structure of a lecture and the sequencing of ideas.


Support for taking the IELTS examination is provided with classes in Terms 2 and 3. IELTS preparation consists of familiarising you with the content and style of IELTS exams, and practice in the four aspects tested: reading, writing, speaking and listening.

All students on the UPCH course are required to reach an exit level of at least 6.5 to be able to cope with the demands of undergraduate study, with some students needing a higher score depending on the subject they wish to study.


To gain the Undergraduate Preparatory Certificate a minimum pass mark of 60% is required ‐ an average grade derived from all components of the assessment structure below:

Term 1%Term 2%Term 3%
Listening and note-taking5%Preparatory project 1,000 words10%Final reading skills20%
Take-home reading5%  Final listening and
note-taking skills
    Oral presentation20%
    Unseen essay

*This excludes breaks and is calculated using the UCL class 'hour' of 50 minutes.