UCL Centre for Languages & International Education (CLIE)


Pre-University Online Course for High School Students

A two-week online course for high-school students considering applying for an undergraduate degree at a UK university. You’ll develop the academic and language skills required for undergraduate study in the UK while exploring UCL and UK academic culture.

Course dates

  • Online IT induction and introduction to the course: 21 July 2023. This will be a 3-hour induction and we will contact you to confirm the time.
  • Classes: 24 July - 4 August 2023

Course overview

This course is open to applications from high achieving 16–18-year-olds who want to:

  • Experience studying at a global top 10 university (QS World University Rankings 2023).
  • Develop key academic skills including critical thinking, presentation and report writing, independent study, as well as their ability to work in a team.
  • Expand their use of academic English language and abilities in both academic writing and speaking.
  • Learn how to conduct academic research, produce a short report and prepare and deliver an academic presentation.
  • Study in a range of disciplines from the sciences, arts, humanities and social sciences.
  • Participate in optional virtual visits to places of cultural and historical interest around London.
  • Connect and make friends with a diverse range of students from all over the world.

Unlike other pre-university short courses, this course doesn’t just give you more knowledge about one subject, but includes a variety of subjects drawn from the sciences, arts, humanities and social sciences.

Course fee


The course fee includes the costs of all course tuition, including course materials and materials for the virtual trips included as part of the course.


To be eligible to apply for the course, you’ll have to meet the following criteria:

  • be a high school student.
  • be 16 - 18 years old for the duration of the course.
  • English isn't your first language.

Academic requirements

You’ll be able to show excellent grades in your most recent annual high school transcript - a GPA of 70% or higher in your previous year of study.

English language requirements

Language certificationMinimum gradeMaximum grade
IELTSOverall score of 5.5Speaking and writing sub-scores should not be higher than 7.0
IGCSE English as a Second LanguageCNo maximum grade
Cambridge FirstBNo maximum grade
Cambridge AdvancedCB
TOEFL PBTOverall score of 513Overall score of 587
TOEFL iBTOverall score of 65Overall score of 95
TOEICOverall score of 605Overall score of 780
EIKENPre-1No maximum grade

If you do not have an English language qualification but meet all the other requirements (eligibility and academic requirements above), you are invited to apply and will be sent an English test.

Course information

What will I study?

You will study across three distinct areas:

1. Academic Skills and English for Academic Purposes

  • Live lessons and tutorials focusing on the language and language skills needed to study at a UK university
  • An introduction to research and study skills needed for study at a UK university
  • Writing a short academic research report
  • Preparing and delivering an academic presentation

2. Academic lectures

  • Live lectures and seminars selected from sciences, arts, humanities and social sciences
  • Recorded lectures delivered by UCL lecturers selected from sciences, arts, humanities and social sciences
  • Training in the listening and note-taking skills needed to process lectures and respond to content

3. UCL and UK academic culture

  • Introduction to UCL and UK academic culture and practices
  • A guide to UCL and the work of its departments

How will I be taught?

We will teach the course using both live sessions in the morning (UK time) and optional self-study options accessible at any time during the course. 

Live online sessions

You will participate in a variety of interactive online live sessions, including:

Academic lectures, seminars and workshops

You’ll participate in live lectures, seminars and workshops selected from sciences, arts, humanities and social sciences

Academic language seminars and workshops

These sessions will focus on developing your academic and language skills including:

  • Writing
  • Reading and vocabulary
  • Listening and note-taking
  • Speaking

You’ll be taught in small classes, with a maximum of 12 students per class, using tutor-led input and workshops, recorded listening & video material and reading texts

You’ll work on tasks in small groups as well as with your tutor.

Personal tutorials

You’ll meet with your tutor either 1:1 or in a small group twice during the course.

Your personal tutorials will focus on aspects of academic skills, as well as academic language skills introduced through the guided self-study tasks. 

Self-study with tutor guidance

Your course learning will also involve working on self-study tasks with the guidance of your tutor, who will monitor your work and provide structured feedback.

Self-study (optional)

You will also have the opportunity to participate in optional self-study digital activities which you can complete at your own pace. 

Recorded lectures

Recorded lectures delivered by UCL lecturers selected from sciences, arts, humanities and social sciences

Virtual visits to sites of cultural and historical interest around London

During the course, you will have the opportunity to participate in virtual visits to a variety of sites around London.

You’ll be provided with guides and materials.

Sites you will visit will include: 

  • The UCL campus in Bloomsbury, London
  • The Museum of London
  • Greenwich

Sample timetable

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

What technical equipment will I need for the course?

You will need:

  • access to a laptop or PC with internet connection;
  • a headset (recommended) or speakers and a microphone;
  • a webcam;
  • a modern browser, upgraded to the latest version (Chrome recommended);
  • a fast internet connection. As with all online platforms, the higher the bandwidth of your internet connection, the smoother your experience of our platforms will be. We would recommend speeds in excess of 1 Mbps.

Training will be provided in the use of UCL online platforms during the first day and ongoing technical support will be available during UK office hours.

How will I be assessed?

In the second week, you will use the skills and knowledge developed in the first week to undertake a small research report. 

You’ll also deliver a short presentation based on your research at the end of the course.

Your tutor will assess both pieces of work, before writing a report on your achievements during the course.

Will I receive a certificate?

Yes, if you successfully complete the course you will receive a UCL CLIE certificate with a full report.

Application process - student looking at computer screen

How to apply

Find out how you can apply for the Pre-University Online Course for High School Students, including the documents you will need to submit, the application process and how to pay.