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Pre-degree: Online

Illustration of a tropical garden scene.
Illustration by Paola Ascanio, Pre-degree Illustration, Camberwell College of Arts, 2020 © Oaika Ascanio
Start date
November 2022
Course length
6 months

This 6-month online course for International students offers a creative introduction to art, design and communication. Successful completion will guarantee you a place on an undergraduate degree in one of these creative fields at UAL.

Why choose this course at UAL?

  • A tailored degree. You'll explore lots of subject areas across art, design and communication before choosing a specialist pathway.
  • A stepping stone to undergraduate-level study. Upon successful completion, you will be guaranteed a place on one of our undergraduate courses in art, design and communication.
  • Flexible learning. Learning entirely online gives you the flexibility to fit your studies around your lifestyle.
  • Preparation and confidence. You'll gain the knowledge and skills needed to confidently progress to undergraduate-level study.
  • Diverse workload. Online learning is complemented with practical tasks to develop your core creative skills in drawing, photography, model making and more.
  • Global perspective. Learning with students from across the world will expose you to new perspectives and expand your creative outlook.

Please note

This 6 month, NQF level 3 course is for international students only.

Student work

  • Maria-Arango_-visualisation-of-a-performance-space_2021_PreDegree-Online_UAL.png
    Visualisation of a performance space by Maria Arango, Pre-degree: Online, 2021
  • Yuan-Liu_experimental-digital-drawing_2021_PreDegree-Online_UAL.png
    Experimental digital drawing by Yuan Liu, Pre-degree: Online, 2021
  • Yaqi-Zeng_sound-and-video-installation_2021_PreDegree-Online_UAL-.png
    Sound and video installation by Yaqi Zeng, Pre-degree: Online, 2021
  • Yamily-Peng_design-development-sketches_2021_PreDegree-Online_UAL.png
    Design development sketched by Yamily Peng, Pre-degree: Online, 2021
  • Tiancheng-Qiu_mixed-media-photography_2021_PreDegree-Online_UAL.png
    Mixed media photography by Tiancheng Qiu, Pre-degree: Online, 2021
  • Nian-Xu_poster-design_2021_PreDegree-Online_UAL-.png
    Poster design by Nian Xu, Pre-degree: Online, 2021


  • Student at a desk typing on a computer
    Credit: © Alys Tomlinson © Alys Tomlinson, Portfolio by by Craig Green, MA Games Design, London College of Communication.
    Online facilities

    You'll have access to a range of tools and platforms, including Office360, to help you study online. Our IT support team can also help you with any technical issues during your course.

  • Library
    Ideal Insight,
    Library services

    We offer a wide range of library resources and support services, which can be accessed both online and in person.

  • Academic Support session. Image by G Barton, 2017
    Academic support online

    Our academic support services offer online tutorials, workshops and resources to help you enhance your study skills.

Course overview

This exciting and comprehensive preparation for undergraduate study is taught entirely online. Lively, creative workshops give you the chance to experiment and explore a range of disciplines before you choose your specialist pathway in either Art, Design or Communication.

Successful completion of the course will allow you to transition to a selection of our undergraduate degrees specialising in art, design and communication. Undergraduate offers are dependent on the work and interests that you have developed during your pre-degree course. You may need to meet some additional requirements in order to receive an offer for your chosen undergraduate course. Progression to fashion, textiles and jewellery subject areas is not supported on this course.

On the course

This course is tailored to suit home working. You’ll use a range of platforms including Blackboard Collaborate for live sessions, and Padlet pages to share your work in progress. During sessions, you’ll be encouraged to be resourceful, and make use of your local environment as well as the many online materials that are provided.

Taught sessions blend live delivery with practice-based tasks. Collaborative workshops are designed to enhance your teamwork skills and build a strong online student community. Throughout your studies, you'll have regular one-to-one tutorials and receive plenty of academic and personal support from your tutors.

Your chosen pathway will help you develop the creative skills needed to apply for an undergraduate degree in a related field. Your tutors will provide support and guidance to help you decide which specialist pathway and undergraduate degree is most suitable for you.

Progression options from the Art pathway include:
Progression options from the Design pathway include:
Progression options from the Communication pathway include: 

Language support

English language support and academic writing guidance are offered throughout your course to ensure you are well prepared to study at undergraduate level.

If English is your second language, you may be asked to take the UAL Progress test during your course. You may also be encouraged to join a Pre-sessional English course before you start your undergraduate degree.

Contact us

Register your interest to receive information and updates about studying at UAL.

Contact us to make an enquiry.

Course units

Unit summary:

  • Unit 1: Creative Study Skills (20 credits)

This unit provides an introduction to the course and a wide range of creative study skills. Exploratory workshops will give you the opportunity to experience many subject areas and enhance your research and development skills. Longer projects will enable you to focus on the subject area, media and ideas that interest you the most. By the end of this unit, you will join your specialist pathway and start researching your undergraduate options.

  • Unit 2: Cultural and Contextual Studies (20 credits)

This unit will develop your cultural awareness and teach you how to apply critical and analytical thinking skills to your research. You'll learn how to articulate well-informed opinions about your research and develop your understanding of contemporary practice in your future disciplines.

  • Unit 3: Academic Communication for HE Study (20 credits)

This unit focuses on all forms of communication required for undergraduate study at UAL. You’ll develop your reading, writing and listening skills alongside your visual communication skills. You'll learn how to combine these skills in order to communicate your ideas in a range of ways. Task-based sessions focus on building your confidence using various communication methods such as presentations, project crits and interviews.

  • Unit 4: Personal Project (30 credits)

In this final unit, you’ll work on a self-determined project which brings together all the knowledge and skills you’ve learnt so far. Pathway tutors will support you to develop the skills and approaches required for your future undergraduate course. Group sessions continue to strengthen your core creative and academic skills. This specialist project will demonstrate that you’re ready to progress to undergraduate-level study.


Gary Campbell

Shernette Daly

Kaori Homma

Fritha Jenkins

Joanna Norton

Naomi Ryder

Matthew Stock

Mark Thomson

Associate Director

David Sims

How to apply

Information for disabled applicants

UAL is committed to achieving inclusion and equality for disabled students. This includes students who have:
  • Dyslexia or another Specific Learning Difference
  • A sensory impairment
  • A physical impairment
  • A long-term health or mental health condition
  • Autism
  • Another long-term condition which has an impact on your day-to-day life
Our Disability Service arranges adjustments and support for disabled applicants and students. Read our Disability and dyslexia: applying for a course and joining UAL information.

Entry requirements

Successful completion of school education including a certificate of achievement to at least Level 2 (GCSE equivalent).

Please note: A portfolio of work is required as part of your application.

English Language Requirements

All classes are conducted in English. If English is not your first language, you will be asked to provide evidence of your English language ability when you enrol.

The level required by the University for this course is:

  • IELTS 5.0 (with a minimum of 4.5 in any one skill)

Please note: You must take the IELTS or another English test accepted by UAL. Visit the UAL Language Requirements page for further information.

APEL (Accreditation of Prior (Experiential) Learning)

Applicants who do not meet these course entry requirements may still be considered in exceptional cases. The course team will consider each application that demonstrates additional strengths and alternative evidence. This might, for example, be demonstrated by 1 or more of these factors:

  • Related academic or work experience.
  • The quality of the personal statement.
  • A strong academic or other professional reference.

All students who successfully complete this course will be able to transition to one of our undergraduate courses at University of the Arts London. There may be some additional requirements depending on your chosen course.

Making your application

This course is only available to international students. Please click on the International tab to see more information about how to apply to this course.

There are two ways you can apply:

After you have made your application, you will be asked to upload an electronic portfolio. You may also be invited to an online or telephone interview where you will be asked to talk through your portfolio. Details will be sent via the UAL Portal.

Application deadline

There is no application deadline for this course. Applications are considered throughout the year and until the course is full.

For further advice on how to apply please visit the UAL International Application page.

After you apply

Initial application check

All application forms, personal statements and references are read and considered by the academic team against the selection criteria listed in the Entry Requirements and Selection Criteria sections.

Portfolio advice

You will be asked to upload an electronic portfolio of work (maximum of 30 pages). For advice and helpful videos about how to build your portfolio, please visit our Portfolio Advice page.

In your portfolio, you should include examples of relevant work that demonstrates your interest in art and design. With each image you upload, you can also write a text caption to explain your work. Make sure you explain your process and inspirations rather than just describing your work.

You can include work from school or college, or any other projects you have worked on independently. For example:

  • Drawings, paintings, prints and illustrations.
  • 3D models and sculptures.
  • Photographs.
  • Films, animations.
  • Blogs.
  • Digital layouts.
  • Visual research with your own analysis.

When you're ready to upload your portfolio, please visit our 'How to upload your portfolio' page for support.

How we notify you of the outcome of your application

You will receive the final outcome of your application through your portal. We look forward to receiving your application and reviewing your work.

Requesting feedback

This course receives a high number of applications, and we can’t provide feedback to everyone who is unsuccessful. We can only provide feedback after you’ve had an interview.

If you would like to request feedback, please email We are only able to provide feedback to you directly, or to someone you have told us in writing can receive it on your behalf.

Fees and funding

International fee


This fee is correct for 2023/24 entry and is subject to change for 2024/25 entry.

Students from countries outside of the UK will generally be charged international fees. The rules are complex so read more about tuition fees and determining your fee status.

Scholarship search

Careers and alumni

If you successfully complete the course, you will gain a qualification and be guaranteed a place to study one of our undergraduate courses specialising in either art, design or communication.

Which UAL undergraduate course will you be offered a place on?

If you successfully complete the Pre-Degree Online course, you will be made at least one offer to a UAL undergraduate course, to start the following September. We cannot guarantee that you will be made an offer for each course that you apply to, and, in some instances, you may be made an offer to an alternative course that you did not apply to. The offer(s) that you receive will depend on your portfolio and will be made after careful review by College course teams and Admissions Tutors.

For those students who make satisfactory achievements in all parts of the course but have difficulty with the English language, there may be a possibility of improving your English language level through attendance and achievement on the Pre-sessional Academic English Programme (PAEP) language course run by the Language Centre at UAL. Alternatively, you can take an external four skills English tests such as IELTS or PTE. More information can be found on the Language Requirements page.