The UCL Modern Foreign Language requirement explained

By Alison Home, on 20 December 2012

What is the Modern Foreign Language (MFL) requirement?

UCL requires that all applicants have a GCSE at grade A*-C in a modern foreign language. It is fine for this to be a ‘community language’ (for example, a modern foreign language that you speak at home with your family), as long as you have achieved an official GCSE qualification in it.

Why do I need a GCSE in a Modern Foreign Language?

UCL is an international university in the heart of London, the most multicultural city in the world. It is therefore important that UCL students have the language skills needed to live and work in an international globalised world.

What if I don’t have a GCSE in a Modern Foreign Language?

If you did not take an MFL GCSE, or if you got a D grade or below, don’t worry! You can still apply to any UCL degree programme, and it won’t negatively affect your application. An important thing to understand is that the MFL GCSE is a course requirement, not an entry requirement – so you will not be rejected just because you don’t have it.

However, you will need to complete a short course in a modern foreign language, either on a summer school or in the first year of your degree, to catch up. You can either take a 0.5 unit course as part of your degree, or do a 0.5 evening class if you can’t take it as part of your degree (if you’re doing something with no optional  modules in the first year). You can choose to study Arabic, Dutch, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Mandarin, or Spanish. The classes are fun and are a great way to meet new friends studying in different departments at UCL.

UCL Languages and Study Skills Summer School:

UCL also runs a Languages and Study Skills Summer School for students who wish to study at UCL but who do not meet the MFL requirement.  This is open to all year 13 students who attend a non-selective state school or college, who hold an offer from UCL but do not have an A*-C in a modern foreign language. If they attend the summer school in the summer before they start at UCL, they meet the MFL requirement and do not need to complete any further language study during their degree. These students will be contacted by UCL about the summer school after they have been given their offer.

There are also places available for year 12 students who do not meet the MFL requirement, but who intend to apply to UCL and have the required predicted A level grades for their preferred course. For year 12 students, the application process for the summer school normally opens in March. For more details, see the website.

Any questions?

If you are worried about how your MFL GCSE status will affect your application for a specific UCL degree programme, contact the admissions officer for the degree that you are applying to. They will answer any questions you have.


This post was written by Charlotte Riley.