Coronavirus (COVID-19) update 

Online delivery 

In Term 2 (January to March 2021) and Term 3 (March to June 2021) this course will be taught online in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. You'll be able to study your pre-sessional course from home, you won't be expected to study live online sessions at night and you won't need a visa.

We'll continue to review our courses for Term 4 (July to August 2021), with the possibility of on-campus teaching.

If you have applied for a pre-sessional English course, please read our pre-sessional English FAQs.

Visit our coronavirus website for all other updates and information.

"I like the live sessions, because we can communicate with our teachers, and try to express our ideas in English." 
Yiping, studying postgraduate pre-sessional English online.

Read our current students’ experiences with studying online.

Postgraduate pre-sessional English 

2020-21 course information

You can improve your academic English level to the standard needed to study a postgraduate programme – either a Masters or a research degree. How will I be taught postgraduate pre-sessional English?

Special features

  • Study when it suits you best with start dates throughout the year.
  • Teaching is tailored to your subject area in the summer if you're preparing for a Masters.
  • The opportunity to study with other research students during the summer if you're preparing for a research degree.

Viewing from China? Watch the postgraduate pre-sessional English video on YouKu

During this pre-sessional course, you'll develop skills in academic reading, writing, speaking and listening. 

You'll use practical academic techniques, including:

  • building your fluency, confidence and accuracy in academic English
  • participating in lectures and seminars
  • researching academic sources effectively
  • analysing and summarising academic texts
  • structuring academic writing and developing an argument
  • using critical analysis

What you will study

If you are studying on the pre-sessional course for 30 or 40 weeks

At the early stages of your course, you'll study core academic English and develop your ability to study at postgraduate level in the UK. You’ll learn alongside other students preparing for postgraduate study.

As you progress, or if you are studying the pre-sessional for 10 or 20 weeks only

Your classes will focus more closely on the skills you’ll need for your postgraduate degree. If you study your pre-sessional course during terms 2 and 3, you’ll study with other students preparing for a taught Masters, or research degree, depending on which type of degree you intend to study.

In the summer term (term 4) you'll have the opportunity to study academic English in the context of your Masters degree subject area. If you're going on to study a research degree, teaching is tailored to specifically prepare you for this, and you'll have the opportunity to study with other research students. Find out more about our summer pre-sessional English courses.

Course modules

English for academic purposes

You can improve your English language to enable you to study at postgraduate level. This is the core module of our postgraduate pre-sessional English course. 

Academic skills and strategy development

This module develops your listening and speaking skills. You’ll learn how to use these skills in order to get the most out of your lectures and seminars, or meetings with your supervisor during your degree.

As well as the above modules, you'll have time with your tutor to address questions you may have about your language and learning. There'll also be time for you to continue with your studies independently.


You'll be assessed in a variety of ways, including written assignments, speaking assignments, research projects and producing a piece of work to be presented online in an e-exhibition.


Our academic English for postgraduate studies course is accredited by the British Council for the teaching of English in the UK and is taught by our team of English for Academic Purposes tutors. See contact details for our Academic Purposes tutors.


Find out how to apply for postgraduate pre-sessional English.