Our General English course is for adults wanting to improve English language skills. You'll develop skills so you can communicate confidently using English in everyday situations, such as work, study or travel.

Special features

  • No course books - use articles and current topics to explore English language.
  • Practise what you learn by visiting interesting places in and around the local area.
  • You'll be taught by university academics who contribute to research into teaching languages.
  • Study full-time or part-time, for three to 40 weeks.
  • There are start dates throughout the year so you can study when it suits you.

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Learn to communicate better and gain an understanding of British culture. You'll explore English language through news articles, blogs, social media, and videos, participating in class discussions and conducting interviews with people in the community.

You'll develop your skills so you can continue your learning when you finish your course.

You’ll gain skills in the following areas:

Language knowledge and skills
Develop your confidence in using English vocabulary, grammar and pronunciation accurately and fluently.

Intercultural awareness
Learn about British and other English-speaking cultures so you can communicate effectively with other English speakers.

Communication strategies
Learn how to effectively read, speak and listen in different everyday situations. Increase your confidence to help you make the most of your time in Leeds and in the UK.

Independent learning strategies
We’ll help you develop ways to continue your learning when you leave the classroom.

What you will study

Full-time and part-time course content

You will learn reading, writing, speaking and listening skills in the context of:

Knowing language

  • word and sentence structure
  • vocabulary and spelling
  • pronunciation

Using language

  • gist (getting a general idea) and detail
  • adapting your language to suit different scenarios
  • formality, politeness and appropriateness

Taking risks

  • communicating even when it’s difficult
  • fluency
  • non-verbal communication
  • communication strategies

Project week

For one week each term, all classes become project-based. Practise your skills by doing a piece of investigation work in the local community. Previous examples have included creating a video about a topic and interviewing people outside the classroom.

Additional activities on the full-time course

Reading circles

Each week you will prepare for and participate in group discussions about pieces of text with other students in your class. You will be assigned a role for these discussions to encourage you to think about understanding texts in different ways.

Language in context

This module gives you the opportunity to learn English through a topic related to your interests. Examples of previous topics include drama, music, business, engineering, history and literature. This module runs in Terms 1, 2 and 3. You'll meet new people, as you study this module alongside students who are on different Language Centre courses to you.

IELTS exam preparation

You can prepare to take the IELTS exam with this module. Please note, the University of Leeds is not an IELTS test centre.

You can take this module if you will be studying our General English course for 10 weeks or more.

As well as the modules listed above you'll have time with a tutor to discuss your progress and learning.


You'll be assessed at the end of each General English unit to encourage you to use what you have learnt, track your progress and identify areas for you to improve on.

Assessments vary across units; examples of previous assessments have been creating a blog, taking part in discussions, making a vlog (video blog), evaluating news articles, doing a presentation and producing pieces of creative writing.

You'll receive grades, detailed feedback and a Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) level for your work. The CEFR is an internationally recognised grading system of measuring your language ability.


Our General English course is accredited by the British Council for the teaching of English in the UK.

Find out how to apply.