General English course  About the General English course

Preparation and arrival

Read our preparation and arrival information for Language Centre courses.

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.

General English course

Special features of our General English course include: 

  • 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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Video transcript: General English at the University of Leeds Language Centre

Develop your skills

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

Choosing 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

Twice each term, all classes become project-based for a week. Practise your skills by collaborating on a creative project, or 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

General English Plus

This module makes the most of the English-speaking environment around you to learn language.

Each week you'll take part in a different experience, such as a local trip, and complete a speaking or writing task related to that experience. Previous examples have included visiting local parks, towns and art exhibitions, and producing creative writing, podcasts and group presentations. This module is for full-time students only. 

As well as the modules we've listed, 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.