Business Management English (BME) Presessional

The Business Management English (BME) Presessional is an intensive, motivating and intellectually challenging programme which focuses on the language, key concepts and study skills necessary for academic success in degree courses at the Business School. Students have an average of approximately 20  contact hours per week. In addition, outside the classroom you are expected to study independently on homework tasks, preparing for classroom activities and completing assessments for approximately 20 hours per week. 

Course content

Preparation for the demands of your academic programme that will help you to:

  • Improve your academic language skills in preparation for writing assignments
  • Practise writing academic essays and reports
  • Develop your speaking and pronunciation skills
  • Enhance your ability to understand academic lectures
  • Develop specialist vocabulary to allow you to take part in discussions related to your future academic course


Length of course

The length of course you need depends on your existing level of English, and on the score specified in the offer letter for your University of Birmingham degree.

Course dates 

What you will study

The emphasis of this course is on English language improvement in the four skill areas of reading, writing, listening and speaking through the use of business and management content materials. You will be taught in small classes (the average size is 15) where you will explore case studies, journal articles and business texts in both the written and spoken forms. You will also attend lectures given by speakers from the Business School.

On the BME you will:

  • Analyse and critically evaluate business case studies
  • Learn to read business texts and develop your vocabulary
  • Acquire strategies for speaking in seminars and small groups
  • Listen to business and management lectures and refine your notetaking strategies
  • Develop individual and group presentation skills
  • Learn library, referencing and research skills
  • Work autonomously and intensively in teams to meet tight deadlines

Course assessment

To pass the BME you must achieve the appropriate mark in each assessed component of the course. The passmark will vary depending on your course-length, but will include all or some of the following: assessed case study, assessed essay, reflective task, oral presentation and final exams. You must also have at least 90% attendance.


Successful completion

Progression to your academic department is based on achieving the appropriate final score in coursework and final examinations, and at least 90% attendance.

Post-graduate Presessional Courses Entry and Progression Requirements 2017
IELTS Requirements

IELTS entry level

20-week course

IELTS entry level

15-week course
IELTS entry level

10-week course

IELTS entry level

6-week course
Exit Mark Required


  • GDBA
  • 24-month MScs & MBAs
Science & Engineering


(minimum of 5.5 in each band)


(minimum of 4.0 in writing)


(minimum of 4.5 in writing)


(minimum of 5.0 in writing)


(minimum of 5.5 in writing)


or more

Assessment Group 1



  • All 21-month MBAs
  • All 12-month MScs except those listed below in 3.
Education (taught), Social Sciences, Humanities, Historical Studies, Health Sciences, Public Policy


(minimum of 6.0 in each band)


(minimum of 5.0 in writing)


(minimum of 5.0 in writing)


(minimum of 5.5 in writing)


(minimum of 5.5 in writing)


or more

Assessment Group 2




  • 12- & 15-month MBAs
  • 12-month MScs:

Marketing, International Marketing, Marketing Communication,

Strategic Marketing & Consulting, HRM

Dentistry, Education (PGR), Law, Medicine, Physiotherapy


(minimum of 6.5 in each band)


(minimum of 5.5 in writing)


(minimum of  6.0 in writing)


(minimum of 6.0 in writing)


(minimum of 6.0 in writing)


or more

Assessment Group 3

Less than 40% - Fail: the student is unlikely to be able to pursue academic study through the medium of English without close formal departmental support and monitoring by BIA during the academic year

This score is the equivalent to a B1 in the Common European Framework of Reference and is belowthe UKVI requirement for continued studies

Please note: failure to complete the BME Presessional course successfully will mean that you will not have fulfilled the conditions of your offer. The University will not be able to accept any other English language results after this point. Therefore, your offer to study at the University of Birmingham will be withdrawn for that academic year.

You may, however, wish to resubmit your application or defer your entry to the following academic year while you continue to improve your level of English  to meet our language requirements. Alternatively, you may be eligible to apply for a 24-month programme after the BME. 

Fees and funding

Fees and deposit

To book a place on this course, you will need to pay a non-refundable deposit of £450.  Once you arrive, you will need to pay the full balance of the course fee.

The following fees currently apply:

Course length  Start dates (All courses end on 15 September 2017)   Full fee       
20 weeks 23 April  £6,700
15 weeks 29 May £5,025
10 weeks 09 July £3,350
6 weeks 06 August £2,010
How to pay these fees is detailed on the Methods of Payment for the Presessional English Courses page.

Entry requirements

Academic requirements

In order to study on the BME, you must be an international student with a conditional or unconditional offer to do a GDBA, MBA, MSc, MPhil, DBA or PhD at the Birmingham Business School.   The BME Programme is particularly useful if you plan to study:

  • Accounting & Finance
  • Business Management
  • Human Resource Management
  • International Business
  • Investments
  • Marketing

IELTS requirements

The minimum IELTS score you need for the BME course depends on the IELTS score required for your future degree at the University of Birmingham. You can find this score on your offer letter.

Note: there are different entry requirements for each BME course length. Find out what length of course you need, then use the following table to find out if you have the minimum IELTS score for the BME course of your choice.

IELTS score on your offer letter   Minimum IELTS score for BME   
6.0 Overall 5.0 (4.0 minimum in writing and 4.0 minimum in reading, listening and speaking)
6.5 Overall 5.0 (5.0 minimum in writing and 4.0 minimum in reading, listening and speaking)
7.0 Overall 6.0 (5.5 minimum in writing and 4.0 minimum in reading, listening and speaking)

Please note that in order to meet UKVI entry requirements all presessional applicants who need a Tier 4 visa must provide a valid official Secure English Language Test (SELT) certificate, attaining at least a B1 level of English in all skills.

If you do not have the minimum IELTS score for the BME course you could consider applying for entry onto the  42-week or 31-week EAP Programme which leads into the BME programme at the 20-week stage.

How to apply

2018 Presessionals

The following deadlines for Presessional applications apply in 2018:

  • 20-week Course - 23rd March
  • 15-week Course - 27th April
  • 10-week Course - 8th June
  • 6-week Course - 6th July
  • 4-week Course - 20th July

Before applying please read the following:

Important information about presessional courses at the University of Birmingham

To apply for the course, you will need to send us the following:

Making your application

You can send us these forms and documents:

  • By e-mail: e-mail scanned copies of the forms and your documents to
  • By post: send us your forms and copies of your documents to:
    Birmingham International Academy
    The University of Birmingham
    B15 2TT, UK

Key Information Set (KIS)

Key Information Sets (KIS) are comparable sets of information about full- or part-time undergraduate courses and are designed to meet the information needs of prospective students.

All KIS information has been published on the Unistats website and can also be accessed via the small advert, or ‘widget’, below. On the Unistats website you are able to compare all the KIS data for each course with data for other courses.

The development of Key Information Sets (KIS) formed part of HEFCE’s work to enhance the information that is available about higher education. They give you access to reliable and comparable information in order to help you make informed decisions about what and where to study.

The KIS contains information which prospective students have identified as useful, such as student satisfaction, graduate outcomes, learning and teaching activities, assessment methods, tuition fees and student finance, accommodation and professional accreditation.

You will study in small groups of students (maximum 15) and be taught by experienced academic English tutors.  You will have an average of 20 contact hours per week including tutorials. 

Teaching methods within the classes are interactive and student centred, combining teacher presentations and teacher led discussions; student presentations and student led discussions; language analysis, language practice and problem solving activities.

Typical timetables

 These  sample timetables  provide you with an idea of how your weekly study will be arranged.

A typical timetable for 20-week and 15-week courses

  Sessions 1 & 2  

9.00 -  13.30 

Session 3

14.30 - 17.00

 Monday  Reading Speaking in Seminars Independent Study/
Language Support
 Tuesday  Academic Writing Listening Independent Study/
Language Support
 Wednesday  Language Development Independent Study/Extra Curricular Activities Independent Study/
Language Support 
 Thursday   Case Study  Presentation Skills Independent Study/
Language Support 
 Friday  Academic  Writing  Individual Tutorials/ Language Support Independent Study/
Language Support 


A typical  timetable for 10-week and 6-week courses: Timetable A

Sessions 1 & 2

9.00 -  13.30 

Session 3

14.30 - 17.00

 Monday   Reading Speaking in Seminars Independent Study/
Language Support
 Tuesday  Academic Writing Listening Independent Study/
Language Support
 Wednesday Lecture Preparation/Guest Lecture Independent Study/Extra Curricular Activities Independent Study/
Language Support 
 Thursday   Case Study Presentation Skills Independent Study/
Language Support 
 Friday  Academic Writing  Individual Tutorials/ Language Support Independent Study/
Language Support 


A typical  timetable for 10-week and 6-week courses: Timetable B

Session 1 

9.00 -  13.30 


Sessions 2 & 3

14.30 - 17.00

 Monday  Independent Study/
Language Support
Reading Speaking in Seminars
 Tuesday Independent Study/
Language Support 
English in Your Subject Academic Language & Study Skills
 Wednesday Guest Lecture  / Lecture follow up Independent Study/Extra Curricular Activities
 Thursday  Independent Study/
Language Support 
 English in Your Subject  Academic Language & Study Skills

Independent Study/Language

Support / Academic Writing

 Individual Tutorials/ Language Support



Student views

"…The teaching staff were so helpful and have a high level of knowledge, and they understand the differences between cultural customs and traditions. With this, they dealt with different situations skilfully…" - Bdriya Hijazi, 20-week BME student (Saudi Arabia)

"…A series of academic lessons, fantastic day-trips, and teamwork across cultures stimulated me to discover a pleasurable and colourful life in the UK: The warmth, encouragement and support which I gained from the BME course made me feel confident to prepare for my future postgraduate course..." - Ya-Ting Ji, 15-week BME student (Taiwan)

"...The BME course offers you the opportunity to familiarise yourself with academic writing, case study analysis, research skills and plagarism issues, and it helps to improve your speaking and vocabulary. On top of this, you get introduced to the UK culture and get to interact with people from other continents. All these boost your confidence to be successful and take on challenges in the Business School..." - Jean-Jacques, 10-week BME student (Benin)

The BIA  has an excellent reputation for the quality of its courses and the Unit offers a friendly, welcoming and supportive study environment. BIA staff have high academic qualifications and extensive teaching experience. The Unit is also a member of 'English UK' and is accredited by the British Council.

Leisure programme

We offer:

  • Day trips  to places of cultural and historic places of interest.
  • A full and lively social programme for all summer presessionals (for example sports activities,trips to the cinema and museums).


During your presessional course you will be guaranteed accommodation within walking distance of the university campus. Our student accommodation will allow you to enjoy your life in Birmingham in safe and welcoming surroundings.

Information about accommodation for Presessional students.

Further information about our accommodation, including virtual tours of bedrooms and kitchens, can be found online.

If you have further questions please contact: