Birmingham Foundation Academy (BFA) presessional English programme

If you hold an offer for a Birmingham Foundation Academy Programme you may now apply to study on the Birmingham Foundation Academy Presessional English Programme run by the University of Birmingham's English for International Students Unit (EISU). On successful completion of the Presessional you can transfer to the Birmingham Foundation Academy in September 2015 without needing to re-take IELTS. All of our courses will give you greater confidence for your future studies at Birmingham in addition to the opportunity to enter the Birmingham Foundation Academy without taking further IELTS  tests.

Course fact file

Type of Course: Presessional english, presessional english

Duration: 31 weeks, 20 weeks, 15 weeks, 10 weeks, 6 weeks, depending on your current level of English and the level needed for your Birmingham Foundation Academy pathway.

Start date: 28 September 2015, 2 November 2015, 11 January 2016, 25 April 2016, 11 July 2016


For all information about this course please contact Esther Reeves:

+44 (0) 121 415 8492.


What you will study


Students benefit from an average of 19 class hours in addition to regular individual tutorials and a social programme.

You will:

  • enhance your level of English language to satisfy entry requirements
  • improve and develop your academic skills for BFA study
  • use English grammar effectively and accurately in academic tasks
  • improve your listening, speaking, reading and writing skills
  • use source material effectively in written tasks
  • practise strategies for expanding your vocabulary
  • use time management and general study skills
  • develop social communication skills


More generally, past students have reported increased confidence in their use of language and skills for academic study which better prepares them for the Birmingham Foundation Academy. You can read a student testimonial in the learning and teaching section.


Length of course

We offer courses of between 6 and 20 weeks immediately before the September and January start dates. However, you may need a longer Presessional English programme, depending upon your current English language level. If this is the case, we offer longer courses of 31 weeks or 42 weeks. Upon successful completion of the programme, you can transfer to the Foundation Academy without needing to take another English language test. 

If you're starting in January 2016, the dates of available presessional programmes are:

  • 11 week course: 28 September -11 December 2015
  • 6 week course: 2 November - 11 December 2015

If you're starting in September 2016, the dates of available presessional programmes are:

  • 42-week: 28 September-16 September 2016
  • 31-week: 11 January- 16 September 2016
  • 20-week: 25 April-16 September 2016
  • 10-week: 11 July- 16 September 2016

Find out what length of course you need


Course assessment


Your grade for the course will depend on grades for work you do during the course and your final score in exams.




To complete the course successfully you must reach the minimum final marks required by your intended BFA pathway and have a minimum of 90% attendance. On successful completion of the course, you will progress to the BFA programme without retaking IELTS.




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.


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


If you have further questions please contact:

Fees and funding

Fees and deposit

To book a place on this course, self-funding students will need to pay a deposit of £450 (this will be deducted from your tuition fee). You are asked to  pay us the balance once you have started the course.

The following fees and deposit amounts currently apply: 

Deposit and fees by course length
Course LengthDatesFees
31 weeks 12 January 2015 - 18 September 2015 £8,680
20 weeks 27 April - 18 September 2015 £5,600
15 weeks 1 June - 18 September 2015 £4,200
10 weeks 13 July - 18 September 2015 £2,800
6 weeks 10 August - 18 September 2015 £1,680

Payment options

There are several ways you can pay us.

Online payment

You can pay using our online shop. We recommend this method, since you do not have to pay any bank fees and the payment happens immediately.

Bank transfer

If you pay using a bank transfer, please make sure that you have added enough money to cover all bank charges. If we have to pay any bank charges, we will ask you to pay us these charges back when you arrive.

Entry requirements

Academic requirements

You must have an offer for a place at the  University of Birmingham Foundation Academy

IELTS requirements

The minimum IELTS you need for this course depends on the BFA Programme for which you have an offer.   If you have an offer letter from the University of Birmingham BFA, it will tell you the required IELTS test score needed for entry to the BFA. 

Please note that in order to meet UKVI entry requirements you will need to show evidence of attaining at least a B1 level of English in all skills, proven by a Secure English Language Test (SELT). The UK Home Office recently made changes to the rules about English language tests for presessional courses. Please see our Update.

How to apply

To apply for the 31-week, 20-week, 15-week, 10-week or 6-week course  you will need to send us the following:

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:

English for International Students Unit,
EISU, Priorsfield
University of Birmingham
B15 2TT

Deadline for receipt of applications

The deadline for applications is four weeks before the start date of the course that you wish to apply for. If you are applying after this date, please contact Esther Reeves first at to check that there are still places available.

It is then very important that you check you are able to get a visa in time to be present on the first day of the course, as unfortunately students are unable to start the course late. You will also need to check the availability of your flights.


For all information about this course please contact Esther Reeves:

+44 (0) 121 415 8492.

Learning and teaching

As a Birmingham student you are part of an academic elite and will learn from world-leading experts. From the outset you will be encouraged to become an independent and self-motivated learner. We want you to be challenged and will encourage you to think for yourself. Your learning will take place in a range of different settings, from scheduled teaching in lectures and small group tutorials, to self-study and peer group learning (for example preparing and delivering presentations with your classmates).

To begin with you may find this way of working challenging, but rest assured that we’ll enable you to make this transition. You will have access to a comprehensive support system that will assist and encourage you, including personal tutors and welfare tutors who can help with both academic and welfare issues, and a formal transition review during your first year to check on your progress and offer you help for any particular areas where you need support.

Image of Xuan-Yu Liu  (Presessional student in 2011)

Xuan-Yu Liu (China) completed a 6-week English Presessional course before going on to a Foundation Programme."I lacked confidence when I arrived, but I was more prepared for my foundation programme because I did the Presessional. The most useful part of the course for me was learning how to take part in seminars and write academic essays. There are many differences between Universities in China and the UK, especially in academic writing. The teachers helped me a lot and the Presessional gave me an advantage." (Xuan-Yu Liu, 2011).


For all information about this course please contact Esther Reeves:

+44 (0) 121 415 8492.


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Our unique careers guidance service is tailored to your academic subject area, offering a specialised team (in each of the five academic colleges) who can give you expert advice. Our team source exclusive work experience opportunities to help you stand out amongst the competition, with mentoring, global internships and placements available to you. Once you have a career in your sights, one-to-one support with CV’s and job applications will help give you the edge. In addition, our employer-endorsed award-winning Personal Skills Award (PSA) recognises your extra-curricular activities, and provides an accredited employability programme designed to improve your career prospects. 

Your Birmingham degree is evidence of your ability to succeed in a demanding academic environment. Employers target Birmingham students for their drive, diversity, communication and problem-solving skills, their team-working abilities and cultural awareness, and our graduate employment statistics have continued to climb at a rate well above national trends. If you make the most of the wide range of services you will be able to develop your career from the moment you arrive. 


For all information about this course please contact Esther Reeves:

+44 (0) 121 415 8492.