English for Academic Purposes Presessional

Presessional courses

Start date
2020 entry: Please see course details
Between 6 and 42 weeks, please see course details
Course Type
Postgraduate, Presessional English, Undergraduate, Presessional English

Start Dates: 42 week 30 September 2019, 31 week 13 December 2019, 20 week 27 April 2020, 15 week 2 June 2020,

10 week 13 July 2020, 6 week 10 August 2020.

The English for Academic Purposes Presessional course is for international students who have a conditional offer to study for an undergraduate or postgraduate degree at the University, but who do not currently meet the English language requirements. The course is tailored to your level of English and allows you to meet the English language requirements for your programme without retaking IELTS.

 The EAP programme runs throughout the year and offers different programme lengths ranging from 42 weeks to 6 weeks. The length of course you need depends on your future course, your existing level of English and the level of English you need to progress to your main University programme of study.

 If you do not have the minimum IELTS score for the 20-, 15-, 10- and 6-week courses, you could consider applying for entry onto the 42-week or 31-week courses. These are suitable for all undergraduate and postgraduate students who require a longer course. Students will transfer to the appropriate UG/ PG/ BME programme in April, at the 20-week stage.

 All students have full access to the University library resources, IT and sports facilities and social opportunities.

Day Trips and social programme

We organise day trips throughout the year to places of historic interest, eg Warwick Castle, Bath and Oxford.

The social programme runs for the 10, 6 and 4 week presessional courses. This can include sports activities and local trips to the cinema and museums. Some extra costs may apply (up to £10 approximately per activity).

For more information about weekend day trips and any additional costs which may apply to local trips and events organised as part of the social programme, please contact biatrips@contacts.bham.ac.uk 

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.

  • 42 weeks: 30/09/19 - 18/09/20
  • 31 week: 13/01/20 - 18/09/20
  • 20 weeks: 27/04/20 - 18/09/20
  • 15 weeks: 02/06/20 – 18/09/20
  • 10 weeks: 13/07/20 – 18/09/20
  • 6 weeks: 10/08/20 - 18/09/20

Find out what length of course you need

Admissions policy regarding length of course you can attend:

If you are eligible for the 15-, 10- or 6-week course, it may be possible to consider you for a longer course if there are sound academic reasons for doing so.

If you are interested in this option, please contact: presessional@contacts.bham.ac.uk

For students with offers to start their PhD in January or April:

11 weeks: 30/09/19 - 13/12/19

                   13/01/20 - 27/03/20

22 weeks: 30/09/19 - 27/03/20

Why Study this Course?

All our EAP Presessional courses aim to develop:

  • Accuracy and fluency in English for academic study
  • The ability to write academically using accurate referencing and avoid plagiarism
  • A range of reading skills for academic texts
  • Grammatical competence
  • Vocabulary and study skills
  • Seminar and presentation skills
  • Critical thinking skills
  • The ability to listen to lectures and discussions and take notes
  • Skills for working independently and with others

The Programme has been designed to support the development of your language and academic skills in preparation for your future departmental studies.

Additionally, on the EAP UG Presessional the course focuses on developing key study skills such as

  • Note-taking
  • Referencing
  • Critical thinking
  • Working in groups
  • Managing independent study

Additionally, on the EAP PG Presessional you will:

  • Study from a course handbook which contains the learning materials for your particular cohort
  • Learn how information is structured in textbooks, dissertations, journal articles and reports
  • Look at the role and structure of the paragraph; thesis statements, topic sentences, introductions and conclusionsm, and  linking and bridging within texts
  • Gain a better understanding of the word families that the academic words you're studying  belong to, both generally and specific to your programme.
  • Develop your analytical and critical thinking by encouraging you to distinguish between a writer's facts and a writer's opinion.
  • Acknowledge external sources of information in your own writing: using bibliographies, and direct and indirect quotations.



Once you arrive, you will need to pay the full balance of the course fee (see following table for PhD student information): 

Fees by course length
Course lengthDatesFees
42 weeks 30 September 2019 - 18 September 2020 £16,740
31 weeks 13 January 2020 – 18 September 2020 £11,160
20 weeks 27 April – 18 September 2020 £7,200
15 weeks 02 June – 18 September 2020 £5,400
10 weeks 13 July – 18 September 2020 £3,600
6 weeks 10 August – 18 September 2020 £2,160

The following fees amounts currently apply for PhD students: 

PhD student Presessional fees by course length
Course lengthDatesFees
11-week option for PhD students 30 September - 13 December 2019 £3,960
13 January - 27 March 2020 £3,960
22-week option for PhD students 30 September 2019 – 27 March 2020 £7,920

How to pay these fees is detailed on the Methods of Payment for the Presessional English Courses page.

Tuition Fee

The tuition fee includes all course materials as well as weekend day trips. Please note that we may run a day trip where a subsidised cost applies. Where additional costs for any day trips do apply you will always be advised in advance.

How To Apply

2019-20 Presessionals

The following deadlines for Presessional applications apply in 2019:

  • 20-week course - 27th March
  • 15-week course - 1st May
  • 10-week course - 12th June
  • 6-week course - 10th July
  • 4-week course - 10th July

Before applying please read the following:

Important information about presessional courses at the University of Birmingham

 When clicking on the Apply Now button you will be directed to an application specifically designed for the programme you wish to apply for where you will create an account with the University application system and submit your application and supporting documents online.

EAP Application 42 week 31 week  

EAP Phd Application 22 week 11 week 

If you have any queries please contact: presessional@contacts.bham.ac.uk

Academic requirements

You must have a conditional offer for a course (undergraduate or postgraduate) at the University of Birmingham.

IELTS requirements

The minimum IELTS score you need for this course depends on the required IELTS score for the degree or course you wish to study next. If you have an offer letter from the University of Birmingham, it will tell you the required IELTS score for your chosen course.  

Find out what length of course you need.

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.

Our maximum class size on the English for Academic Purposes Presessional  is 18 students, so tutors can give you individual attention and regular tutorials to help you meet your progression requirements. All our tutors are qualified and experienced.

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.

You will be supported along the way by personal tutors and a welfare tutor, who can help with both academic and welfare issues.


Please note that for summer EAP PG Presessional courses:

20-week /15-week - You will be in a mixed discipline and mixed nationality class. This will allow you to meet a range of other students. You will stay with this class for 10 or 5 weeks. You will have one teacher.

10-week /6-week - Generally speaking, you will be in a class of students from similar subject backgrounds. You will have one teacher and one teacher assistant (a postgraduate from your discipline).

Student views

Jia Sue (China)

"I developed my skills and learned how to write and reference a good essay, how to summarise and paraphrase ideas and how to collect information for an essay. It was all extremely useful for my current studies. The people on my course who had not done this Presessional found it more difficult so I would recommend doing a Presessional course instead of re-taking IELTS."

Violaine Bucchiotty (France)

"I’d recommend taking a BIA programme rather than re-taking an IELTS test because the Presessional is more interesting. We had some fascinating discussions in class and there is no better way to improve your English fluency than exchanging points of view with people from different cultures."

Further student testimonials

Contact Hours

Typical timetables

You will have 15 hours and 30 minutes of tuition (or 19 classes of 50 minute lessons). Each 50 minute class is followed by a 10 minute break. Classes are scheduled between 9.00 am and 6.00 pm, Monday to Friday. You will also be expected to do between 12-14 hours of independent study a week. Our maximum class size on the EAP Presessional is 15 students, so tutors can give you individual attention and regular tutorials to help you meet your progression requirements. All our tutors are qualified and experienced.

Classes are Monday to Friday. All classes are university standard 50 minutes in duration.

There is no teaching on Saturday or Sunday. There is a one week break between 6 to 10 July 2020.  The University closes for 15 days in each academic year, from 1 October to the following 30 September. Eight of these days are public holidays: Christmas Day, Boxing Day, and New Year's Day holidays; Good Friday and Easter Monday; May Day; Whit Monday; August Bank holiday Monday. For all bank holidays and University-closed days please click here

Assessment Methods

Course assessment

To pass the EAP 1/UG or EAP PG you must achieve the appropriate mark in each assessed component of the course. Assessments will include the following: Reading exam, Writing exam, Academic Research Paper (ARP), Listening exam, an Oral Presentation as well as your speaking and listening skills in seminar discussions.


The requirements for successful completion of your EAP UG or EAP PG presessional programme are:

  • The achievement of the appropriate final mark for all assessed work (examinations and assessed coursework)
  • A minimum of 90% attendance
  • Meet the appropriate Contact Points (a UKVI regulation) for your course
  • Fulfilment of the university requirements for reasonable diligence


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