English for Academic Purposes Presessional

Presessional English courses

Start date
2019-20 entry: Please see course details
Between 6 and 42 weeks, please see course details
Course Type
Postgraduate, Presessional English, Undergraduate, Presessional English

Presessional English courses offered during term-time and the summer with flexible entry points. The length of course you attend will depend on your current level of English (IELTS score) and the requirements of your main University of Birmingham offer.

Course start dates:

42-week course - 30 September 2019; 31-week course - 13 January 2020; 20-week course - 27 April 2020; 15-week course- 1 June 2020; 10-week course- 13 July 2020; 6-week course - 10 August 2020

All Presessional English (EAP) courses end 18 September 2020.

Presessional English Pathways is for international students who hold a conditional offer to study at the University of Birmingham, but who do not currently meet the English language requirements. The Presessional English for Academic Purposes programme is tailored to your level of English and allows you to meet the English language requirements without retaking IELTS. These courses are suitable for: Undergraduate and Foundation students; Postgraduate students (taught and research); PhD students; and Study Abroad students.

Find out what length of course you need

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- or 31-week courses. Students will transfer to the appropriate EAP UG, PG or BME Presessional course in April, at the 20-week stage.

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 PhD offer holders we have two 11-week courses and one 22-week course: 11 weeks from 30/09/19 to 13/12/19; and 13/01/20 to 27/03/20. The 22 week course is from 30/09/19 to 27/03/20.    

Iā€™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."

Violaine Bucchiotty (France), International student studying at Birmingham International Academy

Why Study this Course?

The Presessional courses are designed to help you improve your English language and academic skills in a relatively short period of time, developing your accuracy and fluency in English for academic study. You will be taught by qualified tutors, experienced in teaching English for Academic Purposes.

As a presessional student studying with Birmingham International Academy, you will have access to the Edgbaston campus facilities. This includes the new library and the sports centre.

International students studying at the University of Birmingham can access our Academic English e-learning resource bank. For more information please visit: www.birmingham.ac.uk/academic-english

Day trips run throughout the year to places of cultural interest such as Warwick Castle, Bath and Oxford. A social programme runs for the 10-,6- and 4-week Presessional English courses with opportunities to get involved in sports activities and local trips to the cinema and museums. For more information and cost, please contact: biatrips@contacts.bham.ac.uk

The University is committed to ensuring a safe environment for all its students and to supporting their welfare. For more information, visit our page which gives information for students aged under 18 who are joining the BIA.




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 £15,120
31 weeks 13 January 2020 – 18 September 2020 £11,160
20 weeks 27 April – 18 September 2020 £7,200
15 weeks 01 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.

Cancellations and refunds: for details of the Presessional refund policy, please go to: www.birmingham.ac.uk/international/bia/presessional/refund-policy.aspx

Additional Course Costs

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 do apply, you will always be advised in advance.

For more information, contact us:  biatrips@contacts.bham.ac.uk

How To Apply


The deadline for receipt of applications is five to six weeks before the start date of the Presessional English course you wish to attend.

Please note that the University reserves the right to close applications earlier in the event that the course is full.

Due to high demand for Presessional English courses you are advised to apply as early as possible.


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

Entry 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 Presessional English for Academic Purposes 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 the 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."

Contact Hours

What is a typical timetable?

You will have 15 hours and 30 minutes of tuition (or 19 classes of 50 minute lessons).  You will also be expected to do between 12-15 hours of independent study a week.

Classes are Monday to Friday between 9:00 am and 6:00. All classes are university standard 50 minutes in duration. Each 50 minute class is followed by a 10 minute break.

When is there no teaching?

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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