Birmingham Foundation Pathways Presessional English programme

If you hold a conditional offer for a Birmingham Foundation Pathways Programme you may now apply to study on the English for Academic Purposes Presessional run by the Birmingham International Academy (BIA) at UoB. 

The English for Academic Purposes Presessional will help you prepare for your Foundation Pathways study by developing and giving practice in: writing academic essays; speaking and pronunciation skills; understanding lectures; specialist vocabulary to allow you to take part in seminar discussions related to your future academic course.

On successful completion of the EAP Presessional programme, you can transfer to the Birmingham Foundation Pathways in January or September without needing to re-take IELTS.

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


How to Apply 

Xuan-Yu Liu (China)

Completed a 6-week Presessional course

“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.”

We offer courses of between 6 and 20 weeks immediately before the January and September 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 a Foundation Pathways programme  in January 2019, the dates of available presessional programmes are:

  • 11-week: 01 October 2018 – 14 December 2018
  • 6-week: 05 November 2018 – 14 December 2018

If you're starting a Foundation Pathways programme in September 2019, the dates of available presessional programmes are:

  • 42-week: 01 October 2018 - 20 September 2019
  • 31-week: 14 January - 20 September 2019
  • 20-week: 29 April - 20 September 2019
  • 15-week: 03 June -  20 September 2019
  • 10-week: 15 July - 20 September 2019
  • 6-week: 12 August - 20 September 2019
  • 4-week (unconditional students only): 27 August - 20 September 2019

Find out what length of course you need

Why study this course

The course aims to develop:

  • Accuracy and fluency in English for academic study
  • The ability to write academically using accurate referencing and avoiding 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

Students who have studied on the EAP Presessional for Foundation Pathways have reported increased confidence in their use of the English language and academic study skills, which better prepares them for their main programme.

Fees and funding


You are asked to pay us the full balance once you have started the course.

The following fees currently apply:

Deposit and fees by course length

Course length  Start dates (All courses end on 20 September 2019)   Full fee       
42 weeks 01 October 2018 £14,700
31 weeks 14 January 2019 £10,850
20 weeks 29 April 2019 £7,000
15 weeks 03 June 2019 £5,250
10 weeks 15 July 2019 £3,500
6 weeks 12 August 2019 £2,100

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

Entry requirements

Academic requirements

You must have an offer for a place on one of the University of Birmingham Foundation Pathways

IELTS requirements

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

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.

How to apply

2019 Presessionals

The following deadlines for Presessional applications apply in 2018/19:

  • 11-week course/42-week course - 01 September
  • 31-week Course - 14 December
  • 20-week Course - 29 March
  • 15-week Course - 03 May
  • 10-week Course - 15 June
  • 6-week Course - 12 July
  • 4-week Course - 27 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.

Apply Now 

If you have any queries please contact:

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  us 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.


Our maximum class size on the Foundation Pathways 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.

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.

Contact hours

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.

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 8 to 12 July 2019.

Public holidays are on:

  • 25 and 26 December 2018
  • 1 January 2019
  • 19 and 22 April 2019
  • 6 and 27 May 2019
  • 26 August 2019

University closed days are on:

  • 27, 28 and 31 December 2018
  • 2 January 2019
  • 23 and 24 April 2019

Assessment methods

Course assessment

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


The requirements for successful completion of your Foundation English presessional programme is:

  • 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


Preparation for your career should be one of the first things you think about as you start university. Whether you have a clear idea of where your future aspirations lie or want to consider the broad range of opportunities available once you have a Birmingham degree, our Careers Network can help you achieve your goal.  

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. 

Leisure programme

At the BIA, we organise day trips for international students to places of cultural and historic interest. These day trips are organised throughout the year, during term-time and the summer.

The cost of day trips is included in your tuition fee; however, occasionally we may run a day trip where subsidised costs may apply. You will always be advised when costs to any of our day trips or social activities apply.

In addition to the day trips, we organise a full and lively social programme for all summer presessionals. This starts in July and includes sports activities, trips to the cinema and local museums.  Some extra costs may apply for local trips (up to £10).

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

FPPEP_student life


Before your presessional starts, you can book self-catering accommodation on the University campus and obtain information on accommodation in the private sector through the University accommodation website. For under-18s, we offer a special level of support and house students in Mason hall or Shackleton. If you are under 18 at the start of the programme, this accommodation is compulsory.


Meal Plan (term-time only)

If you live at the Vale Village, you may be allocated into a Meal Plan room. The Meal Plan is not available during the summer.

During term-time, the Meal Plan gives you a flexible weekly allowance that you can spend on food in University catering outlets including Infusion, The Melt and Pizza Shack on the Vale, as well as 17 other cafés and snack bars across campus. It is a great opportunity to meet other residents and socialise over meals, and helps free up time for studying, as you don't need to worry about food shopping, cooking or washing up.

Most dietary requirements can be catered for.

Under the Meal Plan package, meals are available during term times:

  • 01 October 2018 to 14 December 2018
  • 14 January 2019 to 29 March 2019
  • 29 April 2019 to 21 June 2019

For all queries about accommodation, please contact Housing Services: