Presessional courses: Frequently Asked Questions

You might have some questions about presessional courses. Here are some of the most common questions and some helpful answers.

The application process

What are the dates for the Presessional English courses? How can I apply?

Full details of our course dates and the apply links are available on our English for Academic Purposes Presessional course page.

When should I apply for a Presessional English course?

Our course dates and latest application dates can be found on our Presessional English Programmes page.

Due to high demand for Presessional English courses and visa processing times, you are advised to apply as early as possible.

Visit our course finder page to apply

I am an EU student - can I apply for the Presessional English course?

We welcome applications from EU students. You can demonstrate your level of English with an English language test.

How do I pay my tuition fees?

Tuition fees must be paid in full before the start of the course.

Information on how to pay for your Presessional English course

I will have Official Financial Sponsorship - what do I need to do?

If an organisation is paying some or all of your tuition fees, please provide a copy of your course specific sponsorship letter to You are not required to provide these details where:

  • Your course is being paid for by a family member or friend
  • You are paying for your course with a bank loan

Please note that if we do not receive payment from your financial sponsor you will be liable for payment of the tuition fees.

Do I need a CAS?

You will need a CAS for campus based courses, and will need a Secure English Language Test (SELT) in order to obtain a CAS.

For courses delivered wholly online, you will not be required to hold a CAS and alternative English language qualifications can be considered in your application.

Students studying on the 10, 6 and 4 week presessional courses may be eligible for an integrated CAS, and will not need a SELT.

When will I receive my CAS?

CAS statements will be sent at least 5 weeks before the start of your course. These will be sent by email, please check your junk and spam email accounts.

If you have applied via an agent, please check if the agent has received your CAS statement. The CAS will be sent to the email address you supplied on your application form, so please make sure you check that account. 

I am under 18 years of age - can I still apply for a Presessional English course?

Provided you are 16 years or older and meet our entry requirements, you can apply for the presessional course. If you are under 18 when you arrive on the university campus, we will ask you to complete a parental consent form.

Students under the age of 18 joining the BIA

I am having technical problems applying

If you encounter any technical problems with the applications portal, please contact who will be able to assist you.

Entry requirements

What are the entry requirements?

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

The minimum English Language score you need for this course depends on the required English Language 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 English Language test score for your chosen course.

Find the right length presessional course for you

I do not have an offer for the University of Birmingham. Can I attend one of the Presessional English courses?

No, the Presessional English Courses at the University of Birmingham are only open to and appropriate for someone who has already received an offer for an academic course at the University of Birmingham.

Can I attend a longer length course?

Any requests to join a longer programme than you need will be considered by the Academic Course Director. You will need to send supporting information of why you want to attend a longer length programme when you apply.

Can I still join the presessional course if I don't meet the minimum English Language requirements?

You must meet the minimum English language requirements before joining the presessional course.

If I gain a higher English language score, can I change my offer to a shorter course?

We strongly encourage people to only apply for courses once they have their English language test result and not move to shorter courses.  

The presessional programme is designed to help you meet your degree programme entry requirements. As such, once you have been given a presessional offer you should not attempt to resit other English language tests.

Once you have been issued with a CAS it is not possible to change the length of your course.

Once you have started studying a presessional course, you will NOT be able to move to a shorter length course even if you have a new English language qualification. The admissions department for your main programme may not accept revised English language test scores if you are registered on the presessional English course. You will be required to successfully complete your English course to gain entry to your degree programme.

Please contact us on to discuss your options.

I have an unconditional offer, can I apply for a presessional course?

We have a 4 week course running in late summer. This course is specifically designed for unconditional offer holders.  The 4 week course focuses on the academic skills needed to study at the University of Birmingham.

Find out more about the 4-week EAP UNC Presessional course at the BIA

If you have an unconditional offer and wish to study a longer course, you are welcome to apply for the 6 and 10 week online and on-campus courses.


When can I register with the University of Birmingham?

Once you receive your unconditional offer for the presessional English programme, you will need to complete your online registration.

To register online you will need your University username and password. You will receive your username, password and programme title by email. This email will be sent to your personal email address.

Please check your ‘Spam’ folder to ensure that any safeguards you may have will not block this message. 

You will need to upload a high quality passport-style photograph showing your head and shoulders against a pale background.  This will be used on your student record and ID card.   

If you have not received your online registration email before the course start date, please contact Student Help and they will be able to send it to you.

What is a Right To Study (RTS) check, and do I need one?

All international students at the University of Birmingham are required to have a right to study check.

This is where you upload your immigration document online to be checked by a member of the International Student Team (IST). When the RTS check is complete you will be able to commence your studies.

Will I get a student ID card?

You can use your student ID number to sign up for an NUS extra card and make the most of the student discounts that come along with it. You will receive a student ID card for the University of Birmingham when you have completed your online registration and arrived on Campus for your induction.

Further information

How do I access welfare support?

The BIA Student Wellbeing and Experience Manager and the International Student Support Coordinator both provide support and advice throughout your studies.

Our International Student Support Coordinator has a specific focus on students under the age of 18.  The BIA Student Wellbeing and Experience Manager can offer appointments by Zoom or Teams, phone or face-to-face.

As a student of the University, there is a wide range of online resources available to you throughout your studies.  You can find out more about this as well as Frequently Asked Questions on wellbeing support.

Who can I talk to if I have a question about student visas?

Please contact the University’s International Student Team (IST) for all visa advice relating to your studies. The IST are the only University staff members who are authorised to give immigration advice and guidance.

How can I connect with other students at the University?

The Guild of Students has launched the UoB Virtual Neighbourhood on Facebook. This is a virtual place for you to connect with other students, for advice and information, podcasts, mindfulness. You can also access their Instagram.

All BIA students will be enrolled on to the BIA Social Space canvas course where you can connect with other students and find out about the social activities that are being run. 

The University's Welcome pages also contain a lot of information on how you can get involved in the community and connect with other students. 

What is a virtual learning environment?

Canvas is the Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) used at University of Birmingham. You can use Canvas to do the following:

  • Access your course materials online 24/7
  • Submit assignments
  • Access grades and feedback
  • Find lecture recordings
  • Access multimedia content and resources for learning outside of the lecture
  • Discuss and share ideas

What time of day will classes be taught?

Presessional courses taught on campus will have 15.5 hours of tuition per week (19 classes of 50-minute lessons). Classes are held Monday – Friday and are scheduled between 09:00 and 18:00. 

Where will classes take place?

All presessional classes will be taught on our Edgbaston campus, but may be scheduled in rooms across campus.

How will I be assessed?

You will be assessed using a mixture of coursework and online tests. All your assessments will be completed using Canvas. Some assessments will be completed throughout the course and others at the end. You will be given more information on this as the course progresses.

Is University accommodation available

There is a range of accommodation available which you can book accommodation for your presessional course, and for the 2023/24 academic year through our presessional specific accommodation webpages.

Online presessional English courses

What is the online Presessional English course?

You can be assured that all online courses are run to the same high standard as our campus-based courses. The courses are designed to develop your English language and academic skills in preparation for your studies at the University of Birmingham. They are produced by our own academic staff at the University and are delivered using our own virtual learning environment (Canvas VLE) as well as by video conference using Zoom.

  • The course includes a mixture of interactive, class-based discussion and listening tasks set by your dedicated class tutor, as well as guided reading and written tasks with feedback to develop your skills.
  • You are fully supported throughout your course and will receive regular 1-1 tutorials by video to discuss your progress and answer any questions.
  • You are assessed using a mixture of coursework and online tests.
  • Timetabled sessions consider the needs of students studying in different time zones.
  • Many classes are live streamed and recorded. We will make these classes available for you to view.
  • There are pre-class and post-class activities that you will need to complete before and/or after your lessons

Find your Presessional English course 

What equipment do I need?

You will need access to a computer with administrator rights to install software that meets the following:  

  • Windows 11 or 10 (includes x86 32 and 64bit processors and ARM 64bit processors using x86 emulation) - not Windows SE and not Windows S mode.
  • Apple Mac: macOS 10.15 to 14.0+.
  • ChromeOS: Updated to most recent stable version available via Google’s ChromeOS channel
  •  iPadOS: 12.0+ (iPad only) - external keyboard recommended with iPads.

For distance learning students:

  • Ensure that you can participate in the live sessions. You will need a minimum of 2 Mbits/sec bandwidth, please check your internet speed and bandwidth: you can use online tools for this or contact your provider.
  • You will also need a microphone and speakers: most computers have these built in. However, we recommend that you use a separate headphone with a built in microphone that has a USB connection.

We do not recommend using smartphones for taking part in classes. 

What should I do if my internet connection is slow?

If you have a slow internet connection check with your provider to see if they can increase your bandwidth. Make sure you switch off all other internet dependent devices, you do not have any applications running on your computer use the webcam only when necessary.

What time of day will you teach?

Timetabled sessions will take into account the needs of students studying in different time zones. Live online teaching takes place on Zoom and is scheduled between 08:00 and 14:00 GMT. Recordings can be accessed on Canvas. Live classes are of 45 minutes duration with 18 sessions per week (13.5 hours total weekly). Up to 20 hours per week should be allowed for completion of all pre and post-class activities and coursework. 

How can I connect with other students?

An interactive classroom atmosphere will be maintained as we will be using live streaming for many sessions.

As a pre-sessional student studying remotely, you will be part of our online student community, and will be able to attend our online social activities.

If I meet the requirements of my future course before completing the Presessional English course, can I withdraw?

If you retake IELTS and meet your language requirements, admissions are not guaranteed to give you an unconditional offer. 

You should remain on your Presessional English course. 

Even if you withdraw, you will still be liable to pay your full fees.