Presessional English

English for Academic Purposes (EAP)

Start date
2023-24 entry: Please see course details
Between 6 and 32 weeks, please see course details
Course Type
Postgraduate, Presessional English, Undergraduate, Presessional English
Presessional English at Birmingham International Academy, University of Birmingham (Video transcript)

We offer Presessional English courses all year round for international students holding a conditional offer where English is a requirement. Designed to develop your English language and academic skills in preparation for University of Birmingham study. 

Experiencing difficulties watching our Presessional English clip on YouTube? Watch on Panopto instead.

On-campus and online courses

If you have a conditional offer, you can take a Presessional English course as an alternative to retaking IELTS or a similar qualification. We offer on-campus courses all year round starting from September including additional online courses in the summer term.  Teaching takes place in small classes with no more than 18 students to maximise class participation. Both on-campus and online students will be offered a variety of social activities alongside academic studies. 

You can still apply - courses open for application, 2023-24

The course you apply for will depend on the requirements detailed in your offer letter from Admissions.

Presessional courseDatesApply nowDeadline for application

4 week on campus 

unconditional offer holders only

27 August - 20 September 2024 Presessional English 12 July 2024

Courses now closed for application, 2023-24

32 week campus - 25 September 2023 to 28 June 2024

22 week campus - 25 September 2023 to 22 March 2024

11 week campus - 25 September 2023 to 8 December 2023

6 week campus - 30 October 2023 to 8 December 2023

31 week campus - 8 January 2024 to 13 September 2024

21 week campus - 8 January 2024 to 28 June 2024

11 week campus - 8 January 2024 to 22 March 2024

20 week campus - 22 April 2024 to 13 September 2024

15 week campus - 28 May 2024 to 13 September 2024

10 week online- 17 June 2024 to 23 August 2024

10 week campus 8 July 2024 to 13 September 2024

6 week online - 15 July 2024 to 23 August 2024

6 week campus - 5 August 2024 to 13 September 2024

The course offers an abundance of opportunities to improve your English beyond the classroom, through face-to-face meetings and informal gatherings. It's a fun-filled journey, making new friends and creating unforgettable memories.

Daniel Dubrov, 10-week campus Presessional English student at Birmingham International Academy, 2022 entry

Why study this course?

Gain confidence and communicative competence

The benefits of studying a Presessional English course highly outweigh retaking language tests for direct entry.  You will:

  • Become immersed in the language
  • Get acclimatised to studying at a UK university before your main programme
  • Make friends with people on your future course
  • Start getting used to British culture in a safe and friendly international environment
  • Communicate in English outside of the classroom via social activities

A lively social programme

Study on campus and you will get to know the University and experience student life in the city. Take part in our social programme and get involved in cultural and sporting activities, make friends and practise your English in the wider context. Study online and meet you classmates in virtual social activities where you can have fun and get to know each other outside of your teaching and learning. 

British Council accredited courses

The British Council inspected and accredited Birmingham International Academy, University of Birmingham in March 2022. The Accreditation Scheme assesses the standards of management, resources and premises, teaching, welfare, and safeguarding under 18s and accredits organisations which meet the overall standard in each area inspected.

The large English language teaching department of this university offers courses in academic English for adults (18+) and young people (16+). Strengths were noted in the areas of strategic and quality management, staff management, premises and facilities, learning resources, academic staff profile, academic management, course design, learner management, teaching and care of students. The inspection report stated that the organisation met the standards of the Scheme.

Campus accommodation

We provide a variety of student accommodation options on and off campus.  You will live in a student village where you will have the chance to make friends with people outside of the classroom.  Our accommodation options an on-site security team and provide a host of social activities specifically targeted at people living in student halls which helps to provide a vibrant, friendly and safe community. If you are interested in one of our campus pre-sessional English courses, find all the support you need to book your presessional university accommodation.

What you need to know before you apply

You will only need a CAS for Presessional English courses taking place on campus, and these will be issued at least 5 weeks before the start of the course. You will not need a CAS for the online courses. 

The minimum enrolment age for our Presessional English courses is 16 years.

*Our 4 week intensive Academic English Skills course is for students who have already met their English language requirements and hold an unconditional offer. Discover the 4 week intensive Academic English Skills course (unconditional offer holders). If you have an unconditional offer and wish to study a longer course, you are also welcome to apply for the 6 and 10 week online and on-campus courses.

If you are thinking of applying for a degree programme at the University of Birmingham, our Information for future students and applicants and International page is a good place to start. 

Presessional English Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) 

Library building with students walking in front on a clear day


If you are unable to find the answer to your query, please contact:


What you will study

The Presessional English courses are produced by our own academic staff at the University and designed to help you to develop your English language and academic skills in preparation for your studies at the University of Birmingham.  Some of the skills you will focus on include:

  • Accuracy and fluency in English for academic study
  • Academic reading and writing skills and critical use of source materials
  • Listening to lectures, taking notes and participating in academic discussions
  • Speaking skills for presentations and seminars
  • Grammatical competence and strategies for building discipline-specific vocabulary

Presessional English Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)



You will need to pay the full course fee by the end of the first week of the course:

Fees by course length

Course lengthFees
32 week - autumn 2023 £14,400
22 week - autumn 2023 £9,900
11 week - autumn 2023 £4,950
6 week - autumn 2023 £2,700
31 week - spring 2024 £13,950
21 week - spring 2024 £9,450
11 week - spring 2024 £4,950
20 week - summer 2024 £9,000
15 week - summer 2024 £6,750
10 week - summer 2024 £4,500
6 week - summer 2024 £2,700
4 week - summer 2024 £1,800

Payment of fees

How to pay these fees is detailed on the methods of payment for the presessional English courses page.

Cancellations and refunds

Read details of our Presessional refund policy.

Additional Course Costs

There are no additional course costs.

How To Apply


Our courses are very popular so our advice would be to apply as early as possible.

You can apply in the table above by following the link in the "Apply now" column for the course you are interested in. Or you can use the "Apply" buttons below. 

Our apply links will take you to an application portal where you will create an account with the University application system. You will submit your application and supporting documents to us online. 

Please note that online Presessional English courses are marked 'DL' (Distance Learning) in the University application system.

*IMPORTANT* Students holding offers for Foundation Pathways at University of Birmingham must upload a copy of their Kaplan offer letter to their Presessional English application.


If you require any help with making an application, please contact us at:


Hold an unconditional offer? Read about our 4 week Intensive Academic English Skills course.


Apply for our 4 week Intensive Academic English Skills course for unconditional offer holders only  

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 our Presessional depends on the required English language score for the degree you wish to study next. Your offer letter from the University of Birmingham will tell you what the required IELTS score for your course is.  

Applying for our campus-based Presessional courses

In order to meet UKVI entry requirements, Presessional applicants who need a Student Route visa must provide a valid official Secure English Language Test (SELT) certificate, attaining at least a B1 level of English in all skills. For these courses, we accept the following tests:

  • Pearson Academic (UKVI)

Students who are eligible for an integrated CAS can also apply with the following tests:

  • IELTS Academic (non-UKVI)
  • TOEFL “At Home” Test
  • Pearson Academic online

Check your eligibility for an integrated CAS (only for students on the 10, 6 and 4-week courses)

Applying for our online courses 

Applicants for an online Presessional course can use any of the following tests:

  • Pearson Academic (UKVI)
  • IELTS Academic (non-UKVI)
  • TOEFL “At Home” Test
  • Pearson Academic online

Find the right length presessional course for you

You must be at least 16 years old to apply for one of our Presessional English courses.

I was so impressed when I studied a pre-sessional English course at the University of Birmingham. It's a very enjoyable teaching environment, and teachers are supportive and understanding of international students.

Nattaporn Ontrakrai, 10-week Presessional English student at Birmingham International Academy, 2022

Nattaporn Ontrakrai, 10-week Presessional English student at Birmingham International Academy, 2022

Whether you are studying on campus or online,

  • You will take part in taught lessons every day, where you will participate in class-based discussion and speaking and listening tasks set by your class tutor.
  • You will also have reading and written tasks with teacher feedback to develop your skills.
  • You will be fully supported throughout your course and you will receive regular 1-1 tutorials to discuss your progress and get answers to any questions you might have.
  • On-campus classes will be delivered face to face and online classes are delivered via Zoom. 
  • All courses are assessed using a mixture of coursework, portfolio assessments and tests. 

Contact Hours

  • The first week of your programme includes an introduction to the course and to the University’s facilities and student support services.
  • The last 1-2 weeks of the course are usually timetabled for assessment and feedback on your progress.
  • You will have 15.8 hours of tuition every week. This is 19 classes of 50-minute lessons. 
  • Classes on campus are held Monday to Friday and are scheduled between 9.00 a.m. and 6.00 p.m, UK time. 
  • Timetabled online sessions will take into account the needs of students studying in different time zones. There is no teaching on Saturday or Sunday. 
  • Up to 20 hours per week should be allowed for completion of all pre and post-class activities and coursework. 
A sample timetable for Summer Presessional English 2023/24
  Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday
Session 1 Reading and Writing Reading and Writing ESAP Reading and Writing Reading and Writing
Session 2 Reading and Writing Reading and Writing ESAP Reading and Writing ESAP
Session 3 Listening and Speaking Listening and Speaking ESAP Listening and Speaking ESAP
Session 4 Listening and Speaking Listening and Speaking   Listening and SpeakingESAP  

In addition to the taught classes scheduled weekly, you will attend 1-1 tutorials with your tutor and have the oportunity to attend workshops and social events. 

Please note there are a number of UK bank holidays (BH) and University closed days throughout the year when the University will be closed and no teaching will take place.  


University closed days and UK bank holidays (BH)

  • Thursday 21 December 2023 
  • Friday 22 December  2023 
  • Monday 25 December 2023 (Christmas Day BH) 
  • Tuesday 26 December 2023 (Boxing Day BH) 
  • Wednesday 27 December 2023 
  • Thursday 28 December 2023 
  • Friday 29 December 2023 
  • Monday 1 January 2024 (New Year’s Day BH) 
  • Friday 29 March 2024 (Good Friday BH) 
  • Monday 1 April 2024 (Easter Monday BH) 
  • Tuesday 2 April 2024
  • Wednesday 3 April 2024 
  • Monday 6 May 2024 (May BH)
  • Monday 27 May 2024 (Spring BH)
  • Monday 26 August 2024 (Summer BH)


Assessment Methods

Over the duration of your course, you will study three modules:

  • Reading and Writing
  • Speaking and Listening
  • Academic Orientation/English for Specific Academic Purposes (ESAP).

Each module assesses your language skills. You will need to meet the English Language Entry Requirements for your programme with your scores in those modules.


The requirements for successful completion of your English presessional programme are:

  • The achievement of the appropriate final mark for all assessed work (examinations and assessed coursework)
  • A minimum of 90% attendance
  • 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 career 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 CVs 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. 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 we offer you will be able to develop your career from the moment you arrive.