Presessional English

Pre-sessional 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
Our pre-sessional English programme (Video transcript)

The University of Birmingham offers Presessional English courses all year round for international students who hold a conditional offer and have not yet met their English language requirement. 


Experiencing difficulties viewing the video? If you cannot view the video on YouTube, view via Panopto instead.

On-campus and online courses

If you have a conditional offer, you can take a pre-sessional 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. The length of course you need will depend on your current level of English and on the score specified in your University of Birmingham offer letter.

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

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

The course also 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 Presessional English student at Birmingham International Academy, 2022

Why study this course?

Flexible study and small class sizes

The programme runs year-round with on-campus and online study options available to you depending on when you join. Whether you study online or on-campus, our maximum class size on all our Presessional English courses is 18 students, so tutors can give you individual attention and regular tutorials to help you meet your needs. All our tutors are qualified and experienced in teaching English for Academic Purposes (EAP).

A lively social programme

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. 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.


Find all the support you need and make the most of your campus community experience by booking your Presessional University accommodation.

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.


You will only need a CAS for Presessional English courses taking place on campus. You will not need a CAS for the online courses. There is a non-teaching week for on-campus students from 3 - 7 July 2023.

Course Title and LocationCourse DateLast Application Date 

32 week Presessional English


25 September 2023 - 28 June 2024 Closed for applications

22 week Presessional English


25 September 2023 - 22 March 2024 Closed for applications

11 week Presessional English


25 September - 8 December 2023 Closed for applications

6 week Presessional English


30 October - 8 December 2023 Closed for applications

31 week Presessional English


8 January - 13 September 2024 24 November 2023

21 week Presessional English


8 January - 28 June 2024 24 November 2023

11 week Presessional English


8 January - 22 March 2024 24 November 2023

20 week Presessional English on campus

Spring/Summer. Dates TBC TBC

15 week Presessional English on campus

Summer. Dates TBC TBC

10 week Presessional English TBC

Summer. Dates TBC TBC

6 week Presessional English TBC

Summer. Dates TBC TBC

4 week intensive Academic English Skills on campus

(for unconditional offer holders)

Summer. Dates TBC TBC

*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).

Spring/Summer term 2023/24

We run Presessional English courses ranging from 20 to 6 weeks during the spring/ summer term. As dates are confirmed and they open for applications, they will appear in the table above. If you cannot see your course yet, please check back later in the year to find out more.

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.   

Library building with students walking in front on a clear day



You will need to pay the full balance of the 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

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


To apply for the presessional programmes, please click on the "Apply now" button below.  This will take you to an application portal where you can create an account with the University application system and submit your application and supporting documents online. 

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

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

Students holding offers for the foundation course must upload a copy of their Kaplan offer letter to their presessional application.

Apply now for our 31 week January start Presessional English

Apply now for our 21 week January start Presessional English

Apply now for our 11 week January start Presessional English 

Read our Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

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

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.  This is usually a test score for IELTS (UKVI), TOEFL or Pearsons Academic.

In addition we are able to offer integrated CAS to students with the following English language qualifications:

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

For online only courses we are able to accept the above plus a Duolingo English Test qualification.

Find the right length presessional course for you

Please note that in order to meet UKVI entry requirements, all Presessional applicants for our campus based courses  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.

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

You will take part in taught lessons every day, with opportunities for 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 are held Monday to Friday and are scheduled between 9.00 a.m. and 6.00 p.m. 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. Timetabled online sessions will take into account the needs of students studying in different time zones.

Sample timetable for Presessional English 2023/24
  Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday
09:00 - 09:50 Reading and Writing Reading and Writing Academic Orientation Reading and Writing Reading and Writing
10:00 - 10:50  Reading and Writing Reading and Writing Academic Orientation Reading and Writing Reading and Writing
11:00 - 11:50 Listening and Speaking Listening and Speaking  Academic Orientation Listening and Speaking Listening and Speaking
12:00 - 12:50 Listening and Speaking Listening and Speaking  Enrichment Listening and Speaking Listening and Speaking
13:00 - 13:50  Enrichment  Enrichment  Enrichment  Enrichment  Enrichment

Enrichment classes are in addition to the taught classes scheduled weekly. Please note there are a number of bank holidays (BH) and University closed days (CD) throughout the year when the University will be closed.  


Thursday 21 December 2023 (CD), Friday 22 December  2023 (CD), Monday 25 December 2023 (Christmas Day BH), Tuesday 26 December 2023 (Boxing Day BH), Wednesday 27 December 2023 (CD), Thursday 28 December 2023 (CD), Friday 29 December 2023 (CD), 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 (CD), Wednesday 3 April 2024 (CD), Monday 6 May 2024 (May BH), Monday 27 May 2024 (Spring BH), Monday 26 August 2024 (Summer BH), Monday 23 December  2024(CD), Tuesday 24 December 2024 (CD), Wednesday 25 December 2024 (Christmas Day BH), Thursday 26 December 2024 (Boxing Day BH), Friday 27 December 2024 (CD), Monday 30 December 2024 (CD), Tuesday 31 December 2024 (CD)

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.

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