English for Academic Purposes Presessional

Presessional English courses

Start date
2022-23 entry: Please see course details
Between 6 and 31 weeks, please see course details
Course Type
Postgraduate, Presessional English, Undergraduate, Presessional English

The Presessional English programme at the University of Birmingham is designed to develop your English language and academic skills in preparation for your studies at the University. You will be taught by Teaching Fellows, qualified in teaching English for Academic Purposes.

Why study this course?

The Presessional English course 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 programme is tailored to your level of English and allows you to meet the English language requirements without retaking an English language test. These courses are suitable for: undergraduate and foundation students, postgraduate students (taught and research) and Study Abroad students. 

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 Course Dates

Autumn term 2022/23

  • 22 week - starts 26 September 2022 - ends 24 March 2023 - On campus
  • 11 week - starts 26 September 2022 - ends 9 December 2022 - On campus
  • 6 week - starts 31 October 2022 - ends 9 December 2022 - On campus

Spring term 2022/23

  • 31 week - starts 9 January 2023 - ends 15 September 2023 - On campus
  • 11 week - starts 9 January 2023 - ends 24 March 2023 - On campus

Summer term 2022/23

  • 20 week - starts 24 April 2023 - ends 15 September 2023 - On campus
  • 15 week - starts 30 May 2023 - ends 15 September 2023 - On campus
  • 10 week - starts 19 June 2023 - ends 25 August 2023 - Online
  • 10 week - starts 10 July 2023 - ends 15 September 2023 - On campus
  • 6 week - starts 17 July 2023 - ends 25 August 2023 - On campus and Online

Academic English course for unconditional offer holders

  • 4 week - starts 14 August 2023 - ends 8 September 2023 - On campus

We will make all reasonable efforts to provide you with the course, services and facilities described for the academic year 2022/23. However, it may be necessary to make changes due to significant disruption, for example in response to any new Government guidance relating to COVID-19.

 Find the right length presessional course for you

 Frequently Asked Questions for our Presessional English courses

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



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
31 week - spring 2023 £12,555
11 week - spring 2023 £4,455
20 week - summer 2023 £8,100
15 week - summer 2023 £6,075
10 week - summer 2023 £4,050
6 week - summer 2023 £2,430
4 week - summer 2023 £1,620


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

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.

Before applying please read the following:

Important information about presessional courses at the University of Birmingham

Apply now for our Summer presessional courses

Apply now for our 4 week Academic English Cousre

If you have any queries please contact: presessional@contacts.bham.ac.uk

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.

The Presessional English courses

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 in class are:

  • 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

Teaching takes place in small classes with no more than 18 students to maximise class participation. Regular 1-1 tutorials are provided at least every two weeks to provide feedback on your learning. Additional language support is available during summer Presessional courses. The minimum enrolment age is 16.

You will be assessed through a mixture of coursework and final examinations.

On campus classes will be delivered face to face and online classes are delivered via Zoom.

Student views

Faysal Khaleel (Iraq)

"The variety of topics we touched upon during the course has given me considerable knowledge about the latest official statistics and the related global and local trends. I can speak, write, and read in English with much greater fluency and accuracy than before, to the extent that I am now very close to using English as the native speakers do."


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

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.

Presessional courses have 15.8 hours of tuition per 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 2022
  Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday
 9 - 9:50 am  Reading and Writing  Reading and Writing  Academic Orientation  Reading and Writing  Reading and Writing
 10-10:50 am  Reading and Writing  Reading and Writing   Academic Orientation  Reading and Writing  Reading and Writing
 11-11:50 am Listening and Speaking Listening and Speaking   Academic Orientation Listening and Speaking Listening and Speaking
 12- 12:50 pm Listening and Speaking Listening and Speaking  Enrichment Listening and Speaking  Listening and Speaking
 1-1:50 pm   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. 


Monday 19 December (CD), Tuesday 20 December (CD), Wednesday 21 December (CD), Thursday 22 December (CD), Friday 23 December (CD), Monday 26 December (Christmas Day BH - transferred from Sun 25 December), Tuesday 27 December (Boxing Day BH – transferred from Mon 26 December), Wednesday 28 December (CD), Thursday 29 December (CD), Friday 30 December (CD)


Monday 2 January (New Year’s Day BH – transferred from Sun 1 January), Friday 7 April (Good Friday BH), Monday 10 April (Easter Monday BH), Tuesday 11 April (CD), Wednesday 12 April (CD), Monday 1 May (May BH), Monday 29 May (Spring BH), Monday 28 August (Summer BH), Thursday 21 December (CD), Friday 22 December (CD), Monday 25 December (Christmas Day BH), Tuesday 26 December (Boxing Day BH), Wednesday 27 December (CD), Thursday 28 December (CD), Friday 29 December (CD)

*Please note the UK government has not yet published the official England Bank Holiday dates for 2023. As a result, the Bank holiday dates given are estimates and may be subject to change.


Check the student website for Academic Term Dates - UoB.

Assessment Methods

All courses are assessed using a mixture of coursework, portfolio assessments and tests. 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


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