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All English Language Courses have been accredited and are regularly inspected by the British Council.

British Council 2011

Pre-sessional English Courses: Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

General Questions about the Pre-sessional Courses

What English language skills will I learn on a Pre-sessional course?

All four skills of speaking, listening, reading and writing are taught in relation to their use in an academic environment. Therefore, speaking skills classes focus on seminar skills and fluency and also on formal oral presentations; the listening skills classes concentrate on listening to academic lectures and effective note-taking skills; the reading skills classes equip you with the necessary strategies for fast and effective reading of a variety of academic texts; and the writing skills classes will help you to express your ideas clearly and accurately in academic writing.

See the Pre-sessional Studying pages for more information.

The Extended Pre-sessional Course attracts students who need to make considerable improvements to their English language level in order to progress to graduate study in the UK; they may also need more time to familiarise themselves with the British Higher Education system as well as receiving support and guidance with their applications to UK graduate programmes.

What are the dates and fees for the Pre-sessional Courses?

The dates and fees for 2014 Pre-sessional courses are:

Course Name
Course Date 2014
Course Fees
Extended English Course
Start: 28 April 2014
£7,750
11 Week Course
Start: 23 June 2014
£5,000
 8 Week Course
Start: 14 July 2014
£4,200
 5 Week Course
Start: 4 August 2014
£2,850

How many hours per week will I spend in the language classroom?

You will receive 20 hours of English language tuition every week, with classes running from 10-1 each morning Monday to Friday and then commencing again for afternoon classes on Tuesdays and Thursdays. The timetable includes a 20-minute (one-to-one) tutorial (see studying for more information) with your personal tutor each week, and the academic lecture delivered by a UCL academic every Tuesday afternoon. The course is taught across the central UCL site.

Click here to see the Sample Timetable page

How big are Pre-sessional Classes?

The typical class size on the course is 12 participants, but the maximum size is set at 14.

Admission to the Pre-sessional Courses

What level of English do I need to join the courses?

You can choose from the Extended, 11-week, 8-week or a 5-week pre-sessional course, but you must meet the entry requirements for that particular intake. 


When choosing which course to apply for you should consider:

  • The minimum entry requirement for the particular pre-sessional course
  • The time needed to reach the language level required for your particular degree programme
  • Your current level of English (including subtests).

Entry will depend on an applicant’s existing level of English, academic history and final score needed.

Please view our guide to selecting the correct pre-sessional course.

Am I a suitable candidate for a Pre-sessional Course?

Your English language level must meet the entry level for that particular Pre-sessional Course, and you will have already completed your undergraduate degree.

11, 8 and 5 week Pre-sessional applicants will also be holding an offer of a place on a UCL graduate degree. 

Please note, you do not need to be holding an offer of a place on a UCL or other UK university graduate degree to apply for the Extended English Course (begins April 2014).

Please apply for the Pre-sessional Course which allows you sufficient time to achieve the language level you require for your future course of study. If you plan to study a degree programme at UCL following the Pre-sessional Course please see our guide to UCL's English Language Requirements for graduate degree entry.

How quickly will I improve my level of English on a Pre-sessional course?

We estimate that you should be able to improve your English language level by the equivalent of approximately 0.5 IELTS every 4 weeks of the course (together with a minimum of 10 hours additional self-study per week). So you have to consider two things when applying for a Pre-sessional course:

  • Do you meet the minimum entry requirement for that particular intake?
  • Do you have sufficient time to reach the language level you require? See UCL's English Language Requirements for graduate degree entry.

For example, if you have an IELTS score of 6.5 and need to achieve a final score of 7.0 for entry into your department, you could apply for the 5-week course. However, if you have an IELTS of 6.0 and need to achieve the equivalent of 7.5 by the end of the course, then you would need to apply for the 11-week course rather than for the 8-week.

Remember too that the entry levels given above are minimum levels of English. Even if you only 'need' to do a 5- or 8-week course in terms of your language level and exit requirement, you may wish to apply for the longer 11-week course in order to give yourself more time to improve your language and study skills and to familiarise yourself more with the academic conventions of the British Higher Education system.

Pre-sessional student working in class

Group work in the classroom

Student studying in the Self-Access Centre

Studying in the Self-Access Centre

UCL student accommodation for UCL EAP students

Is UCL accommodation available for Pre-Sessional students?

UCL Accommodation can be selected by Pre-sessional students who formally accept an offer of a place on the course.

See Accommodation for more information.

The Pre-sessional qualification and progress to postgraduate or undergraduate degrees after the course

Does the Pre-sessional qualification replace the need for an IELTS score?

UCL will accept the Pre-sessional Course qualification you achieve for entry to Graduate and Postgraduate programmes. An additional English qualification such as IELTS will NOT be required for students achieving the required score for UCL.

Your final score on the course can been seen as equivalent to IELTS or TOEFL. See UCL's English Language Requirements for graduate degree entry.

Are these final scores recognised by other UK universities?

A number of other leading institutions in the UK have accepted students on graduate degree programmes on the basis of their final score on the Pre-sessional Course. A comprehensive end-of-course report is provided with the breakdown of your final results, and so this information gives your prospective university a detailed picture of your English language profile.

For students applying to courses at universities which do not accept results from the UCL Pre-sessional Course as qualification for their English language requirements, we advise taking an IELTS test in central London.

Pre-sessional Social Events

A very popular and exciting part of being a Pre-sessional student at UCL is our Social and Cultural Programme.

Spending the summer in London will mean you get to experience the good weather (sometimes) and see London at its best.

Pre-sessional students are offered on regular accompanied visits to places of historical and cultural interest in London and may also visit other well-known centres such as Bath, Oxford and Cambridge. Evening trips to the theatre and musicals in London are also offered. Sporting events such as football are also organised for Pre-sessional students to take part in.

Page last modified on 12 feb 13 10:29 by Martin L White