Pre-Sessional English

6 weeks or 12 weeks Full-time classroom

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This full-time programme is ideal if your academic qualifications meet the requirements for your chosen undergraduate or postgraduate course, but your English language level falls below the entry requirements of the academic course you wish to join.

Key facts

  • Develop your English language skills to meet university requirements
  • Improve your academic study skills, in addition to your reading, writing, listening and speaking skills
  • Introduce yourself to life in the UK and to British culture
  • Develop your understanding of university systems, services and facilities
About this course

What will I learn?

The programme teaches you the language and other academic skills necessary for you to gain the maximum benefit from your future academic course. You will develop these skills in a content-based approach to learning involving critical thinking, questioning, discussion, reflection and analysis. You will also develop the ideas and concepts necessary to participate in the global academic community.

By the end of the course you will feel confident to research your subject, deal with a range of academic texts, attend lectures, take part in seminars and tutorials, and produce extended written academic assignments.

How long will I need to study?

We offer two courses depending on your current language level and your proposed course of study (undergraduate or postgraduate). You will study for 6 weeks or 12 weeks.

You can check teaching dates on our dates and fees page.

How will I study?

Teaching and learning takes place in seminars, lectures, tutorials and workshops. In addition, students engage in independent study involving directed and self-directed learning.

You will study in groups averaging no more than 16 in number (maximum 18). Each class will have 16 or 18 50-minute sessions each week, depending on intake, Monday to Friday including individual and group guidance tutorials and one-to-one academic tutorials. You will also be expected to do at least an equal amount of out-of-class study.

Each week classes focus on a topic of global importance and include a lecture and a seminar based on assigned readings as well as other skills classes in speaking, listening, reading, writing and grammar based on the topic and the reading texts.

How will I be taught and assessed?

A particular emphasis is placed on reading and writing academic English and you will be supported in producing extended writing as part of your assessment. Pre-Masters students also work in teams to engage in research projects using a range of methodologies and present their findings both orally and in the form of a written research report.

Teaching on this programme is delivered through seminars, lectures, tutorials and workshops, totaling between 16-18 50-minute lessons per week, depending on intake. You will also be expected to engage in independent study involving directed and self-directed learning, between 32-36 hours per week.

View a sample timetable here

Assessments take place through a mix of coursework and a final exam.

Technology Enhanced Learning (TEL) is embedded throughout the course with tools such as the ‘Blackboard’ eLearning Portal and electronic reading lists that will guide your preparation for seminars and independent research.

You will be assigned your own Guidance Tutor who will provide academic and pastoral support and be your first point of contact if you have questions or problems. On this programme, you will be taught by well-qualified and experienced lecturers who will guide you on how to develop your language and academic study skills that are required for success at a UK university.

You can view more information about the mix of students who study at the Campus with our infographic here.

How will I progress?

Progression on to your chosen academic course depends on a mix of continuous assessment and end-of-semester examinations (not IELTS).

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Applicants should have the following:

Academic requirements

  • Relevant target degree admissions requirements

Age requirements

  • Normal minimum age 17 if birthday falls in first year of study

English language requirements

  • 6 weeks:
    Your IELTS scores are no more than 0.5 below your academic programme’s English language entry requirements overall and / or in one or more skills: reading, writing, listening and / or speaking.
    E.g. if your target course has an entry requirement of IELTS 6.5, you may study the 6 week programme if you currently hold IELTS 6.0.
  • 12 weeks:
    Your IELTS scores are no more than 1.0 below your academic programme’s English language entry requirements overall and / or in one or more skills: reading, writing, listening and / or speaking.
    E.g. if your target course has an entry requirement of IELTS 6.5, you may study the 12 week programme if you currently hold IELTS 5.5.
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The Pre-Sessional English programme consists of four module, all of which are core:

The module is organised through the study of Global issues through lectures and seminars. It aims to develop listening and note-taking skills as well as discussion and debating skills. You will take notes on the lectures and at the end of the programme, complete an examination paper using your notes. The assessment includes a number of tasks such as writing up neatly extended sections of your notes, answering comprehension questions and completing a table with information from the lecture.

The module aims to develop skimming, scanning, reading for detail and text analysis skills, as well as summarising skills. The class takes place in one or two week blocks organised around a selection of academic texts of different types related to a particular global issue.Students will have a two-hour test containing a number of tasks that will examine their ability to summarise and highlight the content of one of the texts they have studied during the module.

This module aims to develop the core writing skills: referencing, citations, combining sources, style, etc. Students will have a two-hour test that will examine their knowledge of global issues and ability to organise a paper on the topic. They will also be given a question to address for an extended paper and make a plan for writing an essay, and then write a portion of this essay.

This module aims to develop research skills by carrying out research into British life. You will then present these research findings to your class in groups half-way through the course, and will be followed by a written individual report at the end.  In this module you will familiarise yourself with questionnaire design and results analysis.

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Tuition fee 2018/19

  • 6 weeks: £1,600
  • 12 weeks: £3,250

Please note that your tuition fees do not include the cost of course books that you may choose to purchase, stationery, printing and photocopying, accommodation, living expenses, travel or any other extracurricular activities. As a Northumbria University London Campus student, you will have full access to our online digital library with over 400,000 e-books and 50,000 electronic journals.

The learning materials will be supplied via loan; however, you are expected to buy a paper-based dictionary as you are allowed to use this during your exam.

Living costs in London

In addition to your tuition fees, you will need to consider how you are going to meet your living costs whilst living in London. You will need to budget for things such as rent, food, travel, clothing and socialising. The UKVI recommend allowing a minimum of £1,265 to cover living costs in London.

To help you understand what kind of costs you can expect, below give you an approximate monthly cost, the actual cost depends on lifestyle and will vary for each individual.

  • Rent: £450 – £550
  • Food: £120
  • Social life: £140
  • Travel: £50
  • Phone: £50
  • Books and equipment: £25

For further information regarding living costs and living in London, we recommend visiting for further information.

To help you calculate your potential living costs, the International Student Calculator is a useful tool to help you budget.

You can also find out more information about accommodation here.

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How to find out more

Enquire now to find out more information about the course, studying with us, the application process, and to ask any other questions you may have.

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How to apply

Once you’re ready to apply, you should submit an enquiry and one of our team will be in touch to discuss your options and what you need to do.

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We strongly recommend that you submit your enquiry as early as possible to allow you to complete all of the preparations needed to study your course. After receiving an offer it can take time to arrange your finances and apply for your visa (if required) and it is important that you arrive in good time to enrol onto your course. Please refer to the Dates and Fees page.

If you would like to apply immediately, you can download a PDF application form and email it to

International students application form UK/EU students application form

Supporting documents

For us to assess your application in a timely manner, it is important that you provide us with the following documents:

  • Fully completed application form
  • Personal email address must be included on the application form
  • Transcripts and/or certificates (including a certified translation if not in English)
  • Passport – copy of personal details page
  • Proof of financial sponsorship if applicable
  • Reference
  • Confirmation of immigration history including copies of previous and current visas if applicable

You can check more information on how to apply here, including guidelines for the application forms.

Course information

Level of study:
£1,600 - 6 weeks, £3,250 - 12 weeks (International)
Entry requirements:
Relevant target degree admissions requirements and minimum age 17 if birthday falls in first year of study
English language requirements:
0.5 to 1.0 below your target degree’s English language requirements overall, and/or in one or more bands.
Mode of study:
Full-time classroom
6 weeks or 12 weeks
Assessment methods:
Coursework and exams
Scholarship or bursaries:
Not available
Student finance:
Not available
Payment plan:
Not available
January, March, June, July, September, November
Next application deadline:

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