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Pre-sessional English language courses

In addition to our year-round study skills programme, we offer a range of pre-sessional English and academic skills courses. If you need to improve your English skills before you start your degree in order to meet our English language requirements, consider the options below.

Improving your study skills

Online study skills materials and interactive tutorials are free to use and you can work through them at your own pace before and during your course to help you succeed. 

English language courses before you enrol

  • Settle into degree study, familiarise yourself with the British approach to learning and improve your English before your course begins. 
  • If you have not met the English language condition of your offer to study with us, or you feel that your English language skills need improvement, we offer pre-sessional English language courses in partnership with the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS): 
  • Important: In order to successfully complete the online pre-sessional course, you will need to fulfil a minimum attendance and engagement requirement of 90%, submit all required coursework to given deadlines, as well as achieve the grade specific to your study level in assessment. 
  • This is an intensive training course online, so you are required to:
    • have the time to study for the required 25-30 hours each week of the course; inclusive of guided tuition (18 hours/week) and self-study/assignment work 
    • have access to the technology to allow you to follow the course delivered online; including a laptop or PC, audio/mic, a webcam, headphones and internet connectivity with a minimum bandwidth of 600kbps (up/down), with a recommended speed of 1.5 Mbps (up/down)
    • Please check the SOAS website for full details.
  • Birkbeck accepts the following tests: IELTS Academic, TOEFL iBT, Pearson’s Test of English, Cambridge Certificates of Advanced English and Proficiency in English and Trinity test of English.  We also accept the following online tests: TOEFL Special Home Edition and IELTS Indicator.
  • Four-week course
    • Course A dates: Monday 27 July to Friday 21 August 2020
    • Course B dates: Monday 24 August to Friday 18 September 2020
    • Fee: £2300 
    • Description: The pre-sessional English for Academic Purposes is an intensive course that introduces students whose first language is not English to the conventions of academic study at a UK university. The focus is on academic reading, writing, speaking and listening. This skills-based course is restricted to students who have already been offered a place at university. Students eligible for the 4-week pre-sessional are ones who achieve an overall IELTS of 6.5 with a minimum of 6.0 in writing, 6.0 in speaking and 5.5 in reading and listening. Students will progress onto their main course of study at Birkbeck upon successful completion. (Please note: you must take UKVI IELTS Academic.
    • How to enrol: You will be given more information and invited to enrol in your offer letter from Birkbeck.
    • Latest date for enrolment: 30 June 2020
  • Eight-week course
    • Course dates: Monday 27 July to Friday 18 September  
    • Fee: £3900 
    • Description: This course combines all the language teaching of the pre-sessional English for Academic Purposes course but in greater depth. Students who are eligible for the 8-week pre-sessional must have an overall IELTS 6.0 with a minimum of 5.5 in writing, reading, speaking and listening. Students will progress onto their main course of study at Birkbeck upon successful completion. (Please note: you must take UKVI IELTS Academic.
    • How to enrol: You will be given more information and invited to enrol in your offer letter from Birkbeck. 
    • Latest date for enrolment: 30 June 2020 
  • Undergraduates will pass if they attain 40% or more and postgraduates will pass if they attain 50% or more. 

ONCampus London

  • Birkbeck welcomes applications from students who have successfully completed the Undergraduate Foundation programme and the Master’s Foundation programme, and some of our courses guarantee a place to successful students.
    • ONCampus Undergraduate Foundation programme / Master's Foundation programme: If your level of English language on your academic qualification is too low for direct admission to your chosen programme at Birkbeck, you may benefit from joining the undergraduate Foundation programme or the Master’s Foundation programme offered at the ONCampus London centre. Based on the Birkbeck campus, you will have complete access to Birkbeck facilities - libraries, online resources and laboratories.
    • The Foundation Campus International Diploma is a one-year (three terms) programme that offers successful students guaranteed progression to Year 2 of a range of business-related undergraduate degrees at Birkbeck.