English language and academic preparation

International Foundation Courses and English Language Studies (IFCELS)

IFCELS is one of the UK’s top centres of expertise for Foundation, Pre-master’s and Academic English programmes and has been running foundation programmes since 1985. Teaching on all IFCELS programmes features the integration of academic subject and supporting English study, so that you can develop your knowledge, critical skills and language all at the same time.

As an IFCELS student you are a fully integrated member of SOAS. You also benefit from the extra services provided by IFCELS, such as two dedicated academic counsellors to advise on university applications and the department’s own Accommodation, Visa and Welfare Officer.


  1. CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC UPDATE – Deposits, Fees and Refunds: With the current uncertainties caused by the COVID-19 outbreak in 60+ countries across the world, the tuition fee deposit for ICC, FDPS and ELAS and the full fee payment for the Pre-sessional and IFCELS Summer Programmes will be refundable in full or transferable in full to the next start date of the programme under either of the following circumstances:
    (1). if we have to cancel any of the above mentioned programmes with a start date between April 2020 and September 2020 due to COVID-19
    (2). if students are unable to attend any of the above mentioned programmes because flights are suspended from their home country to the UK or the UK Government bans nationals from their home country from entering the UK
  2. Late application fees: There will be no late application fees for ICC and FDPS applicants this year until 1 August.
  3. New Scholarships for ICC Foundation Programme: We will be offering 4 ICC International Foundation Ambassador Scholarships worth £3500 for ICC students who want to get involved in SOAS and make a difference. See ICC Ambassador Scholarship for details.
  4. The Early Bird Acceptance Discount Scheme: ICC and FDPS students who accept their offer within a calendar month of the offer date and by 30 June 2020 will save £500 on their tuition fees.
  5. Important Announcement Regarding Pre-sessional Courses in 2020: Due to the current situation with the COVID-19 pandemic, IFCELS Pre-sessional courses will be taught exclusively online with updated admissions requirements. Please see IFCELS Online Pre-sessional Courses for further details. Click to download Pre-sessional Application Form.
  6. IFCELS Summer Programme Update: Due to the current suspension of all on-campus teaching and activities at SOAS, we have cancelled the IFCELS Summer Programme for 2020. Information about next year’s Summer Programme will be available in October 2020.
  7. New for 2020! Application fast track with no interview or entrance test for ICC applicants who have 6.0 IELTS overall and 6.0 in writing. Click here to find out more.

IFCELS Programmes
ICC Undergraduate Foundation
Tuesday 22 September 2020 – Friday 2 July 2021
£19,750 (2020 entry)
£19,250 (Early Bird Discount)

The Intermediate Certificate Course in Comparative International Studies (ICC) runs from mid-September to the end of June, and combines academic study with English and study skills tuition.

It is designed for students who are interested in degrees in Business, Finance and Management related studies, Economics, Law, the Social Sciences, Media and the Humanities and o¬ffers ten academic modules covering the above range of subjects.

ICC students are guaranteed an offer of a place on SOAS undergraduate degrees and receive a 5% discount on tuition fees for the full period of their undergraduate study. The programme Certificate is also recognised across the UK as a valid entry qualification.

Entry requirements

The English language requirement to join ICC is IELTS 5.5 overall with 5.0 in the writing section or iBT 76 with 12 in writing. Students who have achieved these levels (or the equivalent) can have their applications considered by Skype interview and, in most cases, emailed essay test.

ELAS (English Language and Academic Studies)
Autumn / Spring / Summer
Jan-Jun 2020: £5500 per term;
Sep 2020 – Jun 2021: £5650 per term, £16950 full year

ELAS is a flexible, modular programme that allows students to focus on academic English combined with subject study in the Social Sciences, Humanities and International Business Studies. Students also choose from a range of options – IELTS Preparation, Research Methods, English language skills practice, Media Studies and History of Art – to individualise their studies.

It is taught at four di­fferent English levels (A1-4, covering 4.5 – 7.0 IELTS) and students with the equivalent of 4.5 IELTS can take an intensive English language course (level A1) before moving on to combined language and academic study.

There are three ten-week terms each year with entry points in September, January and April and you can stay for one, two or three terms.

Students completing at least two terms on the programme may be awarded a SOAS Diploma/Certificate in Academic English with academic subject study. An Academic English mark of 70% on ELAS meets the English language requirements for entry to a degree at SOAS. Transcripts are provided for students taking this programme as a period of study abroad from their home country.

Entry requirements

The minimum English language level to join the ELAS programme is IELTS 4.5 (with 4.5 in writing),TOEFL iBT 60 (with 12 in writing), or 41 Pearson PTE Academic (PTE) (with 41 in writing).

For the Certificate/Diploma levels A2/3/4 which include the Academic Subject Modules, you need a minimum of 5.0 IELTS (with 5.0 in writing), TOEFL iBT 68 (with 14 in writing), or PTE 46 (with 46 in writing).

We can also take into consideration other English language tests such as Passport, TOEFL PBT or TOEIC. You can apply without an English score but you may be asked to take a grammar/writing test and/or an interview.

FDPS Pre-Master’s Programme
Wednesday 23 September 2020 – Friday 2 July 2021
£18,500 (2020 entry)
£18,000 (Early Bird Discount)

The Foundation Diploma for Postgraduate Studies (FDPS) runs from mid-September to the end of June, and combines academic study with English as well as research and study skills tuition.

It is designed for students who are interested in degrees in Business, Finance and Management related studies, Law, the Social Sciences, Media and the Humanities and o­ffers seven academic modules covering the above range of subjects.

A special feature of FDPS is the opportunity to develop your research skills by completing an 8000 word Independent Study Project (ISP) on a research topic of your choice with one-to-one supervision from an academic expert and support from a Research Methods course and an individual tutor.

FDPS students are guaranteed an o­ffer of a place on the majority of SOAS Master’s programmes and receive a 5% discount on tuition fees on their Master’s. The programme Diploma is also recognised across the UK as o­ffering a high quality and intensive preparation for postgraduate study.

Over the past five years 75% of FDPS graduates have fulfilled o­ffers from top 30 universities and 60% went on to a postgraduate programme at a college of the University of London.

Entry requirements

The English language entry requirement to join FDPS is 5.5 in each skill subscore of the IELTS test.

IFCELS Summer programme

IFCELS o­ffers a range of summer courses for international students wishing to improve their English skills and also courses providing an introduction to academic subjects. These o­ffer a great introduction to studying at an English speaking university and a “taster” for students thinking of studying a longer programme at SOAS. Enjoy London in summer by studying for 3, 6 or 9 weeks between July and September and stay in the SOAS student halls at a special IFCELS rate.

All courses consist of 18 teaching hours per week and are taught in the daytime between 9am to 5pm.

Subject and English teaching are combined so that the academic content is accessible to students with an intermediate or upper intermediate level of English.

or fill in Application Form (Word) and send as an attachment to ifcels@soas.ac.uk.

Pre-sessional courses for SOAS offer holders

SOAS Pre-sessional English courses run for 4, 8 and 12 weeks from the end of June until Welcome Week in late September and are designed for international students who have narrowly failed to meet the English language entry requirements for undergraduate, Master’s or Research degrees. The courses aim to improve your ability to use English in an academic context across all four skills.
Most students joining the courses are required to do so as a condition of their o¬ffer from SOAS and the condition will be clearly stated in the o¬ffer letter but others who wish to improve their skills are also welcome (as long as they are at the right level for the course)

Important note

Please do NOT apply for a pre-sessional course until you can say YES to all of the following:

  • You have been sent an academic offer.
  • You have sent in all the required academic qualifications to SOAS Admissions to satisfy the conditions of this offer.
  • Your English certificates have been submitted for assessment.

We cannot offer a pre-sessional place until all of these requirements are met, so please do not apply until then. Download application form.


We have a great range of accommodation choices in the University and local area, so there’s something to suit every need. These vary by location, facilities and cost.

You can choose to:

  • Live in Halls of Residence for your first year – you’ll have your own, furnished bedroom in a flat with other students, we have a range of options available where you will live with students from SOAS and other Universities across London.
    • The room types available include catered or self-catered halls. Costs range from £150.00 – £304.00 per week. These are on or close to our campuses, so you’re well connected to everything SOAS has to offer.
  • Live independently in a Privately Rented Flat or House Share
  • Stay with a Host Family who offer the opportunity to live as part of their family. The University of London can direct you to a number of Homestay agents

Students attending SOAS for undergraduate study will need to firmly accept their offer with SOAS in order to apply for our Halls accommodation.

Accommodation Office: accommodation@soas.ac.uk

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