Pre-sessional English Courses

Students whose first language is not English often take time to adjust to the requirements of academic study at a UK university, and taking part in a pre-sessional EAP course can help in this process of adjustment, developing students’ confidence in their own use of English and in their study skills so that they can embark on their degree programmes fully prepared.

  • The courses are intended for students who are starting undergraduate or postgraduate degree programmes in late September.

  • We are planning for the possibility of pre-sessional courses being delivered on campus, online or a blend of the two formats. 

  • Courses run in 2021 will run as 4 or 8 weeks during the July-September period.

  • Most students taking these courses do so as a requirement of their degree course offers.

  • Some students who are not required to take these courses do so in order to even better prepare themselves for their future studies.

  • Although the majority of students will go on to study at SOAS, students destined for other colleges of the University of London and other universities are welcome to attend too, if there are spaces available.

The pre-sessional courses cater for the needs of students going on to degrees, in which essay-writing is an important component, so bear in mind that:

  • Writing researched and extended essays are important parts of the coursework. Students will be guided in how to read extensively outside the classroom environment using e-learning materials, Internet and Library resources. Students will then be expected to apply these skills in their own writing and to take an active part in tutorial feedback and forum discussions.
  • Students will receive regular 1:1 feedback on their work from their teachers.

Course Content

The 8 week courses consist of 144 hours of guided tuition and the 4 week courses consist of 72 hours: this will be a combination of directed activities and exercises scheduled Monday to Friday, and classroom teaching and tutorials according to the week’s timetable. 


The content of course A and course B for the 4-week Pre-sessional is the same. Course A is run from an earlier date for the convenience of students who require an earlier finishing date, for example those who also have a requirement to do a  preparatory course as part of their Master’s Programme (e.g. Law, Economics and Finance).

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The Pre-sessional courses are designed to support students reaching the exit level required by their academic department. Assessment is built into the course design and will include:

  • writing a Researched Extended Essay
  • an individual Presentation related to your subject area
  • a test of Academic Listening


In light of the current situation with the global Coronavirus pandemic, and the subsequent closure of IELTS UKVI test centres, the UK government is currently allowing universities to accept non-SELT as well as SELT (Secure English Language Test) qualifications as proof of English language proficiency for students who require a visa to study in the UK.


SOAS accepts a variety of English language tests from visa and non-visa applicants, such as IELTS Academic, TOEFL IBT/TOEFL at Home, Pearson Academic Test of English or Duolingo. The scores below apply to undergraduate and postgraduate taught admissions for entry with an integrated Pre-sessional requirement.

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4-Week Pre-sessional Entry

IELTS Academic: 6.5 overall and the following minimum scores in each skill – Listening: 5.5, Reading: 5.5, Writing: 6.0, Speaking: 5.5

TOEFL IBT: 100 overall and the following minimum scores in each skill: Listening: 19, Reading: 19, Writing: 21, Speaking: 19

PTE Academic UKVI: 65 overall and the following minimum scores in each skill: Listening: 55, Reading: 55, Writing: 60, Speaking: 55

IELCA Academic: 35 overall with 25 in all subscores and 30 in writing

8-Week Pre-sessional Entry

IELTS Academic: 6.0 overall and the following minimum scores in each skill: Listening: 5.5, Reading: 5.5, Writing: 5.5, Speaking: 5.5

TOEFL IBT: 95 overall and the following minimum scores in each skill: Listening: 19, Reading: 19, Writing: 19, Speaking: 19

PTE Academic UKVI: 60 overall and the following minimum scores in each skill: Listening: 55, Reading: 55, Writing: 55, Speaking: 55

IELCA Academic: 30 overall with 25 in all subscores

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2021 Course Dates and Fees

8-week Pre-sessional Course A: Mon 28 June – Fri 20 Aug 2021

8-week Pre-sessional Course B: Mon 26 Jul – Fri 17 Sep 2021

Tuition Fee: £4000 GBP

4-week Pre-sessional Course A: Mon 26 Jul – Fri 20 Aug 2021

4-week Pre-sessional Course B: Mon 23 Aug – Fri 17 Sep 2021

Tuition Fee: £2500 GBP

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