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Pre-sessional English courses

Pre-sessional courses are a way to develop your English for academic purposes before starting a degree. Passing one means that you will not need to take an English language test to enrol on your degree programme.

They also give you the opportunity to:

  • develop your study skills
  • meet other students and staff at social and educational events
  • experience university life in the UK before you begin your degree course (if you enrol in an on-campus pre-sessional course)

Read more about what the courses cover and how they are assessed.

You can take any of the courses online or in person on our campus in Southampton. To study in person you’ll need a student visa, unless you are a UK resident.

Applying for the right course

We offer pre-sessional courses of 16, 11 or 6 weeks. A longer course will give you more opportunities for learning and feedback.

To decide which course is right for you, you'll need to:

  1. Determine your current English language proficiency level.
  2. Find the English language requirement for your degree course.
  3. Check which pre-sessional courses will help you meet your English language requirement.
  4. Check you meet the entry requirement for the pre-sessional course.

Determine your English language proficiency

We use the University of Southampton English Language Proficiency Bands in our entry requirements and pre-sessional courses. These are based on International English Testing System (IELTS) scores. IELTS gives an overall score and a score for the individual components:

  • reading
  • writing
  • speaking
  • listening

At the end of your pre-sessional English course you will achieve one of these English language bands.

English language bandEquivalent IELTS score
Band AIELTS 6.0 overall score with at least 5.5 in all components
 
Band CIELTS 6.5 overall score with at least 6.0 in all components
 
Band DIELTS 6.5 overall score with at least 6.5 in reading and writing and 6.0 in speaking and listening
Band EIELTS 6.5 overall score with at least 6.5 in all components
 
Band GIELTS 7.0 overall score with at least 6.5 in all components 

Find out more about how the tests are assessed

We also accept other equivalent qualifications. You can download this proficiency band lookup table (PDF, 172KB) to work out your current proficiency band and equivalent IELTS score.
 

Find the English language requirements for your degree course

You can find the overall IELTS score that you need for your degree course:

  • in your conditional offer letter
  • using the course finder (it's in the 'Entry requirements' section on your chosen course page, under 'International students')
  • the Faculty of Medicine does not accept Pre-sessional course for its undergraduate and postgraduate taught programmes

Here is an example of course entry requirements: Accounting and Finance (BSc).

Check which pre-sessional courses is right for you

The English language band that you can achieve at the end of this course depends on the length of the course and your IELTS score at the start.

Apply for a course that:

  • you meet the entry requirements for
  • helps you reach the English language band you need 

16-week course

Possible English language band IELTS score at the start
Band A: 6.0 overall score with at least 5.5 in all components5.0 overall score with at least 5.0 in all components
Band C: 6.5 overall score with at least 6.0 in all components
 
5.0 overall score with at least 5.0 in all components
Band D: 6.5 overall score with at least 6.5 in reading and writing and 6.0 in speaking and listening5.0 overall score with at least 5.0 in all components
Band E: 6.5 overall score with at least 6.5 in all components5.0 overall score with at least 5.0 in all components
Band G: 7.0 overall score with at least 6.5 in all components 5.5 overall score with at least 5.0 in all components

11-week course

Possible English language bandIELTS score at the start
Band A: 6.0 overall score with at least 5.5 in all components5.0 overall score with at least 5.0 in all components
Band C: 6.5 overall score with at least 6.0 in all components5.5 overall score with at least 5.0 in all components
Band D: 6.5 overall score with at least 6.5 in reading and writing and 6.0 in speaking and listening 5.5 overall score with at least 5.5 in reading and writing and 5.0 in speaking and listening
Band E: 6.5 overall score with at least 6.5 in all components5.5 overall score with at least 5.5 in all components
Band G: 7.0 overall score with at least 6.5 in all components 6.0 overall score with at least 5.5 in all components

6-week course

Possible English language bandIELTS score at the start
Band A: 6.0 overall score with at least 5.5 in all components5.5 overall score with at least 5.0 in all components
Band C: 6.5 overall score with at least 6.0 in all components6.0 overall score with at least 5.5 in all components
Band D: 6.5 overall score with at least 6.5 in reading and writing and 6.0 in speaking and listening6.0 overall score with at least 6.0 in reading and writing and 5.5 in speaking and listening
Band E: 6.5 overall score with at least 6.5 in all components6.0 overall score with at least 6.0 in all components
Band G: 7.0 overall score with at least 6.5 in all components 6.5 overall score with at least 6.0 in all components

Course dates, deadlines and fees

 Start dateEnd dateApplication deadlineDeposit payment deadlineFee
16 week course16 May 20245 September 202418 April 202425 April 2024£7,600
11 week course20 June 20245 September 202423 May 202430 May 2024£5,500
6 week course11 July 202422 August 202413 June 202420 June 2024£3,300

Apply for a pre-sessional course

You will need to fill in an application form to apply for your chosen course.  

To secure your place, you will need to pay a £500 deposit. We will email you information on how to make the deposit after we get your application. The deposit is non-refundable and will go towards paying the total fee of your chosen course.  

We are now closed to new applications for the pre-sessional courses for this academic year, for applicants looking to apply for summer 2025, applications will re-open later in the year.

 

Changing or cancelling your course  

You may be able to change your course from online to on campus, or from campus to online, if you let us know before the deposit payment deadline.  

You may be able to change from a longer course to a shorter one after you have applied if you: 

  • meet the language requirement for the shorter course
  • let us know before the deposit payment deadline for the longer course

Choosing your accommodation    

If you are studying on campus, you are guaranteed a place in university accommodation throughout your pre-sessional course. You will be able to book accommodation in one of 7 halls of residence run by the University.    

Compare halls of residence  

If you do not want to live on campus you can look for private accommodation. 

Learn more about accommodation options for pre-sessional students. We also have a meet and greet option for students arriving at Heathrow. 

Contact the University 

If you would like advice or more information before applying, or if you want to change or cancel your course, contact our Admissions Team:  

If you need help with visas or Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS), contact our Visa and Immigration Student Advice Service (VISAS).