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The University of Southampton
Working as a Researcher


English for academic purposes

For new staff

If you need help with English grammar, there are sometimes academic writing workshops available.  Details and dates are held in Staffbook.

You may also want to refresh your knowledge of general protocols in academic writing such as structure, referencing, citation and literature review. You may be able to join the dissertation support classes running over 5 weeks in Semester 2 each year. Intended mainly for postgraduate students, these are not specific to one subject or discipline. To find out more, email 

For international students

The University's Modern Languages department offers a range of courses (including pre-sessional summer courses) and study materials for English for Academic Purposes (EAP). The department also provides a range of online toolkits through its eLanguages group. These includes the licenced EAP toolkit for non-native speakers of English, and the free Get Ready for Southampton course.

International English Language Testing System (IELTS)

IELTS is designed to assess the language ability of candidates who want to study or work where English is the language of communication. It is used by Southampton and many other universities and employers in English-speaking countries as a measure of fluency. Southampton is an IELTS training and testing centre.

English language for partners and families

If your family are coming with you to Southampton from a country where English is not widely spoken, they may now want to take the opportunity of improving their own language skills.


English language support for children of all ages (pre-school, primary and secondary) is often called English as an Additional Language.

Your child's school should be able to provide support from a bilingual assistant who often is a speaker of your home language. Most children pick up a new language very quickly. If possible, you should talk to the school before your child starts.


ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages) classes are run by local authorities, mainly in Further Education colleges. These generally start in early September each year, but you may be able to join at other times. Classes are held for example at Southampton City College.

The International Women's Club is a social group, run mainly by and for wives of postgraduate students and staff. IWC's activities include help with English conversation. 

There are several private English Language centres in and around Southampton and Winchester. Often these are more flexible in dates and times. You may want to select a centre accredited by the British Council or other professional group.

Learning another language

As a researcher, you may need to gain fluency in another language to optimise your research. Indeed, this is becoming essential in the global research environment with the increase in international collaborations, overseas campuses as well as employment opportunities.  

Modern Langauges offer tuition in Arabic, Japanese and Mandarin, plus a range of European languages through Lifelong Learning. Support for additional languages may also be available.

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