Department of language and linguistics

English Classes for Dependants

A page from an English dictionary with the word English highlighted in green highlighter pen.

English classes for dependants of international students and staff (ECDIS)

The Department of Language and Linguistics offers dependants and close family members of students and staff at the University of Essex, the chance to improve their English language through our ECDIS programme.

The classes will enable you to meet people from other countries and cultures and will help you develop your language skills. These classes are free.

The 2022-23 ECDIS classes will “dual-delivery” (in-person at the Colchester campus and online).

The classes are taught at three basic levels: Elementary (A1/A2), Intermediate (B1/B2) and Advanced (C1/C2) and will focus on listening, speaking, reading and writing.

Throughout the spring term, you will also have the opportunity to practice your English pronunciation and conversation skills during our weekly sessions.

Class Levels

Elementary (A1/A2)

  • Can understand sentences and frequently used expressions related to areas of most immediate relevance (e.g. basic personal and family information, shopping, local geography, employment).
  • Can communicate in simple and routine tasks requiring a simple and direct exchange of information on familiar and routine matters.
  • Can understand and use familiar everyday expressions.

Intermediate (B1/B2)

  • Can understand the main points of clear standard input on familiar matters regularly encountered.
  • Can deal with most situations likely to arise whilst travelling in an area where the language is spoken.
  • Can produce connected text on topics, which are familiar or of personal interest.
  • Can describe experiences and events, hopes and ambitions and briefly give reasons and explanations for opinions and plans.

Advanced (C1/C2)

  • Can understand with relative ease and can express themselves fluently and spontaneously without much obvious searching for expressions.
  • Can use language flexibly and effectively for social, academic and professional purposes.
  • Can produce clear, well-structured, detailed text on complex subjects.

To enable us to assess your English language proficiency level, placement tests will be conducted upon arrival.

Right to study in the UK

To register and attend these classes we will need to check your UK immigration status allows you to study this course with us. We will check your passport and valid visa at registration.

Please be aware that if you enter the UK as a visitor your conditions should allow you to study for up to 30 days during your visit. Please read the Home Office guidance for more information about the study restrictions for visitors and seek advice from our International Services Team if you need to.

Who is a dependant?

Your partner, meeting the criteria below, would be classed as a dependant:

  • Your husband or wife

  • Your civil partner. This means you are a couple who have registered your partnership to gain formal legal recognition of your relationship. For information about partnerships in countries outside the UK that are treated as civil partnerships, see the UKLGIG website.

  • Your unmarried partner or same-sex partner. You need to have been living together in a relationship similar to marriage or civil partnership for a period of at least two years. You need to be able to provide evidence of this.

Other close family members, for example a brother or sister, are also welcome to join the programme provided that their UK Visa status permits this.

In all cases, you must both be at least 18 years old when you arrive in the UK.

You must intend to live together throughout your partner/close relative's stay in the UK.

Your partner/close relative must not intend to stay in the UK longer than the period you are given.

Further information can be obtained via

How to apply

Download the application form: ECDIS Application Form (.pdf)

Complete and send the form to together with documents needed as evidence that you are permitted to study in the UK (scanned copies of passport, UK visa, leave to remain).

Please note: “dependant” on the application form includes other “close family members”. 

For more information, email ECDIS at the Department of Language and Linguistics (

Contact us
English classes for dependants of international students and staff (ECDIS) University of Essex
Wivenhoe Park, Colchester, CO4 3SQ