2020 applicants
International students

Pre-sessional courses

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English Language programmes

The pre-sessional English Language courses taught by University of Essex International College (a Kaplan International Pathways college) are ideal if you need to improve your English before starting a course at Essex.

Pre-Sessional English notice

We are aware that the current global circumstances are causing a lot of uncertainty and we want to reassure you that our Pre-sessional English courses are still going to go ahead.

Due to travel restrictions in place and with safety being our priority, we will be delivering all Pre-sessional programmes online. 

We hope that by August, travel restrictions will be lifted and applicants will be able to join us on campus for the 5 week Pre-sessional English Language programme .   Applicants taking our longer pre-sessional courses will also be able to join us on campus for the remaining 5 weeks of their programme. 

To better support you in your Pre-Sessional course, we will now be providing accommodation, free of charge, for the five weeks of face-to-face teaching on Campus. The five weeks charge will be discounted from your accommodation charges automatically. 

Also, if restrictions are in place at that time requiring you to self-isolate on arrival in the UK, we will provide two weeks of free accommodation to you prior to the start of your Pre-Sessional studies. Further information on any self-isolation arrangements that might be in place will be sent out closer to your course start date to reflect the latest guidance from the UK government. These changes are to help safeguard you and our wider community. We also hope that it will allow you to begin your time at the University of Essex more easily and mean you can progress well in your studies.

If it is not possible for you to join us on campus, or if you would rather not travel, the complete Pre-sessional course can be delivered online.

We still have spaces available on all our Pre-sessional English courses (see below for course information), so please do get in touch if you would like to join us, even if the published deadline for the Pre-sessional course you would like to apply for has already passed.

We know that you are likely to have questions and may need more information before deciding on whether to join us online. We have therefore listed some frequently asked questions (FAQs) below which we hope will be helpful. 

Pre-sessional FAQs

How do I apply for the online version of the course?

If you already have a Pre-sessional course offer you do not need to re-apply for the online version of the course. If you have not yet made an application please do so in the usual way; via the Applying tab of your myEssex portal.

How do I accept my Pre-sessional course offer?

If you have not already done so, you can accept your offer by paying the £250 tuition fee deposit or, if you are receiving financial sponsorship, by providing proof of your sponsorship.

Are the online courses the same as the on campus versions?

Yes, the courses are the same length; 20, 15 and 10 week Pre-sessional English Language with Study Skills, and 10 week and 5 week Pre-sessional English Language. The courses provide the same learning outcomes and the only difference is the method of delivery being online instead of on campus.

What is the cost?

The cost will not change as the learning outcomes of the course remain the same. Class sizes are smaller than they would be on campus to allow online learners additional support.

What do I need to take the course online?

You will need somewhere quiet that you can work, a laptop or desktop computer and a webcam with audio capabilities. The University of Essex International College will provide you with the relevant learning materials and will be in contact to provide you with further information regarding your timetable and study plan.

Can I choose to take the whole course online even if I am able to travel?

Yes. We very much hope that applicants will be able to join us on campus for the last 5 weeks of the course, if it is possible to do so. However, we appreciate that everyone has unique circumstances and so the whole course can be taken online if necessary.

Will I have to take a separate test at the end of the pre-sessional course?

No, you will not be required to re-take an English language test (such as IELTS, TOEFL, Pearsons) at the end of the Pre-sessional course. At the end of the course you will undergo Kaplan’s own English language test and your new English level will be assessed. If you have met the English level required the English language condition will be removed from your main course offer.

What will I do about accommodation?

If, as we hope, applicants will be able to join us on campus for the last 5 weeks of the course, we will let you know how and when you can apply for accommodation.  If you have already made an accommodation application for your Pre-sessional course, this will be cancelled.

If I don’t want to take the course online can I get a refund?

We have worked hard to ensure that the quality of teaching and content is not compromised by the pre-sessional courses being delivered online. However, if you decide that online learning is not for you, you will be entitled to request a refund. There will be a 7 day “cooling off period” so if you start the pre-sessional course and decide within 7 days that it is not meeting your needs you can request a refund.

I am a Tier 4 student and have already received a CAS for my Pre-sessional course, what should I do?

We will be in contact with you individually to discuss your circumstances. If you have not already done so, we ask that you do not submit your visa application or make travel arrangements. 

What if my main course can’t start in October as planned?

Our COVID-19 (Coronavirus) webpage contains important information for applicants about applying to and starting your course at the University of Essex. This webpage is updated regularly and has the most up-to-date guidance for applicants due to start in October. 

If you have a question, which we have not covered above, please contact pse@essex.ac.uk and we will get back to you as soon as possible. You may find it useful to visit out COVID-19 University guidance if you have any further queries about starting at Essex. 

IELTS Notice

We are aware that due to the temporary closure of IELTS test centres, you may be concerned about meeting the English language conditions of our offer.

We are now able to accept non-UKVI IELTS, Pearson and TOEFL  for applicants looking to join our pre-sessional courses. We can consider other English language qualifications too; please contact pse@essex.ac.uk if you have other English language qualifications.

If you hold an IELTS qualification (UKVI or non UKVI) please apply online via the “Applying” tab of your myEssex portal. If you hold an alternative qualification please e-mail pse@essex.ac.uk 

If you have any questions, please contact pse@essex.ac.uk.

Pre-sessional English Language with Study Skills (PELSS)

Our programmes provide you with integrated training in Academic English Language and Study Skills to prepare you for University undergraduate and postgraduate degree level study. The programmes run for 10, 15 and 20 weeks, providing improvements to your IELTS score equivalent to 0.5, 1.0 and 1.5 respectively. PELSS will help you to develop the following skills:

  • Reading: critical reading and note taking skills
  • Writing: academic essay writing and citation skills
  • Listening: understanding lectures and seminars and note-taking skills
  • Speaking: seminar discussions, debate and presentation skills

You will be given opportunities to focus on English language and study skills development in areas related to your chosen degree area at the University of Essex.

Length  Enrol
Start date  End date  Fee  Application dead-line  Deposit dead-line
20 weeks 23 April 2020 27 April 2020 11 Sept 2020 £7,380 9 April 2020 15 April 2020 
15 weeks 28 May 2020 1 June 2020 11 Sept 2020 £5,535 8 May 2020 13 May 2020 
10 weeks 2 July 2020 6 July 2020 11 Sept 2020 £3,690 12 June 2020 17 June 2020 

If you would like to be considered for one of our Pre-sessional English courses but the application deadline has passed, please email pse@essex.ac.uk because we may still be able to consider your application

Pre-sessional English Language (PEL)

Offered at both Colchester and Southend, our programmes focus on enhancing your English language skills to prepare you for University undergraduate and postgraduate degree level study. You will be taught further grammar and vocabulary development as well as additional reading, writing, listening and speaking skills. The programmes run for 5 and 10 weeks and provide an improvement in your IELTS score of equivalent to 0.5 and 1.0 band respectively.

Length  Enrol
Start date  End date  Fee  Application dead-line  Deposit dead-line 
10 weeks 2 July 2020 6 July 2020  11 Sept 2020  £3,980  12 June 
17 June 2020 
5 weeks  6 August 2020  10 August 2020  11 Sept 2020  £1,995  29 June 2020 2 July 2020 

If you would like to be considered for one of our Pre-sessional English courses but the application deadline has passed, please email pse@essex.ac.uk because we may still be able to consider your application

Academic Skills Preparation Programme

If you have an unconditional offer to study at the University of Essex, you can take our Academic Skills Preparation programme. This course introduces you to the academic study and research skills commonly used at UK universities and will help you become familiar with the University campus, student life in the UK and adjust more easily to our academic culture. This programme is an excellent preparation to your degree studies and will help you to achieve your academic goals.

Length Enrol
Start date  End date  Tuition fee  Application dead-line  Deposit dead-line 
4 weeks 20 August 2020 24 August 2020 17 Sept 2020 £720  20 July 2020 23 July 2020 

How to apply

If you are interested in studying a pre-sessional English course before your main programme of study, you can check your eligibility and apply via your myEssex applicant portal. For Tier applicants A UKVI IELTS, dated within 2 years of the pre-sessional course start date, will be required with your application (unless applying for the 4 week ASPP). 

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Pre-sessional finder

You can study a pre-sessional course before the start of your main course at Essex. The right pre-sessional course for you depends on your current IELTS score and the subject you'll be studying afterwards. Our pre-sessional finder tool will show you the options available to you.

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