Pre-sessional English Language

Equip yourself with the skills you need for undergraduate or postgraduate study at Bath Spa University.

Studying at a UK university can be immensely challenging, especially if your first language is not English. Taught online, our Pre-sessional English Language course can help you gain the skills you need to progress on to Bath Spa University’s degree programmes. 

The Pre-sessional English Language course will help you understand the teaching styles and expectations of UK university study. 

You'll improve your:

  • Language
  • Academic skills
  • Research skills
  • Critical thinking
  • Analytical abilities.

You'll gain confidence and learn to actively engage in the learning environment.

** Due to the ongoing global pandemic, pre-sessional English courses will not be delivered at our Bath campus in the summer of 2021. However, if you are applying through our regional office in China, an online English preparatory course is available.  Please visit or call +86 (021) 52855155 for further information.

“The Pre-sessional English Language course was really helpful – it prepared me for writing essays and reports on my MA degree course.”

Mao Takata, postgraduate international student

What you'll learn

On successful completion of the course you'll have gained:

  • English language skills appropriate for progression on to your academic degree course
  • Knowledge and understanding of the teaching and learning styles and expectations of UK university study
  • Increased knowledge of your academic subject
  • Academic and study skills, research skills, critical thinking and analytical skills
  • Increased confidence and the ability to communicate effectively in a variety of contexts.  

On successful completion of the course, you'll be able to progress on to your undergraduate or postgraduate degree at Bath Spa University.

How you'll be assessed

You'll be assessed through an end of course essay and presentation.

How you'll be taught

We adopt a communicative, interactive approach to teaching and learning, encouraging you to become active learners and move towards autonomy.

There is an emphasis on independent research and you are encouraged to develop your own academic-subject related interests. Classroom activities require you to work collaboratively in teams, small groups and pairs as well as individually. You will also have opportunities to conduct research beyond the classroom in the local community.

This teaching and learning approach may be very different from your past experience. However, most students find this approach exciting and rewarding, and generally rise to face the new challenges with enthusiasm.

Entry requirements

We’re looking for students whose first language is not English or who have not studied at a UK university environment before. Equally, we also accept candidates who want to improve their current level of English Language.

In addition to meeting the academic requirements of your chosen degree of study at Bath Spa University, you are also need to meet the required level of English Language. This will normally be specified on your Letter of Admission when you apply for a Bachelor's or Master's degree at Bath Spa. You can find more information on our English Language Requirements page.

If you require IELTS 5.5 or equivalent in your undergraduate degree:

  • 10-week online programme: IELTS 4.5 or equivalent including a minimum of 4.5 in each component (speaking, listening, writing and reading) of the test.

If you require IELTS 6.0 or equivalent in your postgraduate degree:

  • 10-week online programme: IELTS 5.0 or equivalent including a minimum of 5.0 in each component (speaking, listening, writing and reading) of the test.

Please see below for how to pay.

Dates and fees


6/5 week programme: fees £1,550 - cancelled

  • For September 2020 intake: 3 August - 11 September 2020 

12/11 week programme: fees £3,100 - cancelled

  • For September 2020 intake: 22 June - 11 September 2020

16/15 week programme: fees £4,100 - cancelled

  • Due to the Coronavirus outbreak around the world, this course is not running in 2020.

Fees include:

  • All tuition
  • Course materials
  • Individual support via tutorials

Fees don't include:

  • Accommodation.

How to apply

Once you've applied for your main course, our Admissions team will contact you about a place on an English Pre-sessional Language course should this be required.

For any enquiries about the Pre-sessional English course, please contact the International Relations Office who will be happy to assist you:

International payment methods

When to pay

If you receive an offer of a place on a full-time programme, you will need to pay a tuition fee deposit to confirm your place. The deposit for 2021/22 will be a minimum of £3,000 rising to 100% of the tuition fee. The deadline for the tuition fee deposit is 31 July for those students commencing courses in September and by 30 November for those starting courses in February.

In all cases, the deposit will need to be paid prior to the issuance of a Certificate of Acceptance for Studies (CAS), which is the first step in the process to obtain a student visa for the UK.

Payment of any pre-sessional fee (where applicable) must be paid in full before commencement of the course.

International students joining the University are required to pay the remaining balance (full tuition fee for the first year of the course minus the deposit paid) on or before arrival and commencement of the course.

We recommend that the balance of fees is paid before leaving your home country as your bank may need to verify your bank password, or may need to text message a confirmation code and this will not be received if you are in the UK and have changed your mobile SIM to a UK network.

The balance of tuition fees must be paid in full by 18 September for those students commencing courses in September and 31 January for those courses starting in February.


Bath Spa University has partnered with Flywire to provide you with an easy and secure method of sending international fee payments.  

Please go to Bath Spa's Flywire gateway to begin the payment process. For information on how to make your payment visit Flywire's guidance page

Flywire allows you to:

  • Pay in your home currency
  • Avoid unnecessary bank fees and receive favorable foreign exchange rates
  • Track your payment online at any time and receive email and text alerts each step of the way
  • Enjoy multilingual customer support via phone, chat and email.

Flywire has direct communication with Bath Spa University for fast and easy resolution should any issues arise.

Debit or credit card

One off debit or credit card payment can also be made online.

  • There is no commission charge for payments by debit or credit card.
  • We accept all major debit and credit cards except American Express or Diners Club card.
  • None of the online payment methods can be deemed 100% secure due to the security weaknesses inherent in the global IT networks. You should be advised that if you use these methods, you do so at your own risk, so please take care to protect your financial information.

"The Pre-sessional English Language course taught me how to build a framework for an essay. and what the academic writing style is all about."

Jing Cai, postgraduate international student

Frequently asked questions

How useful will the pre-sessional course be to me?

Student feedback shows that the pre-sessional course is very useful. It not only develops language and academic skills, but also helps students to get to know the new culture and become more confident and happier in the new learning environment.

Can I do the pre-sessional course even if I have an unconditional offer?

Yes. Some of our students already have the required English language and academic background for direct entry to their degree course, but they find the pre-sessional course is an excellent way to develop their skills and confidence.

If you have an unconditional offer, you don't need to pass any assessments to progress onto your degree. You simply need to attend the course and participate in class. You'll receive a certificate of course completion at the end of the pre-sessional.

What kind of support will I receive?

As well as excellent teaching, we pride ourselves on providing a highly supportive, happy and nurturing environment for our students. Tutors are always there to give additional support where required. All students will have individual tutorials with their tutors, who are there to guide them towards success.

How many hours a week will I study?

The pre-sessional course is intensive. You'll normally have 20 contact hours a week. You'll have assignments to do, so there will also be a lot of self-study time outside the classroom. We have an excellent attendance rate, over 95%.

Can I arrive late for my course?

The pre-sessional course is short and intensive. You need to arrive in time for the first day of induction. If you experience a delay with your visa or any other problem that means you are likely to miss the start of the course, please contact Bath Spa University as soon as possible to discuss your situation.

How many students will be in my pre-sessional class?

We aim to keep student numbers to a maximum of 16 per class. We know all of our students personally.

Do I have to take an IELTS test at the end of the course?

No. If you successfully complete the pre-sessional course, you do not need to take an IELTS or any other English Language test.

Do I have to pass the pre-sessional?

Yes. There are four assessments that you need to pass (testing your reading, writing, speaking and listening). 

What happens if I fail an assessment?

If you fail an assessment, you'll have the opportunity to resit that assessment at the end of the pre-sessional course.

What happens if I fail the pre-sessional course?

You need to pass the pre-sessional to progress on to your degree course. However, the pass rate on the pre-sessional course is very high. Approximately 98% of our pre-sessional students pass. 

Will I get more English language and academic skills support after I pass?

Yes. We offer in-sessional courses, individual tutorials and drop in sessions. All our support is free. For more information please visit the English Language Unit (ELU) webpages.

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