Sussex Centre for Language Studies

Pre-sessional English

If English is not your first language, you may need to improve your skills on a Pre-sessional language course before starting your degree at Sussex. Pre-sessional courses are specialist courses to prepare international and overseas students for study in UK Higher Education.

Coronavirus (COVID-19) - changes to 2021 English course provision

In response to the global coronavirus outbreak, for the 2020-21 academic year, SCLS are running several online Pre-sessional courses - applications are closed for the summer courses, but you can still enrol on our 8-week Autumn online Pre-sessional course (4 October to 26 November 2021).

On-campus teaching is planned to begin again in January 2022.

If you are interested in a short English course, please email efl@sussex.ac.uk.

Apply for the Autumn online Pre-sessional course

Online 2021 Pre-sessional Courses 

Learn more about entry requirements for the ONLINE 2021 courses

Choosing the right course for you will depend on your incoming language level, and the level you need to achieve for your chosen degree.

For online Pre-sessional courses, SCLS will accept a wide range of English tests. UK visas will not be issued for the Pre-sessional online courses by SCLS.

If you do not meet the entry requirements, please contact us for more details.

Pre-sessional CourseFromToTuition feeApplication deadline
16-week Pre-sessional online ONLY 4 May 2021 27 August 2021 £5,930 APPLICATIONS CLOSED on 19 April 2021
8-week Summer Pre-sessional online ONLY 5 July 2021 27 August 2021 £2,965 APPLICATIONS CLOSED on 21 June 2021
8-week Autumn Pre-sessional online ONLY 
(for PhD and MBA students)
4 October 2021 26 November 2021 £2,965 27 September 2021


Who is the course for?

Our online Pre-sessional course is designed for international students who plan to study an Undergraduate, Postgraduate Taught or Postgraduate Research degree at the University of Sussex, and whose English language skills have not met the required level for entry onto their degree.

The autumn 8-week course is aimed at PhD and MBA students who will study in 2022.

On this course you will:

  • study from the comfort of your own home with live teaching sessions that suit your time zone
  • save money on accommodation costs and living expenses
  • join a community of like-minded students also progressing onto University of Sussex degree courses.

How is the course organised?

You will study online, using our teaching and learning platform called Canvas.

You will be assigned to a Pre-sessional group of students within Canvas, and your teaching sessions will take place within the same, or similar time zone, as the other students in your group. Each group is assigned a dedicated tutor, who will lead and organise sessions, and help you to settle into your studies, feel comfortable with online learning, and build a community.

During your course, you will be expected to access the Pre-sessional Canvas site regularly in order to complete all the allocated weekly sessions. It is important that you familiarise yourself with Canvas as soon as the course begins. Your group tutor will help you with this during your first week of study.

What will I study on the course?

The first half of the 16-week course will focus on improving your English language skills, as well as introducing you to English for Academic Purposes. 

The content of the course draws on three important academic areas that are essential for University study:

  • Academic Language
  • Academic Practice
  • Academic Culture

These three areas are interconnected and provide transferable skills. They are also all linked to your final assessments and your future studies at the University of Sussex.

You will be expected to:

  • follow the weekly Reading/Writing and Speaking/Listening teaching sessions and complete tasks related to them
  • complete homework tasks set by your group tutor so that you can receive feedback to monitor your progress and identify areas in which you need to improve
  • work independently to access a wide range of self-study material to complete, as discussed with your group tutor
  • engage with weekly recorded lectures covering a wide range of subject areas, delivered by lecturers from the University of Sussex
  • take part in regular live seminar discussions with colleagues in your group and your group tutor
  • attend regular live individual and/or small group tutorials with your group tutor.

How will I be assessed?

All assessments will be delivered online and will consist of both formative and summative assessments, covering the four skills of Reading, Writing, Listening and Speaking.

More detailed information will be provided in the course handbook and throughout the Pre-sessional course.

What are the Learning Outcomes of the course?

By the end of the course, a successful student will be able to:

  • deal effectively with the reading requirements of their university course. This includes the ability to engage in critical reading of secondary sources at a post-intermediate level
  • deal effectively with the listening requirements of their proposed University course. This includes the ability to understand and take notes on academic lectures and use the notes to answer questions related to the lecture, at a post-intermediate level
  • engage in spoken communication in an academic setting and answer questions on a subject related to their future degree, as well as actively engage in seminar discussions on topics of academic interest, at a post-intermediate level
  • write well-structured essays that are linguistically accurate and develop an argument on topics of general interest at post-intermediate level
  • accurately observe academic conventions of citing and referencing when paraphrasing, summarising, and quoting.

Progression onto your degree

  • On successfully passing the online Pre-sessional course, the University Admissions department will send you the CAS statement for your degree course.
  • Our International Student Support team will help with the Student Visa application from the UK.