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Pre-sessional English language course

English language support

As an international student, you may need to improve your English skills before starting your degree. Our pre-sessional English courses are specially designed to help you meet the English language requirements for your chosen St Mary’s degree and to prepare you for university study in the UK. We offer different courses depending on your IELTS score. 

Key benefits

  • Improve your academic English language skills in a supportive academic environment
  • Gain valuable study skills to help you succeed in your degree
  • Connect with other international students
  • Study on one visa for both the pre-sessional course and your St Mary’s degree (provided English language is the only condition on your main course offer).
  • Receive excellent support and advice
  • Choose a 10-week or a 6-week programme, depending on your IELTS score
  • Recognised by UKVI

2021 courses

In summer 2021, our pre-sessional courses will be taught online.

10-week course

  • Dates: Monday 21 June – Friday 3 September, with a one-week break from 19 July-25 July 2021
  • Tuition fees: £3,500

6-week course

  • Dates: Monday 26 July – Friday 3 September 2021
  • Tuition fees: £2,200

During the pre-sessional course you will be taught by specialist language tutors and you will spend approximately 22 hours per week in online or in-person classes, lectures, seminars and classroom-based e-learning. You will also have some periods of self-directed learning. 

In addition, you will be required to study for several hours each evening and at weekends. You will study general English and English for Academic Purposes (EAP). You will be regularly assessed, mainly through writing and oral presentations.

Our English courses are delivered in partnership with St Mary’s University London International College (SMULIC), our affiliate college, and are designed for both undergraduate and postgraduate students. On successful completion you will receive a certificate showing your attendance and recording your results.

If you are looking for pre-sessional courses leading to SMULIC’s undergraduate or postgraduate pathway programmes, you will need to check their website for details. You’ll automatically be considered for entry onto the pre-sessional course if necessary, so you won’t need to complete a separate application form.

IELTS results

You will need to have a valid (taken within two years) IELTS result from an approved test centre:

  • Students who need a Student Visa and plan to study the pre-sessional English course in their home country can take the standard IELTS academic test.
  • Students who need a Student Visa and plan to come to London for the pre-sessional English course must take the IELTS Academic for UKVI test for their visa requirements. 
  • Students who don’t need a Student Visa can take the standard IELTS academic test. For example, an EU student with settled status will not need a visa and can take the standard IELTS academic test.

Whatever your score, you should make every effort to improve your English before coming to London. Please do not wait until you arrive.

Which course is right for me?

Which pre-sessional course you should take depends on your current IELTS score and the IELTS requirement for your St Mary’s degree.

The 10-week course is designed for students who need to improve their IELTS score by 1.0, while the 6-week course is designed for students who need to improve their score by 0.5.

See where your scores fit on the following list by selecting the IELTS score that your course requires.

IELTS 6.0 overall with no less than 5.5 in any section

  • 10-week course: IELTS 5.0 overall with no less than 4.5 in any section
  • 6-week course: IELTS 5.5 overall with no less than 5.0 in any section

IELTS 6.5 overall with no less than 6.0 in any section

  • 10-week course: IELTS 5.5 overall with no less than 5.0 in any section
  • 6-week course: IELTS 6.0 overall with no less than 5.5 in any section

IELTS 7.0 overall with no less than 6.5 in any section

  • 10-week course: IELTS 6.0 overall with no less than 5.5 in any section
  • 6-week course: IELTS 6.5 overall with no less than 6.0 in any section

Further information

If you have any questions please contact international@stmarys.ac.uk.

The pre-sessional English course is taught online. This means that you can complete the pre-sessional in your home country before applying for the Student Visa for your degree course (if you need one). If you plan to complete the pre-sessional course in your home country, you can take a standard IELTS academic test to meet the entry requirements. You will receive the CAS for your visa application after you successfully complete the pre-sessional course.

Even though teaching for the pre-sessional course is online, some students may still want to travel to London for the summer. If you plan to do this, you can also receive a single CAS to cover the pre-sessional course and your St Mary’s degree. You must take an IELTS Academic for UKVI test to apply for a Student Visa covering the pre-sessional course. Other tests will not meet UKVI’s visa requirements. Visa applications can take more than a month to process during the pandemic, so please submit everything needed for your CAS as soon as possible. 

If you have questions about English language tests or visas, please contact us at internationaladmissions@stmarys.ac.uk.

During the course, you will be taught by specialist language tutors and you will spend approximately 22 hours per week in online classes. You will also have some periods of self-directed learning. In addition, you will be required to study for several hours each evening and at weekends. You will study general English and English for Academic Purposes (EAP). You will be regularly assessed, mainly through writing and oral presentations. Topics of study will include:

  • Presentation skills: organising and structuring a presentation; using vocabulary
  • Seminar skills: presenting, developing and supporting an argument; participation in discussions
  • Study skills: tips and strategies essential to your university success
  • Academic English skills: reading and writing summaries; vocabulary; discussion
  • Academic writing skills: paraphrasing; coherence; grammar; avoiding plagiarism
  • Listening: note taking; understanding organisation
  • Project work: using the library; extended reading
  • Introducing you to the University, Twickenham and the surrounding area
  • 1-1 meetings with your tutor to discuss your work and progress
  • Strategies to develop your independent learning
  • Helping you to settle in to your new environment and meet other students

During the course, you will carry out a number of tasks in class time as well as producing a portfolio of your work. You will join with other students from countries and cultures around the world in a lively, friendly and co-operative learning environment. Our maximum class size is 20 students. 

From the start of your pre-sessional English programme, you will receive high-quality online teaching and a supportive learning experience, including access to student support services online. Once we are able to welcome students to campus for their full degrees you will benefit from St Mary’s green, leafy campus and excellent teaching facilities. On-campus accommodation or housing in the local area may be available. You will have access to campus amenities, including:

  • The Library, which has a range of materials and IT equipment to support your learning
  • The Students’ Union, which runs welfare campaigns and social activities for students, as well as clubs and societies
  • Student Services, including our Wellbeing Service
  • First-class sports facilities, including a Fitness and Conditioning Suite
  • An orientation programme upon arrival and support during your course

St Mary’s enjoys a beautiful campus location in a highly desirable part of West London. There is a wide choice of shops, restaurants, entertainment venues and recreational spaces in the local area. The University has easy access to London, one of the world's most exciting cities. 

Students who successfully complete either pre-sessional course are considered to have met the St Mary's English language requirements. Progression to your degree course from the programme depends on your fulfilling the following: 

  • Starting the programme on the correct date
  • Attending all classes on your timetable
  • Participating fully in all classes
  • Making sufficient progress in your language
  • Completing all homework, assessments and other tasks set by your tutors

Following successful completion of the course, you will begin your St Mary's degree programme. Our experience, supported by current academic thought, shows that student’s ability to use English increases when they practise it alongside their other studies. 

For this reason, all students who complete the pre-sessional courses are encouraged to make full use of the St Mary's in-sessional English support programme. St Mary's students also have access to a Learning Development Lecturer focused on English for Academic Purposes.