Coronavirus information and guidance

4-week Pre-sessional course 2020 entry

The 4-week Pre-sessional course is closed for applications for 2020 entry. Course information for 2021 entry will be available on this page from September 2020.

The 4-week Pre-sessional course is designed to prepare you for your degree programme by focusing on the academic language and skills required for successful study at the University of St Andrews. You will develop your ability to use English in academic contexts, as well as learning about academic, social and cultural life in St Andrews. In summer 2019, 99% of students who studied on a Pre-sessional course progressed to degree programmes within the University.

Due to the continued disruption caused by Covid-19, the 2020 entry 4-week pre-sessional course will be delivered using a teaching method known as ‘dual delivery’ where classes take place online and on-site at the same time.

Students can attend classes in one of the following ways:

  • all classes online for the four weeks
  • all classes in St Andrews
  • start classes online and finish the course in St Andrews.

Successful applicants do not have to be in St Andrews to start attending their pre-sessional classes.

Course type

Full-time pre-degree course to prepare students who use English as an additional language for postgraduate or undergraduate degree programmes.

Course dates

  • Start date: 6 August 2020 (including compulsory orientation days on Thursday 6 and Friday 7 August 2020)
  • End date: 3 September 2020

Information about all programmes from previous years of entry can be found in the archive.

Tuition fees


Fees must be paid in full before the start of the course. 

A deposit of £300 is required to reserve your place on the pre-sessional course.

A limited number of pre-sessional places are offered each year, and these are allocated on a first-come, first-served basis. 

Payment can be made by the following methods:

When making a payment by bank transfer or credit card, please choose the ‘Tuition fees’ option and enter the relevant amount. This applies to deposits and balance payments.

Entry requirements

To enter, applicants must have a conditional or unconditional offer for any degree programme at the University of St Andrews

You must also have an IELTS (Academic) or equivalent score that meets the minimum requirement in your subject area for the 4-week Pre-sessional on the English language requirements for pre-degree students page

Students who have an English language score which satisfies requirements for the 4-week pre-sessional course should send evidence as soon as possible to including your full name and student ID number.

To apply, you will need to provide a copy of your passport.

Application deadline

The deadline for applications is Monday 6 July 2020. If you are a conditional offer holder and require a Tier 4 visa, you should ensure that you have made your application and received an offer of a place on the pre-sessional course before Monday 29 June 2020.

Students who require a visa must submit their required English language evidence by Monday 6 July 2020 to allow time for processing their visa if they are planning to attend classes in St Andrews. 

Students who do not require a visa must submit their English language evidence before the start of the course.

Combined visa

You can apply for a combined visa (for your pre-sessional course and your degree programme) if you are a Tier 4 student and you have an offer for a programme in one the following subject areas:

  • Chemistry
  • Computer Science
  • Earth and Environmental Sciences
  • Economics and Finance
  • International Relations
  • Management
  • Mathematics and Statistics
  • Physics and Astronomy

If you are eligible for a combined visa you can submit one of the following as evidence of your English language ability:

When to apply for your combined visa

Even if you decide to attend all of your pre-sessional classes online, you can apply for your combined visa to begin in late August. This will allow you to arrive in plenty of time for your degree.

Students who do not apply for a combined visa

If you are not able to apply for a combined visa, you will have to wait until you receive your final grades for your pre-sessional course and then apply for a visa to start your degree. This may result in you having to delay your degree visa application and start your degree online. To avoid this, you could do a part of the pre-sessional course in St Andrews, and then apply for your degree visa once you have arrived in the UK.

Course information

Aims and overview

This intensive course will help you to:

  • enhance your academic English
  • develop your academic skills
  • learn about studying at the University of St Andrews as a postgraduate or undergraduate student 
  • adapt to living and studying in the UK
  • meet English language offer conditions.

This course consists of English for Academic Purposes (EAP) classes, combined with a series of academic lectures and seminars. These sessions will help you to enhance your academic reading, writing, listening and speaking skills, as well as your understanding of good academic practise in higher education. You will have approximately 18 contact hours per week over the four weeks of the course. Most of your tuition will be in small groups, normally with 16 or fewer students. 

Assessment and learning outcomes

You will be assessed across the four skills of reading, writing, listening and speaking using assessments that are benchmarked to the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR). You will be awarded an overall score on the University of St Andrews 20-point scale to reflect your performance on course assessments. Scores are benchmarked to CEFR levels as follows:

  • a score of 4.0-6.9 is equivalent to CEFR B2 level
  • a score of 7.0-10.9 is equivalent to CEFR B2+ level
  • a score of 11.0-13.9 is equivalent to CEFR C1 level
  • a score of 14.0-16.9 is equivalent to CEFR C1+ level
  • a score of 17.0-20.0 is equivalent to CEFR C2 level

These scores can be used as evidence of English language ability to meet English language offer conditions (see progression requirements below).

Students who complete this course with an overall score of 11.0 or higher should be able to:

  • Write clear, well-structured texts on complex topics in an appropriate style of their field, using supporting evidence and examples from sources as required. 
  • Give clear, well-structured presentations on complex subjects in their field, expanding and supporting points of view with appropriate reasons and examples.
  • Demonstrate detailed understanding of a wide range of lengthy, complex texts where stated opinions and implied points of view are discussed, given time to reread where necessary.
  • Demonstrate sufficient understanding to follow extended speech on abstract and complex topics of academic relevance.
  • Produce work that demonstrates an understanding of good academic practise and scholarship, including strategies to avoid plagiarism. 

Other features of the course

When students are on-site, the course introduces them to different services across the University, including:

  • the Library
  • Student Services
  • Careers Centre
  • Sports Centre
  • Music Centre. 

Progression requirements

In addition to maintaining satisfactory attendance on the course, you must also achieve a grade of either 7.0, 11.0 or 14.0 to progress onto your chosen degree programme. You can check which score you need to achieve in the Equivalent scores for English language tests section of the English language requirements for postgraduate students web page.

Further explanation of assessment and progression will be provided during orientation.


All students who want to attend classes in St Andrews will be able to book University accommodation for the duration of the pre-sessional course. This accommodation will be available from Wednesday 5 August 2020. Students will have to move out of their allocated room on Friday 4 September 2020.

To apply, you must complete the online accommodation application form. When you complete the online application, you must ensure you check the box for the 4-­week Pre-Sessional course.

Students who plan to travel to St Andrews before Wednesday 5 August 2020 should contact to discuss their travel plans with University staff.

If you do not wish to apply for University residential accommodation, please be aware that you are responsible for making your own alternative arrangements. Find out more about private accommodation in St Andrews.


International Education Institute
University of St Andrews
Kennedy Gardens
St Andrews
KY16 9DJ

Phone: +44 (0)1334 46 2255

International Education Institute website


Admission to the University of St Andrews is governed by our admissions policy.

Curriculum development

As a research intensive institution, the University ensures that its teaching references the research interests of its staff, which may change from time to time. As a result, programmes are regularly reviewed with the aim of enhancing students' learning experience. Our approach to course revision is described online (PDF, 72 KB).

Tuition fees

The University will clarify compulsory fees and charges it requires any student to pay at the time of offer. The offer will also clarify conditions for any variation of fees. The University’s approach to fee setting is described online (PDF, 84 KB).