4-week Pre-sessional course 2019 entry

The 4-week Pre-sessional course prepares you for your degree programme by focusing on the academic language and skills required for successful study at St Andrews. You’ll develop your ability to use English in academic contexts. You’ll learn about the academic, social and cultural life at St Andrews so you can start your degree with confidence.

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Course type

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

Course dates

  • Orientation: Thursday 8 and Friday 9 August 2019 (both orientation days are compulsory)
  • Course: Thursday 8 August to Thursday 5 September 2019

If you attended this programme in 2018, you can find information about 2018 entry on the 2018 4-week Pre-sessional course page. Information about all programmes from previous years of entry can be found in the archive.

Tuition fees


No deposit is required.

Payment can be made by the following methods:

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) score of at least 6.5 with a minimum of 6.0 in each sub-score. If you require a visa to study in the UK, and your offer is conditional, you must take the IELTS for UKVI version of the test.

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

Application deadline

The deadline for applications is Monday 8 July 2019. 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 course before Monday 1 July 2019.

Course information

The aim of the Pre-Sessional course is to provide a solid foundation for your studies at the University of St Andrews by helping you to develop the English language proficiency, skills, knowledge and experience that will help you to succeed in your undergraduate or postgraduate degree.

The course will increase your confidence in using English, and help you become more familiar with the kind of assignments used for assessments on your degree.

It also encourages you to mix with an international group of students, allowing you to make friends from around the world and enabling you to feel part of our international student community and so become better integrated into University life.

By the end of the Pre-Sessional course you will be able to:

  • plan and write an essay of 1500 words
  • deliver an engaging and appropriately structured presentation
  • listen more effectively and take better notes in lectures
  • take part more confidently in seminars and discussions
  • find appropriate source materials and use strategies that enable quicker and more critical reading
  • tune into different accents and deal better with idiomatic language.

You will also become a more autonomous, reflective and critical learner, and one familiar with the key policies and procedures relating to learning and teaching at the University. Understanding how our systems work will help you to be a more effective student, faster.

English for Academic Purposes (EAP) classes are typically taught in small groups of 12 students or fewer. These classes take place daily and focus primarily on the two key skill areas of writing and speaking.

Writing classes

Writing classes include advanced English language study across a range of academic genres and incorporate an analysis of approaches to reading for writing. Tasks include:

  • writing an essay (with one-to-one feedback on your first draft, and written and oral feedback on your final submission)
  • a critical review of a book or journal article
  • a piece of reflective writing
  • an essay question completed under time pressure to help develop exam writing techniques.

Speaking classes

Speaking classes focus on presentation skills and participating in a group presentation as well as making an individual presentation. Your ability to work in a team and to negotiate roles in group tasks is important for your student life and your future career, and one that will enhance your interpersonal communication skills.

Working on the physical aspects of presenting such as body language, use of voice and pacing, alongside the technical aspects of slide design and the effective use of visuals will help you become a more confident and dynamic presenter.

In the speaking classes, you will also practice the skills required for participating in a seminar, which include reading strategies that help with identifying and researching relevant source materials and selecting key concepts to structure an argument.

Tutorials and workshops

One-to-one tutorials are arranged between tutors and students during the course to allow for more focused feedback on writing and to help facilitate deeper understanding of the strengths and weaknesses in your work.

There are workshop sessions designed to focus on specific areas of language, including grammar, pronunciation, and strategies for listening and taking notes in lectures. Your teachers may direct you to particular lessons, based on their assessment of your performance in class.

Academic lectures and seminars

The programme also includes an engaging series of academic lectures and seminars covering a broad range of disciplines and subject areas.

These lectures feature academic subject specialists from a cross-section of Schools. They offer a useful introduction to the process of preparing for lectures and practising effective listening and note-taking as well as reading and preparing for seminars.

Student life

Other features of the course include an event hosted in the Student Union which introduces students to many of the key services and related staff from across the University, including Student Services, Careers, the Sports Centre, the Chaplaincy and the Music Centre.

A library visit in small groups is designed to familiarise you with all the services available within the library and help you learn how you can search for relevant and appropriate sources to help with assignments.

Sports facilities, both indoor and outdoor, are booked one afternoon a week to allow you the opportunity to use tennis courts and football pitches, as well as badminton and basketball.

Saturday trips to Edinburgh and Glasgow offer the chance to become acquainted with Scotland’s largest cities, and a beautiful coastal walk in the East Neuk of Fife allows you a glimpse of some of the spectacular scenery around St Andrews.

There are two evening ceilidhs (Scottish dance parties) with a live band that enable you to learn some of the better known and most enjoyable dances. The ceilidh is always one of the most memorable events in the social life of the Pre-sessional, and many students go on to join ceilidh clubs and societies. As well as being an opportunity to make friends, the ceilidh gives you a real sense of the Scottish dimension of the University and the town.

Progression requirements

To successfully complete your course, you must attend all obligatory classes, lectures, seminars and workshops and complete all assignments (assessed and non-assessed).

For students with a conditional offer, you must achieve an overall score of 11 on the University's 20-point marking scale to fulfil the conditions of your offer. Further explanation of assessment and progression will be provided during orientation.


All students will have catered accommodation in John Burnett Hall for the duration of the Pre-sessional course. This accommodation will be available from Wednesday 7 August 2019. Students will have to move out of their allocated room on Friday 6 September 2019.

The meal plan includes breakfast and dinner Monday to Friday, and breakfast and lunch on Saturday and Sunday. The first meal will be dinner on Wednesday 7 August 2019.

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.

Private accommodation

If you do not want to apply for University residential accommodation, please be aware that you are responsible for making your own alternative arrangements. Unfortunately, ELT cannot assist you in finding private accommodation before or during the course. St Andrews is very busy during the summer months, and it may be difficult to find an affordable private room or flat.

Find out more about private accommodation in St Andrews.

Contact information

English Language Teaching
University of St Andrews
Kennedy Gardens
St Andrews
KY16 9DJ

Phone: +44 (0)1334 46 2255
Email: elt@st-andrews.ac.uk

ELT 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).