Coronavirus information and guidance

10-week Academic English Pre-sessional Course for Postgraduate Offer-holders (blended learning) 2021 entry

This blended learning pre-sessional course includes six weeks of online tuition followed by four weeks of study in St Andrews. It is designed to prepare you for your degree programme by focusing on the academic language and skills required for success at the University of St Andrews. You will develop your ability to use English in academic contexts, as well as learn about academic, social and cultural life in St Andrews.

In summer 2020, 100% of students who studied on a pre-sessional course at the University of St Andrews achieved the scores required to progress onto their intended degree programme.

Course type

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

Course dates

  • Start date: 24 June 2021
  • End date: 2 September 2021

This is a blended learning course divided into online and on-site phases as follows: 

  • Online phase (orientation and six weeks of tuition): 24 June to 6 August 2021
  • On-site phase in St Andrews (four weeks of tuition): 9 August to 2 September 2021

Students must be available to study online from Thursday 24 June to Friday 6 August 2021, and to arrive in St Andrews before Monday 9 August 2021.

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

Course duration

Ten weeks (six weeks of online tuition followed by four weeks of study in St Andrews). 

Entry requirements

  • Applicants must have a conditional or unconditional offer for any postgraduate degree programme at the University of St Andrews.
  • Applicants must have a UKVI-approved Secure English Language Test (SELT) score that meets the minimum requirements in your subject area for the 10-week Academic English Pre-sessional course (blended learning).
  • Applicants who have an offer with an English language condition and who do not have a SELT, must study the course entirely online from outside of the UK. Applicants who have a SELT have the option to study the course entirely online from outside of the UK. 
  • Applicants will need to have a laptop computer that they can use both for the online phase of the course, and to engage in learning activities during the on-site phase.

See English language requirements for pre-degree students.

Tuition fees


  • A non-refundable deposit of £300 is required to reserve your place on the pre-sessional course.
  • Fees must be paid in full by Thursday 10 June 2021.
  • You can pay your deposit and your fees by:
  • 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.

Application deadline

28 May 2021

A limited number of pre-sessional places are offered each year, and these are allocated on a first-come, first-served basis. Applicants should apply as early as possible to be sure of securing a place.

If students who have already been accepted onto the 10-week pre-sessional course submit language test scores that meet the requirements for the 4-week pre-sessional course before Friday 28 May 2021, they will be allowed to switch to this course without losing their deposit (subject to the 4-week course having capacity for them). It will not be possible to switch courses in this manner after this date.

Course information

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 student 
  • adapt to living and studying in the UK
  • meet English language offer conditions.

The course consists of an online phase and an on-site phase in St Andrews.

Teaching format

Online phase

During the online phase, you will participate in online learning activities for approximately 18 hours per week, and will work individually on assignments. Online learning activities will typically include:

  • watching lectures and other videos created for the course
  • completing interactive worksheets or online tasks
  • contributing to discussion forums
  • engaging in peer assessment of written work
  • joining live video tutorials or English for Academic Purposes (EAP) classes.

You will also have to submit assignments and will receive electronic feedback from your teacher.

The online phase only includes formative assessments, which do not count towards your final grade. You will receive feedback on your assessments to help you enhance your ability before taking summative assessments (which do count towards your final grade) in the on-site phase. You are expected to participate fully in online learning activities, and your participation will be monitored.

On-site phase

The on-site phase of the course consists of English for Academic Purposes (EAP) classes, combined with 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 practice in higher education.

You will have a mix of both online and in-person teaching over the four weeks of the phase, which will be equivalent to approximately 18 guided study hours per week. Most of your in-person tuition will be in small groups, normally with 16 or fewer students. 

Some or all in-person teaching on this course may be changed to online teaching if health and safety measures in summer 2021 require us to take this step. 

Assessment and learning outcomes

During the course, you will be tested 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 grade on the University of St Andrews 20-point scale to reflect your performance on course assessments, as well as individual scores for each of the four skills.

Overall grades and individual skill scores are benchmarked to CEFR levels as follows:

  • a score of 4-6 is equivalent to CEFR B2- level
  • a score of 7-10 is equivalent to CEFR B2 level
  • a score of 11-13 is equivalent to CEFR B2+ level
  • a score of 14-16 is equivalent to CEFR C1- level
  • a score of 17-20 is equivalent to CEFR C1 level.

You can see how these grades and scores compare with those on other tests using the CEFR benchmarking table for English language tests.

Pre-sessional grades and scores can be used to meet English language offer conditions, provided that the pre-sessional is listed in the English language test profile for a subject area. See English language requirements for postgraduate students for more details.

Students who complete this course with an overall score of 14 or higher should be able to:

  • Write clear, well-structured texts on complex topics in an appropriate style for 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

The course introduces students 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 an overall grade and individual skill scores to meet the requirements of your chosen degree programme.

You can check the overall grade and individual skill scores you need to achieve for your subject area by looking at the:

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


Students can apply for University accommodation for the duration of the pre-­sessional course.

Accommodation will be available from Wednesday 23 June 2021.

Students arriving at the beginning of August to study the on-site phase of the course (the final four weeks of the course) will be able to check into their University accommodation from Wednesday 4 August 2021.

Students will have to move out of their allocated room on Monday 30 August 2021.

To apply for University accommodation, you must complete the online accommodation application form. When you complete the online application, you must ensure you check the box for the 10-­week pre-sessional course.

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

IE website


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

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

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).

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