Coronavirus information and guidance

4-week Academic English Pre-sessional Course for Postgraduate or Undergraduate Offer-holders 2021 entry

This 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 learn about academic, social and cultural life in St Andrews.

In summer 2020, 100% of students who studied on pre-sessional courses 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 or undergraduate degree programmes.

Course dates

  • Start date: 5 August 2021
  • End date: 2 September 2021

These dates include compulsory orientation sessions on Thursday 5 August and Friday 6 August 2021.

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

Course duration

Four weeks

Entry requirements

  • Applicants must have a conditional or unconditional offer for any degree programme at the University of St Andrews. 
  • Applicants with a conditional offer for a degree programme must have a UKVI-approved Secure English Language Test (SELT) score that meets the minimum requirements in your subject area or Faculty for the 4-week Academic English Pre-sessional course.
  • 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 the UK.
  • Applicants with an unconditional offer for a degree programme do not need to provide an English language test score.
  • As the course uses online tools to enhance students’ learning, applicants will need to have a laptop computer that they can use both in class, and for out-of-class assignments.

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 1 July 2021.
  • 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.

Application deadline

24 June 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.

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

Teaching format

The 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 practice in higher education.

You will have a mix of both online and in-person teaching over the four weeks of the course, 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 our CEFR benchmarking table for English language tests.

You can use your pre-sessional grades and scores to meet your English language offer conditions, provided that the pre-sessional is listed in the English language test profile for your subject area or Faculty.

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

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 practice 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 or Faculty, by looking at the English language requirements for postgraduate students or the English language requirements for undergraduate students.

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

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.

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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