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The University of Southampton

Pre-sessional English language courses

Covid-19: UoS Update for International Applicants

Our Pre-sessional language courses are going ahead in summer 2020, and we very much look forward to welcoming our new students to the University of Southampton.

Dates for the 2020 Pre-sessional courses

CourseStart dateDurationIELTS required*Duolingo English Test (Overall score)**FeeScholarshipApplication deadlineDeposit deadline
A 25 June 11 weeks 5.5 90-95 £4,620 £462 11 June 19 June
B 23 July 6 weeks 6.0 100-105 £2,550 £255 9 July 17 July

Pre-sessional scholarship

We are pleased to announce a 10% scholarship for all students on Pre-sessional courses A (11 weeks) and B (6 weeks). We would encourage offer holders to pay deposit two weeks prior to the start of the courses OR pay deposit within 5 days of receiving offer to allow sufficient time to enrol in the programmes. If you have already paid your deposit, the remaining fee will be adjusted. If you have already paid the full amount, 10% will be reimbursed to you.

You do not need a visa or a secure IELTS test to start our online courses from your home country. The language qualifications we accept are listed on the Admissions Policies language page.

If you successfully pass the assessment on your course with the required grade, you will have met the English language requirements of your conditional offer to study at the University of Southampton.

We are also providing newly enhanced online preparation courses prior and in addition to our Pre-sessional courses, open to students of all subjects. You can apply for a Prepare for Pre-sessional course at the same time as applying for your Pre-sessional course.

CourseStart DateDurationIELTS Required (Overall Scores)IELTS Required (all components)Duolingo English Test (Overall score)**FeeApplication Deadline
Prepare for Pre-sessional A 18 May 5 weeks 5.0 5.0 80-85 £500 11 May
Prepare for Pre-sessional B 15 June 5 weeks 5.5 5.0 90-95 £500 1 June

*Entry requirements for a Pre-sessional course vary, based on the conditional offer for your main degree programme.

Students can start their English studies online from 18 May. In order to participate fully in this course students will need access to a PC/ laptop with headphones, microphone, and webcam, and a reliable internet connection.

Please note it is not possible to automatically progress from our new ‘prepare for pre-sessional’ courses. Applicants do need to have appropriate scores from an approved English test to be qualified for Pre-sessional A and B. However they will help improve your skills for any approved test you choose to meet the entry requirements for courses A or B with.

About our pre-sessional English Language Courses

Our pre-sessional English language courses are the best way to prepare for study at the University of Southampton. The courses will improve your capability and confidence in using English language in your studies.

The programmes are designed for international and EU students wishing to progress to any of our undergraduate or postgraduate degrees.

You can find the language qualifications, course duration and fees in the table below:

Language qualificationDuolingo English Test (overall score)**CourseMonthDurationFees
IELTS 6.0* 100-105 General Academic English July 6 weeks £2,550
IELTS 6.0* 100-105 Business June 6 weeks £2,550
IELTS 5.5* 90-95 General Academic English June 11 weeks £4,620
IELTS 5.5* 90-95 Business June 11 weeks £4,620
IELTS 5.0* 80-85 General Academic English January 25 weeks £9,750
IELTS 4.5* 70-75 General Academic English September 39 weeks £15,250
IELTS 6.5* 110-115 LLM (Law) July 6 weeks £2,750

* Entry requirements for a pre-sessional course vary, based on the conditional offer for your main degree programme. For the full entry requirements please click on the links in the table.

** Duolingo English Test
The Duolingo English Test will be accepted on an interim basis for 2020 entry. The test can be taken from any computer with online access- you will also need a microphone and camera. The cost of the test is US $49. It is important that you access the Duolingo English Test using a unique University of Southampton code. This code will be emailed to all applicants with an offer of admissions. You must wait for this email before taking the test. Please note, we will not be able to accept this test if you do not access the test using this unique code.

Please note that the overall scores shown below are indicative of the score required. Your whole test will be reviewed to provide us with a holistic assessment of your English language proficiency and to determine whether you are eligible for direct entry or for one of our Pre-sessional English courses. If deemed necessary, an additional assessment may be required.

How will the online course work?

The University of Southampton Pre-sessional programmes are full-time, intensive online academic programmes designed to prepare students in all aspects of academic study. At the start of the programme you will be placed in appropriate subject-specific study groups so that you meet students who will be on a similar degree programme to you. The Pre-sessional programmes will prepare you in language (academic English: reading, writing, speaking and listening) and study skills, so that you are ready to join your substantive degree programme.
Our approach is to make the Pre-sessional programmes as bespoke as possible to your individual needs. In order to achieve this our dedicated team of tutors and advisors will guide you through a series of academic tasks and assessments tailored to your particular academic subject choice.

Reading and Writing Interaction Weekly total approximately 8 hours
Guided study Weekly total approximately 10 hours
Listening and Speaking Interaction Weekly total approximately 8 hours
Guided Study Weekly total approximately 10 hours
Independent Learning team (Academic Skills) Interaction Weekly total approximately 2 hours
Guided Study Weekly total approximately 2 hours


*all timings are indicative and may vary for technical or operational reasons. The tables above reflect a typical weekly target. There will be some variation in Week 1 for introduction and welcome activities and Weeks 10 and 11 (PSA) and Weeks 5 and 6 (PSB) for assessment purposes. We are here to help so further contact with the University (engagement) is encouraged and you are free to email your Pre-sessional academic team and other University services at any time.

To Apply

To apply for a pre-sessional course, please complete the online application form.

If you have a question or would like further information, please contact our Admissions Team:

By telephone:
+44 23 8059 3344

By email:


Our pre-sessional English language programmes are designed for international and EU students wishing to progress to any of our undergraduate or postgraduate degrees. The courses will improve your capability and confidence in using English language in your studies.

3 students studying

Academic Year English Pre-sessional Programmes

For students with an minimum IELTS of 4.5 who need to improve their English in order to meet the English language requirement for their degree programme at the University of Southampton.


Frequently asked questions

Am I guaranteed a place for pre-sessional if I apply before deadline?

We are experiencing a large volume of applications therefore we recommend that applicants apply as soon as possible to secure a place on a pre-sessional course. Applications may close earlier than the published deadline if the course is full. We will advertise on our website when the course becomes full.

Is there any circumstance in which the pre-payment is refundable?

Your pre-sessional deposit is £500. It is refundable if:

  • you do not meet the language requirement for the course

May I transfer from the 11-week to the 6-week course if my new IELTS score has met the entry requirement before the 6-week course start date?

We cannot guarantee that you will be able to change your pre-sessional course. You will not be able to do so if you have secured a CAS for your pre-sessional course. 

Other than language courses, will I attend subject related lectures?

The pre-sessional course is a short intensive language course.  Your focus will be to improve your language skills on this course. You may attend lectures in order to help improve your English skills, but your main degree course lectures are not part of this course. 

Do I need to retake my UKVI Academic IELTS if I take the pre-sessional course?

You need to achieve a level of English suitable for entry to your degree course in the assessments at the end of the pre-sessional course. You will be given a result at the end of the course and if you successfully reach the level required for your degree course, you will progress on to your degree and will not need to take a new IELTS. 

What would happen if I fail pre-sessional?

If you work hard on the pre-sessional course you have a good chance of progressing to your degree course. In a typical year, 90-95% of our pre-sessional students progress to their degree programme at Southampton. If by the end of the pre-sessional English course you do not achieve the level required to progress you may not be able to study on your main degree course. You will be given advice on your options when you are given your results at the end of the pre-sessional course. 

Who can I ask about my visa?

The University has a dedicated team of staff to provide information and advice about visas and immigration for students and their dependants. You can submit questions on this student services enquiry form.

May I cancel my pre-sessional course if my new IELTS has met the course entry requirement?

You can cancel your pre-sessional course at any time before the start date of the course but you will not receive a refund of the pre-payment. This may also affect your CAS and visa application, so please get in touch if you decide to do this.

Will my pre-sessional results be recognised for 2021 entry, if I decide to defer my offer to 2021?

If you successfully pass the pre-sessional at the required level and also fulfil your academic conditions for your substantive course you can defer your substantive course to entry in September 2021.

You may also be interested in:

Foundation Years

Pre-Masters programme

English for Academic Study (EAS)

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