Applications

Pre-sessional FAQs

How do I apply for a pre-sessional course?

You can apply online via our website. Please see the How to Apply section. 

If you are unsure as to which course to apply for, please refer to the Entry requirements section and the course pages for undergraduate and postgraduate programmes to determine which language level your main academic programme requires.

Please note that we are not able to accept applicants from Imperial College Business School. Currently the Business School does not offer its own pre-sessional course or recognise other pre-sessional courses as a means of meeting the English language requirement. If you have any questions about this, please contact the Business School directly.

When should I apply for a pre-sessional course?

We open for summer 2024 applications on 1 March 2024. We recommend you apply as soon as you receive the offer from your main programme of study and are clear which pre-sessional course will meet your requirements.

The application deadlines are published in the How to apply section but we will close to applications sooner if the courses are full. 

Can undergraduate applicants apply for the 6-week pre-sessional course?

No. We regret that we are not able to accept undergraduate applicants onto the 6-week pre-sessional course.

Can I apply if I am under 18?

We accept under 18s with an unconditional offer for a degree programme onto our 3-week pre-sessional course only. Our consent form and code of behaviour form need to be completed and signed by a parent or guardian as a condition of offer. 

Can I apply if I hold an offer for an online degree programme?

No. The Pre-sessional courses are on campus and so are not open to applicants for an online degree programme due to visa requirements. 

Do I need a secure English language test (SELT) result for my 6-week course application?

If you are an overseas student, in order to apply for the 6-week pre-sessional course you will need a UKVI approved secure English language test (SELT) result such as UKVI IELTS. This is because the course is being held on campus and you will require a visa. Please see the Entry requirements section for details.

Can students with unconditional offers register for the pre-sessional course?

Yes. If you are a prospective undergraduate or postgraduate student with an unconditional offer you should apply for the 3-week pre-sessional course.

How and when will I know if I have a place on the course?

You will be notified of an offer through the online application system. You will need to accept your offer through the online system and pay the course fees in full in order to confirm your place.

To ensure you have sufficient time to complete all steps in the application process, you must accept your offer at least five weeks before the start of your chosen pre-sessional course.

Will I need a visa for either the 6-week or 3-week pre-sessional course?

As the 2024 pre-sessional courses are on campus in the UK, you may need a Student Route visa. Please see the College guidance on who is required to apply for a visa to study in the UK

Can I transfer my offer of a place on the 6-week course to the 3-week?

Yes. You can request a transfer of your offer to the 3-week pre-sessional course if you meet the English Language Requirement for your main degree programme prior to the start of the 6-week pre-sessional course as long as there is still time for the College to process the request and for you to apply for a visa (at least 4 weeks before the start of the 3-week course). You should email presessional@imperial.ac.uk. Details are set out in our Terms and Conditions.

Please note that once you have used your CAS to obtain a visa, the relevant authorities are unlikey to issue a refund for the visa fee or immigration health surcharge. If you change your plans and ask to withdraw from a Pre-sessional course or transfer to the 3-week course, you will need to pay again if issued with a new CAS by the College. 

Where will the courses take place?

Both the 6-week and the 3-week Pre-sessional course will take place on the South Kensington campus in London. 

Will accommodation be available?

After you have been offered a place on the pre-sessional course, you will receive details by email of the summer accommodation available including how to book and the room rates.

Student Route visas

How do I get a CAS for my pre-sessional course?

In order to recieve a CAS, you must have paid the pre-sessional fee and uploaded a copy of your passport to MyImperial. It can take up to a week after we receive your fee payment to release your CAS. Please see the Student Route visas page for full details.

Can I have a joint CAS for my pre-sessional course and my main programme of study?

6-week pre-sessional students wih a conditional offer for their main programme of study will be issued with a CAS covering the pre-sessional course only. Once you pass the pre-sessional course and meet any outstanding conditions from your main course, then you will be provided with another CAS number to use in your visa extension. 

3-week pre-sessional students holding an unconditional offer for their main programme of study will be issued with a joint CAS to apply for a Student Route visa to cover both the pre-sessional course and their main programme of study.

 

How do I apply for my visa?

Please visit the Student Route visas page for guidance on the visa application process.

Fees

Pre-sessional FAQs

How and when should I pay my tuition fee?

The tution fees for the courses are set out on the How to apply web page. Once you have accepted your offer in the online application system, you will receive an invoice via email within 7-10 working days. 

What is the refund policy?

For details of our refund policy, please see our terms and conditions.

I will have Official Financial Sponsorship - what do I need to do?

As soon as you have accepted your offer in the online application system, you should send a copy of your Financial Guarantee Letter to presessional@imperial.ac.uk. The sponsor letter needs to state that the sponsor will cover the course fees for the ‘Pre-sessional English language programme’ and to include the dates and fees of the chosen pre-sessional course. Full information on what the letter needs to cover is found on the page Information for postgraduate students on tuition fees.  

Course content/structure

Pre-sessional FAQs

Who are the students on the course?

These are international students from a range of countries. 

Who are the teachers on the course?

A dedicated team of English tutors with extensive experience in working with students to develop their academic English for study at Imperial College London.

What will the course focus on?

The course focuses on academic English for STEMM disciplines, that is, science, technology, engineering, mathematics and medicine, to prepare you for the study of your science-related discipline through English. Tasks focus on developing your reading, writing, listening and speaking and advancing your academic study skills and strategies for independent learning. 

What is the overall aim of the pre-sessional programme?

Our pre-sessional programme aims to develop your ability to operate within the challenging academic environment here at Imperial College London, to help you confidently and effectively communicate your science, and understand the expectations of students studying at university level in the UK.

Do I need any course books?

No. All course materials are produced by the CfAE and provided for you. Many materials are available online and you will be given access once you are registered onto your pre-sessional course. 

Do I need any particular software or apps before I start the course?

No. At the start of your course you will be able to download Office 365 free of charge. During the course you will then be able to access the course materials online through your college Microsoft Office 365 account from anywhere at any time.

We will advise you which Microsoft apps will be most useful and you will be able to download them free of charge to your phone and your laptop.

Will I learn about my academic subject?

There will no formal teaching or testing of your subject on the pre-sessional, but you will be asked to read, write and present on topics in or related to your field.

How useful will the pre-sessional course be to me? Is it better than just taking an English language test?

Yes, the pre-sessional is much more tailored to your needs as a prospective Imperial student. Students who have taken our pre-sessional report back that they feel far more prepared for their studies than other international students who have not taken the course. Departments tell us they can see a positive difference between those students who have taken the pre-sessional and those who have not.

What is the average class size?

Class sizes are generally small (approximately 12 students per group) so that you can get to know your classmates and your teachers well and so that your teachers can monitor your progress and guide your personal study.

What is the 6-week schedule?

The schedule below sets out the study programme on a typical week of the 6-week pre-sessional course. Details may be subject to change.

 

Monday

Tuesday 

Wednesday 

Thursday 

Friday

09.30-10.20: Class

 

Specialist Subject Workshop - reading and understanding texts from your discipline

Academic Process Class – academic writing conventions

Academic Process Class – writing assignment

Succeeding at Imperial guest lecture preparation

Academic Process Class – writing assignment feedback and follow up

10.20-10.30: Short Break

 

 

 

 

 

10.30-11.20: Class

 

Specialist Subject Workshop – group project work

Academic Process Class – reading strategies and vocabulary development

Academic Process Class – writing assignment

Succeeding at Imperial guest lectures by Imperial lecturers and events with Imperial researchers

Academic Process Class – writing assignment feedback and follow up

11.20-11.40: Break

 

 

 

 

 

11.40-12.30: Class

Specialist Subject Workshop – group project work

Academic Process Class – grammar in STEMM writing

Academic Process Class – writing assignment

 

Succeeding at Imperial guest lecture follow up and group work

Academic Process Class – writing assignment feedback and follow up

12.30-14.00: Lunch Break

 

 

 

 

 

14.00-14.50: Class

 

Specialist Subject Workshop -
preparing to speak at interactive research events (e.g. poster presentation)

Specialist Subject Workshop - presenting ideas and concepts in your subject

Specialist Subject Workshop - listening and speaking in your discipline

Succeeding at Imperial - engaging with the Imperial community and visiting South Kensington's world-leading museums 

Specialist Subject Workshop - reading and writing in your discipline

14.50-15.00: Short Break

 

 

 

 

 

15.00-15.50: Class

Specialist Subject Workshop - preparing to speak at interactive research events (e.g. poster presentation)

Specialist Subject Workshop - reflection on speaking at interactive research events

 Specialist Subject Workshop - listening and speaking in your discipline

Succeeding at Imperial - engaging with the Imperial community and visiting South Kensington's world-leading museums

Specialist Subject Workshop - reading and writing in your discipline

15.50-16.00: Break

 

 

 

 

 

16.00-16.50: Scheduled Admin and Social Events

Staff Office Hour (by appointment)

Admin and/or social events 

 Admin and/or social events

 Admin and/or social events

Admin and/or social events 

Admin and/or social events 

What is the 3-week schedule?

The schedule below sets out the study programme on a typical week of the 3-week pre-sessional course. Details may be subject to change.

 

Monday 

Tuesday 

Wednesday 

Thursday 

Friday 

9.30-10.20: Class

 

Reading strategies and vocabulary development 

Features of effective STEMM writing 

 

Writing assignment preparation 

 

Succeeding at Imperial guest lecture preparation 

Writing assignment feedback and follow up 

10.20-10.30: Short Break

 

 

 

 

 

10.30-11.20: Class

 

 

Library induction 

 
 

Avoiding plagiarism 

Writing assignment 

 

Succeeding at Imperial - guest lecture by Imperial lecturers 

 

Writing assignment feedback and follow up 

11.20-11.40: Break

 

 

 

 

 

11.40-12.30: Class

Effective note-taking strategies 

 

Grammar in STEMM writing 

Writing assignment 

 

Succeeding at Imperial - guest lecture by Imperial lecturers 

 

Writing assignment feedback and follow up 

12.30-14.00: Lunch Break

 

 

 

 

 

14.00-14.50: Class

 

Individual research project 

 

 

Reading circle - speaking assignment 

 

Group project work

Succeeding at Imperial - group work 

 

Group project work  

14.50-15.00: Short Break

 

 

 

 

 

15.00-15.50: Class

Individual research project 

 

Reading circle - speaking assignment 

 
 

Group project work 

Succeeding at Imperial - group work 

 

Group project work 

15.50-16.00: Break

 

 

 

 

 

16.00-16.50: Scheduled Admin and Social Events

Staff Office Hour (by appointment) 

Admin and/or social events 

Admin and/or social events 

Admin and/or social events 

Admin and/or social events 

Admin and/or social events 

 

 

Attendance

What is the attendance policy for the pre-sessional courses?

100% attendance is expected and full and active participation throughout your course is expected. You will need to notify us of any absences throughout the course. If you are studying on a Student Route visa and your attendance falls below 80%, the College will report your attendance level to UK Visas and Immigration.

Can I withdraw during the 6-week courses if I get a new test result?

Once a student is enrolled on the 6-week pre-sessional course, successful completion of the course becomes the English Language Requirement (ELR) condition for their degree programme. If a student has a visa and withdraws during the course, the College must report this to UK Visas and Immigration as non-completion of the course.

If a student obtains an English test result that would have met the ELR, this could be submitted to Admissions. If accepted as meeting the ELR, the student would have to withdraw from the pre-sessional course and leave the UK in order to make a visa application for their degree programme. However, there would need to be sufficient time for a new CAS and visa to be issued for a degree programme. 

Please note that once you have used your CAS to obtain a visa, the relevant authorities are unlikely to issue a refund for the visa fee or immigration health surcharge. If you change your plans and ask to withdraw from a Pre-sessional course or transfer to the 3-week course, you will need to pay again if issued with a new CAS by the College. 

Assessment (6-week course)

Pre-sessional FAQs

How am I assessed at the end of the course?

There are three formal assessments  for students on the 6-week pre-sessional course.

Throughout the 6 weeks, you will create a record of the research and tasks that you do as you work on topics and materials from your future discipline. We call this your Personal Research Portfolio. In the final week of the course there is the Test of written English and the Test of spoken English.

The Personal Research Portfolio demonstrates your engagement with the concepts and topics of your discipline and demonstrates the progress that you have made in learning the language of your discipline and your ability to communicate key STEMM ideas clearly to others. The Test of Written English shows your ability to read and write academically on a general STEMM topic. The Test of spoken English is a viva voce, an individual interview in which you demonstrate your ability to converse on a topic related to your chosen field of study.

What happens if I don’t achieve the required score at the end of the course?

If you don't achieve a satisfactory grade at the end of the course, you will have the opportunity to retake the final assessments the following week. If you fail the assessment a second time, you might not be accepted onto your degree programme. Most students successfully pass the course.

Do I need to take the IELTS exam after I have completed the course?

No.

What does it mean to 'successfully complete' a pre-sessional programme?

Successful completion of the pre-sessional programme means that you have satisfied the university's English language requirements for your main programme. This means you have fully attended the course, satisfactorily completed all the coursework, and passed the final course assessments.

You will not need to retake an English language test such as IELTS.

When will I get my final results?

On the last day of the course (Friday 20 September 2024). If you pass the pre-sessional course at first attempt (as most students do), we will also report them to the Registry team on that date. The Admissions team will then need to review your main degree programme application conditions before confirming your place as unconditional. 

If you are required to take resits, you should get the resit result by Wednesday 25 September and we will report it to the Registry team at the same time. 




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