“Language is power, life and the instrument of culture...” - Angela Carter

At a Glance

  • Classroom course
  • Mondays 18:00 - 20:00
  • 10 weeks: January to March
  • Tutor: Professor Gary Cook
  • Fees from £140 to £235
This course is now full

This course is now full

This course takes a functional approach, organised principally by the typical activities people have to carry out in a commercial environment.

Skills will be to the fore with an emphasis on use of English to achieve objectives to a professional standard in English. Vocabulary and expression will be built through function (e.g. making a presentation, chairing a meeting) and topic (e.g. dealing with problems of behaviour, quality or work performance). Grammar will be revised where it has a particular importance for the function being explored for the week. The course topics are indicative in outline and in detail and the course can be customised to the particular requirements of participants.

Please note that this course is not for complete beginners in English. Participants will need to be at at least intermediate level (CEFR B1).

Your tutor will be Professor Gary Cook, former Head of the University of Hull Business School, who is very experienced in teaching both business studies and English.

Classroom Course

This course will be taught face-to-face in the classrooms at our South Kensington Campus in London. To take part in the course you will need to be able to attend our South Kensington Campus each week on the day and time shown above.

Class Recordings

These classes are not recorded


Attendance Certificate


Successful completion of this course leads to the award of an Imperial College attendance certificate


Terms and conditions apply to all enrolments to this course. Please read them before enrolment

Course Information

Course Programme

Course Programme (subject to some possible minor modification)

Week 1Effective Business Communication

  • The 5 Cs of communication
  • Picking the right level of formality
  • Key differences between written and spoken English
  • Describing effective communication at both individual and corporate levels
  • Verbal and non-verbal communication
  • Checking understanding
  • Signalling in verbal and written communication
  • Review of discourse markers
  • Principles of effective presentations
  • Making technical presentations to non-technical audiences

Week 2Effective reading skills

  • Matching reading strategy to purpose
  • Noun phrases
  • Dealing with unfamiliar words
  • Reading the business press
  • Organising your in-tray
  • Reading legal documents
  • Reading long reports

Week 3Talking about globalisation

  • Talking about cultural differences and their importance
  • Issues in using English as a common language
  • Discussing trends and linking past, present and future

Week 4Building relationships

  • Making small talk
  • Building trust
  • Smoothing over awkward situations
  • Responding to inappropriate remarks and questions
  • Expressing appreciation
  • Review of phrasal and prepositional verbs
  • Protocols for making and accepting verbal or written invitations
  • Review of the modal perfect

Week 5Report writing

  • Formal report structure
  • Writing report summaries
  • Writing recommendations
  • Using glossaries
  • Writing a report on an internal investigation
  • Writing reports for an external audience and handling sensitive infrmatiomn

Week 6Leadership and management

  • Key vocabulary for talking about personal qualities
  • Key vocabulary for describing management and leadership styles
  • Review of textual devices for enhancing coherence and cohesion

Week 7Meeting Skills

  • Writing a meeting agenda
  • Taking, writing and checking meeting minutes
  • Bringing people in, handling people who talk too much
  • Moving the business on and keeping to time
  • Opening and closing a meeting
  • Particular issues with online meetings

Week 8 – Having Difficult Conversations

  • Non-violent communication
  • Assertive language
  • Review of prefixes and suffixes
  • Review of the passive voice and its use with a range of tenses
  • Sounding people out
  • Cold-calling someone by phone and email

Week 9 – Risk and Crisis Management

  • Key vocabulary for describing risk and crisis
  • Review of adverbs of degree
  • Motivational and morale-raising written and oral communications
  • Review of conditionals
  • The language of insurance

Week 10 – Quality and Customer Service

  • Key language for expressing dissatisfaction and resolving complaints
  • Review of Gerunds
  • Active listening skills
  • The language of Total Quality Management
  • Diagnosing service and quality problems
  • Using diplomatic language

Course Materials

Lingo Mastery, Business English Vocabulary Builder (ISBN: 9781951949136)

Course Fees and Rate Categories

HoursWeeksStandard RateInternal RateAssociate Rate
 20 10 £235   (£11.75 p/h)
£140   (£7 p/h) £185   (£9.25 p/h)
All fee rates quoted are for the whole course. Part-payments are not possible. Equivalent to hourly rate is shown for comparison guidance only, it is not possible to pay pro-rata hourly rates.


Rate Categories and Discounts

Standard Rate

  • Available to all except those who fall under the Internal Rate or Associate Rate category, respectively.

Internal Rate

  • Current Imperial College students and staff (incl. Imperial NHS Trust, Imperial Innovations, ancillary & service staff employed on long-term contracts at Imperial College by third-party contractors)
  • Individuals enrolling under our Friends & Family scheme
  • Staff of the English Chamber Orchestra
  • Students, staff and Governors of Woodhouse College and the IC Mathematics School

Associate Rate

  • Alumni of Imperial College and predecessor colleges and institutes
  • Austrian Cultural Forum staff
  • City & Guilds College Association members
  • Co-operative College members
  • Francis Crick Institute staff, researchers and students
  • Friends and Patrons of the English Chamber Orchestra
  • Friends of Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens
  • Friends of Leighton House/ Sambourne House
  • Friends of the Royal College of Music
  • Harrods staff
  • Historic Royal Palaces staff
  • Lycee Charles de Gaulle staff
  • Members of the Friends of Imperial College
  • Members of the Kennel Club
  • Members of the London Zoological Society
  • Members of the South London Botanical Institute (SLBI)
  • Members of the UK Council for Psychotherapy (UKCP)
  • National Health Service (NHS) employees
  • Natural History Museum staff
  • Residents of postcodes SW3, SW5, SW7, SW10 and W8
  • Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea Council staff
  • Royal College of Art and Royal College of Music tutors and other staff
  • Royal Geographical Society staff
  • Science Museum staff
  • Staff of Exhibition Road Cultural Group (Discover South Kensington) organisations
  • Students (non-Imperial College)
  • Teachers and other staff of UK schools
  • Tutors and other staff of institution members of the Association of Colleges
  • Tutors and other staff of other universities and higher education institutions
  • Victoria and Albert Museum staff

Late enrolment

It is possible to enrol on many of our adult education courses after the course has already started. For non-language courses this is subject entirely to agreement by the tutor. For language courses it is subject to agreement by the language coordinator conducting level assessment. If you want to join a course late do bear in mind there might be work you will need to catch up on, particularly in language courses.

Friends and Family Scheme

This course is eligible for the  allowing Imperial College students and staff to share their discount with their friends and family.

Term Dates 2022-23

HoursWeeksSpring termSummer termSummer School
 20  10 Week commencing 16 January to week ending 25 March 2023* n/a n/a
*This is a 1-term course

Enrolment Process

Web enrolment is now open

Enrolment and payment run through the Imperial College eStore. When enrolling:

  • Do check on the drop down menu above called "Course Fees and Rate Categories" to see if you are eligible for a discounted rate and also do make sure you select that rate when enrolling on the eStore
  • If you are a first-time eStore user you will need to create an account before enrolling. You can do this by entering an email address and password. This account can then be used for any future enrolments via the eStore.

When you have enrolled you will be sent the following email notifications:

What is sentWhen is it sentWhat does it contain
1. Payment confirmation Is sent instantaneously following submission of your online application
  • This is a receipt for your payment and includes payment date, order number and course title
  • Confirmation of your place on your chosen course will follow later
2. Enrolment confirmation Is sent within 10 working days. Please treat your payment confirmation as confirmation that your applicant details and payment have been received
  • Re-confirms your course choice
  • Shows your course's term dates
  • Confirms the day and time of your course
3. Programme information Is usually sent on Friday late afternoon the week before term starts
  • Contains joining instructions for your course, incl. tutor contact details
If you need further help with the above information please ring 020 7594 8756

Any Questions?

If you have any questions about the academic content or teaching of this course please contact the Course Tutor, Professor Gary Cookg.cook@imperial.ac.uk

If you have any questions about your enrolment or payment processes please contact the Programme Administrator, Christian Jacobi, eveningclass@imperial.ac.uk