Pre-sessional English courses

If you need to improve your English language and academic skills to meet the entry requirements for an undergraduate or postgraduate degree at The University of Sheffield our Pre-sessional English course can help.

ELTC students using computers

Covid-19 Update - Term 1 (October - December 2021)

As a result of the global COVID-19 outbreak we have made some changes to our pre-sessional English programmes:

  • Our Pre-sessional English course in Term 1 2021-22 will take place in-person in face-to-face lessons in Sheffield. Our campus buildings are open with necessary safety measures in place.
  • We continue to follow government advice and guidance, while aiming to provide the best possible on-campus student experience and excellent standards of teaching. We have contingency plans in place to adapt our learning and teaching delivery in response to new Covid-19 safety measures, should this be needed.
  • Further information about the University's Covid-19 response can be found on this webpage.

Course overview

  • Who: Anyone preparing to study a degree at The University of Sheffield
  • Cost: £385 per week - includes all tuition and course material
  • Level: CEFR B1 to C1
  • Hours: 15 hours of tutor-led classes, a 1 to 1 tutorial and at least 5 hours of guided independent study per week.
  • Time: October 2021 to September 2022
  • Minimum age: Adult learning environment. Minimum age 18 years (some exceptions considered).
  • Maximum class size: 16 students
  • Social programme: A combination of in-person and some online activities are available

Our Pre-sessional English course is designed to improve your English language and academic skills to meet the requirements for entry onto a degree programme at The University of Sheffield.

The highly qualified and experienced tutors on the course will also support you with improving your English language and academic study skills in lively and interactive classes, which will help you succeed when you join your degree programme.

Joining a Pre-sessional English course saves you the trouble of taking multiple IELTS exams before you can start your degree. If you successfully complete the assessments on the Pre-sessional English course, and have otherwise met all the other conditions outlined in your offer, you can progress directly to your degree programme when the course finishes. 

The course can also help you settle into life as a student in the UK, even if you’ve already met the English language requirements for your prospective degree programme.

Course structure

Our Pre-sessional English Course is made up of the following components:

  • General Language Development - students studying for longer pre-sessional programmes will have lower levels of English so will first take our General Language Development (“University English”) module to prepare them for the more demanding Academic English modules. At the same time they will study the Basic Academic English option module. This will be usually for one term.
  • Academic English skills: academic writing, academic reading, academic listening and academic speaking.
  • Presentation and Seminar Skills: you will be assisted with the preparation of short presentations on topics you are interested in. Presentations are followed by group discussion.
  • Extended Writing: you will research a topic of your choice and will be guided with the writing of a report on your findings.
  • 1-1 tutorials - regular meetings with a tutor providing you with the opportunity to discuss your work and progress in the areas of Reading and Writing.

Study Plan on longer Pre-sessional courses

If you have a lower level of English you may need to join one of our longer pre-sessional courses. Our long term pre-sessional programme aims to gradually build your basic language skills which are required to succeed on a degree programme.

As you progress and increase your confidence in using the basic language skills (reading, writing, listening, speaking, vocabulary, grammar, pronunciation), the Academic Skills content of the course increases. The final module concentrates on improving the Academic Skills you will need while studying on your future degree programme.

Example Long Pre-sessional Course

This shows the modules you would study on a 4-Term Pre-sessional Course:

Term 1 - University English + EAP Option

At lower levels of English you need to develop your General Language skills - our University English programme is a general language module but focussed on developing language skills within a University environment.

Term 2 - EAP Introduction

There is continued language development but with more of a focus on academic tasks such as writing, presentations and seminars. You will be introduced to these skills and allowed to develop them throughout the term.

Term 3 - EAP Higher

There is continued language development but with more of a focus on academic tasks such as writing, presentations and seminars. It expands on the second term and helps you to develop your academic skills. You will continue to develop your range of language skills.

Term 4 - EAP Final

The course focuses on seminar, presentation and academic writing skills.
The assessments involve a 1,500 extended piece of writing; a short recorded presentation and a seminar.This term provides you with the necessary language and skills to be able to enter your department.

Every moment in ELTC is useful. They use modern technology and modern techniques in teaching. They are so supportive and encourage you to improve your skills.

Haider Al-Hamadani (Iraq)

PhD Mechanical Engineering

Assessment and progression

The assessment methods used on the course vary by term. Check the assessment methods and progression opportunities for your course below.

Term 1 & 2

If your Pre-sessional course finishes in Term 1 or 2 you will need to take an IELTS exam (or equivalent) at a test centre near to your home (or at ELTC) to fulfil the English language entry requirements for your academic course.

The cost of this IELTS exam will be covered by the tuition fees for your Pre-sessional course.

Term 3 & 4 

Students attending and completing our Pre-sessional course in Term 3 or 4 will be assessed throughout the term by the following methods:

  • Extended Writing - 1500 word writing assignment, related to your degree programme, demonstrating evidence of academic reading
  • Presentation - Speaking task, related to your degree programme, demonstrating evidence of academic reading
  • Seminar - Interactive speaking task, demonstrating evidence of academic listening
  • Interview - 1 to 1 interview about your writing

Progression to University

Progression from the Pre-sessional Course onto your University of Sheffield degree programme will also include consideration of:

  • Attendance of teacher-led lessons
  • Engagement with your personal tutor
  • Completion of tasks and assessments

If you fully participate and pass the pre-sessional course assessments you will be able to progress directly onto your University of Sheffield degree course at the start of the 2022-23 academic year. The typical pass rate for the course each year is around 97%.

Progression to University - further information

Results from our Pre-sessional course in Term 3 and 4 are only guaranteed to be accepted by The University of Sheffield. The results are valid for 2 years and can be used for entry onto a degree course at the start of the academic year immediately following Term 3 and 4, or the following academic year should you choose to defer the start date of your degree course.

If you plan on attending a different university after studying our Pre-sessional English course, you will need to ask your prospective university which English language qualifications they can accept.

Example timetable

In-person Timetable (Term 1, 2 & 3)

All times are UK local time (GMT/BST) and all lessons will be taught in person in large lecture theatures to maintain social distancing.


09:30 - 11:00 - Lesson 1

11:30 - 13:00 - Lesson 2


09:30 - 11:00 - Lesson 1

11:30 - 13:00 - Lesson 2


09:30 - 11:00 - Lesson 1

11:30 - 13:00 - Lesson 2


09:30 - 11:00 - Lesson 1

11:30 - 13:00 - Lesson 2


09:30 - 11:00 - Lesson 1

11:30 - 13:00 - Lesson 2

The class times in Term 4 may be different to those shown above. Please check back closer to the start date of Term 4 for more information.


You will have a personal tutor assigned to you in each term. You will meet them regularly to discuss your work and progress on the course. These tutorials will typically take place at a time between 2pm and 3pm.

Guided Independent Study

There will typically be 60 minutes per day of required guided independent study, including readings, lectures, language practice activities, writing tasks and preparation for speaking tasks.

Dates, fees and entry requirements

You can join a Pre-sessional course at the beginning of any of our four terms.

Please select your preferred start date below to view the entry requirements, fees and dates for the various Pre-sessional English courses starting in that period:

Standard fees

The standard tuition fee for our pre-sessional course in the 2021-22 academic year is £385 per week. This fee includes:

  • All tuition and course materials
  • Course assessments
  • Regular 1 to 1 tutorials with your personal tutor
  • Individual feedback
  • Lectures by University of Sheffield academic staff
  • Access to online course materials and virtual learning environments
  • ELTC Student Exclusive Social Programme
  • Educational visits to nearby cities, museums and historical places of interest (in Term 1, 2 and 3)
  • Access to 24 hour Library and Computing facilities at The University of Sheffield
  • UCard which you can use to access University facilities and discounts in some shops and on public transport
  • Membership to the No.1 Students' Union in the UK for five years running
How to pay

You must arrange payment of your tuition fees before joining or during the first week of your course. Please note that if you do not pay by this time, you will not be allowed to continue your studies.

You may pay by:

  • Credit/debit card
  • Western Union bank transfer

If you cancel your place before starting the course we will refund any fees you have paid in advance, minus any fees or bank charges incurred.

We are unable to accept any tuition fee payments in cash.

We can also accept payments from sponsors. Acceptable sponsors include universities, government agencies, charitable organisations and registered international companies and you will need to provide a letter confirming your sponsorship before we can issue you with any visa documentation.

Do I need an IELTS for UKVI certificate?

In most circumstances - yes.

If you plan on joining a course at a British University after finishing your Pre-sessional Course then you will need to submit an UKVI Approved Secure English Language Test (SELT) result, such as IELTS for UKVI, as evidence of your English level when submitting your application. An UKVI SELT at CEFR Level B1 or above (which is equal to an IELTS score of 4.0 in every component - Reading, Writing, Speaking, Listening and Overall) is required to apply for a Student Visa for an English language course.

The only exception is for students who meet the eligibility requirements for a combined CAS who are applying for our 6 and 4 week Summer Pre-sessional Courses.

In some circumstances it is possible to attend our 6 or 4 week Pre-sessional course and a Postgraduate course on a single Student Visa obtained with a combined CAS. It may be possible for you to obtain a combined CAS without holding a UKVI approved SELT certificate, providing you meet all the other combined CAS eligibility requirements. For more information please read the combined CAS numbers for postgraduate students webpage.

If you do not have an UKVI approved SELT certificate we recommend checking the IELTS website for more information about IELTS for UKVI and to find your nearest test centre.

If you are unable to obtain an UKVI approved SELT certificate you may still be able to join our University English (General English) course on a Short Term Student Visa (if your course is over 6 months but less than 11 months) or a Visitor Visa (if your course is less than 6 months). Please contact us or visit our University English webpage for more information.

Accommodation and travel

To discover the range of accommodation options and travel information we have for students on the in-person course, please read our accommodation and travel information.

Technical requirements

The online components of the course will be delivered using Blackboard Collaborate.

To access the online content, students will require a desktop or laptop computer with a webcam and microphone, and a broadband internet connection (recommended minimum speed 5mbps).

Computer equipment and internet access is not provided as part of the course.

Length of study

The length of time you will need to study depends on your current English level, and the English language entry requirements for the University course you intend to study in the UK.

In general, the further away you are from the English language requirements for your degree programme, the longer you will need to study a Pre-sessional English course for.

Our longest course is 40 weeks in duration, split across 4 terms, and is suitable for students who are no more than 2 full IELTS bands away from the English language entry requirements for their prospective University course (e.g. a student with IELTS 5.0 overall, with at least 4.0 in every component who needs to reach IELTS 7.0 overall, with at least 6.0 in every component could join our 40 week Pre-sessional course).

If you join one of our longer Pre-sessional courses you may initially be placed into a General English class to help you reach an appropriate ability level for Academic English study.

As your language skills improve you will be able to progress into an Academic English class later in your Pre-sessional course.

Please see the 'Course dates, fees and entry requirements' section above for more details.

Please note: If the Pre-sessional Course you wish to attend is 28 weeks or more in duration then we do not require you to hold a conditional offer for a degree course at the University of Sheffield before you submit your Pre-sessional Course application.

If you are applying for a Pre-sessional Course which is under 28 weeks in length then you must hold and have accepted a conditional offer for a degree programme starting in the 2022-23 academic year at The University of Sheffield before we can make you an offer for our Pre-sessional English Course.


To apply for a Pre-sessional Course you need to submit your application through our online form. Before submitting your application please read and take note of the following information:


The final deadline for applying to our pre-sessional courses is 1 month before the course start date. We recommend applying at least 6 weeks before the start of the course so you can complete the application process and obtain a visa if you need one.

Entry Requirements

Please check that you meet the entry requirements for the pre-sessional course you are applying for. See the 'Course Dates and Entry Requirements' section above for more information.

Supporting documents

After submitting your application form you will need to send us a copy of your passport and UKVI Approved Secure English Language Test result (e.g IELTS for UKVI) by email to

If you've studied in the UK before you will also need to email us a copy of all previous UK visas and CAS statements you have received. 

If your tuition fees will be paid by a sponsor (e.g. a scholarship, your national government or an employer), please also email us a letter from your sponsor confirming this.

The letter should include:

  • A date within the last 6 months
  • Applicant's full name and date of birth
  • Sponsor's name and contact details

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Please read our Terms and Conditions before submitting your application.

Information for Under 18s

Our courses are designed for adults. Applicants who are under 18 are subject to a number of restrictions and administrative procedures. 

The standard minimum age for our courses is 18 years. However, we will consider applications from applicants who are under 18 in some circumstances, and subject to satisfactory guardianship arrangements being in place. Please contact us for more information.

For further information on under 18s at the university please visit our "Students under the age of 18" webpage".

For more information on how we hold and process your personal data, please see the University's Privacy Notice for prospective, current and former students.

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