Pre-sessional English Language (Postgraduate)

  • Length
    See table below
  • Department
    English Language Centre

Course overview

This intensive programme is for international students about to start full-time postgraduate study at a UK university.

This programme is more than just a language course, which is why it is longer than other pre-sessional courses you might find elsewhere. 

It will also familiarise you with the British education system, and will develop your study skills. And it is  tailored to the arts and social sciences, so it's ideal if you're planning on studying these subjects in the future. 

The course covers:

  • English language
  • academic study skills
  • cultural background studies
  • critical analysis

There is continuous assessment through regular assignments, especially listening exercises, presentations and essays. At the end of the programme, you receive a profile of your performance and progress, and recommendations for your future language development. There is an opportunity to take the IELTS exam.

Social programmes

During your time in London, there will be opportunities to visit theatres and galleries. A party is organised at the end of the programme.

Entry points

The programme consists of several entry points, ranging from five weeks long to 18 weeks long depending on your existing level of English language.

Contact the department

If you have specific questions about the degree, contact the English Language Centre

Modules & structure

This programme consists of several entry points: you start the programme in either May, July or August, and finish in September. 

Students who start the programme in May are provided with more general EAP (English for Academic Purposes) modules. This is especially important for students whose previous experience of English learning has focused on IELTS or general English only. However, you will receive classes in critical studies and cultural background.

Renaissance and text analysis

In May the critical studies module introduces you to the Renaissance and introduces you to text analysis: in recent years we have focused on avant-garde British director Derek Jarman’s film Caravaggio, which is thematically related to the Renaissance but also deals with key concerns of postmodern thought.  This provides a good preparation for the lectures in Postmodernity in July and August.

Development of critical thinking 

From May to June the module involves some reading, writing, and discussion, but the main skills focus is on oral presentations. In the cultural background module, you will learn and write about theories of how world culture began and developed. Crucially, both modules encourage the development of your critical thinking.

Learning language through content

From July the language, skills and ideas introduced earlier are extended, while the focus is very much on teaching language through content. You will have a choice of lectures in either Contemporary Art History or Film Studies and a lecture series in ‘Postmodernities’ where you will be introduced to key postmodern thinkers and their ideas through a series of lectures presented by specialists in the field. These weekly lectures give you excellent practice in the academic language skills of listening to lectures and taking notes. To support the lectures, you will receive classes in writing and presentation skills, vocabulary and grammar development, and listening and speaking skills. The lectures also provide the academic theory on which you must base an extended essay.

Please note that due to staff research commitments not all of these modules may be available every year.


The English Language Centre
specialises in teaching English language and academic writing

English Language Centre

Come and learn from a dedicated team of specialists. Some of our team have worked in this area for over 20 years.

We offer courses for:

  • students with English as a second language
  • native English speakers who are keen to develop their skills in academic writing

These courses range from standalone foundation years and pre-sessional courses right through to in-sessional courses that you complete during your degree programme.

It’s also possible to book an appointment with our resident Royal Literary Fund Fellows – professional writers who can help you improve your essay-writing skills.

Find out more about the English Language Centre.

Entry requirements

There are different IELTS requirements depending on the length of the programme you want to apply for. See the table below for details.

Dates and entry requirements for 2016

Length Dates Entry requirements Fees
14 weeks full-time 16 May - 2 September 2016 6.0 UKVI IELTS £4,010 (£300 deposit when you accept our offer of a place) 
9 weeks full-time 4 July - 2 September 2016

Pre-Masters entrants: 5.0 UKVI IELTS Postgraduate entrants: 6.5 UKVI IELTS

£2,670 (£300 deposit when you accept our offer of a place)
5 weeks full-time 1 August - 2 September 2016 6.5 UKVI IELTS; you must have a minimum of 6.5 in the writing test £1,540 (£300 deposit when you accept our offer of a place)

Equivalent qualifications
We accept a wide range of international qualifications. Find out more about the qualifications we accept from around the world.

English language requirements
If English isn’t your first language, you’ll need to meet our English language requirements to study with us.

For this programme we require:

If you need assistance with your English language, we offer a range of courses that can help prepare you for postgraduate-level study.

How to apply

To apply for the Pre-sessional programme, please download an English Language Centre application form.

Once completed, please send this to:

English Language Centre
Goldsmiths, University of London
New Cross
London SE14 6NW
United Kingdom

Find out more about applying.

Fees, funding & scholarships

Find out more about tuition fees.

Find out more about funding opportunities for home/EU applicants, or funding for international applicants. If you're applying for funding, you may be subject to an application deadline.

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