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Summer Pre-Sessional Course in English for Academic Purposes 2017

Monday 7th August 2017 - Friday 15th September 2017

This course is designed specifically to prepare international students and academic visitors for study at the University of Oxford. If you are coming to Oxford to do a postgraduate degree (a Master’s or a DPhil) or to do research, you will be much better equipped to meet the demands of academic life and do well in your studies if you attend this pre-sessional course.

Page updated 22 February 2017   

Group photo at Waddesdon Manor

Why study on the pre-sessional?

You will benefit from expert tuition designed to improve your spoken and written English and boost your confidence in your ability to communicate your ideas clearly. You will receive regular individual feedback on your language development from your tutors. When you start your degree course, you will be able to take an active part in seminars, having developed your oral skills by improving your pronunciation and presentation skills. You will learn how to read more effectively and write more accurately, as well as to interpret what you hear in a variety of contexts. You will develop your academic study skills, learning how to search for information and reference what resources you decide to cite in your work. You will also learn about British culture, and in the process make friends with students from around the world, making it easier to integrate into the social life of Oxford from the beginning of the academic year.

‘The pre-sessional course was one of the most exciting experiences of my study period in Oxford. Not only did my English improve but I also had the chance to visit mind-blowing places in the countryside, which are usually difficult to reach by yourself. Most of all, I enjoyed making friends from all over the world and having conversations with them in English!’

Italian/Austrian student, MSc Economic and Social History

‘The most valuable part of the course for me was to get used to thinking and speaking in English. The listening classes were useful, especially listening to recorded lectures and broadcasts and taking notes. This course helped me to settle in at Oxford.’

Icelandic student, MJuris Law


How long is the course?

It lasts six weeks, from Monday 7 August 2017 to Friday 15 September 2017. There will be no classes on Monday 28 August 2017 as it is a public holiday: Monday's classes will be held later that week.

Picnic in the Botanic Garden

How much does it cost?

It costs £2,400 for all tuition and photocopied materials, as well as excursions to places of interest. A deposit of £300 is payable at the time of application to secure your place. Payment of the balance is due in full by Friday 21 July 2017. Registrations will continue to be accepted, where places are available, up to the start of the programme.

All Souls College


Students who are coming to study at Oxford University from October may be housed by their own colleges during the summer pre-sessional. They should contact their college as soon as possible to ask if rooms are available in the summer and what the charges are.

The Language Centre cannot arrange accommodation, but can provide some information about suitable student accommodation in Oxford for those who cannot be housed by a college.


With grateful acknowledgements for the photographs to the following:

1. Seung Hoon Lee2. Yecheng Cao
3. Wojtek Szymczak  4. Yuan Zhou
5. Atsushi Shimada6. Romme Romato
7. Lukas Meier8. Chiara Natalie Focacci
Lady Margaret Hall College

What will you study on the pre-sessional?

You will develop your skills in:

  • Writing academic essays
  • Reading academic texts effectively
  • Understanding lectures
  • Taking notes from lectures and written texts
  • Participating in seminars and discussions
  • Giving presentations
  • Interacting in social situations

More detailed information will be sent to participants before the start of the course.

‘I really value different aspects of the course that I think are going to be very useful for me to apply during my degree, such as doing presentations, reading texts quickly and taking notes, and of course writing a text properly.’

Paraguayan student, MSc Latin American Studies

‘Excellent teaching and facilities.’

Taiwanese student, DPhil Atmospheric, Oceanic and Planetary Physics

Trip to White Horse Hill near Uffington

How is the course organised?

  • 20 hours of tuition each week at the Language Centre
  • Small groups of around 12 people per class
  • Classes from 9:00 to 15:15 on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday
  • Wednesday excursions and activities
  • Access to the facilities of the Language Centre (social space, wifi, networked computers) and our library, with its reading room and study booths, textbooks, novels and DVDs of English language films
Foggy day in Oxford

Admission requirements

  • Students with a conditional or unconditional offer from Oxford University are given priority on the pre-sessional course. Students going on to another institution of higher education where English is the medium of instruction may also be accepted if places are available.
  • Prospective students should note that the minimum English language requirement for postgraduate students at Oxford University is IELTS 7.0 or TOEFL ibT 100. Some courses require higher scores. For complete details, click here
  • Students without a score need to show their level of competence in English in order to be accepted on the pre-sessional course. Students should note that a realistic level of achievement by the end of the course in terms of IELTS is an increase of 0.5 (one band) in each component, although in terms of academic competence, much more can be achieved.
  • Information for students who need to apply for a Tier 4 visa
Punting on the Cherwell

Registration and queries

Download the registration form here

Fill it in and email it to: or print it out and send it by post to:
The Assistant Director (EPS 2017)
University of Oxford
Language Centre
12 Woodstock Rd
Oxford OX2 6HT
Great Britain

You are welcome to contact us with any queries on


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