4-week Pre-sessional course 2016 entry

The 4-week Pre-sessional course prepares you for your degree programme by focusing on the academic skills and language required for success at a top UK university. You’ll learn about the academic, social and cultural life at St Andrews so you can start your degree with more confidence, knowing how to succeed.

Course type

Full-time pre-degree course to prepare students who use English as an additional language for undergraduate or postgraduate degree programmes.

Course dates

Orientation: 4 August 2016
Course: 8 August 2016 to 1 September 2016

Entry requirements

To enter, applicants must have a conditional or unconditional offer for any degree programme at the University of St Andrews

You must also have an IELTS (Academic) score of 6.5 with a minimum of 6.0 in each subscore. If you require a visa to study in the UK, you must take the IELTS for UKVI version of the test.

To apply, you will need to provide a copy of your passport.

Tuition fees


No deposit is required.

Payment can be made by the following methods:

Application deadline

If you are looking to start this programme in 2017, you can find information about 2017 entry on the 2017 4-week Pre-sessional course page. Information about all programmes from previous years of entry can be found in our archive.

Course information

Students are arranged into separate business, arts and science groups according to your degree intention. Classes generally have between 10 and 15 students. The 4-week course is highly intensive and involves five mornings and four afternoons of class contact (20 hours) in addition to self-study.

The morning session is divided into two lessons of 90 minutes each. The first lesson is dedicated to improving your extended academic writing and presentation skills; the second focuses on language development. During the afternoons there are grammar workshops and subject specialist lectures.

While the general emphasis of the course is on the academic writing and interactional skills necessary for successful study, additional sessions are also dedicated to reading and grammar development.

Language development

The course is designed to help students participate effectively in tutorials and seminars. During the course, students will examine a wide range of language from colloquial to correct and from formal to informal in both academic and non-academic contexts. The course includes the following:

  • a review of some key aspects of grammar, phrasal verbs, metaphors, indirectness and understatement, recognising styles
  • extending the range of active vocabulary use
  • monitored grammar workshop sessions designed to complement the work covered in Language Development classes and which allow students to study independently and at their own speed.


Each student gives a presentation based on a piece of academic writing produced during writing classes.

Before each presentation session, students will learn how to maximise the impact of their presentations by learning how to:

  • structure the content
  • select an appropriate style of language
  • engage their audience
  • pace their delivery
  • use software to support the content.

Students receive both peer and extensive oral and written teacher feedback.


Students produce two drafts of an essay of 5,000 words on a topic connected with their academic study. Essays are returned with extensive individual written and oral feedback.

Classwork includes the following aspects, according to students' needs:

  • appropriate use of sources and avoiding academic misconduct (plagiarism)
  • structuring a paragraph to enhance the line of thought
  • organising an essay, laboratory report or poster presentation
  • academic style and discourse markers.

Subject specialist lectures

The Pre-sessional lecturing programme includes Arts, Business and Science lectures delivered by staff from those faculties. These lectures are followed by seminar discussions led by the lecturers, and they give students the opportunity to:

  • develop listening and note-taking skills
  • become used to different styles of delivery
  • gain confidence in their ability to operate within what may be a new or unfamiliar teaching method.

Progression requirements

To successfully complete your course, you must attend all obligatory classes, lectures, seminars and workshops and complete all assignments (assessed and non-assessed).

For students with a conditional offer, you must achieve an overall score of 14 on the University's 20-point marking scale to fulfil the conditions of your offer. If you achieve this, you will satisfy the language requirement and not be required to take any further language test such as IELTS. Further explanation of assessment and progression will be provided during orientation.


Students can apply for accommodation in Fife Park Apartments or David Russell Apartments for the duration of the pre-­sessional course. Accommodation will be available from Wednesday 03 August 2016. Students will have to move out of their allocated room on Friday 02 September 2016.

The 4-week Pre-sessional course accommodation package is self catered. 

Taught postgraduate students

Visit the postgraduate accommodation webpage to complete the online accommodation application form. When you complete the online application, you must ensure you check the box for the 4-­week Pre-sessional course.

Undergraduate students

Please contact English Language Teaching to receive more information to apply for accommodation. Please note that applicants who will go on to study on an undergraduate degree programme may be asked to share a room for the duration of the pre­sessional.

Private accommodation

If you do not want to apply for residential accommodation, please be aware that you are responsible for making alternative arrangements. Unfortunately, ELT cannot assist you in finding private accommodation before or during the course. St Andrews is very busy during the summer months, and it may be difficult to find an affordable private room or flat.

If you decide that you would prefer to arrange private accommodation for yourself or your family, we recommend that you look at the properties available on StudentPad


English Language Teaching
University of St Andrews
Kennedy Gardens
St Andrews
KY16 9DJ
Scotland, UK

Phone: +44 (0)1334 46 2255
Email: elt@st-andrews.ac.uk

ELT website

Admission to the University of St Andrews is governed by our Admissions policy.

Curriculum development

As a research intensive institution, the University ensures that its teaching references the research interests of its staff, which may change from time to time. As a result, programmes are regularly reviewed with the aim of enhancing students' learning experience. Our approach to course revision is described online. (PDF, 72 KB).

Tuition fees

The University will clarify compulsory fees and charges it requires any student to pay at the time of offer. The offer will also clarify conditions for any variation of fees. The University’s approach to fee setting is described online. (PDF, 84 KB)