10 weeks full-time online


July 2021, August 2021


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Online Summer English Pre-Sessional course

This course is suitable for you if you need to improve your existing level of English to progress to study at a UK university. University College Birmingham will accept the Online Summer English Pre-Sessional course certificate as proof of your English level. If you wish to study elsewhere after the course, it is recommended that you check whether the particular institution will accept the certificate.

Why should I choose this course?

  • You will learn key academic skills, as well as improve your existing English language level
  • You will be provided with the opportunity to work collaboratively online with experienced English language lecturers, as well as students from all over the world
  • You will be able to work at your own pace on tasks online, and will be assessed using a portfolio approach, which is less pressurised than a final examination
  • You will be provided with frequent feedback and support throughout the course to help you progress in time to start your chosen course in September
  • As well as online written tasks, you will have the opportunity to work with your lecturers and other students on the course using online video conferencing

Course content

  • One: Getting Started
  • Two: Recording information
  • Three: Using information
  • Four: Looking Forward

Unit 1: Differences in academic culture

Study tips; modes of lesson delivery (lecture, seminar, etc. and their key differences)

Unit 2: Time management skills

Prioritising tasks; using planners to manage time

Unit 3: Understanding assignment briefs and tasks

Analysing assignment briefs; understanding key words; developing ideas

Unit 4: Reflection

Individual SWOT analysis; peer review techniques; feedback and feedforward – reflecting on portfolio tasks End of block task – unlocks Block Two.

Unit 5: Academic grammar and style

Verb tenses, passive voice, noun phrases and relative clauses

Unit 6: Listening to lectures:

Note structures; symbols and abbreviations; recognising signposting in lectures; Using introductions to structure notes; Recognising supporting arguments and different positions

Unit 7: Reading strategies

The SQ3R Reading Model; predicting content; skimming, scanning and reading for detail; using topic sentences to identify ideas; making critical choices when reading; End of block task– unlocks Block Three evaluating sources

Unit 8: Referencing at UCB

Harvard referencing conventions; identifying plagiarism

Unit 9: Presentation skills

Preparing for presentations; signposting in presentations

Unit 10: Paraphrasing and summarising

Paraphrasing techniques – sentence and paragraph level; identifying key information and summarising texts

Unit 11: Essay writing

Different essay structures; essays vs. reports; University College Birmingham format conventions

Unit 12: Introductions

Structuring effective introductions; useful expressions/ signposting

Unit 13: Paragraphs

Paragraph structure; writing effective topic sentences; cohesive devices in writing

Unit 14: Conclusions

Structuring effective conclusions; useful expressions/ signposting

Unit 15: Discussions

Participating in a seminar discussion; language for agreeing and disagreeing; language for giving explanations and rephrasing; referring to sources when speaking End of block task – unlocks Block Four

Unit 16: Using Grammarly

Unit 17: Course review and final practice activities

Unit 18: Support at University College Birmingham

The intensive learning prepared me well for better learning on my course. Besides learning advanced English, I was introduced to the patterns involved in assignments in semester one – for example, understanding literature review, matrix and citations.

Yuk Ha Wicky Cheung Summer Pre-sessional English Course / MA Culinary Arts Management

Entry requirements

There is no formal English entry requirement for this course, although you should have English language proficiency equivalent to IELTS 5.0.

In order to apply for the Online Summer English Pre-Sessional Course, you are required to have applied for an undergraduate or postgraduate course and received a conditional offer for the September 2021 intake. 

Enquiry form

International applicants

  • By phone: +44 121 232 4458
  • By fax: +44 121 604 1166

EU applicants

  • By phone: +44 121 604 1040

Key information

Teaching and assessment

Teaching is task-based and communicative in approach.  It is delivered wholly online via Canvas, University College Birmingham’s online learning platform.  Material is delivered via different ‘blocks’, consisting of various units (units cover aspects such as listening skills for lectures, presentation skills and structuring academic writing). It is estimated that students will spend at least five hours per day working on materials provided. 

Teaching and learning materials include:

  • Pre-recorded videos, covering key aspects of academic skills
  • Guided independent study tasks – approximately 5 hours per day
  • Interactive online seminars where you will discuss topics with teachers and other students on the course
  • Online discussion board tasks in which you will collaborate with other students on the course and course lecturers
  • Two 15-minute personal tutorials across the course


  • Students will be assessed through continuous portfolio assessment tasks resulting in marks for each of the four skills
  • There will be a resit opportunity for each of the assessed tasks
  • The portfolio will be split across the different skills and will involve a combination of discrete skills tasks and reflective tasks
  • Listening: a comprehension task (30%), a PowerPoint note-taking task (30%) and a lecture note-taking task with summary (40%)
  • Reading: reading comprehension tasks (50%), abstracts and critical reading tasks (30%), note-taking task (20%)
  • Writing: a paragraph summary task (20%), a text summary task (30%), a 700-word discursive essay based on written and audio materials (50%)
  • Speaking: an individual interview (20%), a PowerPoint presentation (30%) and an online group seminar (50%)
  • Final assessments will need to be submitted by week commencing 6th September with final resits so to be submitted by 10th September 2021


You will be allocated a single room in our halls of residence while attending this course. Please visit our Accommodation pages for more detailed information.

Course dates

Course Dates Application deadline*
Online Pre-sessional English Course (10 weeks) 5th July – 10 September 2021 14th June 2021

*Applications for the Online Pre-sessional English Course cannot be accepted after these dates

Tuition fees and finance


Course Tutition Fees
Online Pre-sessional English Course (10 weeks) £2,900

International pre-payment policy

Please note there is a pre-payment of tuition fees policy for International students who apply for a course at University College Birmingham.

Can I still get Student Finance for the Pre-sessional Summer English Course?

You will NOT receive any Student Finance while you are studying this course. The Online Pre-sessional English Course will teach you the English skills needed to progress onto an academic course at University College Birmingham. 

Studying this course encouraged my career plans, from the teaching to the support I received from tutors to be more reliable and confident in my future. Studying and living in Birmingham is quite easy for me because I am already used to the city, and eager to study and achieve my goals here.

Adebimpe Ilelaboye Summer Pre-sessional English Course / Health and Social Care BSc (Hons)

Undergraduate students

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