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English & Foundation courses

Pre-sessional research programme


Cardiff University provides a dedicated Pre-sessional programme for postgraduate research students in the autumn in preparation for doctoral study starting in January.

Cardiff University is in the top tier of Britain's research universities and is a member of the prestigious Russell Group. World-leading research is conducted across every one of our academic Schools. To support our International postgraduate research students, we have a pre-sessional course specifically for students who need to improve their English language skills before joining the research environment at Cardiff.

The English Language Programmes section provides an excellent opportunity for postgraduate research (PGR) students holding offers from Cardiff University to take a short course in English for Academic Purposes prior to starting their research degree. This course is a highly intensive three-month course starting in September and designed specifically for students who are planning to start their research degree study in January.

Successful completion of the Postgraduate Research Pre-sessional Programme can provide you with the level of English and study skills necessary to meet the requirements of, and participate fully in, your academic subject at Cardiff University.

The course costs £2600 and runs from 22 September 2014 to 12 December 2014.

Entry requirements

The minimum English Language entry requirement for our Pre-sessional courses is IELTS (Academic) 6.0 (with at least 4.0 in all skill areas).

The tuition fees for the Pre-sessional English course do not include accommodation or personal spending costs. Your tuition fees must be paid in full on your first day of class. We regret that Pre-sessional course fees cannot be paid in instalments.


Payment can be made by:

  • Cheque payable to Cardiff University. This is the preferred, safest method of payment.
  • Credit Card. Please note that a credit card transaction fee may apply.
  • Cash. You may pay in Pounds Sterling when you arrive. Do not send cash through the post.

Please note: we cannot accept cash in foreign currency.

Living Expenses

The tuition fees for the Pre-Sessional English Course do not include accommodation or personal spending costs.

You can find more information about accommodation on the accommodation page. You can also use our 'living costs calculator' to find out the international average living expenses as calculated from the expenditure of international students at Cardiff University.

Terms and conditions

Arrival deadline

As the course is short and intensive it is essential that students arrive in time for the beginning of the course. Please note that the cut-off date for all Summer Pre-sessional courses is 9am on the first Wednesday of the course. The cut-off date for the Postgraduate Research Pre-sessional is 9am on Monday 7 October 2013.

If you arrive after this time will not be permitted to join to join the course.


We hope that you will not want to leave your course once you have started. If, after arrival, you wish to reduce the length of your course for any reason, you should discuss the situation with the English Language Programmes staff as soon as possible. We require a minimum of 4 weeks’ notice in writing. If you have paid in full, the remainder of your course fees, minus fees equivalent to the 4 weeks’ notice period, will be refunded. If you have not yet paid in full we will charge 4 weeks paid notice.

The course syllabus includes English language skills, study skills and the academic information and training you need to successfully complete your chosen degree programme. The course consists of a programme of full-time study, usually between 9.00am and 4.00pm. This will include a minimum of 18 and a maximum of 23 contact hours per week plus assignments.

Improving your English

This part of the course will focus on the ways we use the English language in everyday situations – in class, with friends or out and about in the city. We will concentrate on grammar, vocabulary, comprehension and communication. You will also have plenty of opportunities to practise your pronunciation.

Study Skills

Academic study skills are invaluable and we believe that all university students would benefit from this course. In these classes, you will learn and practise the core skills needed to complete your chosen degree programme. They include skills such as note-taking, summarising, text structure, referencing, data analysis, understanding lectures, making presentations and participating in seminars and tutorials.

Academic orientation

Our Academic Orientation lessons introduce you to the Cardiff University campus and academic facilities. They provide a basic introduction in the use of computer operating systems and how to use the University’s resource centres. They will provide information about learning strategies, British culture and the traditions of British universities.

Guidance and support

Students studying on the Pre-sessional English Course will receive educational counselling and support throughout their course. We will gladly help you to make arrangements for you to visit your new School and are happy to offer our advice and assistance during your transition. Our services do not end there: we offer open access support classes in English language and academic study skills as well as one-to one tutorial sessions to all full-time international students enrolled on undergraduate and postgraduate courses at Cardiff University. Our international Student Advisors offer comprehensive guidance and advice to our Pre-sessional students who will need to extend their visa after completing the Presessional course.


There is an IELTS test centre at Cardiff University. If you wish to take an IELTS test, we can help you to arrange this. The examination fee is not included in the course fee.

Follow the steps below for a guide to the application process.

Before you apply

Gather supporting documents

You will need to provide:

  • the application form, including personal statement, signature and date

Please write your correspondence address, e-mail address and telephone number clearly so that we can contact you quickly and easily.

  • a completed Equal Opportunities Monitoring form
  • evidence of English language test results or note when you will sit the exam/receive the result
  • a copy of the photograph page of your passport which must include your passport number and full name

If you don’t yet have all the evidence required, you can still apply and submit your supporting documents when they become available.


To apply for a course you need to complete the application form and the equal opportunities form. Once you have completed the forms, send them to the English Language Programmes Office with your supporting documents:

Download application form Download monitoring form

Receiving your offer

You’ll receive an email and letter from the Academic Registry confirming your offer.

The email and the letter will tell you your student number. Please include this when you contact us so we can help you easily.

When will I receive a decision on my application?

Most applicants hear back from us within four weeks.

Unconditional offer

This means you have been offered a place - congratulations! Now all you need to do is accept the offer.

Conditional offer

This means you have been offered a place, but we haven't received one of your supporting documents or you are still to complete the English language qualification required in order to gain admission to the University. Your offer letter will clearly state what evidence needs to be supplied. Once we have all the documents required to show you have met the conditions of your offer, your offer will change to Unconditional.

Accepting your offer

You need to accept your offer online through the applicant portal.

Please ensure you have read the enrolment terms and conditions prior to accepting your offer.

Log into the portal

You will receive your user name and password to access the portal via email. If you do not receive your user name and password, please contact us.

After you’ve accepted your offer

Apply for your visa

Once you have accepted your Unconditional offer to study via your student record we will send you a CAS email in support of your visa application.

If you are coming to Cardiff with a Student Visitor Visa, you will not be eligible to receive a CAS.

Plan your travel to Cardiff

We will send you information by email about travelling to Cardiff and the University, your residences and the first day of your course.


Tell your friends and family you’re going to Cardiff University.

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If you receive an unconditional offer for the Pre-sessional Programme, you will be eligible to receive a Confirmation of Acceptance for Study (CAS), which you will need in order to apply for your Tier 4 (General) Student Visa. Please see the below timeline for more information.

Note: It is very important that you arrive in Cardiff with the correct visa. Students studying at another institution in the UK must apply for a new Tier 4 visa for Cardiff University.

Students without valid Tier 4 visas for Cardiff University will not be able to enrol on the Pre-sessional Programme.

The process is as follows:

  • We make you an unconditional offer
  • You log on to SIMS online and accept your offer
  • You receive an email asking you to log on to SIMS to check that your CAS details are correct*
  • You log on to SIMS online to confirm your CAS details and make any necessary changes
  • You are sent your final CAS by email and can apply for your Tier 4 Visa*
  • *Please allow 5 days for this to happen

For more information about preparing to travel to Cardiff, including important information about medical insurance, please consult our Before you arrive pages.

English Language Programmes


Download the English Language Programme information sheets