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20-week courses

Our 20-week summer pre-sessional courses focus on developing the English language and core study skills you need to study effectively on an academic course in the UK.

Your pre-sessional result will only be valid for entry to academic courses in the 2024/25 academic year.

You can choose to complete the course online from your home country or to join us on campus in Cardiff.

Both the online and on campus 20-week programmes are full-time, intensive courses of approximately 30 hours per week, including class time, tutorials, self-study, homework and assessment.

Course dates and times

Applications for the 20-week courses are now closed.

20-week online course

The 20-week online course will run from 15 April to 30 August 2024 as a fully online course which you can study from your home country.

The 20-week online course will include live online classes and class tasks, plus seminars and tutorials between 09:00 and 14:30 UK time (British Summertime) with additional hours of guided practice and self-study. Week 8 is a Reading week, with no live online classes. We have designed this focused online course to provide you with the contact hours and practice required to help you improve your language skills and reach the entry level for your academic course.

The deadline to apply for this course is 29 March 2024.

A CAS will not be issued for this course as it can not be studied from the UK.

20-week on-campus course

The 20-week on-campus course will run from 15 April to 30 August 2024 on campus in Cardiff.

The 20-week on-campus course will include live on-campus classes and class tasks, plus seminars and assessment tutorials between 09:00 and 15:00 UK time (British Summertime) with additional hours of guided practice and self-study. Week 8 is a Reading week, with no live classes.

The deadline to apply for this course is 15 March 2024.


The course fee for 2024 entry is £7,995.

Entry requirements

IELTS (Academic)

The 20-week course is for students with IELTS (Academic) 5.0 overall (with a score of 5.0 in Writing, 4.5 in Speaking and all other sub-scores at 4.0 or higher) and have a course entry requirement of IELTS 6.5 overall.


On campus

Applicants for the on campus course will need to ensure that they take the IELTS (Academic) for UKVI test or the Pearson Test of English (PTE) Academic UKVI test.


Students who are taking the online pre-sessional course can use a Duolingo, TOEFL iBT (including Home Edition) or the non-UKVI version of IELTS (Academic) or Pearson Test of English Academic to meet our entry requirements. View the PTE, Duolingo and TOEFL iBT requirements.

Schools accepting this course

These Academic Schools will accept the 20-week on campus and online pre-sessional courses in 2024:

College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences

College of Biomedical and Life Sciences

College of Physical Sciences and Engineering

We regret that these schools do not accept the 20-week course:

  • Business
  • Journalism, Media and Culture
  • Law and Politics
  • Social Sciences
  • Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences
  • Psychology

Course outline

The on-campus and online courses will:

  • develop your language and skills to prepare you for your academic course at Cardiff University
  • include a full teaching programme and course materials that will cover the skills of academic reading, writing, listening, and speaking
  • feature ‘guided practice’ materials which provide extra opportunities to develop key areas of academic language and skills, supplemented by self-study materials that you may wish to practise in your own time to check your understanding of different aspects of the course
  • Offer every student a rich classroom experience: you will be placed in a group of students for your lessons with our experienced and qualified tutors, where we hope that you will enjoy working both individually and with the other students in your group as you develop your skills together
  • provide tutorials with your teacher and individual feedback on your progress
  • offer all students pastoral care from our approachable and caring team
  • introduce you to academic life and provide professional guidance on academic issues and expectations

The primary focus of weeks 1 to 7 of the course is to quickly develop your language resource. It will focus on intensive study of the vocabulary and grammatical features common to academic discourse.

As a result, you will practise and develop both receptive and productive skills which are required in an academic context.

Following a Reading week in week 8, weeks 9 to 12 will concentrate on basic academic skills in preparation for the final part of the course.

The final part of the course is designed to develop your general study and research skills. These weeks will focus on providing you with the ability to improve the structure and style of your academic work in line with university expectations and conventions.

It will further assist you in developing your analytical and collaborative skills. In these classes, you will learn and practise the core skills needed to complete your chosen degree programme.

These include skills such as:

  • note-taking
  • summarising
  • text structure
  • referencing
  • data analysis
  • understanding lectures
  • making presentations
  • participating in seminars and tutorials.

Academic orientation

All students will be familiarised with university resources provided to students enrolled on academic programmes of study and with the conventions and expectations for the presentation of academic work.