Pre-sessional English

Pre-sessional English Programme

Before you study your degree programme, you should consider taking a pre-sessional academic English programme. Our pre-sessional programmes are the best way to bring your English up to the level required for university study and develop the study strategies to enable you to perform to the best of your ability on your degree. Successful completion of the pre-sessional programme will give you direct entry to your chosen degree.

There are different entry points to the pre-sessional programmes throughout the year, and all the courses can be studied on campus or completely online. The length of your pre-sessional English programme will depend on your current English level and the demands of the degree you plan to study.

Programme details, fees and entry requirements

20-week PSE – 4 April 2022

  • Fees: £7440
  • Start of teaching: Monday 4 April 2022
  • End of teaching / assessment: Friday 19 August 2022
  • Results released by Friday 26 August 2022
  • Recommended entry level IELTS 4.5 with no skill lower than 4.5 (UG); IELTS 5.0 with no skill lower than 4.5 (PG)
  • Location: Online
  • Deadline for applications: Friday 18 March 2022

14-week PSE – 16 May 2022

  • Fees: £5208
  • Start of teaching: Monday 16 May 2022
  • End of teaching / assessment: Friday 19 August 2022
  • Results released by Friday 26 August 2022
  • Recommended entry level IELTS 5.0 with no skill lower than 4.5 (UG); IELTS 5.0 with Writing 5.0 and no other skill lower than 4.5 (PG)
  • Location: On campus (subject to government regulations or legislation re Covid-19) or entirely online.
  • Deadline for applications: Friday 22 April 2022

10-week PSE – 13 June 2022

  • Fees: £3720
  • Start of teaching: Monday 13 June 2022
  • End of teaching / assessment: Friday 19 August 2022
  • Results released by Friday 26 August 2022
  • Recommended entry level IELTS 5.0 with Writing 5.0 and no other skill lower than 4.5 (UG); IELTS 5.5 with Writing 5.0 and no other skill lower than 5.0 (PG)
  • Location: On campus (subject to government regulations or legislation re Covid-19) or entirely online.
  • Deadline for applications: Friday 20 May 2022

6-week PSE – 11 July 2022

  • Fees: £2232
  • Start of teaching: Monday 11 July 2022
  • End of teaching / assessment: Friday 19 August 2022
  • Results released by Friday 26 August 2022
  • Recommended entry level IELTS 5.5 with no skill lower than 5.0 (UG); IELTS 5.5 with no skill lower than 5.5 (PG)
  • Location: On campus (subject to government regulations or legislation re Covid-19) or entirely online.
  • Deadline for applications: Friday 17 June 2022

Students taking the 6-week programme are strongly encouraged to take the on-campus option.

6-week PSE – 17 October 2022 (for Semester 2 entry)

  • Fees: £2232
  • Start of teaching: Monday 17 October 2022
  • End of teaching / assessment: Friday 25 November 2022
  • Results released by Friday 9 December 2022
  • Recommended entry level IELTS 5.5 with no skill lower than 5.0 (UG); IELTS 5.5 with no skill lower than 5.5 (PG)
  • Location: On campus (subject to government regulations or legislation re Covid-19) or entirely online.
  • Deadline for applications: Friday 23 September 2022

Students taking the 6-week programme are strongly encouraged to take the on-campus option.

Pre-sessional English – structure and learning outcomes

The pre-sessional English programmes comprise four different modules (courses). Each module requires approximately 150 hours of study. All students do the final 6-week assessment module (Module 4) simultaneously.

Pre-sessional English programme structure
20-week programme Module 1 Module 2 Module 3 Module 4
14-week programme - Module 2 Module 3 Module 4
10-week programme - - Module 3 Module 4
6-week programme - - - Module 4

Students taking the 20, 14 and 10-week programmes will use the Oxford EAP Intermediate e-book, which is available through the OUP website. You must buy the book to study the first 3 modules of the PSE.

Students taking the 6-week module do not need to purchase a coursebook.

Aims of the programme

The aim of the PSE is to improve your use of English for Academic Purposes, build your confidence in using English and equip you with the academic study skills you will need to be successful in your chosen degree.

Language learning outcomes – CEFR B2

Reading   
R1.    Find a variety of academic and professional texts in your field of study and select those appropriate to your purpose and the task  
R2.    Apply appropriate academic reading strategies to allow you to read efficiently and effectively  
R3.    Understand and critically evaluate selected texts

Writing  
W1.    Demonstrate language knowledge through the precise use of grammar, syntax, and vocabulary.  
W2.    Communicate complex ideas effectively in writing using an appropriate structure and showing awareness of purpose, style, register and audience  
W3.    Synthesise and effectively integrate source material into your writing  

Listening  
L1.    Understand extended lecture-style speech and cope with different lecturing styles  
L2.    Understand rapid, colloquial speech  
L3.    Use a range of listening strategies to allow you to interact confidently with peers and lecturers  

Speaking  
S1.    Communicate complex ideas effectively in academic contexts  
S2.    Interact confidently with peers and lecturers in one-to-one and multi-purpose exchanges with reference to sources where appropriate  
S3.    Speak clearly and effectively showing awareness of key features of English pronunciation and syntax   

Academic outcomes 
A1.    Understand the research process and how knowledge is advanced and apply theory to practice   
 A2.    Become familiar with some key genres and their communicative conventions in your discipline  
 A3.    Collaborate to develop shared ideas, engage in peer review and respond to feedback  
A4.    Exercise autonomy and initiative in completing tasks     
A5.    Reflect critically on learning   
A6.    Decode and respond appropriately to different task requirements   
A7.    Reference appropriately and with the correct format (APA, Harvard, etc.)  
A8.    Understand the impact of ethical choices during the research process   
 

Assessment and progression

The assessment on the pre-sessional programme comprises a mix of coursework (50%) and exams (50%). Achieving an overall grade C (50%) across your assessments enables you to progress to your degree at Heriot-Watt University.

Other institutions accept the outcomes for the Heriot-Watt pre-sessional course. Please check with the administrator for the university and degree you wish to study.

Formative assessment in modules 1 – 3 includes:

  • Class participation 
  • Participation in discussion board tasks
  • Group poster interaction
  • Reflective journal

Summative assessment (Module 4)

  • Tutorial discussion (15%)
  • Individual poster interaction (20%)
  • Research project (20%)
  • Engagement and reflection (10%)
  • Listening exam (15%)
  • Writing exam (20%)
     

How to prepare

All applicants are encouraged to study the Heriot-Watt pre-arrival course

This will familiarize you with some of the concepts you will learn during the Pre-sessional English programme. Studying the pre-arrival course will also help you to identify if your study environment is suitable for online study.

How to apply

Find out how to apply.

Key information

Academic English Admissions