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Durham Centre for Academic Development

Summer Pre-sessional English Language

The pre-sessional programmes are open to all students wishing to improve their academic literacy in preparation for a degree programme at Durham. This will normally be prospective undergraduates and postgraduates who hold a conditional offer of a place to study at Durham. Given the focus on foundational research and study skills, many students with unconditional offers also find our programmes an excellent preparation for the academic road ahead.

There is no deadline for applying to any of the programmes, but you should allow enough time for your application to be considered and to apply for a visa.

Our four-week Preparatory Academic Research Skills & English (PARSE) programme will be of particular interest to students who have a UKVI-approved IELTS certificate profile of around 6.5 or higher, but have little or no experience of studying at a UK university. The programme prepares students for coping with a degree course at Durham by integrating library-based research skills, critical approaches to reading and thesis-based academic essay writing. Please note that the entry level onto this programme differs by academic discipline. Your department will be able to confirm the level they require of you.

Please see further details via the links on the left-hand side of this page.

Course Content

  • awareness of UK (and Durham) university academic culture, expectations and conventions
  • the academic thinking process & argument development
  • research and study skills
  • formal, academic English style & structure
  • writing extended essays in your own academic subject area
  • listening to lectures & note-taking
  • presentation skills and seminar participation


  • 4, 8 or 12 weeks during the summer
  • approx. 20 hours of class time per week

Dates 2018

  • 12 week EAP programme: Mon 2 Jul - Fri 21 Sep 2018
  • 8 week EAP programme: Mon 30 Jul - Fri 21Sep 2018
  • 4 week 'PARSE' programme: Tue 28 Aug - Fri 21 2018

Costs 2018

  • 12 weeks: 5,400GBP
  • 8 weeks: 3,600GBP
  • 4 weeks: 1,800 GBP

Entry Requirements

  • The length of Pre-Sessional programme (12 / 8 / 4 weeks) will be given as a condition in your academic programme offer letter from Durham
  • You will need to have an IELTS certificate that a) meets the entry requirements specified by your department, AND b) is a Secure English Language Test (SELT) IELTS, taken at a UKVI-approved test centre.
  • Please note that it is possible to take both SELT and non-SELT IELTS tests at UKVI-approved centres. If you are a non-EU student, this means you must request a SELT IELTS at an approved centre. Without a SELT IELTS, you will not be able to obtain a UK visa for your Durham Pre-Sessional programme.
  • The minimum entry requirement for most Science Faculty students and for certain other departments is IELTS 5.5 in all four language skills. For other departments and for the shorter Pre-Sessional courses, entry levels may be higher. Your department will confirm the level they require of you for admission.
  • The required entry levels for Pre-Sessional entry can be found here. Please also see the 'Entry Requirements' link (left) for further details

Qualification Awarded

  • Certificate of Attendance

How to Apply

Application deadlines

  • There are no official application deadlines. However, if you are an overseas student requiring a UK visa, please remember this may take some time to organise. As a general guide, you should aim to apply for a Pre-Sessional programme no later than 4 weeks before the course is due to start.

For further information

Please see links on the left-hand side of this page and/or contact Pre-Sessional related staff via