International students

Pre-Sessional courses

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English Language programmes

We offer a range of Pre-Sessional English Language (PSE) courses delivered by expert teachers at the University of Essex International College (UEIC), a Kaplan International Pathways partner or our partners in China (developed by Essex Pathways).

Pre-Sessional English courses are designed to improve your English language level ahead of studying a degree at University of Essex.

If you join a UEIC Pre-Sessional English programme you will take Kaplan’s own English language test at the end of the course. If you successfully pass this, the University will remove the English language condition from your main course offer. You will not be required to take another independent English language test such as IELTS, TOEFL or Pearson.

We are currently only accepting offers to the Autumn term Online only Pre-Sessional English programmes (see details below). This webpage will be updated with information regarding Pre-Sessional courses available in Spring/Summer 2023 once details are confirmed.

Pre-Sessional English Language (PEL)

The PEL focuses on improving your English grammar and vocabulary, and helping you gain further reading, writing, speaking and listening skills.

The PEL is available at either our Colchester or Southend campus.

The Autumn Term PEL is available online only.

Additional important information


You will receive your Autumn term PEL results on 2 December. Provided you have successfully passed, and you have satisfied any other conditions of your main course offer, you will be issued an unconditional offer letter for your main programme of study at University of Essex within 5 working days.

Getting your CAS

If you need a student visa to study in the UK you will need a Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) in order to submit a visa application.

On campus applicants

Linked CAS

We always aim to issue linked CAS if it is possible for us to do so. This means that you will be given one CAS, which will cover both your Pre-Sessional programme and main programme of study, meaning you only need to make one visa application.

Linked CAS will be assigned if:

  • You are taking a Pre-Sessional programme less than 12 weeks long
  • English is the only remaining condition of your main course offer.

Standalone CAS

If you:

  • Are taking a Pre-Sessional programme longer than 12 weeks
  • Have other conditions in your main course offer

You will not be eligible for a linked CAS and instead will be issued two separate CAS:

  • One for your Pre-Sessional programme - assigned no later than 4-weeks prior to the start date of your programme
  • One for your main course programme - assigned within 5 working days from your Pre-Sessional results being released on 9 September 2022 (so long as you have successfully passed, have achieved any other conditions and have provided us with any information requested). In most cases applicants in this position will be able to make their new visa application from within the UK.


Academic Skills Preparation Programme (ASPP)

Kaplan’s ASPP is the only course available to unconditional offer holders, and is available at the Colchester campus. This 4-week course will introduce you to the study and research skills common in UK universities. It will also help familiarise you with the University campus, and adjust more easily to student life and the academic culture in the UK.

How to apply

If you would like to join one of the English Language programmes available at the University of Essex International College, you can apply via the myEssex applicant portal or contact us to answer any questions you might have.

Studying online (only applicable to those applying to the Autumn Term Online only pre-Sessional English Language programme)

If you would like to apply to study the Pre-Sessional programme online from your home country, you do not need to hold a secure English language test. However, you must hold an accepted English certificate to enable us to know your baseline level of English and determine which programme you may be eligible for depending on the uplift you require.

The certificates we are able to accept are:

  • Academic IELTS (UKVI or non UKVI), including IELTS indicator (the online test)
  • TOEFL IBT including the Special home Edition and “my best scores”
  • Trinity ISE
  • Pearson Test of English (PTE) Academic or PTE for UKVI.

If you hold an English language certificate that is not listed please email and we can advise whether we are able to accept it for admission to a Pre-sessional programme.

We are unable to accept Duolingo for entry to our Pre-Sessional programmes.

Studying in person on campus

If you wish to study PELSS or PEL on campus in the UK you must hold a Secure English Language Test such as UKVI IELTS (academic), Trinity or Academic Pearson Test of English (PTE) for UKVI. This must be dated within 2 years of the start date of your Pre-Sessional programme.

If you wish to study the ASPP you only need to hold an unconditional offer and to not need to hold a secure English language test.

In China Provision

If you are resident in China, you may be interested in taking a Pre-Sessional programme on campus at one of our partner institutions in China.

These Pre-Sessional programmes focus on enhancing your English language skills to prepare you for undergraduate or postgraduate degree level study. You will be taught further grammar and vocabulary skills as well as additional reading, writing, speaking and listening skills.

If you take a Pre-Sessional English programme with one of our partners in China you will take the Essex Pathways English language test at the end of the course. If you have successfully passed you will be provided with a transcript and the University will remove the English language condition from your main course offer.

This webpage will be updated with further information once details of provision for Spring/Summer 2023 are confirmed.

Results and CAS issue

You will be provided with your results after 5 August 2022.

If you have achieved all the conditions of your main course offer, an unconditional offer letter and Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) will be issued for your main programme of study at University of Essex as soon as possible so that you can make a student visa application.

How to apply

Applications can be submitted via the “Applying” tab of your MyEssex applicant portal.

In order to apply you must hold an accepted English language certificate dated within 2 years of the start date of the Pre-Sessional programme:

  • IELTS, UKVI or non UKVI Academic (including IELTS indicator)
  • TOEFL iBT including TOEFL iBT Special Home Edition and My Best Scores
  • Trinity ISE
  • PTE (Pearson Test of English Academic) or PT (Pearson Test of English Academic) for UKVI

If you have any queries please email

English classes for dependants

The Department of Language and Linguistics offers free English classes for dependants of international students and staff at the University of Essex. To find out more about eligibility and available classes, please visit the department's website

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Pre-Sessional finder

You can study a Pre-Sessional course before the start of your main course at Essex. The right Pre-Sessional course for you depends on your current IELTS score and the subject you'll be studying afterwards. Our Pre-Sessional finder tool will show you the options available to you.

Find a Pre-Sessional course