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International Foundation Courses and English Language Studies

English Language and Academic Studies Programme (ELAS)

Duration: 3, 6 or 9 months


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A 3, 6 or 9 month Diploma/Certificate Programme in Academic English with:

  • International Business
  • Social Science
  • Humanities

The programme meets the needs of different groups of international students:

Students who have a first degree in a particular subject and who wish to pursue postgraduate studies in the same or a related field but who need to develop their English language and study skills and gain experience and confidence in studying academic subjects in the British university environment.

Students who are studying at university in their own country and who wish to spend a period of time at a British university to develop their English language, study skills and insights into the contemporary world through a range of academic subjects.

Students who have a first degree and wish to improve their English for entry to the SOAS Pre-Master's programme (FDPS).

Students who have completed their High School education in their own country and who wish to improve their English language for entry to the SOAS undergraduate foundation programme (ICC).

Professional people who wish to improve their English language skills and deepen their understanding of contemporary issues in a university environment.

ELAS Brochure (pdf; 1444kb)

Entry Requirements

The minimum English language level to join the ELAS programme is IELTS 4.5 (with 4.5 in writing),TOEFL iBT 60 (with 12 in writing), or 41 Pearson PTE Academic (PTE) (with 41 in writing).

For the Certificate/Diploma levels A2/3/4 which include the Academic Subject Courses, you need a minimum of 5.0 IELTS (with 5.0 in writing), TOEFL iBT 68 (with 14 in writing), or PTE 46 (with 46 in writing).

We can also take into consideration other English language tests such as Passport, TOEFL PBT or TOEIC. You can apply without an English score but you may be asked to take a grammar/writing test and/or an interview in London or in your home country.

If you require a visa to study in the UK, you can normally take two terms on ELAS (September to March or January to June) with a Student Visitor Visa (SVV). For this you are not required to provide an approved English language test score (such as IELTS or PTE). However, if you wish to take two terms on ELAS, starting in April and finishing in December, you will need a Tier 4 General Student Visa.

For periods of study longer than 6 months, students requiring a visa will need a CAS issued by SOAS to apply for a Tier 4 General Student Visa. To issue the CAS we will need to see an IELTS or PTE certificate from a test taken less than two years before the start date of your studies. The test result must be above CEFR B1 level - for example IELTS 4.0 in each subscore, PTE 36 in each subscore.

Please note that we can accept an iBT TOEFL score as evidence of your English level, but we can no longer issue a CAS on the basis of a TOEFL score, so students requiring a Tier 4 visa are advised to take an IELTS or Pearson PTE Academic test.

Application procedure

You can apply for one, two or three terms but you are reminded that you must take at least two terms studying the same same academic subject to qualify for the award of a Diploma or Certificate.

To speed up the application process, please also email us copies of the following:

  1. the photo ID page of your passport (or national ID card if you don't have a passport)
  2. your IELTS, PTE or other English certificate (if you have one)
    Diploma/Certificate candidates or applicants wishing to go on to further academic study in the UK (eg at Masters level) should also email us a copy of their university transcript.

ELAS Application Form 2015 (pdf; 155kb) or complete the on-line application form


Autumn Term 2014
  • Orientation for new students  23 - 24 September 2014
  • Teaching dates  29 September – 12 December 2014
  • (Reading Week 3 - 7 November)
Spring Term 2015
  • Orientation for new students  5 January 2015
  • Teaching dates   Tuesday 6 January - 20 March 2015
  • (Reading Week 09 -13 February)
Summer Term 2015
  • Orientation for new students 14 - 15 April 2015
  • Teaching dates 20 April - 03 July 2015
  • (Reading Week 25 - 29 May) 
Autumn Term 2015
  • Orientation for new students  22 – 23 September 2015
  • Teaching dates 28 September – 11 December 2015
  • Reading Week 2-6 November 2015 
Spring Term 2016
  • Orientation for new students: 4 January 2016
  • Teaching dates Tues 5 January – 18 March 2016
  • (Reading Week 8-12 February 2016)

 (Easter closure is 24-28 March 2016)

Summer Term 2016
  • Orientation for new students 12-13 April
  • Teaching dates 18 April – 1 July
  • (Reading Week: 23 – 27 May



  • January– July 2015 £4,350 per term
  • September 2015 - July 2016 £4,600 per term  £13,800 full academic year

Accommodation fees

All fees are payable in advance on either a termly or annual basis, and refunds of
fees for cancelled terms are made only at the discretion of the Head of
Department. For instructions on how to pay see  www.soas.ac.uk/ifcels/fees/


SOAS reserves the right to alter course programmes and fees without notice.


All ELAS students study for 18 hours per week.
Pre-intermediate level students in A1 study 14 hours per week of English. All A1 students take A1 Humanities as their academic subject for 4 hours per week.
Intermediate level and above students take intensive academic English  in A2, A3, or A4 for 9 hours per week and choose one academic subject  for 5 hours per week and one Language/Culture course  for 4 hours per week.

Academic English

The four levels of Academic English focus on developing accurate listening, speaking, reading and writing skills and teach the full range of skills required for the academic subject study and for further studies.

English A1 Pre-intermediate level (preliminary course) 18 hours per week

IELTS 4.5, TOEFL 473, CBT 150, iBT 60, PTE 41
Focuses on accuracy, grammar, vocabulary, pronunciation, listening, speaking, reading and writing in preparation for English A2. Prepares the foundations for academic essay writing.

English A2, A3, A4 Intermediate to Advanced level (up to 10 hours per week)

IELTS 5.0, TOEFL 500, CBT 173, iBT 68, PTE 46
Focuses on accuracy, vocabulary, speaking, listening, reading, writing and academic study skills for essay assignments in the academic subject studied and research methodology used in the British academic system. Students at this level normally start at A2 and proceed onto A3 and A4 in subsequent terms.

Academic Subjects (Choose 1) (5 hours per week)

Social Sciences
Term 1  (September)

International Political Economy - International trade, Global finance, Regional development, Globalisation

Term 2  (January)

International Relations - Theories of IR, Nationalism & conflict, Collective security, International organisations

Term 3  (April)

Development Studies - Theories of development, Poverty, Aid, Debt, Gender, IMP, UN, World Bank, NGOs and Civil Society

Term 1  (September)

Communications - Knowledge & power, Language & meaning, Literature past & present, Globalisation & media

Term 2  (January)

Cultural Studies - Ethnicity & religion, Multi-culturalism, Arts & aesthetics, Post-modernism

Term 3   (April)

Sociology - Identity, Family & gender, Post-feminism, Age & hierarchies

International Business Studies
Term 1  (September)

International Business - Global business, Market analysis, Risk & cost management, Organisational structures

Term 2  (January)

International Management - International HRM, Strategic management, Corporate transformation, Operational management

Term 3  (April)

International Marketing - Marketing mix, Market research, Marketing strategies, Global brand development

Culture/Language courses (Choose 1)  (4 hours per week)

  • IELTS Examination Preparation
  • English Language Skills Practice
  • Introduction to Media Studies
  • Introduction to Art

A Student's Perspective

When I actually started my studies on the foundation course at SOAS, it confirmed in my mind that I had made a very good choice.

Sare Demir