[skip to content]

International Foundation Courses and English Language Studies

In-sessional Academic English Support 2015-16


To help non-native English-speaking students achieve their full academic potential we provide in-sessional academic English and study skills courses and one-to-one tutorials throughout the academic year.

If you  have been given an in-sessional requirement/ recommendation and would like to find out more about how these assessment are made, please see further details regarding assessments.

In-sessional Academic English Courses

The in-sessional courses consist of one 2-hour lesson a week during term time. They take the form of short 4 or 5-week courses either side of Reading Week, or longer 8 or 9-week courses running for the whole term. 

They usually have a skills focus which allows students to concentrate on the areas of English that are most in need of improvement. The courses are also designed around academic contexts to add relevance to the skills practice, e.g. lecture skills, seminar skills, essay writing skills, reading and note-taking skills.

Courses vary during the year to follow the changing requirements of students and include:

In-sessional academic English courses are free of charge and are open to all non-native English -speaking students registered at SOAS.

New courses start in the second week of term 1, week starting 5th October 2015. An application form will go live around the end of September and students will be notified if they have an Insessional requirement. Places tend to go to those with requirements who apply first. 

In-sessional One-to-One Tutorials

The one-to-one tutorials usually take the form of focused 30-minute sessions which students prepare for in advance. Students can then book follow-up sessions with the tutor to check the progress of the student. The sessions can focus either on academic study problems or grammar and general language support.

General information regarding In-sessional Academic English support is available on the In-sessional Courses noticeboard in the foyer of the Faber Building, 23-24 Russell Square. 

Applying for In-sessional Academic English Support

Block 1 courses start week of 5th October 2015 and the online application form will be live from week of 28th September 2015. Though courses are open to all international students, those with requirements will be prioritised. Those who are on the list of students requiring Insessional support (usually a score of 6.5 in IELTS in one skill area will lead to an Insessional requirement) will be contacted towards the end of September to be reminded to apply for a place in a relevant course.

You can of course also work on improving your English skills in you own way and we recommend you take a look at the Academic English Skills Online Toolkit to be found on BLE.

It is always possible to discuss any issues regarding In-sessional support with the In-sessional Programme Tutor, Mr Neil Robbie (nr2@soas.ac.uk) - Room F206 in the Faber Building (23-24 Russell Square). Tel: 0207 898 4815

Students with an In-sessional Requirement

If you have an In-sessional requirement (this is stated on your offer letter) you will receive an e-mail after you have registered for your academic programme stating which In-sessional course is suitable for you, based on the evidence that you provided regarding your English language proficiency, e.g. an IELTS or TOEFL test score. You can then apply for this In-sessional course online. If you feel that the In-sessional support that you have been allocated is not appropriate for you, or if you have not been e-mailed when you think you should, or have been e-mailed when you think you should not have been, please feel free to discuss this with the In-sessional Programme Tutor (Acting), Mr Neil Robbie (nr2@soas.ac.uk).

Students without an In-sessional Requirement

If you do not have an In-sessional requirement it is still possible to attend in-sessional classes voluntarily. However, you must apply for the course that you want to follow and receive notification that you have a place before you can enter onto the course. If you are offered a place, please note that full attendance is expected.

Before you apply online it is important to ensure that you have your academic timetable so that you know when you are available and make sure to factor in any walks to or from Vernon Square.


If you attended or are attending one of the Insessional courses or tutorials in block 1 please take some time to fill in this feedback form. Your responses are anonymous.

On-line help

In addition to classroom provision, if you want further help on Academic English please have a look at the Academic English Skills Online Toolkit on the 'Skills for Success' drop-down menu where you can get support for Academic English self-study.

Office Hours

If you would like to see Neil Robbie in F206 (2nd floor Faber building) to talk about your Insessional requirements, please drop in to his office during week day working hours or send an e-mail to book an appointment to nr2@soas.ac.uk.