SOAS University of London

International Foundation Courses and English Language Studies

English Language and Academic Studies Programme (ELAS)

Duration: 3 or 6 months

  • Overview
  • Structure
  • How to Apply


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

  • Issues in International Development
  • Studies in Media and Communications
  • International Business & Finance

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.

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

Check out the SOAS blog to find out about our students SopheapKabeer and Kayuko their experience of studying on the ELAS programme.

ELAS Entry Requirements from September 2021:
Yin Nyein Aye from Myanmar, studied on ELAS in 2018-19 and was awarded the Bhasi Panikker Progress Prize. Yin went on to study an MA in the History of Art and Archaeology at SOAS.
Yin Nyein Aye
“ELAS allowed me to improve my Academic English skills so that I was well prepared for my master’s. The teachers were really knowledgeable and helpful and thanks to them I made great progress.”

The minimum English language level to join the ELAS programme is IELTS Academic 5.5, (with no score below 5.5), or Pearson PTE Academic 55 (with 55 in each part).

We can also take into consideration other English language tests such as Passport, TOEFL PBT, TOEFL iBT 80 (with 18 in each sub score) or TOEIC. You can apply without an English score, but we may ask you to take one of the tests above or a grammar/writing test and/or an interview.

Visas for students wishing to study for 1 term from January 2021:

If you wish to take one term on ELAS in the UK, starting in January and finishing in March, you can apply for a Student Visitor Visa and will not require a SELT.

Students needing to apply for a Tier 4 General Student Visa will need a CAS issued by SOAS. To issue the CAS we will need your SELT (IELTS or PTE for UKVI 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 - IELTS 5.0 or above in each sub-score, or Pearson PTE Academic UKVI 50 or above with 43 in each sub-score. Please note, tests taken must be from a UKVI-approved test centre.

Visas for students wishing to study for 1 or 2 terms from September 2021 in the UK:

If you require a visa to study in the UK, you can take one or two terms on ELAS in the UK (September to December or September to March) with a Tier 4 General Student Visa. For this, you are required to provide an approved Secure English Language Test (SELT) score (IELTS for UKVI or PTE Academic UKVI).

See list of approved test centres

IMPORTANT: During the Covid-19 situation visa regulations are constantly changing. We make every effort to keep these pages accurate. Please contact the ELAS Programme Tutors if you require more information:



All ELAS students study for 16 hours per week. Students take Academic English and choose two academic subjects: a Major and a Minor Subject.


English Language and Academic Subject Modules


Academic English

The Academic English module is designed to develop accurate listening, speaking, reading and writing skills and teaches the full range of skills required for the academic subject study and for further studies.

Issues in International Development

This module is taught as an introduction to economic and other analytical frameworks necessary for understanding the problems of poverty and historical, social, cultural and political patterns, which underlie uneven development globally.

Studies in Media and Communications

This module provides a general introduction to theories and concepts essential for the study of mass communication in contemporary society.

International Business and Finance

As well as providing a general grounding in key qualitative areas of international business, such as organisational management, cross-cultural management, human resource management and marketing, this module aims to cover the basic building blocks of financial management.


Study and Assessment Information


The Major Academic Subject: Choose one of the academic subjects above. The course is 3 hours per week and is assessed through a written assignment.

The Minor Academic Subject: Choose a second academic subject from the options above (must be different from the option selected for the Major). This course is 3 hours per week and is assessed through coursework such as a poster presentation or a piece of reflective writing.


IFCELS reserves the right not to run ELAS modules which fall below a minimum class size of 8 students. In addition students may not be able to join their first choice of module if it is oversubscribed or if this means class numbers rise above maximum class sizes (12 for seminars, 14 for optional modules, 15 for lecture reviews, 20 for lecture discussions). Selection of option choices will be treated on a first-come-first-served basis.




How to Apply

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

Please complete the Online Application Form and attach:

  1. the photo ID page of your passport 
  2. your IELTS, PTE or other English language certificate (if you have one)


ELAS Term Dates and Fees 2021-2022

Autumn Term 2021:
  • Orientation for new students: 27th September – 1st October
  • Teaching dates: 4th October – 17th December
  • Reading Week: 8th – 12th November
Spring Term 2022:
  • Orientation for new students: 10th January
  • Teaching dates: 11th January – 25th March
  • Reading Week: 14th – 18th February

Fees: For January 2021 the fee is £5,650 per term.

Fees: For September 2021 and January 2022 the fee is £5,800 per term and for two terms the fee is £11,600.

Accommodation: For details visit the IFCELS Accommodation page.

Attendance: The attendance requirement for this programme is 80%.

Additional Costs: You may be required to purchase books for some courses. All fees must be paid in full before the start date of the programme. For instructions on how to pay, see IFCELS Fees. Please also see the full Terms and Conditions.


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