SOAS University of London

International Foundation Courses and English Language Studies

English Language and Academic Studies Programme (ELAS) (2021 entry)

  • Structure
  • Teaching and Learning
  • Fees and funding
  • Apply


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.”
A 3 or 6 month Diploma/Certificate Programme in Academic English with:
  • Issues in International Development
  • Studies in Media and Communications
  • International Business & Finance

ELAS Student Profiles, SOAS University of London

The programme particularly meets the needs of International Students who have a first or higher 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 as well as gain experience and confidence in studying academic subjects in the British university environment.

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

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


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:

Mode of Attendance: Full-time

Entry requirements

  • 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 51 (with 51 in each part). Students achieving 4.5 overall and 4.5 in each sub skill in IELTS should consider applying to the part time online Access to English Academic Studies course. Completion of this course at the 50% pass mark or above and a minimum of 80% attendance will guarantee entry to the ELAS programme without the need to retake a SELT exam. We can also take into consideration other English language tests such as Passport, TOEFL PBT, TOEFL iBT 72 (with 17 or above 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.

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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 divided into Literacy and Oracy classes and is a minimum of 8 hours per week plus at least 1 hour of guided self-study.

On Academic English students will:

1. Understand and use the conventions of academic writing.
2. Acquire a range of appropriate academic vocabulary to use in their writing.
3. Know how to deliver an academic presentation and engage with questions to clarify and extend their points made.
4. Acquire an introductory knowledge in their chosen academic subject and be able to discuss topics in this field in detail both in written assignments and orally.

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.

Academic Subject Modules

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.


Important notice

The information on the programme page reflects the intended programme structure against the given academic session. If you are a current student you can find structure information on the previous year link at the top of the page or through your Department. Please read the important notice regarding changes to programmes and modules.

Teaching and Learning

Teaching & Learning

Study and Assessment Information

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.

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

The Minor Academic Subject: Choose a second academic subject (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, 15 for lecture reviews. Selection of subject choices will be treated on a first-come-first-served basis.


Important notice regarding changes to programmes and modules

Fees and funding

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

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.

IFCELS Scholarships page


For further details and information on external scholarships visit the Scholarships section


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 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)

Apply now

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 term on ELAS (September to December or January to March) with a Standard Visitor Visa. For this, you are not required to provide a Secure English Language Test (SELT) score.

If you require a visa to study in the UK, you can take 2 terms on ELAS (September to March) with a Student Visa. For this, you are required to provide an approved Secure English Language Test (SELT) score (IELTS for UKVI or PTE Academic UKVI).

Students needing to apply for a 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 B2 level - IELTS 5.5 or above in each sub-score, or Pearson PTE Academic UKVI with 51 or above in each sub-score. Please note, tests taken must be from a UKVI-approved test centre.

See list of  UKVI Approved IELTS Test Centres (pdf; 347kb)  

Accommodation: For details visit the IFCELS Accommodation page.

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