Foundation College

English Language and Academic Studies (ELAS)

Key information

3 or 6 month diploma/certificate programme
Start of programme
September or January
Attendance mode
Russell Square, College Buildings
  • £6,000 per term for Sept 2023 and Jan 2024
  • £12,000 for two terms
Entry requirements

The minimum English language level to join the ELAS programme is IELTS Academic with UKVI 5.5, (with no score below 5.5), or Pearson PTE Academic 55 (with 55 in each part). Students achieving 5.5 overall and 5.0 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.

Course overview

The English Language and Academic Studies Programme (ELAS) is a three or six month Diploma/Certificate programme in Academic English, and covers:

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

Who should apply

The programme particularly meets the needs of international students:

  • those 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.
  • those 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.

English language requirements

Course/programme IELTS Pearson Academic PTE Toefl iBT
ELAS programme 5.5 overall with 5.5 in all subscores 55 overall with at least 55 in each subscore 72 overall with at least 17 in each subscore
Access to English Academic Studies 5.0 overall with 4.5 in all subscores  50 overall with at least 45 in all subscores  -
ELAS Plus (including Intensive Academic English Summer Programme) 5.0 overall with 5.0 in all subscores 50 overall with at least 50 in each subscore 65 overall with at least 15 in each subscore


Students who want to take ELAS for 1 or 2 terms and whose English is slightly below the minimum requirement will be made an offer for ELAS Plus, which includes an extra six-week period of study, known as the Intensive Academic English Summer Course. This course develops reading, writing, listening and speaking skills, as well as strengthening grammar, academic vocabulary and independent study skills. Students would study on campus in London from August to December or August to March on ELAS Plus.

Access to English Academic Studies course

The Access to English Academic Studies online programme is designed to offer international students 11 weeks of extensive academic English classes in preparation for further study within SOAS.

Important note: 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.

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:

  • understand and use the conventions of academic writing.
  • acquire a range of appropriate academic vocabulary to use in their writing.
  • know how to deliver an academic presentation and engage with questions to clarify and extend their points made.
  • 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 website reflects the intended programme structure against the given academic session. The modules are indicative options of the content students can expect and are/have been previously taught as part of these programmes. However, this information is published a long time in advance of enrolment and module content and availability is subject to change.

Teaching and learning

Term dates

Autumn Term 2023

  • Orientation for new students: 20-27 September 2023
  • Teaching dates: 02 October - 15 December 2023
  • Reading Week: 06 - 10 November 2023

Spring Term 2024

  • Orientation for new students: 08 January 2024
  • Teaching dates: 08 January - 22 March 2024
  • Reading Week: 12 - 16 February 2024

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.

Major academic subject

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

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.

Please note: 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.

Disclaimer: Important notice regarding changes to programmes and modules

Fees and funding


  • £6,000 per term for September 2023 and January 2024
  • £12,000 for two terms

How to pay

1. Online with a credit or debit card 

This is the most efficient way to pay and will mean we can process your paperwork quicker. We accept Visa, Mastercard, Eurocard, Switch, Maestro, Solo and Delta.  You need your student ID/reference number and you will be able to make as many payments as is necessary to pay your fees.

2. By bank transfer

Payment of fees at banks must only be made via a bank transfer (that is, from your account into the School's bank account). Please do not deposit money directly into the School's account.

Important note: A bank transfer fee is often charged by both the sending and receiving banks, so you must pay these independently of you course fee. If not, the actual amount received by SOAS will be less than the course fee. If funds are received without bank transfer fees being paid this will lead to delays in processing your application documents.

Please ask your bank to provide you with a Remittance Slip or proof of transaction, and be sure they quote your full name and your 6 digit ID number.

School's account details:
  • Natwest Bank plc, 94 Moorgate, London, EC2M 6XT
  • Account number: 08622655
  • Sort code: 56-00-23
  • Account holder: School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS)
  • Swift number: NWBKGB2L
  • IBAN: GB77NWBK56002308622655 (International Bank Account Number)

3. At enrolment

If you have not paid your tuition fees before arriving in the UK you can do so on the enrolment day, but as this is a very busy time you may have to wait in line to do so. Please try to pay before you arrive.

4. If you are sponsored by a funding or government body

You should email with proof that your tuition fees will be paid and with contact details of the funding body. If the sponsorship is not confirmed before the start of the academic year then please bring that information with you to enrolment. Please note that if your sponsor does not pay, you are responsible for paying your tuition fees.

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.


IFCELS scholarship