Foundation College

In-sessional Academic English Support

Key information

4 or 6 weeks
Attendance mode
Part-time, face to face, online
Russell Square, College Buildings

Free for SOAS students in groups listed.
For external students:

  • 4 week course: £152
  • 6 week course: £228
Entry requirements

Open to all SOAS international students for whom English is not a first language.

Course overview

In-sessional courses are designed to help International Students with their academic skills in English, specifically with writing, reading, speaking and listening.

All our teachers are specialists in the field of ‘English for Academic Purposes' (EAP) and work from the International Foundation Courses and English Language Studies (IFCELS) department (library D3). We have extensive experience of delivering Academic English courses based both on skills and academic content.

In-sessional courses, as the name suggests, take place 'in-session', during term time (pre-sessional courses take place before -pre-session-the academic year begins). They begin in the second week of the first term after you are fully enrolled as a student at SOAS.

They are free of charge and non-credit bearing and no formal assessments are made. 

Course delivery

Courses are delivered on campus, face to face. but occasionally can be delivered online. These courses are not as intensive as 'Pre-sessional' courses but generally provide 2 hours of study per course per week. They usually take place in small classes of 10-15 allowing for individual attention.

Also 1-1 tutorials are provided in 30 minute sessions for very focused individual attention.

Who should apply

These programmes are open to all international students at SOAS for whom English is not their first language: Foundation Year, Undergraduate, taught Postgraduate, Postgraduate Research, Visiting Research-all except students from IFCELS and Distance Learning.

The In-sessional course tutor will contact all students who might be interested in taking these courses near the start of the academic year (end of September) by e-mail and invite them to apply. Places are then offered on a first come first served basis.

The courses run five times a year so if you are not accepted initially you can apply again later (see below for dates).

In-sessional Requirements

Some Doctoral school students may be given In-sessional requirements. Fulfilment of the In-sessional requirement is a condition of progression from MPhil to PhD status. It is strongly recommended therefore that PhD students fulfil their requirement at the earliest opportunity.

Office hours

Neil Robbie is available in D3 in the library (near bookstack 185) and you can drop in to see him on Mondays, Tuesdays or Thursdays most afternoons in term time.

Please e-mail Neil at prior to visiting to be sure of an appointment. He is also contactable by telephone extension 4815 or online through MS Teams.


Applications open at five different points during the academic year. The new application form for Block 5 courses (see above link) will be live by the end of week 10, term 2. 

Further reading


They are not timetabled like your other courses, so you need to make a note of any courses you are accepted on in your personal calendar. You need to know your academic timetable in full before applying. The courses aim to support you in your academic programmes so work around their structure.

If you are offered a place and choose to attend, you are expected to come to all classes, participate fully, and may be asked to submit some small homeworks.

Length of courses

Courses are normally 2 hours of work per week once a week for 4 or 6 week periods. 1-1 tutorials are 30 minutes long and take place over 4 weeks. The longest course is the Academic English Essay Writing course, which lasts for 6 weeks. 

Course outlines

In-sessional one-to-one tutorials

  • The one-to-one tutorials usually take the form of up to 4 focused 30-minute sessions which students prepare for in advance.
  • The sessions often focus on academic writing issues or grammar but they can also be used to help with spoken English skills or reading and listening.
  • Students often send work such as essays for review to the tutor prior to the meeting, but please note that this is not a proof-reading service. The tutor might give a close analysis of errors in one or two paragraphs but will not correct your whole essay.
  • Please note that these should not be confused with academic tutorials. The 1-1s are for Academic English support and you can apply for these in the same way as for courses on the application form.


Courses take place in ‘blocks:

  • Block 1 is term 1 weeks 2-5 (4 weeks)
  • Block 2 is term 1 weeks 5/6-9 (4 weeks)
  • Block 3 is term 2 weeks 1-4 (4 weeks)
  • Block 4 is term 2 weeks 7-10 (4 weeks)
  • Block 5 is term 3 weeks tbc

There is no teaching during reading weeks or holidays. 

In-sessional calendar 2023-24

  • Block 1: 9 October to 3 November 2023
  • Block 2: 30 October13 November to 8 December 2023
  • Block 3: 8 January to 2 February 2024
  • Block 4: 26 February to 22 March 2024
  • Block 5: dates tbc

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


Classes are designed to encourage free and open discussion with the teacher and other students, to stimulate questioning and critical thinking within a supportive environment. They are a unique opportunity to meet and work alongside students from different disciplines, and backgrounds, which will often cross-fertilize.

Extensive peer to peer interaction in pair and group work is encouraged as well as whole class discussion.

Attendance requirements

The main course requirement is to complete the course by attending at least 75% of the course once registered for the course. 

Homework is given by some teachers and some lessons will need preparation, but most work will be done in the classroom. 

Bloomsbury Learning Environment (BLE) Moodle

The BLE offers a variety of online materials for In-sessional support which are accessible on the Learning and Teaching Enhancement sharepoint pages. These can be accessed once you are enrolled. Also the Skill for Success pages from LTE are recommended for your independent learning.

Fees and funding

Free in-sessional courses are open to the following part-time and full-time SOAS student groups

  • Certificate and Diploma students
  • Study Abroad students
  • Foundation Year students
  • Undergraduate students
  • Postgraduate students
  • Postgraduate research students
  • Doctoral students
  • Visiting Researcher Students
  • In-sessional courses are not open to IFCELS students, Distance Learning students or SOAS staff (unless they are enrolled on a SOAS course).


If you are an external student from another university then we ask you to pay for the courses as follows:

  • 4 week course: £150
  • 6 week course: £230

Places go to SOAS students as a priority.