In-sessional Academic English Support
- 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.
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 ‘English for Academic Purposes' (EAP) and work from the International Foundation Courses and English Language Studies (IFCELS) department. 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.
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-except for 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).
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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.
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.
- Academic Essay Writing Skills
- Dissertation Research and Writing
- Seminar Discussion and Presentation Skills
- Listening and Note-taking in Lectures
- Grammar Improvement
- Reading and Note-taking Skills
- Exam Preparation
- 1-1 tutorials (details below)
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 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 1-4 (4 weeks)
There is no teaching during reading weeks or holidays or in the second half of term 3.
In-sessional calendar 2022-23
- Block 1: 10 October to 4 November 2022
- Block 2: 14 November to 9 December 2022
- Block 3: 9 January to 3 February 2023
- Block 4: 27 February to 24 March 2023
- Block 5: 24 April to 19 May 2023
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
Teachers are drawn from IFCELS (International Foundation Courses and English Language Studies). All are very experienced in teaching Academic English through skills or academic content.
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.
The main course requirement is to complete the course by attending at least 75% of 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 In-sessional support from the In-sessional Resources to the Academic English Online Toolkit. These can be accessed once you are enrolled and have a SOAS ID number. There are also dedicated course pages, self-enrolling, available on BLE which can be accessed through the In-sessional Resources page.
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).
Courses are free of charge to SOAS students. If you are an external student from another university then we ask you to pay for the courses as follows:
- 4 week course: £152
- 6 week course: £228
Places go to SOAS students as a priority.
In-sessional courses provide students with transferable skills which can be used in any academic English environment and with critical thinking and organisational skills which are applicable in many situations beyond academia.
A student's perspective
'Your course was indeed very helpful for me. It helped me a lot, and my results improved massively along the year!'
Blanca Moreno Fontela