Pre-sessional English Language, Stages 1, 2, 3 and Summer Pre-sessionals

Pre-sessional Stages 1, 2 and 3 plus Pre-sessional Stage 4 constitutes a preparation programme for international students whose first language is not English and who are intending to begin a postgraduate degree at Surrey University.

Students applying for PS Stages 1-3 are required to apply for PS12 if they require a TIER 4 (student) visa.
Pre-sessional Stages 1, 2 and 3 (10, 20 or 30 weeks): Students study for a total of 210 hours per course and are placed in classes according to their level and needs. On all three courses students will receive individual support from administrative and academic staff including one-to-one tutorials.
Please note Pre-sessional Stage 1 will not be running in 2017/18.

Overview of Pre-sessional Courses

Stage 1     (PS1)

     Not available in 2017/18

Tuition in weeks

Stage 2     (PS2)

November to February

10 weeks

Stage 3     (PS3)

February to May

10 weeks

Stage 4

Summer Pre-sessional Courses



June to September

12 weeks


July to September

8 weeks


August to September

5 weeks 

Students who successfully complete Stage 3 will proceed onto our Stage 4, twelve week summer pre-sessional course without retaking the IELTS test. They may, depending on their grade, be able to proceed to the eight or five week pre-sessional course or onto their degree programme. Please note: Only those who achieve very high grades will be able to move directly onto their degree course.

Pre-sessional Stages 1, 2 and 3 will help you to

• Improve your language fluency and accuracy
• Participate in discussions and give presentations
• Develop your academic reading, writing and study skills
• Engage in independent learning
• Achieve the English level required for a Summer Pre-sessional course or your degree course
• Begin your Summer Pre-sessional course or degree course with confidence
• Learn time management and other organisational skills
• Become familiar with the University’s learning facilities
• Adapt to university life at Surrey

Entry level guide:



Minimum Entry Requirement

Minimum Weeks of Study (with PS12)

Start Dates


Stage 1

IELTS Overall 4.5 with no lower than 4.0 in each component

42 weeks

 (882 hours)

Not available

Stage 2

IELTS Overall 5.0 with no lower than 4.5 in each component

32 weeks

 (672 hours)


Stage 3

IELTS Overall 5.5 with no lower than 4.5 in each component

22 weeks 

(462 hours)


Note that the table above shows the minimum requirements for entry onto stages 1, 2, and 3 for students who need 6.5 overall with no lower than 6.0 in each component. For students who are required to have a higher IELTS score, the minimum entry levels for all pre-sessional courses will also be higher. The majority of students who join Pre-sessional Stages 1, 2 and 3 are likely to proceed onto Summer Pre-sessional 12. Only those who achieve higher grades will be able to proceed to Pre-sessional 8, Pre-sessional 5 or directly onto their degree course.

All students will experience

• A full-time programme - 210 hours per course
• A safe, welcoming environment
• Highly experienced and qualified tutors
• Individual support including one to one tutorials
• Introduction to current UK study methods
• Full access to all university facilities including the library and IT
• Use of a well-equipped multi-media Language Study Area

Pre-sessional Stage 1: Not available in 2017/18

Pre-sessional Stage 2: November to February

Pre-sessional Stage 2 introduces some of the academic English skills which are needed for postgraduate study.
By the end of the course students will have developed their:
• Grammatical accuracy
• Vocabulary
• Ability to participate in discussions on familiar topics
• Presentation skills
• Ability to write well-structured and well-supported essays in a suitable academic style
• Ability to understand the ideas and arguments presented in a range of reading texts
• Listening and note-taking skills in an academic context
• Ability to work independently and in groups
• Time management skills

Pre-sessional Stage 3: February to June

Pre-sessional Stage 3 will consolidate work covered in Stage 2. It will also include a greater focus on the academic English skills which are needed for postgraduate study.
By the end of the course students will have developed their:
• Ability to participate in short seminar discussions
• Academic presentation skills
• Ability to write a fully referenced academic essay
• Ability to understand the structure, ideas and arguments presented in academic texts
• Skills for listening and note-taking in lectures
• Ability to work independently and in groups
• Independent study and time management skills

Pre-sessional Stage 4: June to September (PS12)

Entry level guide – IELTS 1.0 band below your offer or successful completion of PS Stage 3 at the required grade
If you have achieved an overall IELTS score 1.0 band below the required level for your degree programme-and each skill is no lower than 1.0 below the individual component score for your programme-the University of Surrey will accept successful completion of this twelve-week pre-sessional course as a condition of entry without the need to re-take any external language tests.

More PS12 information

Students applying for all three terms of Pre-sessional Stages 1, 2 and 3 plus PS12 are guaranteed University accommodation, as long as they apply early enough.
Students coming for only one or two terms may be able to live in University accommodation but this will be subject to availability.
If you wish to apply for University accommodation: single, ensuite (private bathroom) self catering, please go to the accommodation web-pages for more information.
Important: For Pre-sessional English accommodation you need to apply for the current Academic year, 2017/18.  For your degree course accommodation you need to apply for 2018/19. Please pay for your accommodation fees separately and not with your tuition fees.
For your degree programme:
If you plan to arrange your own accommodation outside the University please ensure it is available from changeover day.
If you wish to continue to live in University accommodation you should complete the accommodation application for your degree programme. Provided you have completed all procedures you will move into your degree programme accommodation on changeover day.
If you wish, you can arrange your own accommodation off campus.

Set in the heart of the English countryside, but only 40 minutes from London by train, our campus is home to students of more than 120 nationalities. Nearby Guildford is an attractive, typically English historical town, with a theatre, cinemas, a good range of restaurants and excellent shopping facilities. Here you will have all the advantages of being close to London while studying in a peaceful, friendly and safe location. You will soon be able to make friends and feel at home.

Quick links

Contact us:


T: +44 (0) 1483 689911

University of Surrey
School of Literature and Languages
United Kingdom

"Due to the modern learning facilities and skilful instructors, PS3 was one of the greatest courses that I have ever experienced. This course provided a wide range of English knowledge which could be necessary for students who are learning English in preparation for a university course. It also helped me to be familiar with the teaching-learning style and culture at the University of Surrey. There was a tutorial with a personal tutor once a week which helped me to work on my weaknesses in English, especially academic writing and pronunciation. So, I greatly recommend this course to everyone who wants to improve their academic English before starting summer pre-sessional or degree courses".

Taywin Swasyothin (PS3 2017)

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