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English & Foundation courses

Mae’r dudalen hon ar gael yn Saesneg yn unig am nad ydyw wedi'i chyfieithu i'r Gymraeg.

Os ydych o’r farn y dylai cyfieithu’r dudalen hon fod yn flaenoriaeth, cysylltwch â a chopïo cyfeiriad y dudalen yn eich neges.

Pre-sessional summer courses

PS cover

Cardiff University provides an excellent opportunity for pre-university students holding offers from Cardiff University to take short courses in English for Academic Purposes.

Please note the pre-sessional programmes are now full.

Our pre-sessional programmes are full-time, intensive English language programme specifically designed for international students with an offer to study at Cardiff University.

We offer summer Pre-sessional programmes for both undergraduates and postgraduates in preparation for courses starting in September, and a dedicated Pre-sessional programme for postgraduate research students in the autumn in preparation for doctoral study starting in January.

Entry requirements

The minimum English Language entry requirement for our 8-week Pre-sessional courses is IELTS (Academic) 6.0 (with at least 4.0 in all skill areas). The minimum entry requirement for our 10-week course is IELTS (Academic) 6.5 (with at least 4.0 in all skill areas). The minimum English Language entry requirement for our 12-week Pre-sessional courses is IELTS (Academic) 5.5 (with at least 5.0 in Writing and at least 4.0 in all other skill areas).

If your current English level is below these levels you may wish to consider studying the English for University Study Programme.

To meet the entry requirements for the Pre-sessional Programme in summer 2015, students will need a SELT (Secure English Language Test) in order to apply for a Tier 4 visa

The list of SELTs approved by the UKVI for Tier 4 visa applications changed on 6 April 2015:

Taken a SELT before 06 April 2015?

If you have already taken a SELT (e.g. IELTS, Trinity ISE, Pearson Academic) ) before 06 April 2015 and have the correct results for entry to the Pre-sessional Programme then your SELT will be accepted as part of a Tier 4 visa application this summer

Taken a SELT after 05 April 2015?

If you have taken a SELT on 6 April or later, it must be one of the following tests in order for you to be able to apply for a Tier 4 visa and enter the Pre-sessional:

Trinity ISE in the UK only.

This test is only available at certain test centres – see Trinity College London and the list of SELT centres.

IELTS (Academic) for UK Visas and Immigration in the UK or other countries.

This test is only available at certain test centres – see IELTS and the list of SELT centres

Planning to take a SELT?

If you haven’t taken a SELT yet, then you must take one of the following tests in order to be able to apply for a Tier 4 visa and enter the Pre-sessional:

Trinity ISE in the UK only.

This test is only available at certain test centres – see Trinity College London and the list of SELT centres.

IELTS (Academic) for UK Visas and Immigration in the UK or other countries.

This test is only available at certain test centres – see IELTS and the list of SELT centres

Course dates and fees

The length of your course depends on your level of English and academic requirements. The 10 week course is suitable for students with IELTS 6.5 who require a score of IELTS 7.0. The 8 week course is suitable for students with IELTS 6.0 who require a score of IELTS 6.5.

Pre-sessional Courses



12 weeks [FULL]

22 June to 11 September


10 weeks [FULL]

29 June to 4 September


8 weeks (Programme A) [FULL]

6 July to 28 August


8 weeks (Programme B) [FULL]

13 July to 4 September


The tuition fees for the Pre-sessional English course do not include accommodation or personal spending costs. Your tuition fees must be paid in full on your first day of class. We regret that Pre-sessional course fees cannot be paid in instalments.


Payment can be made by:

  • Cheque payable to Cardiff University. This is the preferred, safest method of payment.
  • Credit Card. Please note that a credit card transaction fee may apply.
  • Cash. You may pay in Pounds Sterling when you arrive. Do not send cash through the post.

Please note: we cannot accept cash in foreign currency.

Living Expenses

The tuition fees for the Pre-Sessional English Course do not include accommodation or personal spending costs.

You can find more information about accommodation on the accommodation page. You can also use our 'living costs calculator' to find out the international average living expenses as calculated from the expenditure of international students at Cardiff University.

Terms and conditions

Arrival deadline

As the course is short and intensive it is essential that students arrive in time for the beginning of the course. Please note that the cut-off date for all Summer Pre-sessional courses is 9am on the first Wednesday of the course.

If you arrive after this time will not be permitted to join to join the course.


We hope that you will not want to leave your course once you have started. If, after arrival, you wish to reduce the length of your course for any reason, you should discuss the situation with the English Language Programmes staff as soon as possible. We require a minimum of 4 weeks’ notice in writing. If you have paid in full, the remainder of your course fees, minus fees equivalent to the 4 weeks’ notice period, will be refunded. If you have not yet paid in full we will charge 4 weeks paid notice.

Please select the IELTS score stated in your offer academic course letter to find out which Pre-sessional course is appropriate for you.


Students who have an IELTS (Academic) 6.0 (with at least 4.0 in all skill areas) and have an academic offer from Cardiff University conditional on IELTS 6.5 should apply for one of the 8 week Pre-sessional courses.

Students who have an IELTS (Academic) 5.5 (with at least 5.0 in writing and 4.0 in all other skill areas) and have an academic offer from Cardiff University conditional on IELTS 6.5 from one of the following Schools should apply for the 12 week Pre-sessional course.

  • Architecture
  • Business
  • Chemistry
  • Computer Science & Informatics
  • Earth and Ocean Sciences
  • Engineering
  • Mathematics
  • Music
  • Physics & Astronomy
  • Planning and Geography
  • Social Sciences
  • Welsh


Students who have an IELTS (Academic) 6.5 (with at least 4.0 in all skill areas) and have an academic offer from Cardiff University conditional on IELTS 7.0 should apply for the 10 week Pre-sessional course.

Students who have an IELTS (Academic) 6.0 (with at least 4.0 in all skill areas) and have an academic offer from Cardiff University conditional on IELTS 7.0 may apply for the 10 week course, but they will need to re-take IELTS to meet their conditions.

The course syllabus includes English language skills, study skills and the academic information and training you need to successfully complete your chosen degree programme. The course consists of a programme of full-time study, usually between 9.00am and 4.00pm. This will include a minimum of 18 and a maximum of 23 contact hours per week plus assignments.

Improving your English

This part of the course will focus on the ways we use the English language in everyday situations – in class, with friends or out and about in the city. We will concentrate on grammar, vocabulary, comprehension and communication. You will also have plenty of opportunities to practise your pronunciation.

Study Skills

Academic study skills are invaluable and we believe that all university students would benefit from this course. In these classes, you will learn and practise the core skills needed to complete your chosen degree programme. They include skills such as note-taking, summarising, text structure, referencing, data analysis, understanding lectures, making presentations and participating in seminars and tutorials.

Academic orientation

Our Academic Orientation lessons introduce you to the Cardiff University campus and academic facilities. They provide a basic introduction in the use of computer operating systems and how to use the University’s resource centres. They will provide information about learning strategies.

Guidance and support

Students studying on the Pre-sessional English Course will receive educational counselling and support throughout their course. We will gladly help you to make arrangements for you to visit your new School and are happy to offer our advice and assistance during your transition. Our services do not end there: we offer open access support classes in English language and academic study skills as well as one-to one tutorial sessions to all full-time international students enrolled on undergraduate and postgraduate courses at Cardiff University. Our international Student Advisors offer comprehensive guidance and advice to our Pre-sessional students who will need to extend their visa after completing the Presessional course.


There is an IELTS test centre at Cardiff University. If you wish to take an IELTS test, we can help you to arrange this. The examination fee is not included in the course fee.

Follow the steps below for a guide to the application process.

Before you apply

Gather supporting documents

You will need to provide:

  • the application form, including personal statement, signature and date

Please write your correspondence address, e-mail address and telephone number clearly so that we can contact you quickly and easily.

  • a completed Equal Opportunities Monitoring form
  • evidence of English language test results or note when you will sit the exam/receive the result
  • a copy of the photograph page of your passport which must include your passport number and full name

If you don’t yet have all the evidence required, you can still apply and submit your supporting documents when they become available.


To apply for a course you need to complete the application form and the equal opportunities form. Once you have completed the forms, send them to the English Language Programmes Office with your supporting documents:

Download application form Download monitoring form

Receiving your offer

You’ll receive an email from the Academic Registry confirming your offer.

The email will tell you your student number. Please include this when you contact us so we can help you easily.

When will I receive a decision on my application?

Most applicants hear back from us within four weeks.

Unconditional offer

This means you have been offered a place - congratulations! Now all you need to do is accept the offer.

Conditional offer

This means you have been offered a place, but we haven't received one of your supporting documents or you are still to complete the English language qualification required in order to gain admission to the University. Your offer letter will clearly state what evidence needs to be supplied. Once we have all the documents required to show you have met the conditions of your offer, your offer will change to Unconditional.

Accepting your offer

You need to accept your offer online through the applicant portal.

Please ensure you have read the enrolment terms and conditions prior to accepting your offer.

Log into the portal

You will receive your user name and password to access the portal via email. If you do not receive your user name and password, please contact us.

After you’ve accepted your offer

Apply for your visa

Once you have accepted your Unconditional offer to study via your student record we will send you a CAS email in support of your visa application.

If you are coming to Cardiff with a Student Visitor Visa, you will not be eligible to receive a CAS.

Plan your travel to Cardiff

We will send you information by email about travelling to Cardiff and the University, your residences and the first day of your course.


Tell your friends and family you’re going to Cardiff University.

Follow us on Twitter or like us on Facebook to keep in touch and up to date with English Language Programmes at Cardiff University.

If you receive an unconditional offer for the Pre-sessional Programme, you will be eligible to receive a Confirmation of Acceptance for Study (CAS), which you will need in order to apply for your Tier 4 (General) Student Visa. Please see the below timeline for more information.

Note: It is very important that you arrive in Cardiff with the correct visa. Students studying at another institution in the UK must apply for a new Tier 4 visa for Cardiff University.

Students without valid Tier 4 visas for Cardiff University will not be able to enrol on the Pre-sessional Programme.

The process is as follows:

  • We make you an unconditional offer
  • You log on to SIMS online and accept your offer
  • You receive an email asking you to log on to SIMS to check that your CAS details are correct*
  • You log on to SIMS online to confirm your CAS details and make any necessary changes
  • You are sent your final CAS by email and can apply for your Tier 4 Visa*
  • *Please allow 5 days for this to happen

For more information about preparing to travel to Cardiff, including important information about medical insurance, please consult our Before you arrive pages.

Settling in and making new friends are important first steps when you study overseas. University Residences provides you with the ideal opportunity to meet people from different countries with a wide range of interests and cultural experiences. We recommend that all international students, especially those new to Cardiff and the UK, take advantage of the benefits of living in a University residence.

Advantages to staying in University residences

Many international students say that it’s a good idea to live in University residence in the first year of your studies in Cardiff. University residence provide an opportunity to meet and get to know other students, make new friends and help you settle into University life as quickly as possible.

When compared to private accommodation companies such as Liberty Living, University Residences do not have any additional charges and provide students with many extra services. 

For example, University Residences provide: 

  • Guaranteed accommodation for the duration of the course (as long as you apply through the normal admissions cycle)
  • Internet access to the Cardiff University server at no additional cost
  • 24 hour Security patrol throughout all of the residences
  • Advice and support from Residences Managers and staff
  • Sporting facilities at Talybont North, South and Court Residences and the Heath Park Campus
  • Social facilities at Talybont, University Hall, Aberdare House and at the Heath Park Campus.
  • Flexibility in contract to suit the length of your course
  • All bills are included in the cost of accommodation (no additional charges for electricity/gas and water)
  • There is no additional cost for paying the accommodation in 3 instalments
  • Residences will terminate your contract free of charge if you leave the University and will pay back all the remaining residences fees.

Types of additional charges incurred in private en-suite accommodation may include:

  • In all private residences you have to pay the entire cost of your accommodation when you book (if you do not have a UK guarantor.)
  • In Liberty Living if you do have a UK guarantor and pay in 3 equal instalments you pay 2% extra for your accommodation
  • All private residences will charge an administration fee of £100 to terminate your agreement and you are responsible for finding a replacement, otherwise you are is liable for the cost of their accommodation
  • There is a refundable security deposit of £200 that you have to pay to secure the accommodation at all liberty living accommodation
  • Some private accommodation companies allow an annual consumption of up to £300 for 42 weeks.  If you exceed this usage then you will pay more, e.g. Victoria Hall.
  • Whilst all the private residences have 20 MB internet access in the rooms, some companies have additional charges for faster internet connection.  The internet does not connect directly to Cardiff University server.
  • There are no social facilities or sporting facilities at any of the private residences

Cardiff University Accommodation is cheaper than other Universities

When comparing en-suite accommodation with other university accommodation, Cardiff University in the vast majority of cases is found to be cheaper than other prestigious Russell Group Universities. 

University accommodation

Our Pre-sessional students tell us that living with other students in University Residences is the best way to get to know Cardiff and your classmates.

Cardiff University offers an excellent standard of student accommodation:

  • All single students who enrol on a Pre-sessional English Course through the normal admissions cycle are guaranteed University accommodation for the duration of their course.
  • Each student has an individual study bedroom with 70% of rooms having private bathrooms (called "en-suite"). Students share kitchens and recreational facilities.
  • University Residences are within walking distance to your classes, the Students' Union, shops and parks.
  • All Halls of Residence have 24-hour security.
  • The average cost of university accommodation is £80 per week.

Arranging your accommodation

All Pre-sessional Programme students are guaranteed a place in University Residences. If you would like us to arrange accommodation for you, you will need to tick the appropriate box on your Pre-sessional application form. You will be sent full details of your residences before the start of the Pre-sessional course.

Private accommodation

The English Language Programmes office can offer some minimal assistance to students who would like to find their own accommodation, but please note that these types of accommodation arrangements are not guaranteed or sponsored by Cardiff University.

There are a number of accommodation agencies that can arrange single or shared rooms and flats for students. We can provide you with a list of agencies that make these arrangements. Please note that most contracts are for a minimum of 6 months, and agents will charge a "finding fee" (equivalent to one week’s rent or more) to help you locate a room/flat to rent. We regret that Cardiff University cannot take responsibility for room/flat accommodation or any contractual or financial arrangements.

You can expect to pay about £75–£100 on rent per week in private accommodation.

In addition to the cost of accommodation, we recommend that students allow £90 per week on average for food and other essentials, entertainment, travel within Cardiff and small items of personal spending.

English Language Programmes


Download the English Language Programme information sheets