Pre-sessional English online

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Before you study a degree programme, you can take an online pre-sessional academic English programme to build your confidence in English and develop the study strategies to enable you to perform to the best of your ability on your degree.

These can be studied entirely online or with a mix of online and on campus learning. See below for details.

Achieving grade C in your assessments enables you to progress to your degree.

Online pre-sessional programmes

Choose the pre-sessional programme that is right for you, depending on your English level and the language demands of the degree you plan to study.

14 weeks Project – 3 May 2021 - Applications closed for 2021

  • Deadline for applications: Friday 16 April 2021
  • Start of teaching: Monday 3 May 2021
  • Revision Week: Monday 28 June 2021 – Sunday 4 July 2021
  • End of teaching / assessment: Friday 13 August 2021
  • Results released by Monday 23 August 2021
  • Recommended entry level IELTS 5.0 with no skill lower than 4.5
  • Location: Entirely online or 8 weeks online plus 6 weeks on campus (subject to government regulations or legislation re Covid-19). 

10 weeks Passport – 31 May 2021 - Applications closed for 2021

  • Deadline for applications: Friday 14 May 2021
  • Start of teaching: Monday 31 May 2021
  • Revision Week: Monday 28 June 2021 – Sunday 4 July 2021
  • End of teaching / assessment: Friday 13 August 2021
  • Results released by Monday 23 August 2021
  • Recommended entry level IELTS 5.0
  • Location: Entirely online or 4 weeks online plus 6 weeks on campus (subject to government regulations or legislation re Covid-19). 

6 weeks Portfolio – 5 July 2021 - Applications closed for 2021

  • Deadline for applications: Friday 18 June 2021
  • Start of teaching: Monday 5 July 2021
  • End of teaching / assessment: Friday 13 August 2021
  • Results released by Monday 23 August 2021
  • Recommended entry level IELTS 5.5
  • Location: Entirely online or 6 weeks on campus (subject to government regulations or legislation re Covid-19). 

6 weeks Portfolio – 18 October 2021 (postgraduate only) 

  • Deadline for applications: Friday 1 October 2021
  • Start of teaching: Monday 18 October 2021
  • End of teaching / assessment: Friday 26 November 2021
  • Results released by: Monday 6 December 2021
  • Recommended entry level IELTS 5.5
  • Location: Entirely online

Pre-arrival course

All applicants must study the pre-arrival course. This will help you to understand if you have a sufficient level of English and the ability to work independently for online study.

The pre-arrival course can be accessed here: Heriot-Watt pre-arrival course

Pre-sessional English online – structure, timetable and learning outcomes

The first five weeks of all three programmes follow the same structure. You will use the coursebook 'Access EAP: Frameworks', which you can buy from Garnet Education 

You must buy the book to study the Academic Literacy and Academic Engagement courses within the programme.

Academic Literacy and Academic Engagement are both 15-credit courses studied at SCQF level 8. They will prepare you for undergraduate study at level 9 & 10 or postgraduate study at level 11 & 12. 

Each 15-credit course requires 120 effort hours:

•    Academic Literacy – reading and writing
•    Academic Engagement – listening and speaking.

Example timetable

Monday

  • 3 hours - Preparation of independent study tasks for Academic Literacy
  • 3 hours - Preparation of independent study tasks for Academic Engagement
  • 50 minutes - Interactive online seminar with teacher for Academic Literacy
  • 50 minutes - Interactive online seminar with teacher for Academic Engagement

Tuesday

  • 3 hours - Preparation of independent study tasks for Academic Literacy
  • 3 hours - Preparation of independent study tasks for Academic Engagement
  • 50 minutes - Interactive online seminar with teacher for Academic Literacy
  • 50 minutes - Interactive online seminar with teacher for Academic Engagement

Wednesday

  • 3 hours - Preparation of independent study tasks for Academic Literacy
  • 3 hours - Preparation of independent study tasks for Academic Engagement
  • 50 minutes - Interactive online seminar with teacher for Academic Literacy
  • 50 minutes - Interactive online seminar with teacher for Academic Engagement

Thursday

  • 3 hours - Preparation of independent study tasks for Academic Literacy
  • 3 hours - Preparation of independent study tasks for Academic Engagement
  • 50 minutes - Interactive online seminar with teacher for Academic Literacy
  • 50 minutes - Interactive online seminar with teacher for Academic Engagement

Friday

  • 3 hours - Preparation of independent study tasks for Academic Literacy
  • 3 hours - Preparation of independent study tasks for Academic Engagement
  • 2 hours - Post to a discussion board for formative assessment
  • 2 hours - Post to a personal blog for formative assessment
  • 15 minutes - Individual tutorial with your teacher
 

Aims of the programme

To help students develop:

English language

Academic study competence

Purpose to achieve success on their degree.

Language learning outcomes – CEFR B2

  • Understand main ideas in lectures
  • Read complex texts related to a degree subject
  • Obtain information from these academic sources
  • Communicate spontaneously and appropriately
  • Present ideas and support with evidence
  • Use language clearly for an academic audience

Graduate attributes

  • Develop a sense of ‘research-mindedness’
  • Identify and address problems
  • Communicate complex ideas
  • Evaluate claims using evidence
  • Collaborate with others
  • Be open to learning and new ideas
  • Tolerate ambiguity and unfamiliarity
  • Work independently in an online environment

Assessment

Formative assessment in first five weeks

  • Participation in online classroom
  • Participation in discussion board
  • Participation in personal blog
  • Participation in group reflection.

Summative assessment coursework

  • Reflective Statement (all programmes)
  • Annotated bibliography (all programmes)
  • Literature review (11 and 15 week programmes)
  • Case study (15 week programme)

Summative assessment exams (all programmes)

  • Reading into writing
  • Listening
  • Poster interaction

Minimum requirement to progress

Achieving average grade C across your assessments enables you to progress to your degree at Heriot-Watt University.

Other institutions accept the outcomes for the Heriot-Watt pre-sessional course. Please check with the administrator for the university and degree you wish to study.

Key information

Academic English Admissions