Pre-sessional Academic English for Research Students (AERS)

Improving your English so it's at a suitable level for postgraduate research is crucial for success in your studies. Find out how we can help


Plymouth University Summer School students portrait<br></p>
<p>Female international student</p>

Liujun Zhou, international student receiving scholarship award certificates<br><br></p>

We offer an academic English pre-sessional course for postgraduate research students run by our English Learning Centre (ELC).

You need to have a conditional offer at Plymouth University as a research student on an MPhil/PhD degree programme to apply. The course lasts for 26-27 weeks. 

Use the table below to find out the dates and price of courses.

English language requirements: IELTS 5
(minimum IELTS 4.5 writing, and minimum IELTS 4.0 in other elements)

Full time Length Fees Application deadline 
25 September 2017 - 29 March 2018 27 weeks £6,000 29 August 2017
26 March 2018 - 27 September 2018 27 weeks £6,000 26 February 2018

Academic English for research students (AERS)

The AERS is a full-time course. It's provided for you if you have a confirmed place at Plymouth University as a research student on an MPhil / PhD degree programme. You need to have an overall IELTS* level of 5.0 (or equivalent) with a minimum of 4.5 in writing and 4.0 in other elements. The course will bring your English to the appropriate level for entry to your postgraduate study at Plymouth University, B2 level.

*Please note that in order to study on a pre-sessional programme you must hold a valid UKVI approved academic IELTS test. This must have been taken within the last 2 years at a test centre approved by UKVI and will have a SELT unique reference number printed on the IELTS certificate. When you register for an IELTS test please ensure you are booking the correct test, as an academic IELTS test taken at a non-UKVI approved test centre cannot be used to join a pre-sessional course. Please see the list of Approved Secure English Language Tests and Test Centres for more information. 

Assessment and progression

When you successfully complete the course, passing all the assessments, you'll progress onto your research degree course at Plymouth University. You also need to have 100 per cent attendance.

Course content

The AERS course will improve your knowledge of English for academic study. You'll also need to develop and demonstrate strong independent learning skills in order to develop your general English language, including:

  • academic reading and writing
  • academic listening and speaking
  • research skills
  • critical thinking skills
  • independent learning skills.

Find our more and book your place

Apply for your place on one of our courses by downloading the application form. For any other information please contact us at