10-week Pre-sessional - course content

The Pre-sessional courses are intensive and you must study full-time, online.

During the course, you will focus on the key academic skills and language that you will need to succeed in your future studies.

The courses aim to:

  • raise your level of English language proficiency and academic skills;
  • make you more confident in working in an academic environment;
  • help prepare you for studying at the University.

Your studies will include:

  • 12 hours per week of tutor-led sessions in groups of up to 16 students;
  • between 10 - 15 hours per week of interactive tasks to be completed either in study groups of up to 4 students or individually online;
  • an individual 20-minute meeting with your tutor every 2 weeks.

Sample timetable

Sample timetable:


07:00 - 08:00*

Study groups

  Academic listening: Listening to a lecture Academic speaking: Discussion from the lecture   Academic speaking: Reflecting on seminar performance
08:00 - 09:00 B R E A K

09:00 - 11:00 

Tutor-led sessions


Academic reading: Reading for main ideas Academic reading: Navigating a journal article Academic writing: Rewording information from sources  Academic speaking: Referring to journal articles in a seminar Individual tutorials
11:00-11:30  B R E A K


Tutor-led sessions


Academic listening: Taking notes in lectures  Academic reading: Taking notes when reading Academic writing: Rewording information from sources Academic speaking: Pronunciation - English sounds Individual tutorials

1-2 hours

Individual study

Academic language: Using the academic word list in writing   Academic speaking: Seminar preparation - reading journal articles   Academic language: Varying sentence structures

* all times are local, Manchester time.

Tutor-led sessions are Monday to Thursday (09:00-12:30). These sessions will be taught on Zoom in groups of up to 16 students.

Every 2 weeks, you will have a 20-minute individual tutorial with your tutor.

Every day you will have interactive tasks to complete in study groups or individually.

There is flexibility for you to choose when to do the individual tasks, but you must attend the tutor-led sessions and study groups at the specified time. These times cannot be changed and so it is important to know the time difference between Manchester and your country before applying for the course.

Pre-sessional Welcome Days

We are very much looking forward to meeting you this summer, and welcoming you to our great University and summer courses.

The Pre-sessional courses are short and very intense and one of the many things that we have learnt over the years is that the most successful students are those who are prepared and feel comfortable and ready to meet their tutor and students on day one of the course. That is why we have introduced this welcome programme for you.

Over the week you can expect a variety of enjoyable events and activities.

Everyday there will be a live event between 9.00-10.00 Manchester local time. These are sometimes talks and at other times you will have the opportunity to speak with tutors and support staff.

We understand that you may be very busy this week, and so there are also activities which we will release everyday, so you can work through them at a time which suits you.

Enjoy them and we look forward to seeing you at the live events!



In the final week of the 10-week course, we will assess your level in all four academic skills. Also, throughout the course we will assess your participation both inside and outside of the classroom.

1. Writing
During the course, your tutor will give you a set of academic texts to read and discuss. On the day of the exam, your tutor will give you an essay question and you will have to support your answer using these academic sources.

2. Reading
On the assessment day, you will read extracts from academic journals and books and use the academic skills practised on the course in order to answer questions related to the texts.

3. Speaking
During the course, you will read and make notes on academic texts. You will participate in a seminar using these sources to support your arguments and to refute others’ arguments.

4. Listening
On the assessment day, you will listen to sections of academic talks on a variety of topics and use the academic listening and notetaking skills practised on the course to answer questions.

5. Engagement with the course
Throughout the course you must:

  • attend and actively participate in your tutor-led sessions;
  • contribute to group study tasks;
  • engage with and complete the interactive online tasks.

Unconditional offer holders only:

If you have an unconditional offer, and have chosen to study on the 10-week course, we will still assess your performance. However, this is for you to monitor your progress, and it will not affect your unconditional offer.

Progression to your degree programme

In order for you to progress onto your degree programme you must engage with the course and meet the required level in each academic skill - this will vary across degree programmes.

In 2020, 96% of Pre-sessional students successfully met their requirements and progressed on to their degree programmes.

Technical requirements

Technical requirements

Online tutor-led sessions will be on Zoom, and online tasks and materials will be on Blackboard (our VLE – virtual learning environment).  There will be help accessing these, as well as technical support during the course.

To access these aspects of the course you must have:

  • access to a laptop or desktop computer - mobile phones are not appropriate;
  • a webcam;
  • a microphone;
  • speakers or headphones;
  • a browser such as Google Chrome/Firefox/360 Secure Browser;
  • a fast reliable internet connection (we recommend a broadband speed of 5mb/s; and a minimum speed of 2mb/s).

After finishing the course, I did not feel unfamiliar or nervous at the beginning of my degree programme. The Pre-sessional course is a good way to adapt to university life when you are an international student.

Lingxuan Meng from China / studying on the online 10-week Pre-sessional course in 2020.