Find out more about how our online pre-sessional courses will work, including teaching structure, contacting your tutor, time differences, and assessments.

Our online pre-sessionals allow you to meet the English requirements for your course or develop your academic skills further from the comfort of your own home. You'll be able to work and chat with other students, as well as have access to a wide range of support.

You can also access this video through our Weibo or Bilibili pages

Course structure and content

Our online pre-sessional course options last for 20, 15, 10, or 5 weeks.  

When you log into the You@York applicant portal you will be able to see which course is suitable for you as well as the specific entry criteria.

Contact us

International Pathway College
+44 (0) 1904 321500

  • Course dates: 31 March 2022 to 26 August 2022
  • Deadline to apply: 17 March 2022
  • Full course fee: £9,100
  • Accept and pay deadline: 24 March 2022
  • Course dates: 12 May 2022 to 26th August 2022
  • Deadline to apply: 28 April 2022
  • Full course fee: £6,830
  • Accept and pay deadline: 5 May 2022
  • Course dates: 16 June 2022 to 26 August 2022
  • Deadline to apply: 5 June 2022
  • Full course fee: £4,540
  • Accept and pay deadline: 9 June 2022

You can take our 5-week Pre-sessional course to enhance your English, learn essential academic study skills, and meet other students before you start your degree. The 5-week pre-sessional is aimed at unconditional offer holders only.

  • Course dates: 21 July 2022 to 26 August 2022
  • Deadline to apply: 7 July 2022
  • Full course fee: £2,270
  • Accept and pay deadline: 14 July 2022

English language requirements

We accept the following tests: IELTS, PTE Academic, CAE and CPE, TOEFL, Trinity ISE, Duolingo, and LanguageCert.

Teaching structure

Our online pre-sessionals are split into three main strands:

  • The first part of the 15 and 20-week courses are an introduction to academic life at the University. You will look at a broad range of key language and study skills. Once you have completed this, you will then join the 10-week pre-sessional.
  • The 10-week course focuses on developing your academic English and study skills within the context of your future degree and subject area. You will work towards completing summative assessments.
  • The 5-week course (if you have an unconditional offer) introduces you to academic life at the University and helps to prepare you for your future degree.

You will focus on a different topic each week, with deadlines for completing tasks. You will be expected to study on a full-time basis by following a weekly schedule. Your tutor will explain what you are required to do in more detail at the start of the course.


For all of our online pre-sessionals, learning will take place during timetabled live sessions with other students and your tutor, as well as on the virtual learning environment (VLE). The work you do outside of these live sessions is also very important. Your tutor will guide you through this and help develop the skills you need to be an independent learner.

You will attend live sessions at specific times as stated on your student timetable. During the live sessions you will interact with your tutor and classmates, for example, by taking part in academic reading circles, group discussions, seminars, guest lectures, presentations and tutorials. In addition to taking part in the live sessions, there will also be set learning activities that you can do on the online platform at a time that suits you.

A number of activities will be available on the VLE

Online platform

Our pre-sessional courses are very interactive, and you’ll have access to our Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) platform ‘Blackboard’ from wherever you are in the world.

Everything you need for your course is available on the VLE

Everything you need to study will be available on the VLE. 

We will show you how to complete learning activities on the VLE, including:

  • Preparing for the live sessions
  • Watching videos
  • Listening to recordings
  • Reading texts
  • Completing guided tasks
  • Taking part in online discussion forums
  • Creating your own video and audio recordings to share with your group
  • Participating in discussions with your fellow students
  • Writing activities.

We can support you if you have trouble accessing the tasks in the VLE due to problems outside of your control, like slow or unreliable internet connection. We have measures in place, such as downloadable PDFs, that will allow you to fully participate in your programme without completely relying on the internet.


You will receive regular feedback from our International Pathway College (IPC) tutors. This will allow you to focus on the areas you need to develop and will help you to feel more prepared for your degree.

Staying in touch

You can contact your tutor, staff and other students in a variety of ways so that whatever time zone you are in you will be able to engage with us.

This includes:

  • Live group sessions and individual tutorials
  • Email
  • Video and voice calling
  • Instant messaging
  • Discussion forums.

You will be able to use video calling as a tool to communicate with staff and fellow students

Time differences

Our online courses are designed so that you can manage your study, regardless of time differences.

Regular live sessions on the course will be timetabled according to UK time and will accommodate reasonable time differences. For example, if you are studying in China, we will schedule your live sessions at UK morning time so that it is not too late for you. If you are studying in Brazil, we will schedule them later in the day UK time so that it is not too early for you.


There are two types of assessment: formative and summative.

  • Formative assessment helps you evaluate your progress on the course and get feedback from a tutor. This does not count towards your final grades.
  • Summative assessment is the formal assessment that will count towards your final grade.

All of these assessments are done in a similar way to those on a degree programme. Our course coordinators and Programme Leader work closely with other academic departments to make sure the skills you are learning on the pre-sessional reflect what you will need in the future.

Formative assessment

Formative assessment happens regularly throughout all of the courses and will help to understand which areas you need to improve. Our tutors will make recommendations on independent study tasks that will help with this.

These are excellent opportunities for you to discuss your work, development and any concerns you have with your tutor. They will also help to prepare you for your summative assessment and onward degree.

Summative assessment

If you are taking the 20, 15 or 10-week pre-sessional, you will be set summative assessments to complete as coursework. The marks you get for this will determine whether you can progress onto your degree programme. This will assess your reading, writing, listening and speaking skills and is divided into two parts:

  • Research project - a written assignment and a spoken presentation;
  • Response journals - reading or listening to an academic text and completing a task based on this.

5-week pre-sessional assessment

As this is an optional course for students who have already met their degree entry criteria, there is no summative assessment on this course. There are, however, regular opportunities for formative assessment. You will receive feedback and support in developing academic skills for your future degree.

You will complete a short project which will help develop your academic reading, writing, speaking and listening skills, as well as your academic language. This project will help you get a better understanding of the resources available to you during your degree and will introduce you to life as a student at York.

Support for students

We have a number of ways that you can get support during your studies, including throughout our online pre-sessional courses.

The International Pathway College (IPC) has its own dedicated Student Support Team that will give you advice and guidance during your pre-sessional course.

You will have access to:

  • IPC Virtual Reception and telephone line (available Monday to Friday, 9.00am to 5.30pm BST)
  • Student Support Personal Tutor, with weekly drop-in sessions and one-to-one sessions on request
  • Online social events to help with wellbeing and more.

We also offer other forms of support across the University:

Welcome and social programme

We offer a series of virtual welcome and orientation events, so there are lots of opportunities to meet staff and your fellow students. We will get you fully registered by offering talks about university life, helping you through the enrolment process and completing various compliance checks. 

The IPC Student Support team also organises a weekly social programme which students are invited to join.

Applying for an online pre-sessional

How and when to apply

Applications for 2022/23 entry are now open.

You will be able to apply for a pre-sessional course once you have accepted your offer to study at York via the pre-sessional tab in your You@York applicant portal.

Which course should I take?

The length of course (10, 15 or 20 weeks) you need to take depends on your current English language test scores or ability and how much you need to improve to reach the English language requirements for the degree you wish to study. Please check your You@York portal to see which pre-sessional course you're eligible for.

If you have already met your English language requirements but wish to practice or develop your English language skills, you can take a 5-week pre-sessional course.

Contact us

International Pathway College
+44 (0) 1904 321500