Oxford Online Advanced Pre-sessional Course for Graduate Students

Course details

Update - please note that as the situation with the pandemic has improved, we are intending to offer this as a face-to-face course here in the Department.

Course Description

The Oxford Online Advanced Pre-sessional Course is a challenging and intensive 9-week programme aimed at preparing students (both native and non-native speakers of English) for postgraduate degree programmes in the UK. It combines courses in academic writing and research skills with courses in international relations, history and philosophy. It comprises at least 15 hours of weekly classes and guided self-study and is suitable for graduate students from any discipline.

The course aims to help you:

  • develop nuanced academic writing and oral communication skills
  • critically engage with complex written and spoken texts
  • identify and apply effective reading strategies to a variety of texts
  • deliver formal presentations with confidence and clarity
  • participate effectively in seminars
  • advance your development as an independent learner

Guidance is provided but students need to have regular access to a computer and the internet and a good level of experience and skill including the proficient use of Microsoft Word or similar word-processing package, email and internet browser such as Firefox or Google Chrome.

The computer you use should meet our recommended minimum computer specification.

You will take the following two modules:

Academic Literacy Module

This module aims to help you practise and develop your academic writing and critical thinking skills to enable you to find and evaluate reliable sources of evidence, develop a questioning approach to your reading, evaluate differing viewpoints objectively and develop effective analysis and argument.

From day one we will teach you how to make optimal use of your time and resources, develop effective self-management skills and structure your own learning.

Courses include:

  • Academic literacy in practice
  • Planning, researching and writing a Master’s dissertation
  • Academic and Professional Presentation Skills
  • Weekly individual academic literacy tutorial

Additional optional classes for non-native speakers of English:

  • IELTS test practice

Academic Module

This module comprises introductory courses in philosophy, international relations and history and assumes no previous subject knowledge. Together, the courses aim to teach you how to analyse and critically assess arguments, how to gain confidence in expressing ideas in open debate and how to offer arguments for and against the main positions introduced. In particular, the courses in rhetoric and history of propaganda offer you valuable insight into the impact of persuasive language in spoken and written communication.

Courses include:


  • Two essays of 2,000 words
  • Formative asssessment during the course


Please click here for a sample course timetable.

Course Dates

19 April – 18 June 2021


Successful students will receive a University of Oxford Certificate of Course Completion.

Course Fees


Your fees include:

  • All tuition
  • All study materials

How to apply

You should email us:

  • Your completed application form
  • A copy of passport pages indicating citizenship
  • Personal Statement of 500 words (max.)
  • Copies of your University/College transcript(s)
  • IELTS (Academic) Test Results Certificate (if required, 6.5 score minimum)*
  • A passport-style photo

*You can request a language test waiver if you have studied a full-time, degree-level course within the last two years where the teaching and assessment was conducted entirely in English. Please email us if you have any questions.

Please be aware that successful completion of the course would not automatically make you eligible for a full-time Master’s degree at Oxford. If you have any questions about the course content, structure or requirements then please contact us at ipfd@conted.ox.ac.uk

The deadline for your application to be considered is the 2 April 2021. When we have received your completed application form and all related documentation, you will be contacted by the Course Administrator who will advise you if you are invited to the next stage of the selection process, an interview with the Course Director.