Oxford Advanced Pre-sessional Course for Graduate Students

Course details

Course Description

The Oxford 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







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
  • Advanced Pronunciation Practice
  • Weekly individual academic literacy tutorial
  • Additional optional classes for non-native speakers of English:

  • IELTS test practice, followed by an IELTS test. 

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:

Open Lectures

You will be encouraged to attend a number of open lectures in areas of personal academic interest offered across the University.

Field Trip

The final event of the course will be a trip to Royal Ascot for Ladies day. 


  • Two essays of 2,500-3000 words
  • Formative assessment during the course

Open Lectures

You will be encouraged to attend the open lectures and seminars in areas of personal academic interest offered across the University. 


You will have 10 classes each week, and please click here for a sample course timetable.


Students who successfully complete the course will be awarded a University of Oxford certificate of course completion.

You will also receive a transcript showing the grades achieved for your individual assignments.

Course Fees


Your fees include:

  • All tuition
  • All course books and study materials
  • You will be provided with the core textbooks for the course, and be provided with extensive reading lists for your classes and assignments.

We are, unfortunately, unable to offer any scholarships for the Advanced Pre-Sessional Course 2024 at present. 


Please note the fees do not include accommodation. As a Department, we are not in a position to offer accommodation for the duration of the course, and students should be aware that it is ultimately their own responsibility to secure accommodation.

However, we are happy to provide students with advice on finding suitable accommodation in Oxford.

How to apply

You should email us:

  • Your completed application form
  • A copy of passport pages indicating citizenship
  • Copies of your University/College transcript(s)
  • Personal Statement of 500 words (max.)
  • IELTS (Academic) Test Results Certificate or equivalent (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.

In addition to the above, please provide the name, affiliation and email address of an academic or professional referee. Your application will not be considered unless you provide all the documentation requested above including contact details of your referee.

The deadline for applications is 11 March 2024 at 2.00pm (UK time). 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.

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