Pre-Master's Certificate - English Language and Study Skills

Certificate / Pre-Master's Certificate

Accredited by the British Council for the teaching of English

This course is taught by Oxford Brookes International

This course is designed primarily for non-native speakers of English to engage in studies which will extend their English language proficiency and study skills.

However, native and near-native speakers of English who would like to study in the summer semester (May-August) also have the option of taking this course. The individual needs of all students, including their language proficiency, will be taken into account on the programme. 

All students will develop an independent study supervised by a subject specialist as part of their preparation for their master's, in addition to modules in academic writing, reading and seminar skills. Please contact us if you would like to discuss this course and whether it is suitable for you.

Prepare for postgraduate study

The Pre-Master's Certificate will fully prepare you for your future master's course.

You will improve your study skills and use of academic English - the essential skills you will need for your master's course. You also have the opportunity to specialise in a subject of your choice through a module from the range of subjects offered at Oxford Brookes.

Your chosen subject specialism module will improve your knowledge of the area you wish to study in the future, and allows you to gain experience of studying at a UK university. You can choose your module from a range of subjects that include business, tourism, hospitality and leisure, law, social sciences, arts, humanities, computing and technology.

You should choose this course if:

  • your undergraduate qualifications do not meet the level required for postgraduate study
  • you wish to take a master's in a subject that is different from your undergraduate degree
  • you wish to improve your study skills and use of academic English.

The course runs twice each year starting in January and May. If you choose to start this course in May you will study through the summer so you can progress directly to a master's course starting in September.

Teaching learning and assessment

You will be taught by highly qualified academic staff who have many years of teaching experience in the UK and overseas.

Learning methods include:

  • lectures, seminars and tutorials
  • group and individual project work and presentations
  • supervised independent learning
  • critical thinking tasks.

There will be a maximum of 18 students in a class in your compulsory modules. Your subject specialisation modules may be larger. 

Teaching hours

You will have 18 class hours each week, with approximately 20 hours per week of additional time needed for homework, projects, assignments and independent study. Classes are Monday to Friday (except Bank Holidays), usually between 9am and 4pm. Some subject modules may be 5pm and 8pm. Most classes are 3 hours long including a 10 minute break.


Assessment is by means of a range of coursework, including essays and papers, in-class writing tasks, project work and presentations, listening and summary assignments, and the compilation of reflective portfolios.

Accreditation and quality

We are accredited by the British Council for the teaching of English as a foreign language. The report from our last inspection stated:

The British Council inspected and accredited Oxford Brookes International in October 2009. The Accreditation Scheme assesses the standards of management, resources and premises, teaching and welfare and accredits organisations which meet the overall standard in each area inspected (see for details).

The large English language teaching department of this university offers courses in academic English for adults.

Points of excellence were noted in aspects of general management, academic resources, course design and learner training.

The inspection report stated that the organisation met the standards of the Scheme.

Course content

The course consists of three language and study skills modules, together with your chosen subject specialism module.

Compulsory modules

  • Advanced Reading and Research Skills enables you to carry out research for reports, essays, seminars and other presentations effectively and appropriately. You will learn to apply your reading to a specific issue or question, and to evaluate and summarise secondary sources for use in writing assignments. You will also learn to employ correct quotation, paraphrasing and citation techniques, and to write a bibliography following academic conventions. You will widen your library research skills and develop the necessary extensive and intensive reading skills as preparation for writing and seminar assignments at master’s level.
  • Extended Writing Project offers the opportunity to undertake a research project leading to an extended research paper in your academic field (in the format of a report or essay), and to a reflective essay on the process followed, as preparation for postgraduate study. The research can be undertaken using only secondary sources, or both secondary and primary sources. It is a double module, ie 6 hours a week (2 x 3 hours) to enable you to get practice and support with writing through a varied pedagogical approach of classes, tutorials, lectures, workshops and online discussion forums.
  • Advanced Seminar Skills develops and practises advanced listening, seminar and presentation skills for academic purposes, and builds on skills acquired through the Basic Seminar Skills module. The module includes practice of listening to lectures with note-taking and summary writing activities. You will get varied speaking practice is given in the form of pair and group discussions, consensus activities and a formal debate. You will develop your presentation skills with a researched individual presentation in your own discipline.

Subject specialism module

You are free to choose your subject module from a wide range of options from the university's modular programme. Your choice will normally be based on your interests and future area of study. Here are some of the more popular choices:

  • Business (including e-Business, International Management, International Business Law, Hospitality and Tourism, Accountancy, Marketing, and Economics)
  • Social Sciences and Law (including Politics, International Relations, Law, International Human Rights, Sociology, Psychology, and Anthropology)
  • Education (including Communication and Media, Language and Linguistics, Sports and Coaching, Philosophy, Religion, Culture and Ethics)
  • Built Environment (including Architecture, Construction, Real Estate, Planning, Environmental Sustainability)
  • Technology (including Computing, Mathematics, Electronic and Mechanical Engineering)
  • Life Sciences (including Biotechnology, Microbiology, Nutrition, Sports Science)
  • Health and Social Care (including nursing, social work and public heath)

Please note: the choice of subject modules depends on availability and may change without notice.

Students starting in June take an independent study module instead of the subject specialism module.

Student support

Our dedicated student support team are here throughout your time at Oxford Brookes International and can help with any problems or issue you may face. They can provide one to one support, pastoral advice and guidance to help you progress through your course. They also organise our welcome programme and social events for students.

Course dates

January 2017 start

Enrolment and induction: 26-27 January 2016
Semester 1: 30 January – 19 May 2017

May 2017 start

Enrolment and induction: 25-26 May 2017
Semester 1: 30 May – 11 August 2017

(See our university calendar for details of bank holidays.)

This course is taught by Oxford Brookes International

Course length

Full-time:  January-May or May-August

Teaching location

Headington Campus, Gipsy Lane

Start date

January / May 2017 or May

The Pre-Master's Certificate is a recognised qualification in its own right. Most students who complete the course go on to study a master's degree at Oxford Brookes or other universities.

Progression onto master's in the following subject areas at Oxford Brookes are possible:

  • Arts
  • Architecture
  • Biotechnology and Medical Sciences
  • Business*
  • Computing and Communication Technologies*
  • Education
  • Health and Social Care Management (requires 3-6 months' work/voluntary experience or related degree)*
  • History
  • Hospitality
  • Law
  • Planning
  • Psychology
  • Publishing
  • Real Estate and Construction
  • Social Sciences*
  • Public Health
  • Sport and Health Sciences

Applications for the master's course will be considered on an individual basis dependent on academic and English language entry requirements. Normally, you can progress to your chosen master's by achieving an average grade of 60% (55% for business/hospitality master's) on the Pre-Master's Certificate. We will help you to apply for your chosen master's during the Certificate.

* Many master's courses at Oxford Brookes can be offered as a two-year programme - you will only need to make one application and can apply for one student visa for the whole two years. On satisfactory completion of the Pre-Master's Diploma year, you transfer to your master's degree in the second year. This option is available for all Business courses, Computing and Digital Technology, International Studies and Health and Social Care Management.

The tuition fees are £5,190 (2015/16) and £5,400 (2016/17).

This fee is the same for international, EU and UK students.

A £1,000 deposit is required for the Pre-Master's Certificate course.

Teaching materials

Your tuition fees include most of your teaching materials, and gives you access to the university’s learning facilities including the libraries, computers and virtual learning environment.

Deposits and refunds

A non-refundable £1,000 deposit is required to secure your place on this course.

In the unlikely event that you decide to leave within the first four weeks of the course we will refund the tuition fees minus the £1,000 deposit and the cost of the number of teaching weeks attended. No refunds are available after the fourth week of the course. For more information see our terms and conditions.

Entry requirements

Academic requirements

  • Honours degree, acceptable diploma or equivalent work experience.

English language requirements

  • IELTS 6.0 (with 6.0 in writing and 5.5 in all other skills) or equivalent.

If you are a native or near-native speaker of English, or have IELTS 7.0, you should take our Pre-Master's Certificate: Study Skills if you are starting in January. However, you are still welcome to apply for this course if you are starting during the Summer (please see introductory text above).

Applicants are welcome from any academic discipline, as well as those in work and seeking continuing professional development.

English language requirements for visas

This course is classed as a B2 level for visa purposes. To apply for a student visa you will need to meet the minimum B2 English language requirements.

Minimum Age

The normal minimum age for this course is 21. We will admit students under 21 on a case-by-case basis.

How to apply

Apply online directly to Oxford Brookes.

Admissions Officer Parrizad Pound

Your admissions officer for this course, Christina Hitchcock (right), will be pleased to advise you and will see your application through to the moment you enrol at Brookes.

Contact her on or +44 (0)1865 483874 for more information

Conditions of acceptance

When you accept our offer, you agree to the conditions of acceptance. You should therefore read those conditions before accepting the offer.