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We offer two intensive online pre-sessional courses before the main RCA programmes begin, to support you in getting ready to communicate at the appropriate level and with effective skills for your degree. Our pre-sessional courses have been accredited by our national industry body BALEAP. In their report, BALEAP said the Pre-Sessional course is "exemplary in its design, reflecting the academic discourse needs of receiving Arts & Design disciplines."

Our pre-sessional courses are designed specifically for the academic skills needed in an art and design postgraduate context.

"The course is very strongly aligned to student needs and expectations of the destination degree programmes…the focus on critical and dialogic speaking, seen in art & design disciplinary pedagogies across the RCA, forms the heart of the pre-sessional course."

– BALEAP Accreditation report RCA 2022.

We offer you the opportunity to work in a small class group with regular online collaboration, tutorials and feedback. You will be supported by experienced EAP tutors to develop your academic critical reading, reflection and discussion skills as well as learning how to research and write in a post graduate context. You will be able to access a variety of stimulating materials related to Art and design and will practise skills in critical analysis and reflective thinking crucial to your art and design programme learning outcomes.


How will you learn?

All students study via zoom Monday to Friday (9am – 12pm BST) with their EAP tutor or (Wednesdays) through a webinar with invited speakers from the RCA research community. The course includes integrated independent study tasks which support the learning within the course.

"The RCA Pre-sessional Course syllabus comprises a series of ‘process of enquiry’ cycles, conceived to develop the ways of thinking and practising valued by departments. The Course syllabus is organised thematically…The final week focuses on ‘moving on’ to postgraduate study at the RCA. Core principles, such as ‘tolerance of ambiguity’, are threaded throughout the Course and developed in relation to a rich curriculum of Art & Design oriented texts, videos, and webinars…Critical engagement and the development of a personal, critical voice form key elements of the syllabus and are enacted in stages across the programme, building from description through personal reflection to evaluation."

– BALEAP Accreditation report RCA 2022

Eight-week course

If you haven't reached the required English language requirements for your programme, we offer an eight-week intensive EAP pre-sessional course designed specifically for students joining the RCA.

You will prepare a number of pieces of coursework with support from your EAP tutor which need to be completed and demonstrate key learning outcomes throughout the course. You will also have the opportunity to hear from RCA research students in regular research and practice presentations which mirror the types of learning experiences on RCA programmes.

“The weekly webinar series… now curated by two RCA PhD students supported by RCA staff, is a particular strength of the course and an example of exemplary practice.”

BALEAP Accreditation Report RCA 2022

Entrance requirements


6.0 overall with minimum 5.5 in all other skills, or equivalent recognised by the College.

See English language requirements for equivalent qualifications.

Teaching dates

3 July – 25 August 2023

This is a full time intensive course with self study tasks as well as online live interaction.

You will be taught Monday to Fridays, 9am – 12 noon (BST), with three-to-four hours of live contact time per day plus tutorials, collaborative tasks and integrated independent study.

Course fees


There is an early payment discount – the date for this is Friday 9 June by 5pm British Summer Time.

If you pay on or before this date then the fee is reduced to £3,320

Four-week EAP pre-sessional course

We also offer an online, four-week version of the pre-sessional course if you have reached the English language level required but wish to improve your communication skills specifically for academic study at the RCA. The pre-sessional course provides a valuable chance to practise academic English in the context of art and design with authentic and relevant tasks and materials.

Entrance requirements

You must have already reached the English language requirements for your programme.

Teaching dates

31 July – 25 August

This is a full time intensive course with integrated independent study as well as online live interaction.

Students will be taught Monday to Friday, 9am – 12 noon (BST), with three-to-four hours live contact time per day, plus tutorials, collaborative tasks and integrated independent study.

Course fees


There is an early payment discount - the date for this is Friday 9 June 2023 by 5pm British Summer Time.

If you pay on or before this date then the fee is reduced to £1,590


Our admissions team will need to confirm your language test results and eligibility. If you believe you are eligible for one of our Pre-Sessional courses, please email [email protected] and state that you would like to join either the eight-week or four-week course.

You must book and pay for the Pre-Sessional course by Friday 16 June 2023 in order to secure your place.

Why join the EAP Pre-Sessional course?

The Pre-Sessional EAP course offers you a tailor-made supportive course with specific tasks and materials relating to RCA Art & Design programmes.

Group Support

The online EAP course offers you the chance to work in a small group (12–14 students) with an experienced EAP tutor to guide you through the development of your academic skills. During the online class time you will respond to reading and listening material, plan and develop pieces of writing and practise your critical analysis and reflective thinking skills. Your EAP tutor will be able to review your skills and provide regular personal feedback to help you identify your learning needs and appropriate methods for development.

All the tasks on the course are designed to reflect the same learning outcomes that you will be expected to achieve on your MA programmes. For example, you will need to critically evaluate current thinking in your field and express your position on relevant issues. We help you develop the language and communication skills to do this in a supportive collaborative environment.

“I liked the way of teaching English by "doing" and not just understanding grammar, for example. The uses of contemporary authors and themes relevant to the time we are living in, made the classes more and more attractive.”

EAP course participant

Art & Design Materials and Tasks

You will be guided through a variety of online study materials using authentic texts and themes from Art and Design disciplines across the college. We use these to develop your vocabulary, reading and listening skills and independent research skills.

As well as group work with your EAP tutor, you will work on a collaborative group project supported by discipline tutors, and take part in a weekly webinar conference with invited specialists from the college research community.

“The online teaching methods were great, the tutor was very patient and interesting and it was a pleasure to have lessons.”

EAP course participant

In-sessional EAP support

We support students with academic skills during your studies. We have a number of workshops throughout the academic year.

Here is an example of what we offer:

  • An Academic Process of Enquiry: critical reading, reflective dialogue and analysis; developing your voice and position
  • Academic skills for research: a critical process
  • Preparing to write: paragraph structure, sentence structure, critical thinking skills, developing vocabulary, note-taking.
  • Preparing for presentations and tutorials.
  • Workshops for research students.

Most of these courses are open to all students at the College; some of them are delivered through your programme. If you have any questions about our academic skills support, please contact us: [email protected]

Current students can also find resources to support your academic skills on our online learning platform, moodle: EAP Academic Skills.

One-to-one tutorials

You are able to book a tutorial with an experienced EAP tutor to review an aspect of your academic study skills, including planning for a presentation or writing task, talking through research skills etc.

Contact us

If you need more information about the pre-sessional course details, email

Email us at
[email protected]
Seminar at the RCA