English for Academic Purposes

English for Academic Purposes (EAP) aims to support students in communicating in an academic art and design context. 

EAP Pre-Sessional Courses

Our eight-week EAP Pre-Sessional Course runs from July to September every year and are designed to equip students with the required level of English language and academic skills to participate fully in their MA or Research Programme. The eight-week course is for students who have not reached the required IELTS level before they start their Programme: IELTS 6.5 overall, with 6.0 in the TWE (Test of Written English).

Entry level for the eight-week Pre-sessional Course is IELTS (Academic) 6.0 overall with minimum 5.5–6.0 in the writing or 6.5 overall with 5.5 in the writing, or equivalent recognised by the College.

We also offer a four-week version of the pre-sessional course in August – September for students who have reached the required level of IELTS but wish to brush up their language skills. 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.

Course fees and dates for 2019 Pre-Sessional Courses will be announced soon.

Why join the RCA EAP Pre-Sessional Course?

 Your environment:

  • Get to know fellow students from across the college in a supportive, stimulating environment
  • Become familiar with the college facilities and daily functioning of the RCA
  • Enjoy access to student support advice about visas, accommodation etc
  • Join group visits to relevant museums and exhibitions across London in collaborative and creative activities

Academic English – art and design context:

  • Read texts and listen to current talks using language and issues that are specific to an art and design context and specifically chosen from RCA recommendations
  • Use relevant vocabulary and styles in tasks that are similar to those you will produce on your MA Programme at the RCA: reflective commentary; academic argument and discussion; presentations and seminar discussions
  • Receive weekly feedback from your tutor on your speaking and writing in an academic art and design context

 Learning styles and activities:

  • Practice academic English in learning tasks which reflect those on RCA MA courses: discuss and analyse your work; work collaboratively in groups; develop an independent reading and writing process that will help you get started with dissertation writing; practice responding to feedback, evaluating work and learning from mistakes
  • Receive supportive feedback on your learning needs, to help you develop these skills

By coming on the RCA EAP Pre-sessional Course you are not just cramming for a general academic English exam: you can give yourself time to become fully immersed in the language through the context of art and design among other students in a stimulating and supportive environment.

EAP Schedule and Principles

Monday to Wednesday Mornings

Language focused reading, writing, speaking and listening.

Materials are provided in a booklet that all students receive as part of the course. Language work is focused on materials recommended by programme tutors or from programme reading lists. The schedule is based on themes which are topical across art and design. Students develop techniques to use their language in specific art and design contexts.

On Wednesday mornings we invite Art and Design practitioners to give talks and lead seminars to increase authentic delivery and discussion.

Each week students complete a piece of writing which is similar to the types of writing carried out on RCA Programmes, e.g. descriptions, critical analysis, reflection, the essay, etc.

Thursdays and Fridays

On Thursdays, students have a one-to-one tutorial with their tutor to discuss their development on the course. Each Friday morning students also take part in a speaking activity based on speaking requirements on RCA Programmes, e.g. a presentation, a discussion, an interview, information gathering etc. Feedback is provided by tutors.


During the afternoons, students have the opportunity to practise their language in less formal learning situations. Everyone takes part in group visits to galleries and places of interest in London with follow-up activities. We have a book club to help with the speed and flow of reading of a novel. Students have the opportunity to work with others from a variety of disciplines on group collaborative projects and we shall be introducing a series of elective workshops for students to choose from.

This course aims to challenge students to use language in a postgraduate art and design setting by becoming familiar with learning expectations at the college. Students are encouraged to develop independent learning strategies and push their critical thinking capabilities. The course is taught by experienced EAP tutors who understand the needs of international students in Higher Education.

For details and course fees from our 2018 course, please see Pre-Sessional 2018 Joining Information (PDF).

For an example of weekly activities, please see Pre-Sessional 2018 Example Timetable (PDF).

In-Sessional EAP Support

We have a number of workshops throughout the academic year.

Here is an example of what we offer:

  • Preparing for your dissertation – reading and writing processes
  • General EAP: paragraph structure, sentence structure, critical thinking skills, developing vocabulary, note-taking
  • Preparing for presentations
  • Workshops for research students

Most of these courses are open to native and non-native speakers of English.

One-to-One Tutorials

Students are able to book tutorials with an experienced tutor to review an aspect of their language in order to develop skills in this area.

Who to Contact

Students who require more information should contact the EAP Coordinator:

+44  (0)20 7590 4543

Student Support:
+44 (0)20 7590 4140


EAP Coordinator
+44  (0)20 7590 4543

Student Support:
+44 (0)20 7590 4140