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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 is 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), or equivalent.

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 Pre-Sessional Courses 2019

Monday 15 July – Friday 6 September 2019 (8 week course)

  • Monday to Thursday, 9.30am – 4.30pm; Fridays, 9.30am – 2.30pm
  • The course fee for the 8-week pre-sessional course is £3,300.
  • There is an early payment discount for payments by Friday 31 May, 9am (GMT). If you pay on or before this date then the fee is reduced to £3,000. 

Monday 12 August – Friday 6 September 2019 (4 week course)

  • Monday to Thursday, 9.30am – 4.30pm; Friday, 9.30am – 2.30pm
  • The course fee for the 4-week pre-sessional course is £1,650.
  • There is an early payment discount for payments made by Friday 31 May by 9am (GMT): if you pay on or before this date then the fee is reduced to £1,500.
  • Further information will be sent to applicants once they have booked a place on the course.

If you have reached the minimum level to join the EAP Pre-sessional course and would like to book a place/like to book a place on the 4-week pre-sessional course, or if you have any queries about the English Language entry requirements, please contact the Registry Office, their details are:

+44 (0)20 7590 4444

Why Join the 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.
  • Meet RCA PhD students who give talks and run workshops on a variety of topics.

 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

Mornings: language focused reading, writing, speaking and listening

All students receive a materials book. All your work and materials are based on the language and skills you need at the RCA. We have discussed student needs with RCA tutors and used texts from RCA reading lists in Art and Design.

Each week, you will complete a speaking and writing task which is typical of the tasks and topics you will need on RCA Programmes.


On Monday afternoons you take an option workshop of your choice. For example, you can choose: Contemporary British Society; Further Art readings; Further Design readings; grammar; pronunciation etc.

On Tuesday afternoons we visit galleries and museums which help with topics and group work.

On Wednesday afternoons, RCA PhD students and invited guests give talks and run workshops on topical issues.

On Thursdays students have a 1:1 tutorial with their tutor to discuss their development on the course. We also run a book club to improve extended reading skills and hold a student representative meeting to share ideas and issues.

Each Friday morning students take part in a speaking activity based on RCA speaking tasks, e.g. presentation, discussion, interviewing, information gathering, etc. Feedback is provided by tutors.

On Friday afternoons, everyone works in small groups on a collaborative project to help group communication, independent study skills and to practise your creative skills in a new environment.

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 an example of weekly activities, please see the indicative timetable.

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 Team:

+44  (0)20 7590 4543

Student Support:
+44 (0)20 7590 4140 


Registry Office (application to the Pre-sessional Course):

+44 (0)20 7590 4444

EAP Coordinator and Team:
+44  (0)20 7590 4543

Student Support:
+44 (0)20 7590 4140