Access and Pre-Sessional Programmes and Resources

Access and pre-sessional programmes are courses designed to prepare applicants for higher education. Several universities and charities now offer programs which can be hugely important stepping stones in enabling access to HE for refugees and asylum seeking students.
If you would like have your course on this list please contact [email][/email]

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The Compass project

Birkbeck, University of London

Location: London

The Compass provides information, advice and guidance to those wanting to enter higher education from forced migration backgrounds it also offers scholarship programs to study at Birkbeck for one year.

More information

Refugee Education courses

Breaking Barriers London

Location: London

Breaking Barriers’ education programme provides tailored English language support and training courses that can increase employability and help prepare for entering the workplace. They provide small group classes led by trained teachers and supported by enthusiastic teaching assistants.

More information

Pre Sessional courses

University of Leicester

Location: Leicester

10 week pre sessional language course to improve English Language skills in preparation for University. The pre-sessional programmes offer a range of entry points from IELTS 4.0 to IELTS 6.0 for those wishing to study a degree programme. Places are available to start in October, January and April.
More information

Marlborough College School of English and Culture

Marlborough College Summer School

Location: Marlborough, Wiltshire

The school’s summer programme offers a number of places to refugees as part of the Al Rashid Scholarship. The school offers English language tuition, social opportunities, promotes critical thinking, creativity and project management.

More information

Olive program

University of East London

Location: London

The course offers an opportunity for students to find out what skills and knowledge are needed in order to apply for and succeed in HE in the UK and provides information about pathways and opportunities.

More information


Institute of Education London

Location: London

Course on preparation for higher education and employment for refugees and asylum seekers.

To find out more, see thisInformation Sheet.

To apply, download the Application Form.

USW Refugee Sanctuary Scheme

University of South Wales

Location: Wales (various campuses)

The USW Refugee Sanctuary Scheme is a new scheme providing support to a limited number of eligible refugees via free English language tuition prior to starting an undergraduate course at the University

More information

Your Future

University of Surrey

Location: Guildford, Surrey

Six session programme for refugees and asylum seekers looking at university life, careers development, group activities and planning pathways.

Due to reopen in 2021


University of Surrey

Location: Guildford, Surrey

An access scheme for University of Surrey applicants which can include a reduction in entry requirements, a scholarship, and access to an E-Mentor. Open to refugees with indefinite leave to remain in the UK.

More information

Online courses and resources




Preparing for University

Free 6 week online course (3hrs per week), including access to university lectures, key skills for undergraduate degrees and tips for starting well at university.

Link here

Aim higher: access to higher education for refugees and asylum seekers

Designed to give the information and support required by refugees and asylum seekers in their application for university, free, duration 3 weeks, 3hrs per week.

Link here

How to succeed at: Writing applications

A free, 3 week course (3hrs per week) from the careers service at the University of Sheffield to help learners write successful applications, CVs, covering letters and personal statements.

Link here

Understanding IELTS

Improve your English and prepare for tests, such as IELTS reading, writing, speaking and listening, with this free online course. 2hrs per week for 6 week, run by the British Council.

Link here

The complete University Guide

Website with advice on applying to university, general funding information, open days and frequently asked questions.

Link here