Access Pathways and Online Courses

Several universities and charities now offer programmes to improve access to HE for refugees and asylum seeking students. These programmes are designed to prepare applicants for higher education. Each one has a different focus and they vary from short courses to long-term programmes. There are also a number of online courses that can help you to prepare for further study. If you would like to have your course on this list please contact us.

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Access and Pre-sessional Programmes

Note: The below list includes details of courses offered by Higher Education Institutions and charities. For information about Access to Higher Education Diplomas offered by Further Education Institutions, enquire with your local college or consult the Access to HE website.

The Compass Project

Birkbeck, University of London

Location: London

The Compass Project offers advice, guidance and workshops to those wanting to enter higher education from forced migrant backgrounds. It also offers scholarship programmes to complete a Certificate of Higher Education, Foundation Year, or first year of an undergraduate programme at Birkbeck.

More information

English and Training Courses

Breaking Barriers

Location: London

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

More information

Al-Rashid Scholarship, School of English and Culture

Marlborough College Summer School

Location: Marlborough, Wiltshire

Marlborough College'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

Reconnect to Education: Preparation for Higher Education

ReConnect and Institute of Education, UCL

Location: London

A 10-week course to support progression into higher education at UCL and other higher education institutions, including Teacher Training (PGCE) programmes.

To find out more, see thisInformation Sheet.

To apply, download the Application Form (Summer Term 2021).

More information about ReConnect

Undergraduate Preparatory Certificate (UPC) Bowman Scholarship


Location: London

A full fee waiver for the Undergraduate Preparatory Certificate (UPC), UCL’s International Foundation course, on either the Sciences and Engineering (UPCSE) or the Humanities and Social Sciences (UPCH) pathway. The UPC provides students with a qualification to enter an undergraduate degree at UCL or other top-ranked UK universities.

More information

Foundation Year Programme

University of Cambridge

Location: Cambridge

The University of Cambridge’s Foundation Year Programme offers a fully-funded, year-long, residential programme, targeted at students who have experienced a range of educational disadvantages or disruptions and who want to study courses in the Arts, Humanities or Social Sciences.

More information

Open Learning Initiative (OLIve)

University of East London

Location: London

The 10-week OLIve course offers an opportunity for students to find out what skills and knowledge are needed in order to apply for and succeed in HE and in the UK. The course also provides modules and workshops in English language and academic writing, research skills, academic tutoring and introduction to academic discussions.

More information

Pre-sessional English Programme

University of Edinburgh

Location: Edinburgh

English Language Education offers one scholarship on a Pre-Sessional Language programme for University of Edinburgh Postgraduate offer holders who are refugees or asylum seekers. The scholarship covers all fees, and may also contribute towards accommodation and living expenses. Contact .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) to enquire.

More information

Pre-sessional English Programme

University of Leicester

Location: Leicester / Online

The University of Leicester's Pre-sessional Programme is for students who want to start an undergraduate or postgraduate course at university, but first need to improve their level of English. The programmes offer a range of entry points from IELTS 4.0 to IELTS 6.0 and have various start dates throughout the year.

More information

USW Refugee Sanctuary Scheme

University of South Wales

Location: Wales (various campuses)

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

More information


University of Surrey

Location: Guildford, Surrey

An access scheme for University of Surrey applicants that 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

Your Future

University of Surrey

Location: Guildford, Surrey

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

Due to reopen in 2021

Online courses




Preparing for University

A free 6 week online course (3 hrs per week) offered by the University of East Anglia (UEA), 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

A free 3 week online course (6 hrs per week) designed to help refugees and asylum seekers get the information they need to apply for university in the UK..

Link here

How to Succeed at: Writing Applications

A free 3 week online course (3 hrs 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

A series of 4 free online courses offered by the British Council to help you prepare for the IELTS Reading, Writing, Speaking, and Listening tests.

Link here

Digital Skills

A free 4 week online course (3 hrs per week) offered by King's College London to learn about the digital technologies you can use to make your life, work and study easier.

Link here

Study Medicine: Applying for Medical School and Becoming a Medical Student

A free 3 week course (2 hrs per week) offered by the University of Glasgow where you can get tips for writing your medicine application and learn what it's like to be a medical student.

Link here

Introduction to Business Management

A free 4 week course (4 hrs per week) offered by King's College London to help you learn the basics of business management.

Link here

Online English Courses

King's College London offer free online courses for different levels of English (Elementary, Pre-Intermediate and English for Healthcare).



English for Healthcare

Online English support with RefuNet

Refunet provides access to online volunteer teachers to help you learn English or provide support with schoolwork.

Link here


Free online courses offered by the Open University. Courses cover a range of subjects and are available at different levels, so you can find the course that best suits you.

Link here