Pre-PhD Programme

Set yourself up for success in your PhD. If you want to ensure that you have the optimal start to your PhD, then the Pre-PhD Programme is ideal for you.

This online programme has been designed to help you acquire advanced academic literacy skills.

You will also receive expert advice on how to write a research proposal that will help you stand out from other PhD candidates.

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Why you should choose our Pre-PhD Programme

  • Gain independent research skills through one-to-one tutorials online with expert teachers
  • Learn successful project management to enable you to succeed in your PhD.
  • Detailed and supportive feedback to give you tailored insights into your personal strengths and areas to improve.
  • Develop critical awareness as well as advanced academic literacy and skills.
  • Learn how to construct a bibliography to showcase your research and sources.

Programme Information

Programme Overview

This programme has autumn, winter, and spring starts, with a goal of you starting a PhD from three months to a year after the completion of the programme. This time frame can be shorter than students who aim to be accepted into a PhD programme without support.

This is a demanding programme designed to replicate the learning experience of a Doctoral candidate and early career researcher. You will be required to study for approximately 15 hours per week (30 credit hours per block).

A portion of this programme will take place in real-time online live classrooms. You will be expected to commit to 3 hours of live tutorial lessons each week and up to 5 hours of live one-to-one tutorials over 10 weeks.

You will be expected to engage in directed learning each week covering:

  • 2 hours of online seminars and discussion forums.
  • 5 hours of assigned project work and assessments.
  • 5 hours of independent study.

What does the course provide?

Pursuing a PhD will strengthen your expertise and education. However, if you are unsure about whether you are prepared for the rigorous demands of doctoral research, this programme is perfect for you. We have designed this programme to equip you with the knowledge and skills needed for successful PhD research. Through this programme, you will:

  • Understand how your Doctoral journey will differ from your previous qualifications, either master’s or even undergraduate.
  • Develop essential research and critical thinking skills prior to beginning your PhD.
  • Acquire skills for independent study, presence in the academic community, and research methodologies in specific disciplines.
  • Increase the likelihood of your continuation into Doctoral application and research.
  • Deepen your understanding of the commitment required for a PhD, reducing potential challenges or frustrations that may lead to early withdrawal.

Upon completing the programme, you will be ready to start your PhD and will have developed an academic portfolio consisting of:

  • Research proposal
  • Personal statement
  • Journal article
  • Conference-level poster presentation
  • Funding plan
  • Teaching practice (where applicable)


One term: £6,500

Scholarships may be available

Entry Requirements

Postgraduate degree or equivalent diploma, MPhil.


Oxford ELLT 6 (at least 5 in Speaking and Listening & 6 in Reading and Writing)/IELTS 6 (at least 5.5 in Speaking and Listening & 6 in Reading and Writing), or equivalent.

For more information about Oxford ELLT, visit:


I studied with Oxford International on the 16-week pre-sessional programme and I am definitely satisfied with the course. Daily self-study and weekly assignments helped me a lot to improve myself. My favourite part of the course was that our teacher was very caring and detailed feedback.

Gizem Azman
Online Pre-Sessional English

It may sound intimidating at first that you have to teach while you’re still technically learning to, but the course prepares you very well for it. We were taught in great detail how to best teach Grammar, Reading and Vocabulary lessons. Referring back to the lessons we were taught benefited me...

Meriam Bouarrouj
CertTESOL Student

I have learned a lot during the time when I am studying Research & Academic study skills and other projects. Teachers in each class are very patient and they are always willing to help us in and after class and they always communicate with us actively. Improved my writing and communication skills.

Ganghao Xu

Frequently Asked Questions

Your application will be reviewed by our admissions team who will check your eligibility for the programme. Subsequently, you’ll be informed about the application outcome. If your application is approved, an email will be sent to you, providing instructions on how to make the online course payment and complete the enrolment process.

Closer to your Pre-PhD start date, you will receive a welcome pack from us containing details of your programme, class times, assessment criteria and clear technical instructions for how to join your class.

Yes, our team will help you in finding the right supervisor for your degree.

Our team will provide you with access to our Virtual Learning Environment, Zoom, digital library, and additional learning resources.

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