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Academic English with IELTS 'Gateway to University Programme'

Academic English with IELTS "Gateway to University Programme" is listed on the Interim List of Eligible Programmes: ILEP No. 0341/0010

This course helps you develop the academic skills and knowledge you need for study and life in an English-speaking university and it also prepares you to take the IELTS exam.  You will grow in confidence using English in both academic and general situations in UCC and Cork.  You will receive regular advice and guidance to help you reach your personal targets in education.

Who is this course for?

This course helps you develop your English for academic study, prepare for IELTS and supports you to progress to your chosen undergraduate or postgraduate programme at an English-speaking university.  

Academic modules focus on the academic skills and literacies to allow you to study further in English-medium Higher Education (known as Third Level in Ireland).  These modules also help you prepare for the IELTS exam. Skills covered will include, for example, referencing/paraphrasing, critical thinking/textual analysis and academic word list/nominalisation.

The programme follows UCC’s connected curriculum principles to foster real-world usage of the English language in contexts relevant to students’ interests and aims.  Students take part in project work, listen to university lectures and undertake some research as part of their programme.

A dedicated ‘Gateway to University’ tutor will help you manage your development and will guide you through the university application process.

At the end of the course, should you wish to stay at UCC, you may wish to transfer to one of our pre-sessional approved English language routes to undergraduate or postgraduate programmes.  Should you wish to take up a place at a different university, you will leave us with an IELTS qualification and a set of skills that will enable you to succeed.


Programme Summary

Programme Summary


Indicates course is delivered on campus                    

 On Campus

Language Level

CEFR B1 and above.  See General English Programme, if the current level is CEFR A2.

Class Size Maximum 15 students, minimum of 6 students.
Age 18 years +

Start Dates

Term Dates 2023-24

11 September – 21 December 2023 plus 08 to 12 January (Modules 1 – 4)

15 January – 24 May** 2024 (Modules 5 – 8)

The ‘Gateway’ programme finishes on 24** May 2024 

All students stay on the programme from their chosen module start date to the end of the ‘Gateway’ programme (24** May 2024).

Cycle/Module start dates for all full-time English language courses above:

  • Cycle/Module 1:  11 September 2023
  • Cycle/Module 2:  09 October 2023
  • Cycle/Module 3:  06 November 2023
  • Cycle/Module 4:  04 December 2023 & 8 January 2024
  • Cycle/Module 5:  15 January 2024
  • Cycle/Module 6:  12 February 2024
  • Cycle/Module 7:  11 March 2024
  • Cycle/Module 8:  08 April 2024
  • Cycle/Module 9:  06 May 2024
End Date

The 'Gateway' course finishes on the 24 of May 2024 but you can continue your studies by following a pre-sessional course if you are progressing to a place on a UCC degree programme and need further English language study.

Hours of study

22 hours per week, integrated classes on five mornings + a ‘Gateway to University’ tutorial on one afternoon + a choice from the weekly ‘Extra Option’ list.

End of Course Assessment IELTS examination.
Progression University Language Centre pre-sessional course and/or directly to a UCC undergraduate or postgraduate course.
How to Apply

Full-time course application form


IELTS exam fee included

Weeks Cost
30 €6,900
26 €6,440
22 €5,280
18 €4,410
14 €3,500
10 €2,650
6 €1,590

IT requirements to join our courses

All students are required to bring to class a fully-charged laptop (with audio and video) and headphones to ​ensure full participation and access to course materials ​and a more valuable student experience.  A reliable internet connection is required (this is provided by UCC for on-campus students). You should download Microsoft Teams to your laptop before starting your course. UCC recommends the use of Chrome browser for best interaction with all its applications.  Please note that a laptop is a device which is suitable for study purposes and students who use another device such as a tablet will not be able to access some functions. A smartphone is not ​considered to be a suitable device for study purposes.

If you have any further queries on this course please email

Sample timetable

Time Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri
9am - 1pm Academic English 'Exams Portfolio' Work - CEFR B1-C1

Academic English (CEFR B1-C1)

Integrated Classes - Skills covered include, for example, refrencing/paraphrasing; critical thinking/ textual analysis; flexibility/range/precision with academic and idiomatic vocabulary; speed reading/annotation/note-taking; learner autonomy

1pm - 2pm Lunch
2pm - 6pm  

Gateway Tutorial

Engagement with a "Gateway to University" Tutor to guide your learning experience and university application

Extra Options:

Students choose from one of the following each week:

  • Communicative Focus Class (CFC)
  • Film Afternoon
  • Reading Club
  • Access to UCC Career Service


"I had not believed in any online course until I completed the Pre-sessional Course of UCC Language Centre"

Ngo Nam Chau, from Thailand, likes to be called Joe

Find Out More
“I decided to study in UCC because it has a good reputation all over the world".

Hongbin Guo from Zhengzhou in China

Pre-Sessional student will start his MSc Management and Marketing in UCC this year. 

Find Out More

Language Centre

Lárionad Teanga

Main Office, G36, O'Rahilly Building, University College Cork, Cork, Ireland

External Accreditation