English as a Second Language

Learning English will open many doors for your future. It is one of the main international business languages, and is spoken by over 840 million people across the world. Around 550 million of these speak it as a second language, so you will be in good company!
Many students choose to study in an English-speaking country or institution so that they can pick up the language, and plenty of people are learning it in their home country. Studying English as a second language will mean that you are able to work around the world, improving your career prospects, allowing you to communicate confidently with a variety of people in a work setting or your everyday life.

Highlighted courses and degrees in English


Many students choose to learn English in an English-speaking country. This will give you the opportunity to speak English in real-life situations, at the same time as learning about a different culture. Some language schools will encourage you to only speak English when on campus and with your peers. When you completely immerse yourself in your new language, you will improve your learning ability, and will pick it up at a faster rate.

The content of your course will depend on your motivation for studying. If you are hoping to become an English teacher, you will not only learn the language, but also the appropriate teaching methods needed for application. If you are taking an English language course to simply improve your language abilities, this course will be shorter and cover only the language basics.


English language courses come in different forms and serve different purposes. You can learn English for the workplace, or academic English to help facilitate your studies in an English-speaking country. There are also courses to equip you for Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL), Teaching English as a Second Language (TESL), Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL), as well as those that help prepare you for the IELTS, TOEFL or Cambridge exams.

Accreditation and Certification

Unless you are studying for a degree, you will not necessarily gain an award on an English language course. Whilst you won't be awarded any sort of accreditation, your course will still be recognised by institutions as long as your language abilities have been improved to their standards. If your course does offer a certification, this could range from a Diploma or Certificate, to a Bachelor Degree.

Timeframe and Further Studies

The duration of your course will depend on what sort of course you are studying. They can range from one week courses, all the way up to three years if you are studying towards a degree. There may be options to study full-time, part-time, or online.

On successful completion of your English language course, you can choose to progress to a range of things. You may choose to start an English-taught degree, become a teacher, or continue work with your increased English skills.

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Entry Requirements for Degrees in English as a Second Language

The entry requirements will depend on your course. Some courses may require that you have a certain level of English before studying, where others may have no entry requirements other than your willingness to learn. Your institution will be able to provide more information if you have any questions about their entry requirements.

You should check each institution to see what entry requirements they have for their English as a second language programmes.

If you do not meet the entry requirements you may want to consider a pathway course.

Fund Your Studies

Tuition fees for international students are not fixed. This means that they can vary from institution to institution. Your fees will be highly dependent on the type of course you are applying for, as well as the institution. Fees can range from anywhere between £200/$250 all the way up to £2,000/$2,500.

You may be eligible for a scholarship or funding. This could be awarded by your institution, or by a separate funding body. For more information, visit our scholarships and funding section to read more about funding your studies.

Career Options

Depending on the type of course you are studying, career options could include working as a teacher, teaching English as a second language in a variety of countries around the world.

Guides to related subjects

Learn about subjects similar to English with these related StudyLink guides

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