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What is the Pre-Masters programme? 

Our Pre-Masters is a two- or three-term programme that provides the specialist academic and English language preparation you need to succeed as a postgraduate student at Durham University. Once you successfully complete this Pre-Masters programme and achieve the required grades, you can start your chosen Masters degree at Durham University. 

Why study a Pre-Masters?

You may choose to study the Pre-Masters programme if you want to:

  • Improve your career opportunities and salary potential
  • Change your career direction and study a different field to your undergraduate studies
  • Progress to study at a prestigious university with top researchers in your field
  • Strive for a challenging degree at a top-ranking university
  • Develop your academic skills or English language ability before starting your postgraduate degree
  • Receive specialist support from tutors experienced in teaching international students. 

Pathways to a postgraduate degree

We offer a choice of subject routes depending on the degree you want to study. Visit the subject pathway pages below to find out what you will study and grades required for you to progress to your chosen degree.

If you need additional English language support to get you to the level required for the Pre-Masters, you can study one term of English language preparation


of students who completed their Pre-Masters programme and achieved the required grades were offered a place at Durham University in 2023.

What to expect

This is a two- or three-term programme comprising core modules and designated modules that have been tailored to suit your chosen Masters degree. All students will study our Academic English Skills module, designed to support you with your reading, writing, listening and speaking. You will also study modules designed to improve your critical writing, quantitative skills and research methods. 

Assessing your progress

You will be assessed throughout this programme so you know your studies are on track. Assessments will include exams, coursework, research and presentations. Your academic personal tutor will support you throughout your studies to keep your learning on track. 

Focus on your career

We recognise that, as a Pre-Masters student, you are likely to already have a good idea of your career direction. You may be looking to change your career path or to progress in the field you are in. Wherever you are in your career journey, we will support your goals through our career development activities. This will help you write a personal development plan and identify key strengths you want to focus on.

Improve your English language skills

We offer a specialist English language preparation course if you need extra time to boost your skills before starting one of our academic programmes. Find out more about our English language courses if you do not meet the entry requirements for our pathway programmes.


Our student enrolment advisors are here to help with your application and answer any questions you have about studying with us.