UNSW Institute of Languages


Essential English

Essential English

Essential English provides the fundamental English skills you need for all social, academic and work situations.

The classes and self-access online learning resources will help you to improve your speaking, listening, reading and writing and develop your fluency and confidence in using English.

CRICOS Code Type Duration Maximum Class Size Levels Fees
090804G Full-time 5 - 30 weeks 18 Students 3 Levels AUD $450 per week (2018)

Key Benefits

  • Classes focus on building fluency and accuracy in both spoken and written language.
  • Essential English is offered at 3 levels to suit students from elementary to intermediate level (CEFR A1 to B1).
  • Essential English is the starting point for students who want to progress into FEEC and UEEC courses to prepare for entry to UNSW.
  • Essential English builds the skills needed for further study in General or Career English.
  • Classes of no more than 18 students allow for close levels of interaction between you and your teachers.
  • Highly qualified and experienced teachers understand the needs of students and provide the support and advice that you need.
  • Up to date classroom technology is used to engage and motivate you in your learning.

Download the Course Flyer

Essential English is for students with a level equivalent to IELTS 4.5 or under. You will be interviewed and tested on arrival for placement in levels:

Level CEFR*  
Essential English 1 A1 Elementary
Essential English 2 A2 Pre-Intermediate
Essential English 3 B1 Intermediate
  • Common European Framework of Reference

Course content at each level is based on progressively developing language skills using topics of interest to you. Classes maximise student interaction and practice, using pair and group work as well as individual study.

  • vocabulary building in topic areas
  • listening to conversations, news, documentary and drama programs
  • grammar in context
  • reading and  writing emails, stories, articles, essays and reports
  • speaking skills including conversation, discussion and presentations as well as pronunciation

Please read more information about non tuition fees.

2018 Fees per term AUD $2,250

2018 Dates
Term 7 30 July - 31 August
Term 8 3 September - 5 October
Term 9 8 October - 9 November
Term 10 12 November - 14 December

2019 Fees per term AUD $2,275

2019 Dates
Term 1 7 January - 8 February
Term 2 11 February - 15 March
Term 3 18 March - 18 April
Term 4 23 April - 24 May
Term 5 27 May - 28 June
Term 6 1 July - 2 August
Term 7 5 August - 6 September
Term 8 9 September - 11 October
Term 9 14 October - 15 November
Term 10 18 November - 20 December

Classes may be scheduled in the morning or the afternoon at our Kensington or Randwick Campus

Morning class times: 9.00 - 11.00am and 11.30am - 1.30pm
Afternoon class times: 1.30 - 3.30pm and 4.00 - 6.00pm

Sample timetable for an Essential English 3 class

Time Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday
9.00 - 11.00am Unit Test:
  • (weekly review of previous unit)
  • People
  • Determination
Reading & Listening:
  • International Women’s Day Awards
  • Personality Adjectives & Nouns
  • Creative Lives
Reading & Speaking:
  • Guessing meaning from context
  • Past Simple Negative & Question Forms
  • Sharing a flat
  • Opposite Adjectives
  • Word Stress
  • Finding a new flatmate
Study Skills:
  • Looking at Learning Styles and Strategies
  • What’s your learning style?
Writing Skills:
  • Writing a reflective blog
  • Reviewing writing
11.30 - 1.30pm Grammar:
  • Past Simple Time expressions
  • Voiced/Unvoiced consonants
  • Determined people
  • Short research & Using negotiation skills
Listening: Video
  • Comprehension and discussion on ‘Manga’
  • Describing People
  • Task – choosing a flatmate
Writing Skills:
  • Exploring linkers
  • Creating a narrative
  • Creative lives

Final course marks are based on:

  • Ongoing assessment in class based on clearly focused tasks.
  • Participation in class activities such as pair work, group work and special projects.
  • Homework tasks and special assignments based on researching topics and spoken presentations.
  • Term tests based on material covered during the period of study.

Welcome to our Apply Online page:

  1. Please read our How to Apply section.
  2. Please study our Application Checklist and have all documents ready. (International or Domestic)
  3. Click here for the promotion code to claim your UNSW Staff/Student (for full-time students only) discount.  

New Application Form

Please complete our new online Application Form by clicking the Next button below:


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