What kind of programmes does Maynooth University offer?

Maynooth University currently offers two types of pre-sessional English language programmes for international students.

  • 10 weeks: 1 July - 6 September 2019
  • 5 weeks: 6 August - 6 September 2019

Who are these programmes for?

The 10-week programme is aimed at international students who need to improve their overall IELTS band score by 0.5 in order to be able to accept their offered degree programmes at Maynooth. Undergraduate students need to improve from 5.5 to 6.0 while postgraduate students must improve from 6.0 to 6.5. The 5-week programme is for students who have already attained the required overall band score and who wish to practise and improve individual skills in English, especially writing. As such, the 5-week programme contains a heavy emphasis on academic writing skills, in particular the various types of essay organisational structure and sentence/paragraph composition.

What are the learning outcomes?

The primary learning outcome for the 10-week programme is to enable each student to attain the overall required IELTS band score which will allow them to accept their offered degree programmes at Maynooth, alongside any other specified band criteria. Other learning outcomes relate to effective use of academic essay-writing skills, proper application of the Harvard Referencing Style (for bibliographies and citations within students’ written work), the correct interpretation of academic questions and essay titles. Education theory, such as the ability to demonstrate both critical and reflective thinking skills, in order to better understand, and meet, the challenges of studying in a modern higher education environment, is also a supported learning outcome. This allows students to become more knowledgeable and independent in their own learning, and significantly contributes to a more effective approach to study skills. For the 5-week programme, the focus is firmly on improving the standard of academic essay writing and organisation, through extensive written practice and feedback, case studies, and in-depth study of sentence and paragraph structure. Proper application of the Harvard Referencing Style, and the correct interpretation of academic questions and essay titles are also supported learning outcomes, allowing students to merge this knowledge with the primary learning outcome of improving academic essay writing skills.

What is the core content for each programme?

The 10-week programme contains extensive study and practice across all four IELTS components of listening, reading, writing and speaking, including feedback, tips and advice on helpful techniques intended to improve individual band results. This content is taken from IELTS practice tests, IELTS textbooks, web-based content and experienced tutors’ own materials. Harvard Style referencing and generic academic essay writing skills in paragraph structure, as well as essay organisation and layout, will be taught and practised, with tutor feedback. Additionally, adult education theory in areas such as creative and critical thinking, study skills, types of adult learner, reflective writing and philosophies of adult education will all be included in the learning, alongside practical study activities and group work. The 5-week programme includes in-depth study of academic writing at both sentence and paragraph level, across five different types of specific essays: comparison, classification, cause and effect, argument and description. Academic essay structure and organisation will also be studied in detail, alongside the Harvard Referencing Style and the effective use of lexis appropriate to academic writing in higher education, using the Academic Word List (AWL).

What are the assessment procedures?

For the 10-week programme, assessment includes an IELTS-type exam with listening, reading, writing and speaking components, and an academic essay, reflective learning journal and a presentation or project, all presented as part of a portfolio. For the 5-week programme, assessment consists of an extended academic essay and reflective learning journal.

What are the entry requirements?

For undergraduate programmes in Science and Engineering, the overall IELTS band score is 6.0. All other undergraduate programmes require 6.5 overall. Postgraduate programmes require 6.5 overall, while postgraduate business programmes need a 6.5 overall in addition to a 6.0 in both the academic reading and writing components. Please see below for a comparison table of international exam scores.

IELTS iBT (TOEFL) TOEFL (PBT) Cambridge Proficiency
and Cambridge First
Pearson PTE Academic
6.5 79 minimum 546 minimum 176 58 minimum
6.0 60 minimum 530 minimum 169 50 minimum
5.5 46 minimum 519 minimum 162 42 minimum

For further information please consult:

2019 Pre-sessional English Language Course Overview Brochure 2019