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Pre-Master’s Diploma

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The one-year, full-time programme that prepares you for postgraduate study in the UK

The Pre-Master’s Diploma for International Students (PDIS) is a one-year full-time programme that will prepare you for postgraduate study in the UK.

Who is this course for?

It’s aimed at students who already have a good grade in their first degree. You're also encouraged to apply if you hold a three-year diploma from certain countries, or you're over the age of 24 years and have substantial work experience.

The skills you will gain

The Pre-Masters Diploma will develop your academic knowledge in your chosen subject and your skills in academic English; reading and writing; presentations; academic listening and discussion; research and independent study. Download more information

Why choose Royal Holloway?

There are many reasons to study this course at Royal Holloway including:

  • You’ll join a successful and long-established programme, which has been preparing international students for postgraduate study in the UK since 1995.  Our graduates have gone on to study a wide range of Masters and PhD programmes, and to employment with organisations including Zara, Citic Bank and Marriot Hotels.
  • You will be able to secure progression to a Masters degree at Royal Holloway if you achieve specified grades on the PDIS and satisfy any additional requirements. Many of our students go on to study popular courses in the School of Management, the Information Security Group, Centre for Professional Studies and others. 
  • Royal Holloway is widely known as having one of the most beautiful campuses in the world, combining the contemporary architecture and resources of the Emily Wilding-Davison library with the traditional Founders building.
  • As an academic institution, Royal Holloway is top-ranking university, with the Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2018 putting us in the top 30 of all UK universities.
  • Situated a short train journey outside London, you can enjoy the benefits of a close-knit campus university and the amenities of one of the world's most vibrant cities.
  • You’ll benefit from expert teaching from our academics who will deepen your knowledge and understanding of your academic field. You’ll achieve this by participating in an undergraduate degree module, and researching and writing an Independent Research Project. 
  • Through working with your department of interest, you will become part of the unique Royal Holloway student community.
  • Alongside lectures and seminars, you’ll enjoy regular tutorials with a subject specialist supervisor specially chosen for your Project. 
  • You will have access to Royal Holloway's extensive on-campus amenities including sports, computing, study support and welfare facilities as well as cafes, bars, clubs and over 140 clubs and societies.
  • You’ll be able to develop your English through an innovative teaching programme that makes use of the very latest English teaching methods. In addition, you’ll have personalised support with weekly one-hour small group consultations with a personal tutor.

Course content

There are three components:

  • English for Academic Purposes and British Society (50%)
  • Academic unit (25%)
  • Independent research project (25 %)

English for Academic Purposes and British Society

You’ll learn how to:

  • Read academic texts efficiently and critically.
  • Follow lectures and note key points.
  • Structure essays into coherent arguments.
  • Write in a formal academic style.
  • Take part in academic discussions.
  • Give presentations.

You’ll also increase your knowledge of grammar, vocabulary, and pronunciation and broaden your understanding of British culture.

Academic study

You will take an academic course unit (or two half-units) alongside undergraduate students. Where possible, this course will be based in the department in which you wish to study at postgraduate level.

This experience will give you a vital first-hand experience of university study in the UK.

Independent research project

You will write a 5000 - 8000 word project on a topic relevant to your chosen postgraduate degree. In the process, you will learn research methods and other relevant skills. You will receive one-to-one guidance from a specialist supervisor and support from your personal tutor.

How we will assess you

You will be assessed through a combination of written coursework and exams, oral presentations and your independent research project.

Progression to Royal Holloway Master's degrees

It is possible to progress from the Pre-Masters Diploma to almost any taught Master's programme at Royal Holloway.  For degrees listed in the table below, students are guaranteed progression offers, and you will automatically be eligible to progress to the Master’s degrees listed provided you meet the minimum requirements at the end of the Pre-Masters year.

Progression to almost any other postgraduate degree is possible, but will require further approval by the relevant department, who may stipulate additional requirements such as an interview, evidence of previous maths or statistics achievement, performance or a portfolio of work, depending on your speciality. 


Target postgraduate degree

Overall PDIS average

PDIS English language score

School of Management


MSc Business Information Systems

50 %

50 %

MA Consumption, Culture and Marketing

60 %

50 %

MSc Entrepreneurship

50 %

50 %

MSc International Accounting

50 %

50 %

MSc International Human Resource Management

50 %

50 %

*MSc International Management

50 %

50 %

MA Marketing

60 %

50 %


50 %

60 %



MSc Information Security

50 %

50 %

Centre for Professional Studies


MSc Project Management

60 %

50 %

MSc Supply Chain Management

60 %

50 %

*Please note that MSc International Management is a conversion degree, and is appropriate if you do not hold a first degree in a Business or Management subject. If you have a background in these subjects, or you’ve worked for two or more years in the business/management industry, you are encouraged to specialise through one of the other Management options listed above.

Entry requirements for the Pre-Masters Diploma

To apply for the Pre-Masters Diploma, you need to have good grades in your undergraduate degree. We will also consider:

  • Students with good grades in a three-year diploma from certain countries.
  • Students aged over 24 who have substantial work experience.

All applicants will need to meet the minimum English language entry requirements. You will therefore need to have:

  • IELTS 5.5 with no sub-score below 5.5 or
  • Pearson Test of English (PTE) 46 with no sub-score below 46 or equivalent

Improving your English so you meet the entry requirements

If you need to improve your English language skills, you may want to join one of our Pre-sessional English language programmes (PELPs). These are intensive courses of four, eight or 12 weeks. See the table below for the level of English you will need to have to join one of our PELPs.


12 week PELP

IELTS 4.5 with 4.5 in Writing and no other subscore lower than 4.0

PTE 38, with no sub-scores below 36

8 week PELP

IELTS 5.0 with 4.5 in Writing and no other subscore lower than 4.0

PTE 41 with Writing 38 and no other sub-score below 36

4 week PELP

IELTS 5.5 with 5.0 in Writing and no other subscore lower than 4.0

PTE 46 with Writing 41 and no other sub-score below 36


Dates and fees for 2018 entry

  • The next Pre-Masters Diploma for International Students starts on 24 September 2018 and finishes on 14 June 2019
  • The tuition fee for 2018/19 entry will be £12,310.

Applying for a Pre-Masters Diploma

You can apply for a Pre-Masters Diploma here.

To learn more about the Pre-Masters Diploma, contact 

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