UK study English language requirements
English language requirements
Going into higher education and worried about your English language skills? You needn’t be. There are many courses and programmes available in the UK, so you can be sure to find something that meets your needs.
A good level of fluency in English will be important to the success of your studies in the UK and to your future career. Most universities will want to see evidence that your language skills are strong enough to get you through the course.
English language courses
The two most popular English language courses are the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) and the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL). Both are globally recognised English language assessments.
The IELTS is an English language assessment primarily used by those seeking international education. Most IELTS centres are either British Council offices, IELTS Australia offices or universities/language schools.
The TOEFL measures the ability of non-native speakers of English to use and understand North American English as it is spoken, written and heard in college and university settings.
Another qualification is the Pearson Test of English (PTE) General examination (formerly the London Tests of English), run by Pearson Language Tests in conjunction with Edexcel. This is graded in six levels, with Levels 4 and 5 accepted for entrance to a number of UK universities.
Pre-sessional English language courses
Colleges and universities, on average, will expect students to have a minimum score of 5.5–6.0 with IELTS or 513–550 (paper-based), 183–213 (computer-based) or 65–80 (internet based) with TOEFL. You can sit these tests in your home country. They are organised through your school or your local British Council office.
If your English is below this level, it does not mean that you are necessarily excluded, as colleges often provide ‘pre-sessional’ courses. These are a set of English language lessons taken before the start of your actual programme.
These can last anything from a month or longer, depending on your standard of English. It is possible to do pre-sessional courses, in which you learn specialised vocabulary for different subjects, such as fashion design or business studies.
Pre-sessional courses are not just about speaking English, but about being competent enough to use it in your studies. They involve understanding the types of task that you will do in your degree and learning to participate in tutorials and lectures.
Some colleges also offer ‘in-sessional’ courses, which involve lessons that take place alongside your main programme. Ongoing access to English language-learning facilities is also available in most colleges.
Find out where you can study at an English UK-accredited language school in the UK.