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International Students

English Language Requirements

To ensure that SOAS students have a sufficient standard of academic English to study effectively, all non-native English speaking applicants are required to submit evidence of their current level of academic English.

It is important to know whether or not you will need a Tier 4 visa to study in the UK as the English language requirements differ for those who need visas and those who do not.

Find out if you require a tier 4 visa or not. Study Abroad, Erasmus and Exchange Students should see Study Abroad/Exchange English Language Requirements 

Tier 4 Visa students

The information below is for students who require a Tier 4 visa. Usually these students will be from non-European Economic Area countries.

Which IELTS test should I take?

First of all you will need to take the IELTS Academic test (not the IELTS General test). There are two to choose from. There is the standard IELTS Academic test and the IELTS Academic test from a UKVI approved test centre. The following applies to those who need Tier 4 visas:

  1. If you think you are likely to get scores high enough for unconditional entry (see below for details) you can take any IELTS Academic test, whether from a UKVI approved centre or not.
  2. If your scores are likely to require a Pre-sessional course, you must take your IELTS Academic test from a UKVI approved test centre.
  3. If you are not sure which to choose, we strongly recommend you go with 2)

Unconditional Entry with In-sessional classes

The following scores are the lowest we offer for unconditional entry, with a free In-sessional course which runs at the same time as your academic course.
Public ExaminationsScore for entry to SOAS with compulsory FREE in-sessional English course
IELTS Academic (from a UKVI approved test centre or from a regular test centre)Overall 7+ with at least 6.5  in all sub scores
Pearson Test of English - AcademicScore of 70 - 74 with at least 65 in all sub scores

Any test scores submitted should be from tests taken no more than 2 years prior to the start of the relevant academic programme. 

Unconditional Entry without In-sessional classes

The table below gives the levels that must be achieved in order to meet our English language requirement fully:

Public ExaminationsScore for Unconditional Entry
IELTSOverall 7+ with at least 7 in all sub scores
Pearson Test of English - AcademicScore of 75 or above with at least 70 in all sub scores

 

The following is a list of qualifications for which we can use our Highly Trusted Sponsor status to allow unconditional entry with or without an In-sessional requirement:

 

SOAS Examinations

Score for Unconditional Entry
SOAS Foundation Courses Module in Intensive English for Academic Study60%
ELAS (English Language and Academic Studies Diploma and Certificate holders)70% (with an In-sessional requirement)
 
Examples of acceptable qualifications other than IELTS or Pearson testsScore for Unconditional Entry
Undergraduate degree in Social Sciences or Arts and Humanities from UKVI listed native speaker country within the last 2 yearsGood quality pass
Postgraduate Diploma from UK university in Social Science or Arts and Humanities fieldPass with Merit
Cambridge Proficiency EnglishGrade A, B (with Insessional requirement)
Cambridge Advanced EnglishGrade A 8 week Pre-sessional
European Baccalaureate (English)Pass 60%
International Baccalaureate (English)Pass (Grade 4 for English)
General Certificate of Secondary Education in English, or O level English languageGrade A
Cambridge ESOL level 3A grade, B grade Insessional
Cambridge ESOL level 2A grade Insessional
Trinity ISE IVA, B unconditional C Insessional
Trinity ISE IIIA, B Insessional requirement
GCE A levels2 good grades (B+) in Social Science or Arts and Humanities subjects
NQFLevel 7
NQFLevel 6 Insessional
NQFLevel 5 4 week Pre-sessional
Norwegian Vitnemal5, 4 Insessional
German Abitur English13-15, 10-12 Insessional
Swedish High School English Fullstandigtfran GymnasiekolanA, unconditional, B, C Insessional
AccessDistinction Insessional (undergraduate)
Validity of these qualifications will depend on how recently they were taken, and may be considered in conjunction with other relevant evidence.

Conditional Entry (Pre-sessional English courses)

If an applicant does not achieve the level to meet the English language requirement fully, they may need to take a four, eight or twelve week pre-sessional English course in order to raise their level of academic English prior to registration.

If students’ English is at the level for a pre-sessional course they must take an IELTS Academic test from a UKVI approved test centre. For visa purposes tests from non-UKVI approved test centres cannot be used for Pre-sessional courses.

Please look here to find out more about the dates and fees of the pre-sessional English courses. Alternatively you can contact the IFCELS centre directly by email: ifcels@soas.ac.uk or by telephone: +44 (0)20 7898 4800/1.

Details of any English language conditions or requirements will be contained in the offer letter.

Re-taking an English test

Applicants whose English language test score falls below our minimum requirements will need to submit an improved score. These applicants are recommended to contact IFCELS on ifcels@soas.ac.uk or by telephone on +44 (0)20 7898 4800/1 to seek guidance regarding further development of their academic English skills. Applicants who cannot improve their English sufficiently prior to the commencement of their academic programme will be advised to request deferral of their place and spend a year improving their English.

Non visa students

The information below is for applicants who do not require a Tier 4 visa. Often these applicants will be from countries within the European Economic Area.  

Unconditional Entry with In-sessional classes

The table below gives the lowest levels that must be achieved in order to meet our English language requirement for unconditional entry with a requirement to take In-sessional classes:
Public ExaminationsScore for entry to SOAS with compulsory FREE in-sessional English course
IELTS Academic (from a UKVI approved test centre or from a regular test centre)Overall 7+ with at least 6.5  in all sub scores
Pearson Test of English - AcademicScore of 70 -74 with at least 65 in all sub scores
TOEFL IBT100 overall with 25+ in writing and 22+ in other subscores or 105 overall with 22+ in other subscores.

In this case the student must attend a free In-sessional academic English course alongside their academic programme.

Any test scores submitted should be from tests taken no more than 2 years prior to the start of the relevant academic programme.  

Unconditional Entry without In-sessional classes

The table below gives the levels that must be achieved for IELTS, Pearson and TOEFL tests in order to meet our English language requirement fully, in which case no In-sessional academic English course need be taken. 

Public ExaminationsScore for Unconditional Entry
IELTS Academic (from a UKVI approved test centre or from a regular IELTS test centre)Overall 7+ with at least 7 in all sub scores
Pearson Test of English - AcademicScore of 75 or above with at least 70 in all sub scores
TOEFL IBT105 overall with 25+ in each subscore.

Other qualifications that will satisfy English language requirements are listed below this. Further details are available on request from the International Foundation Courses and English Language Studies (IFCELS) department. You can contact them on ifcels@soas.ac.uk.

 

SOAS ExaminationsScore for Unconditional Entry

SOAS Foundation Courses Module in Intensive English for Academic Study

ELAS (English Language and Academic Studies Diploma and Certificate holders)

60%

 

70% (with an In-sessional requirement)

 
Examples of acceptable qualifications other than IELTS or Pearson testsScore for Unconditional Entry
Undergraduate degree in Social Sciences or Arts and Humanities from UKVI listed native speaker country within the last 2 yearsGood  quality pass
Postgraduate Diploma from UK university in Social Sciences or Arts and HumanitiesPass with Merit
Cambridge Proficiency EnglishGrade A, B (with Insessional requirement)
Cambridge Advanced EnglishGrade A 8 week Pre-sessional
Trinity ISE IVA, B unconditional C Insessional
Trinity ISE IIIA, B Insessional requirement
European Baccalaureate (English)Pass 60%
International Baccalaureate (English)Pass (Grade 4 for English)
General Certificate of Secondary Education in English, or O level English languageGrade A unconditional, grade B Insessional
Cambridge ESOL level 3Grade A, Gade B Insessional
Cambridge ESOL level 2Grade A Insessional
GCE A levels2 good grades (B+) in Social Science or Arts and Humanities subjects
NQFLevel 7
NQFLevel 6 Insessional
NQFLevel 5 4 week Pre-sessional
Norwegian Vitnemal5, 4 Insessional
German Abitur English13-15, 10-12 Insessional
Swedish High School English Fullstandigtfran GymnasiekolanA, unconditional, B, C Insessional
AccessDistinction Insessional (undergraduate)
Validity of these qualifications will depend on how recently they were taken, and may be considered in conjunction with other relevant evidence.

Conditional Entry (Pre-sessional English courses)

If an applicant does not achieve the level to meet the English language requirement fully, they may need to take a four, eight or twelve week pre-sessional English course in order to raise their level of academic English prior to registration.

For entry into a Pre-sessional course for non-visa applicants, applicants  can be assessed on the basis of IELTS, Pearson or TOEFL tests. In the case of students who do not require a visa it is not necessary to submit an IELTS Academic test from a UKVI approved test centre. The IELTS Academic test can be from any test centre.

Please look here to find out more about the dates and fees of the pre-sessional English courses. Alternatively you can contact the IFCELS centre directly by email: ifcels@soas.ac.uk or by telephone: +44 (0)20 7898 4800/1.

Details of any English language conditions or requirements will be contained in the offer letter.

Re-taking an English test

Applicants whose English language test score falls below our minimum requirements will need to submit an improved score. These applicants are recommended to contact IFCELS on ifcels@soas.ac.uk or by telephone on +44 (0)20 7898 4800/1 to seek guidance regarding further development of their academic English skills. Applicants who cannot improve their English sufficiently prior to the commencement of their academic programme will be advised to request deferral of their place and spend a year improving their English.