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International Students

English Language Requirements

The University has released a statement in response to changes being made to the list of qualifications the UK government considers Secure English Language Tests (SELTs):

Changes to UK government Secure English Language Tests

You must be able to show that your English is of a high enough standard to successfully engage with and complete your course at SOAS.

International students

For EU and International students who need a visa, if direct entry scores are achieved we accept qualifications from several countries, as well as a range of international qualifications and tests.

If a pre-sessional course is required a recent SELT such as the UKVI IELTS will have to be submitted. For this reason we recommend visa students to choose the UKVI IELTS test as the test of first resort.

Please note that while Undergraduate and Postgraduate English entry requirements at SOAS are set at the same level, Research English requirements are slightly different. Please go to Doctoral Admissions web pages for more information.

Acceptable English language qualifications

Details of all the English language qualifications, and minimum scores, that we accept for study are provided below. Please note that, in assessing whether you have sufficient English language to successfully complete your course, we consider these qualifications alongside other evidence of English language ability which may be included in your application, such as your references, personal history or personal statement.

If your qualification is not included in the lists below, or if you require further information, please contact English Language Admissions. For details of English language teaching and resources at SOAS, such as In-sessional, Pre-sessional, Diploma or Foundation courses please visit the IFCELS web pages.

The following is a basic guide to our English admissions, but SOAS reserves the right to apply the criteria according to its own discretion in all cases.

Acceptable qualifications with variable requirements

These are the qualifications most commonly presented by applicants. The minimum levels of achievement for direct entry are detailed below.

If you are presenting one of the qualifications listed in this table, it should have been completed no more than two years before the start date of your SOAS course.

TestMinimum level for direct entry(with a one week Insessional orientation course requirement)

IELTS (Academic)

 6.5 overall with 6.5 in writing and speaking and 6.0 in   reading and listening


 100 overall with 23 in writing and speaking and 21 in reading and listening

Pearson Test of English (Academic)

 65 overall with 65 in writing and speaking and 60 in reading and listening

Other levels are available for entry into SOAS, for example via Pre-sessional courses. Please note visa students will need to submit the UKVI IELTS. These are the minimum entry levels for entering with a 12 week Pre-sessional condition as an example:

 TestMinimum level for entry into 12 week Pre-sessional course

IELTS (Academic)

6.0 overall with 5.5 in writing and no other score less than 5.0


85 overall with 20 in writing and no other score below 18

Pearson Test of English (Academic)

55 overall with 55 in writing and no other score below 50

Details about requirements for other Pre-sessional courses can be found on the SOAS Pre-sessional web pages.

Other acceptable qualifications

SOAS IFCELS programmes (for more information visit the IFCELS web pages

ICC 60% in Academic English
FDPS 60% in Academic English
ELAS 70% in Academic English (In sessional)

Other International Language tests


Level for acceptance and validity (2 year or open)

Cambridge Proficiency English Exam (CPE)

B, C with an Insessional requirement. Open validity

Cambridge Advanced English Exam (CAE)

A, B with an Insessional requirement. 2 year validity

Trinity ISE II

Pass with distinction/merit (Pre-sessional entry) 2 year validity

Trinity ISE III

Pass with distinction/ merit, 2 year validity

Trinity ISE IV

Pass 2 year validity


600 with 5 in TWE and 60 in subscores 2 year validity

IB English Standard or Higher Syllabus B

4 , open validity

IB English Standard or Higher Syllabus A

5, open validity

EB English

All levels: 8 in English as either an Obligatory Subject (Language I or II) or as a Full Option (Language III or IV). Open validity.

IFP Academic English module

70% unconditional, 65% with Insessional requirement 2 years validity

UK Qualifications



GCE O level English

A unconditional, B,C Insessional Open validity

GCSE English

A unconditional, B,C Insessional Open validity

IGCSE English

A unconditional, B,C Insessional Open validity

A level

2 good grades (A-C) in Arts and Humanities or Social Science subjects Open validity

IB Diploma

2 good grades in Arts and Humanities or Social Science subjects 4+ Open validity


Distinction (goes to Insessional) 2 year validity


5 unconditional, 4 Insessional (discretionary)

EU Qualifications



German Abitur English (main course)

13 unconditional 10 Insessional

Austrian Matura/Reifeprufung,

2 (gut) in English when both written and oral examinations have been taken.

Norwegian Vitnemal English

5 unconditional 4 Insessional

Finnish Ylioppilastutkinto/Studentexamen matriculation examination.

5 (magna cum laude approbatur) in English at the Advanced Level

Swedish Fullstandigt fran Gymnasieskolan, English

A unconditional B, C Insessional

Switzerland Maturitatzeugnis/Certificat de Maturite/Attestato de Maturita

5 (gut/bien/bene) in English.

Iceland Studentsprof matriculation examination, English

8 when taken as a compulsory modern language.

French Baccalaureat OIB Bilingual

11 Insessional

French Baccalaureat General in English

13 (assez bien) in English, where the co-efficient applied to the subject is greater than 1. Insessional.

Holland VWO

8-10 Unconditional, 7 Insessional

Denmark Studentereksamen 

10 in English

International Qualifications



Cambridge International GCSE/ O level exams,
English eg Singapore

A unconditional B,C Insessional


5**, 5*, 5 (Insessional)

CBSE and ICSE Indian XII English

80%, 70% (Insessional)

US High School Diploma


Qualifications not accepted

  • ESOL Skills for Life
  • West African High School qualifications
  • FCE Cambridge First Certificate
  • PTE Cambridge Preparatory Test of English
  • TOEIC test
  • Oxford International Business English Certificate
  • Cambridge Business ExamsMichigan Test of English Language Proficiency
  • 2+2 degree (2 yrs in UK following 2 yrs in non native speaker country)
  • IGCSE/ GCSE English 2nd language