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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.

You don’t need to provide evidence of English if;
• You are a Tier 4 applicant who holds a UK equivalent degree awarded after three years of full-time studies in any of the approved listed countries (see UKVI website) within the last two years
• You are a National of any of the countries listed on the UKVI website, including Canadian Nationals.

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.

  • IELTS tests taken between 01 September 2013 and 22 April 2015 (inclusive) will be valid for immigration purposes until 05 November 2015.
  • From 23 April 2015 onwards, only Trinity ISE taken in the UK and UKVI approved IELTS academic tests taken in UKVI authorised test centres will be accepted by the Home Office as secure English language tests (SELTS) for Tier 4 visa purposes. To be valid, the Test Report certificate must be issued with a UKVI reference number
  • List of approved English tests before and after 6 April 2015.

 

Which IELTS test should I take?

First of all you must take the IELTS Academic test (not the IELTS General test).  In addition there are two types of IELTS academic tests; the standard IELTS Academic test and the UKVI approved IELTS Academic test .  

You can register for an IELTS UKVI approved test via the British Council website at https://ieltsukvisas.britishcouncil.org/#/

To find out more about IELTS or IELTS for UKVI, visit Take IELTS 

If your scores are likely to require an English pre-sessional course, you must take a UKVI IELTS Academic test from a UKVI authorised test centre

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
UKVI IELTS Academic test (from a UKVI authorised test centre)Overall 7+ with at least 6.5  in all subscores

 

Any IELTS 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
UKVI IELTS Academic testOverall 7+ with at least 7 in all subscores

The following is a list of acceptable qualifications which we may consider as evidence of English language proficiency.

Note for Research applicants: these qualifications must be obtained within 2 years of the intended starting date.

 

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 IELTSScore 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
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
Norwegian Vitnemal5, 4 Insessional
German Abitur English13-15, 10-12 Insessional
Swedish High School English Fullstandigtfran GymnasiekolanA, unconditional, B, C Insessional
AccessDistinction Insessional (undergraduate)
Pearson Test of English - AcademicScore of 70-74 with at least 65 in all subscores
Academic IELTS from non-UKVI approved centersOverall 7+ with at least 6.5 or 7 in all subscores
Validity of the above 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 UKVI IELTS Academic test from a UKVI authorised test centre. The Test report form must include a UKVI reference number. Tests from non-UKVI approved test centres cannot be used for visa purposes in case an English pre-sessional course is required. 

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 testOverall 7+ with at least 6.5  in all subscores
Pearson Test of English - AcademicScore of 70 -74 with at least 65 in all subscores
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 AcademicOverall 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.

The following is a list of acceptable qualifications which we may consider as evidence of English language proficiency.

Note for Research applicants: these qualifications must be obtained within 2 years of the intended starting date.

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 Study60%
ELAS (English Language and Academic Studies Diploma and Certificate holders)70% (with an In-sessional requirement)
 
Examples of other acceptable qualificationsScore 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
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
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 the above 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.

Non-visa students can gain entry into a Pre-sessional course  on the basis of IELTS, Pearson or TOEFL test results. It is not necessary for these students to submit an UKVI IELTS Academic test from a UKVI approved test centre. The IELTS Academic test can be taken at 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.