SOAS University of London

International Students

Distance Learning English Language Requirements

All international applicants must be able to show that their English is of a high enough standard to successfully engage with and complete their course at SOAS. If you have not yet taken an English language test, you can still apply for your degree, but we will include evidence of language requirements as part of your offer conditions. You can demonstrate English language ability in several ways.


You do not need to provide evidence of your English language ability if any of the following apply:

  • Nationals from a government recognised majority English speaking country who have successfully completed high school or a degree in the respective country.
  • You've completed a degree in the UK or in any majority English speaking country within the last 5 years.
  • You've completed a degree which was taught in English from Canada, Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, or South Africa (or from certain recognised English-medium universities) within the last 5 years.
  • You've completed a SOAS Pre-Masters or International Foundation (60% in Academic English) or ELAS programme (70% in Academic English) within the last 2 years.
  • You've passed a Pre-sessional English course at a UK university (2-year validity)

Distance Learning Test Scores

Details of many of the English language qualifications that we accept with minimum scores are provided below. We consider these qualifications alongside other evidence of English language ability, such as your references, curriculum vitae or personal statement.

Test Overall Subscores
Cambridge Certificate of Proficiency in English (open validity)/Cambridge Certificate of Advanced English* 180 170 in Listening and Speaking, 185 in Reading and Writing
Duolingo English test*  125 100 in Production and Literacy
IELCA Academic* IELCA Home Edition* 35 30 in Listening and Speaking, 40 in Reading and Writing
IELCA Home Edition*
IELTS Academic*
IELTS Academic for UKVI*
IELTS Indicator* (from July 2021)
6.5 6.0 in Listening and Speaking, 7.0 in Reading and Writing
LanguageCert* Pass B2 in Listening and Speaking, C1 in Reading and Writing
PTE Academic* 65 63 in Listening and Speaking, 67 in Reading and Writing
TOEFL iBT/at Home* 95 22 in Listening and Speaking, 25 in Reading and Writing
Trinity ISE III* Pass Pass in Listening and Speaking, Merit in Reading and Writing
Trinity ISE IV* Pass Pass in all subscores

* 2 year validity from 1st September 2019

**Covid-19 update for 2021 intake**

We realise many English test centres are closed and exams have been cancelled as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. We therefore will accept the following online English language tests for September 2021 entry only for Distance Learning: IELTS Indicator, IELCA Home Edition, Duolingo, and LanguageCert.

Alternative Qualifications

Alternative Qualification Level/Grade Validity
English language subject degree (e.g. BA English Language or Literature) Pass Open
English medium work experience 3 years experience where at least 75% of work is done in English from a reputable, well-established organisation, with letter of reference 2 years
Translation qualification from a respected institution (various) High level translation qualification


In addition to the tests listed above, we also accept a range of alternative qualifications to demonstrate evidence of English language proficiency. Generally, these have open validity, but some may have a two-year validity. In all cases, Distance Learning students will need to meet the 'direct entry' requirements for the alternative qualifications, as 'in-sessional English' is not available to Distance Learning students.

Pre-sessional English

In-sessional and Pre-sessional English courses are not available for Distance Learning applicants. All applicants for postgraduate Distance Learning programmes must meet the direct entry English language requirements listed above.

Additional Guidance

  • Degrees from majority English speaking countries or English-medium universities are valid for a period of 5 years before start date of SOAS degree programme
  • Where applicants have submitted more than one piece of evidence of English (e.g. an IELTS test and a degree from a majority English speaking country), we are only able to accept the results of the most recent
  • If your qualification is not included on this page or the alternative qualifications page, please contact English Language Admissions at
  • The information provided on this page is a basic guide to our English admissions and SOAS reserves the right to apply the criteria at its own discretion in all cases.