English Language Requirements FAQs
There are no IELTS UKVI test centres where I live. What should I do?
As a trusted HEI we are able to use our own method of assessing English language level and for direct entry we can accept tests other than UKVI approved English tests. Currently we are accepting a variety of English qualifications for entry into the 2021 academic year.
I can't access a UKVI approved Academic English language test because of the Covid-19 shutdown. What should I do?
We are now accepting a variety of online English tests such as IELTS Indicator, IELCA Academic, TOEFL At Home and the Duolingo test for entry into the 2021 academic year. See the Alternative Qualifications page for more details.
I don't have my English assessment currently in place, but am planning on doing a test quite soon. Can I send in my application to SOAS first and submit my English assessment later?
Yes, you can. Academic assessments and English assessments are done separately, so you could get a conditional academic offer in place from Admissions while you wait for your English assessment to be finalised. However, if you are planning on doing a test, please plan to get the test results to us before the end of June.
Because of the political situation in my country I am not able to take the test in my country nor am I able to leave my country to travel to take the test elsewhere. What should I do?
In this kind of situation please contact the English Assessor at Englishassess@soas.ac.uk to discuss your situation further.
I am going to take the IELTS test but it will be after the June 30th deadline. Is this possible?
We have extended the recommended deadline for submission of English test scores to June 30th 2021.
Where direct entry scores are achieved (no Pre-sessional English required) we accept test submissions until the end of August.
For further information please contact the English Language Assessor at Englishassess@soas.ac.uk
I am a scholarship candidate who is financially challenged and therefore cannot take the IELTS or other English language test.
We are sorry but we cannot accept finance as a reason for not taking an English language test. Contact the English language assessor Englishassess@soas.ac.uk if you want to discuss this further.
I am a scholarship student who has met the scholarship sponsors English language criteria but my scores warrant a pre-sessional course at SOAS, which I am unable to take owing to the conditions of my scholarship. Will SOAS accept my test scores for direct entry with lower English scores than are required?
SOAS aims to treat all applicants equally, whether they be scholarship candidates who are unable to do Pre-sessional courses or regular fee paying candidates. This means you will have to meet the SOAS English language entry requirements clearly - either by taking the Pre-sessional English course or retaking your English test to meet our requirements. You should factor this into the timeline of your application, so you have plenty of time to retest where necessary.
I am taking the IELTS test and will probably do a Pre-sessional course. Will I need to get two CASs or will one be enough?
For Covid-19 situation (online Pre-sessional)
If Pre-sessional courses are online they will likely to be taken from the student's country of residence in which case a CAS (confirmation of acceptance for study from UKVI) will not be necessary for the Pre-sessional courses, unless residency is sought in UK during the time of the Pre-sessional. Only one CAS will be necessary, for the main degree course.
However if courses go live on campus in 2021 then for Undergraduate and Postgraduate programmes there is the option of an integrated Pre-sessional for which one CAS is needed. For Doctoral School the Pre-sessional courses are not integrated and will require a further CAS.
I am a distance learning applicant. Can I take In-sessional or Pre-sessional courses at SOAS?
In-sessional and Pre-sessional provision is not available for distance learning applicants, so you have to achieve unconditional direct entry scores (eg 125 in Duolingo). You can find more about Distance Learning tests on the Distance Learning English Requirements page.
I want an exemption from taking an English test. How do I go about requesting this?
Please send an email requesting an English exemption to the relevant Admissions department (Mastersadmissions@soas.ac.uk or Undergradadmissions@soas.ac.uk) outlining the reasons why you think you should be given an exemption and submitting any relevant scans of document originals to support your request. These will then be forwarded to the English assessor for consideration.
I do not have any English language qualifications but have worked at a high level in English medium in a well-regarded organisation in the UK for the last few years. Can I be granted exemption status?
We would look at your application closely and consider granting an exemption, depending on your resume and references. We would be looking for professional English medium work experience over a number of years. Or you may be asked to do an English language test. Exemption is at the discretion of the English language assessor.
I am a first language speaker of English and have grown up with English as my first language or joint first language in my family from birth. However I don’t have any specific English language qualifications. Can I be exempted?
No, we need to see some kind of English language qualification to support claims for exemption based on your country of birth and first language parenting.
I have an English-medium Undergraduate degree from a country outside the UKVI list of Majority English Speaking Countries. Would you consider exempting me from taking an English test?
We can grant exemptions in this situation. At present we are exempting all English medium undergraduate and postgraduate degrees from certain countries (such as Canada, Ghana, Nigeria, South Africa) where degrees are normally taken in English, if graduation is within 5 years of entering SOAS. We also look at English medium degrees from university programmes globally. This is subject to a review of your application.
I am a qualified English language teacher with a CELTA (or other language teaching qualification). Will this be enough to exempt me from having to take a language test?
We don't accept CELTA or other English teaching qualifications in themselves for exemption from English language testing, but you may qualify on the basis of white collar work exemption if your are an English teacher by profession.
I am a qualified English language interpreter and/ or translator with qualifications to show. Will this be enough to exempt me from having to take a language test?
If you are a professional interpreter or translator, we may be able to exempt you based on your white collar work experience but generally we don't exempt based on translation or interpreting qualifications alone. We may request an English language test.
I did a three year degree from a UK university based in a campus in a country outside the UK. Will this count for exemption status?
We will normally require language test evidence, such as the IELTS test, in this situation. The same applies for degrees from UK or US institutions or UK or US approved institutions based outside UKVI Majority English Speaking Countries.
I have a ‘2+2’ degree where I studied for two years in my native country in English medium and then for two years in UK. Can I be exempted from taking an English language test?
No, we require the degree to be three years from within a country which is on the UKVI list of Majority English Speaking countries. You will be required to submit test evidence.
I am taking a year long Foundation course/ Pre-Masters course in the UK which has an English language component. Can I submit this English language score in place of an IELTS test?
If you refer to our list of 'Alternative Qualifications' webpage you may find your Foundation or PreMasters programme listed. Otherwise if you have achieved strong scores (usually 65% in the English language component for direct entry with an In-sessional requirement) we may waive the need for an IELTS or other English language test at our discretion. If you are unsure of achieving a good result, you would be advised to take an IELTS or other test in good time as with a regular application as you will not be able to submit your final scores until July or later.
I have a good qualification from High School in English which is not on your list of acceptable English qualifications on the web pages. Can I submit this instead of an IELTS or other test?
If your qualification is not listed by us on our English language pages, inlcluding our Alternative Qualifications page, we cannot offer a waiver and we request an IELTS or other acceptable English language test.