SOAS University of London

International Students

English Language Requirements FAQs

  • I can't access an approved Academic English language test because of the Covid-19 shutdown. What should I do?

    We are now accepting Duolingo English test and the TOEFL At Home online tests for entry into the 2020 academic year. You should be able to access one of these, wherever you are in the world. See our English Language Requirements 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.

  • 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?

    In this kind of situation we would look at your application closely and consider granting an exemption, depending on your resume and references. Or you may be asked to do an English language test. Exemption is at the discretion of the English language assessor.

  • 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?

    No, you will have to meet the SOAS English language entry requirements clearly. 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. You should factor this into the time line of your application, so you have plenty of time to retest where necessary. It is your responsibility to do this.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • There are no IELTS UKVI test centres where I live. What should I do?

    As a HEI we are able to use our own method of assessing English language level and for direct entry we can accept non UKVI approved English tests. Currently we are accepting Duolingo and TOEFL At Home for entry into the 2020 academic year.

  • 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 to discuss your situation further.

  • I have an undergraduate degree from a UK university. Do I have to take an IELTS or other test or can I use my degree to waive the language requirements?

    If you have an undergraduate degree from a country listed as native speaker by UKVI (including UK, US, New Zealand, Australia, for example) where you have a reasonably good result, with positive references as to your English, where the degree course was 3 years or longer, in the social sciences or arts and humanities and the degree was awarded within 2 years of your entry date, then we would normally offer an exemption. However if you have references which indicate your English is weak in some areas or your degree is in hard sciences, finance or mathematics, or an applied discipline such as fine art, music, dance or design, we may require further test evidence. Finally these decisions are at the discretion of the English language assessor.

  • I have a Master’s degree from a UK university. Can I use this to waive my English requirements?

    Master’s degrees from UK or another UKVI listed native speaker country, in themselves, however recently awarded, do not automatically grant exemption status. However if your Master’s degree was awarded recently (within a year or two) and if you have an out of date IELTS or other test to clearly indicate your English language level when you embarked on the Master’s degree, we would consider looking at your whole application with the view to awarding an exemption. This would be at the discretion of the English assessor.

  • I have an English-medium Undergraduate degree from a country outside the UKVI list of native speaker countries. Would you consider exempting me from taking an English test?

    We do on occasion grant exemptions in this situation. We would ask to see your claim for exemption backed up by an English language test such as the IELTS or TOEFL, even if out of date, and would consider looking at your whole application paying special attention to references. Exemptions are at the discretion of the English language assessor.

  • 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?

    No, if you do not have one of the qualifications listed on the English requirements web pages, we require you to submit an English language test.

  • I am a qualified English language interpreter with qualifications to show. Will this be enough to exempt me from having to take a language test?

    No, if you are a professional interpreter, we would still like to see a recognised language test.

  • 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 native speaker countries. You will be required to submit test evidence.

  • 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 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 US or UK.

  • 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 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. This is at the discretion of the English language assessor. If you are unsure of achieving a good result, you would be advised to take an IELTS 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, we cannot offer a waiver and we request an IELTS or other acceptable English language test.

  • 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)

    As Pre-sessional courses are online and likely to be taken from the student's country of residence a CAS will not be necessary for the Pre-sessional, unless residency is sought in UK during the time of the Pre-sessional. Only one CAS will be necessary, for the main degree course.

  • I am going to take the IELTS test but it will be after the June 30th deadline. Is this possible?

    As all Pre-sessional courses are online this year, we have extended the recommended deadline for submission of English test scores to June 30th 2020.

    Some IELTS centres are gradually reopening and we understand you may prefer to take the test at a test centre and do encourage you where possible to take the UKVI IELTS or UKVI PTE Academic SELT test as your test of first choice.

    However we are currently accepting Duolingo and TOEFL AtHome, which are online tests, which can be taken from your own home and would encourage you to take these in a timely way before 30th June.

    Where direct entry scores are achieved we accept test submissions until the end of August.

    For entry with a Pre-sessional these are the relevant deadline dates for test submission: 27th June for the 8-week B and the 4-week A, and 27th July for the 4-week B.

    For further information please contact the English Language Assessor at

  • I want an exemption from taking an English test. How do I go about requesting this?

    As there is no box to tick on the application form to request an English exemption, please send an e-mail clearly requesting an English exemption to the relevant Admissions department, 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 am a distance learning applicant. Can I take In-sessional or Pre-sessional courses at SOAS?

    No, In-sessional and Pre-sessional provision is not available for distance learning applicants, so you have to achieve unconditional direct entry scores (eg 130 in Duolingo).