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English language

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.

Exemptions

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
  • 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)
  • You've completed a SOAS Pre-Masters or International Foundation (60% in Academic English) or ELAS programme (70% in Academic English)
  • You've passed a Pre-sessional English course at a UK university (2-year validity)

Study Abroad and Exchange Students Test Scores (all 2 year validity)

Direct entry
Test Overall Subscores
IELTS Academic/for UKVI 6.5 6.5 in all subscores
PTE Academic 65 65 in all subscores
TOEFL iBT 100 23 in all subscores
With in-sessional English
Test Overall Subscores
IELTS Academic/for UKVI 6.5 6.0 in all subscores (6.5 in Writing)
PTE Academic 65 60 in all subscores (65 in Writing)
TOEFL iBT 100 21 in all subscores (23 in Writing)
With 4-week pre-sessional English (September starters only)
Test Overall Subscores
IELTS Academic/for UKVI 6.5
5.5 in all subscores (6.0 in Writing)
PTE Academic 65
55 in all subscores (60 in Writing)
TOEFL iBT 100
19 in all subscores (21 in Writing)
With 8-week pre-sessional English (September starters only)
Test Overall Subscores
IELTS Academic/for UKVI 6.0
5.5 in all subscores
PTE Academic 60
55 in all subscores
TOEFL iBT 90
19 in all subscores

Alternative qualifications

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 a 5-year validity, but some may have a two-year validity.

Pre-sessional and in-sessional English

If you do not meet the English Language Requirements for your course in full, you may be offered an In-sessional English course or a four-week or eight-week Pre-sessional English course, depending on your test results.

Pre-sessional English is only available for September starters and is not included in exchange agreements (so will be at the student’s cost). In-sessional courses are free and take place during the term time.

English Language and Academic Studies (ELAS)

Any student not achieving the entry requirement for one of the pre-sessional courses (or who is starting in January) should consider applying for the ELAS programme using the online form. Students achieving excellent progress on ELAS may be allowed to audit or register for one undergraduate module alongside their ELAS programme in Term 2.

 

Test Overall Subscores
IELTS Academic/for UKVI 5.5
5.5 in all subscores
PTE Academic 55
55 in all subscores
TOEFL iBT 72
17 in all subscores

Visa requirements and SELT

Applicants who require a Student Visa must prove their knowledge of the English language when applying. As a higher education provider, SOAS can assess your level of English using a variety of tests and qualifications. However, you may be asked to provide evidence of a secure English language test (SELT) as part of your Student Visa application.

Study Abroad or Exchange applicants who require a Student route visa and plan to take a Pre-sessional English course must provide a SELT test.

If you are not sure if you will require a pre-sessional course or ELAS, then we recommend that you take one of the following approved SELT English test, as this is the safest option:

Academic requirements

Undergraduate applicants

Undergraduate applicants should have the equivalent of a British 2:1 in their current undergraduate studies. For example, North American students should have a GPA of 3.3/4.0 and students from Norway should be receiving predominantly grades B and C. Applicants with a GPA of 3.0, or equivalent, will be considered if they can demonstrate a strong academic motivation or have a higher GPA in their Major.

Please note that we do not offer a first year programme. Undergraduate students can join SOAS in their sophomore/second year at the earliest.

Postgraduate applicants

Postgraduate students must have successfully completed an undergraduate degree with an overall grade that is equivalent to a British 2:1. For example, North American students should have a GPA of 3.3/4.0 and students from Norwegian institutions should have an average grade of B/C.  

English language requirements

See our English language requirements section for full details.