Foundation Year 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.

SOAS offers two Foundation routes for students:

  • International Foundation Year (ICC) - This standalone qualification is designed for international students whose first language is not English.
  • Foundation Year - This is an integrated four-year undergraduate degree with guaranteed progression onto any of our undergraduate degree programmes. While the majority of students on this programme are first language English speakers, this may be an appropriate option for international applicants with strong English language ability who meet the English language requirements listed below.


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)

Foundation Year Test Scores

The following test scores are for applicants to the Foundation Year programmes; all validity is for two years from 1st September 2019. International applicants who do not meet the English requirements below should apply for our International Foundation Year (ICC), which is designed for international students who do not speak English as their first language.

Direct entry

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 in-sessional English

Test Overall Subscores
IELTS Academic/for UKVI 6.5 Miss one of the subscore requirements by 0.5
PTE Academic 65 Miss one of the subscore requirements by 5
TOEFL iBT 100 Miss one of the subscore requirements by 2
IELCA Academic 35 Miss one of the subscore requirements by 5

Covid-19 update for 2022 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 2022 entry only (if taken after 1st September 2020):

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 (free and taught during the academic term).

If you do not meet the In-sessional English requirements above, you will need to apply for the International Foundation Year (ICC), as Pre-sessional English is not open to Foundation Year applicants.

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.

We recommend that you take one of the following approved SELT English test, as this is the safest option:

  • IELTS for UKVI
  • Trinity College London: ISE (Level 3)
  • Pearson: PTE Home / PTE Academic UKVI