English Language requirements

The following information gives English Language Requirement guidance for Taught Graduate and Research applicants.

In individual cases UCL reserves the right to:

  • specify an additional language requirement for an applicant, or
  • request additional confirmation of education or employment for your institution or employee.

Who does not need to prove their knowledge of English

You do not need to prove your knowledge of English if you are from one of the following countries:

  • Antigua and Barbuda
  • Australia
  • the Bahamas
  • Barbados
  • Belize
  • Dominica
  • Grenada
  • Guyana
  • Ireland
  • Jamaica
  • Malta
  • New Zealand
  • St Kitts and Nevis
  • St Lucia
  • St Vincent and the Grenadines
  • Trinidad and Tobago
  • UK
  • USA
  • Canada

Who does need to prove their knowledge of English

If you are not from any of the countries above, you will need to prove evidence of one of the following before you become a student at UCL:

Education which leads to an academic qualification

This option means you must show us completion of at least 12 months academic education leading to an awarded qualification.

This must be in a country that UCL considers to be "majority English-speaking".

You must receive this qualification no more than two years before the proposed date of enrolment. This includes the summer two years before enrolment if starting in September.

Students who studied in transnational education, such as a joint degree between a Chinese and UK university, must complete:

  • at least three years of undergraduate study, or
  • one year of postgraduate study.

This must be in a country that UCL considers to be "majority English-speaking". 

Work experience

This option means you must show us completion of at least 18 months of work experience in a country that UCL considers to be "majority English-speaking".

This must be completed no more than two years before the proposed date of enrolment.

If you receive an offer of a place to study at UCL, we may ask for evidence of your work experience.

We may ask for an official letter from your employer(s) confirming:

  • your dates of employment, and 
  • that English is the language used by the company to conduct its day-to-day business. 

An English language qualification or test result

For this option you must receive the qualification or test result no more than two years before the proposed date of enrolment.

Accepted English language qualifications

Listed below are all the English language qualifications and tests that are recognised by UCL. 

There are three levels of English proficiency needed to meet UCL’s English language requirements for graduate study:

  • Standard, 
  • Good, or 
  • Advanced. 

See each degree programme page to confirm which UCL level of English proficiency you will need to meet. 

Book a recognised test

We advise that you book a test as early as possible and do not wait until you receive a decision on your application.

Test centres are very busy throughout the year and during the summer it may be several weeks before you are able to take a test. 

UCL Pre-sessional English Courses

These courses are run by UCL Centre for Languages & International Education (CLIE).

  • Standard level: Mark of 65%, with at least 60% in each of the subtests.
  • Good level: Mark of 70%, with at least 65% in each of the subtests.
  • Advanced level: Mark of 75%, with at least 65% in each of the subtests.

Please note that these courses are not suitable for PGCE applicants.

UCL International Pre-Master's Courses

These courses are run by UCL Centre for Languages & International Education (CLIE).

  • Standard level: Overall mark of 65% with at least 60% in each of the four elements of the examination. Equivalent to 6.5 in IELTS.
  • Good level: Overall mark of 70% with at least 65% in each of the four elements of the examination. Equivalent to 7.0 in IELTS.
  • Advanced level: Overall mark of 75% with at least 65% in each of the four elements of the examination. Equivalent to 7.5 in IELTS.

Please note that these courses are not suitable for PGCE applicants.

International English Language Testing System (IELTS) Academic Version

This test is UCL's preferred English language qualification.

  • Standard level: Overall grade of 6.5 with a minimum of 6.0 in each of the subtests.
  • Good level: Overall grade of 7.0 with a minimum of 6.5 in each of the subtests.
  • Advanced level: Overall grade of 7.5 with a minimum of 6.5 in each of the subtests.

Applicants may take the IELTS Indicator test to meet the requirement for entry to the 2021/2022 (September 2021 and mid-year starters) and 2022/2023 (September 2022) academic years. The test is not acceptable if it was taken before 1 July 2020.

Test of English as Foreign Language (TOEFL) iBT

For entry into programmes from January 2016 onwards

  • Standard level: Overall score of 92 with 24/30 in reading and writing and 20/30 in speaking and listening.
  • Good level: Overall score of 100 with 24/30 in reading and writing and 20/30 in speaking and listening.
  • Advanced level: Overall score of 109 with 24/30 in reading and writing and 20/30 in speaking and listening.

Applicants may take the TOEFL iBT Special Home Edition test to meet the requirement for entry to the 2021/2022 (September 2021 and mid-year starters) and 2022/2023 (September 2022) academic years.

Please note that TOEFL iBT MyBestScore is not acceptable for meeting the English language requirement.

UCL’s institution code for TOEFL is 9163.

Cambridge English: C2 Proficiency (CPE), previously known as Cambridge Certificate of Proficiency in English
  • Standard level: Overall score of 176 with 169 in all subtests
  • Good level: Overall score of 185 with 176 in all subtests
  • Advanced level: Overall score of 191 with 176 in all subtests
Cambridge English: C1 Advanced (CAE), previously known as Cambridge Certificate of Advanced English
  • Standard level: Overall score of 176 with 169 in all subtests
  • Good level: Overall score of 185 with 176 in all subtests
  • Advanced level: Overall score of 191 with 176 in all subtests
Pearson Test of English (Academic)

UCL will accept the Pearson Test of English (Academic), often referred to as PTE (Academic), with the following grades:

  • Standard level: 62 overall, with a minimum of 59 in each Communicative Skill
  • Good level: 69 overall, with a minimum of 62 in each Communicative Skill
  • Advanced level: 75 overall, with a minimum of 62 each Communicative Skill

Applicants may take PTE Academic Online test to meet the requirement for entry to the 2021/2022 (mid-year starters) and 2022/2023 (September 2022) academic years.

Trinity College London, Integrated Skills in English (Trinity ISE) III
  • Standard level: Successful completion of ISE III with a ‘pass’ in all components
  • Good level: Successful completion of ISE III with ‘merit’ in all components
  • Advanced level: Successful completion of ISE III with ‘distinction’ in all components
LanguageCert International ESOL

UCL will accept LanguageCert International ESOL test at the following level and grades: 

  • Standard level: B2 Communicator test with High Pass with a minimum of 33 in reading, writing and listening and 38 in speaking. C1 Expert and C2 Mastery tests with Pass will also be considered. 
  • Good level: C1 Expert test with Pass (minimum of 25 in all four skills). C2 Mastery test with Pass will also be considered. 
  • Advanced level: C1 Expert test with High Pass with minimum of 33 in reading, writing and listening and 38 in speaking.  C2 Mastery test with Pass will also be considered. 

Applicants are required to take both written and spoken exams at the same level.  Online and in-centre exams are also accepted.

Providing evidence of your English language test result or qualification

You should include evidence of your English ability within your application if possible. But, we will still consider your application if you do not provide the evidence within your application. 

If you have taken a test which meets the requirements of your programme please upload this with your application.

If you are unable to do this we will still consider your application, but we will ask you to provide test results if we make you an offer. We will state this condition on the offer letter which you must fulfil before enrolment at UCL.

You must either:

  • provide your test results as part of your application form or, 
  • upload them to your application through the Applicant Portal platform, if you receive an offer. 

You must provide the official document providing test report scores or an award letter from one of our recognised test providers. 

UCL will not accept

  • English language test results sent by email,
  • additional test scores whilst your application is being considered (you will be able to provide them to us if you receive an offer of a place),
  • unofficial test reports or screenshots of your test scores.
Countries UCL considers majority English speaking
  • Antigua and Barbuda
  • Australia
  • Barbados
  • Belize
  • Botswana
  • Cameroon (only if the qualification is taught in English),
  • Canada
  • Caribbean / West Indies (English-speaking Caribbean Commonwealth territories),
  • Dominica
  • Fiji
  • Gambia
  • Ghana
  • Grenada
  • Guyana
  • Ireland
  • Jamaica
  • Kenya
  • Malawi
  • Malta (where the degree is taught entirely in English)
  • Mauritius
  • New Zealand
  • Nigeria
  • Singapore
  • South Africa
  • St Kitts and Nevis
  • St Lucia
  • St Vincent and the Grenadines
  • Swaziland
  • Tanzania
  • The Bahamas
  • Trinidad and Tobago
  • The Netherlands (where the degree is taught entirely in English)
  • Uganda
  • United Kingdom
  • United States of America
  • Zambia
  • Zimbabwe