find your perfect postgrad program
Search our Database of 30,000 Courses

English language expertise

All degree programs in the UK are taught in English. By law to study a degree program in the UK international students now need to do a Secure English Language Test (SELT) and achieve a minimum score as outlined by the UK Visas & Immigration.

You will need to be able to show that you have a good enough knowledge of the English language to be able to understand and follow the program, to be able to read academic literature in English and to be able to write your assignments and dissertation/thesis with an acceptable standard of English.


What indicators are used to prove acceptable English? 

There are normally four indicators that show you have an acceptable standard of English language:

• If you come from a country where English is the everyday language, and where the education system operates in English, for example Australia, Jamaica, most of Canada.
• If you have completed your first degree at a university in which the language of teaching is English, for example if you are a student from China who has completed their first degree at a university in Australia or the United States.
• If you attend an interview for the program and can demonstrate that your spoken and written English is of a high enough standard.
• If you have a formal qualification in English language that meets the minimum standard the university requires.

For most international applicants it is the fourth of these that is the usual way of showing English language competence. Each university sets its own minimum standards, so you will need to find out from the university website or from their prospectus what those standards are. However, there are some common standards used by most universities and these are minimum levels achieved in recognised international tests of English language ability.

Be aware of ongoing changes in the law

Because of ongoing changes in the law we advise international students to regularly check the UKVI website to make sure they can fulfil the necessary requirements. Most individual institutions also have useful information on the Tier 4 requirements for international students, and can offer assistance in terms of student queries about their specific English language requirements. You should also bear in mind that although the UK government requires a certain score in your SELT at B2 level (degree and post degree level), your preferred university may actually demand a higher score - so please do check with your chosen institution.

More, including further information about English language tests and qualifications, is provided in Chapter 3 of the book Postgraduate Study in the UK by Nicholas and Rosalind Foskett.


Related articles

6 Tips For International Students To Increase Their Employability In The UK

Studying In English

English Language Tests

Postgrad Solutions Study Bursaries