English language requirements

A group of international students in a classroom, listening to their lecturer

English language requirements

Using and understanding English at a high level is essential for your studies with us. You must submit evidence of your English language ability when you apply.

The exact English language requirements vary across our courses, and there are different ways you can demonstrate your English ability, depending on the courses and tests you have taken previously.

This page provides an overview of our English language policies for applicants. For full details, see our policies on minimum English language entry requirements and alternative English language qualifications in the Quality Manual.

Applicants from English speaking countries

If you're a native English speaker, or you have studied in an English-speaking country or institution, we may be able to accept your academic qualifications as evidence of your English language ability. 

Degree course applicants from English speaking countries

You will meet our English language entry requirements for degree programmes if you have:

  • Achieved grade C or above in GCSE English. Some courses have higher English grade requirements, so check our course listings for the course you are applying for.
  • Achieved an appropriate grade in an approved English language qualification equivalent to GCSE or higher. See our equivalencies tablePDF format for details of the English qualifications we accept across various countries, and check this against the course listings to see the grades required for your chosen course.
  • Completed your entire secondary education – up to year 12 or equivalent, and including an English language qualification equivalent to GCSE – in one of the approved countries listed by the UK's Home Office. This list includes major English-speaking countries such as Ireland, Australia, New Zealand and the USA – see the UK government website for the full list.
  • Completed a recognised degree course (undergraduate or postgraduate) in the UK or any of the Home Office's approved list of countries, as listed on the UK government website.
  • Completed a recognised degree course (undergraduate or postgraduate) in any of the other countries or universities approved by the University of Nottingham as meeting our English language policy. This includes all recognised universities in Ghana, Kenya and Nigeria among other countries, as well as non-bilingual universities in Canada, and selected institutions in India, Pakistan, Singapore and across Europe. See our policy on alternative English language qualifications for further guidance and the full list of countries.

Graduates who have studied in multiple countries

If you have completed a degree course which was split between multiple countries or universities, the following rules will apply:

  • If you completed the final two years of your course in an English-speaking country or university meeting one of the criteria above, and your degree was awarded by that university, we will accept this as meeting our English language entry requirements.
  • If you completed a degree course in an English-speaking country or university meeting one of the criteria above, which included a year abroad in a non-English speaking country, we will accept this as meeting our English language entry requirements.
  • If you have only completed a single year or less in an English speaking country or university – for example, on a student exchange or study abroad programme – and the rest of your degree course in a non-English speaking country, this will not meet our requirements.

If you haven't taken any qualifications meeting the criteria listed above, you will need to provide an English language test result, such as IELTS, PTE or TOEFL. See below for further guidance.

Speakers of other languages

We accept a variety of English language tests and qualifications. The International English Language Testing System (IELTS) Academic test is one of the most common. The IELTS test includes grades in listening, reading, writing and speaking, plus an overall grade. IELTS requirements for each of our courses are listed in our course listings.

We also accept Pearson Test of English (PTE) and TOEFL (IBT) test certificates. Check the table below against the IELTS requirement listed in our course listings to see what grade you will need. You can also meet our entry requirements through a presessional English course with our Centre for English Language Education (CELE).

English language tests
QualificationLevel requiredLevel requiredLevel required
IELTS (Academic) 6.0 (with a minimum of 5.5 in each element) 6.5 (with a minimum of 6.0 in each element) 7.0 (with a minimum of 6.0 in each element)
Pearson Test of English (PTE)  (Academic) 65 (with a minimum of 59 in each element) 71 (with a minimum of 65 in each element) 76 (with a minimum of 65 in each element)
TOEFL (iBT) 80 (with a minimum of 17 in writing and listening, 18 in reading and 20 in speaking) 90 (minimum 19 in writing and listening, 20 in reading and 22 in speaking) 100 (minimum 19 in writing and listening, 20 in reading and 22 in speaking)

IELTS, PTE and TOEFL test certificates must date from within the last two years before the course you are applying for.

As well as these English tests, we can accept a variety of other English language qualifications from around the world. See our policy on minimum English language entry requirements and our equivalencies tablePDF format for full details.

If your current test scores at the time you apply don't meet the English requirements for your chosen course, but you meet the academic requirements, we may make you a conditional offer with an English language condition. You would then need to take another English language test to meet our requirements, or successfully complete one of our presessional English courses at the required level, before beginning the degree course.

Presessional English courses

You can take a presessional English course at our Centre for English Language Education (CELE) to help you develop your English language ability to the level needed for our degree courses, and to prepare for academic study with us. CELE is accredited by the British Council for the teaching of English in the UK.

CELE's presessional courses provide quality preparation for your academic study, teaching you academic skills in addition to English language skills. If you complete your presessional course at the required level, you can then progress to your degree course and won't need to retake IELTS or any other English language test.

Entry requirements for presessional English courses vary depending on the length of the course and your target score. Find out more in our CELE webpages.

Due to the extra student visa rules for courses below degree level, you will normally need to have an IELTS for UKVI (Academic) certificate for presessional English courses taught on our campus. For further guidance, and for online presessional courses, see our CELE webpages.

Applying for a foundation course

English language requirements for foundation courses

There are some extra student visa rules for courses below degree level. This means that any students who will need a Student route visa (formerly known as a Tier 4 student visa) applying for a one-year programme must provide an English test certificate classed by the UK's Home Office as a Secure English Language Test (SELT) at level B1, under the UK's Visas and Immigration (UKVI) policies.

For students taking their test outside the UK, we accept these SELT tests:

  • IELTS for UKVI (Academic) with an overall score of at least 5.5 and with no less than 5.0 in any element
  • Pearson Test of English (PTE) for UKVI (Academic) with an overall score of at least 59 and with no less than 53 in any element

Note that we do not ordinarily accept LanguageCert for entry at the University of Nottingham. See above for guidance on our temporary policy on LanguageCert following the Covid-19 pandemic. 

If you do not require a student visa you will not need to provide a SELT and we can accept other English language tests and qualifications such as a non-UKVI IELTS or PTE test, TOEFL iBT.

Integrated foundation courses in medicine, nursing and midwifery, physiotherapy, sports rehabilitation, and veterinary medicine and science do not require a SELT as they are part of a continuous programme which includes a degree. See our policy on minimum English language entry requirements for details of the IELTS requirements for these courses. Note that many of these courses are not available to international students. 

For foundation courses at the University of Nottingham International College, see Kaplan's website for entry requirements and English language entry levels.


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