International students - English language requirements

To be accepted onto a course with us you must have a suitable English language qualification. The tables below show the minimum English language requirements for standard courses at NQF 6 and above. 

Some courses have English language requirements that differ to the below, please see our table of non-standard English language requirements for more details.

Plymouth University requirement - IELTS (Academic) - please see notes section below

Undergraduate programmes Postgraduate programmes Minimum component scores
6.0 overall 6.5 overall 5.5 in all four components (listening, reading, speaking and writing)

Plymouth University International College (PUIC) requirement​ - IELTS (Academic) --please see notes section below

Undergraduate programmes Postgraduate programmes Minimum component scores
5.5 overall (6.0 for integrated programmes) 6.0 overall 5.5 in all four components (listening, reading, speaking and writing)

The test listed above is the only Home Office (UKVI) approved SELT (Secure English Language test) that Plymouth University and Plymouth University International College (PUIC) accept. The scores required have been increased from the UKVI minimum specified scores to meet University requirements. Other tests / qualifications listed below have been deemed acceptable by Plymouth University and PUIC to meet our entry requirements and UKVI requirements for study at NQF 6 and above. These tests / qualifications are not SELTS.

Plymouth University requirement - Trinity College London ISE (only a SELT if taken in the UK)

Undergraduate programmes Postgraduate programmes Minimum component scores
ISE II Distinction in all components ISE III Pass in all components Distinction or Pass in all four components (dependent on entry level, UG or PG)

PUIC requirement​ - Trinity College London ISE (only a SELT if taken in the UK)

Undergraduate programmes Postgraduate programmes Minimum component scores
ISE II Distinction in all components ISE III Pass in all components Distinction or Pass in all four components (dependent on entry level, UG or PG)

Plymouth University requirement - Pearson Test of English (PTE academic) SCORES MUST BE SENT TO UKBA ONLINE​

Undergraduate programmes Postgraduate programmes Minimum component scores
53 61 51 in all four components (listening, reading, speaking and writing)

PUIC requirement​ - Pearson Test of English (PTE academic) SCORES MUST BE SENT TO UKBA ONLINE

Undergraduate programmes Postgraduate programmes Minimum component scores
51​ (53 for integrated programmes) 53 51 in all four components (listening, reading, speaking and writing)

Plymouth University requirement - Cambridge English: First (FCE)​

Undergraduate programmes Postgraduate programmes Minimum component scores
B B "Borderline" in all four components (listening, reading, speaking and writing)

PUIC requirement​ - Cambridge English: First (FCE)​

Undergraduate programmes Postgraduate programmes Minimum component scores
​C (B for integrated programmes) B "Borderline" in all four components (listening, reading, speaking and writing)​

Plymouth University requirement - Cambridge English: Advanced (CAE) ​

Undergraduate programmes Postgraduate programmes Minimum component scores
C C "Weak" in all four components (listening, reading, speaking and writing)

PUIC requirement​ - Cambridge English: Advanced (CAE) ​

Undergraduate programmes Postgraduate programmes Minimum component scores
​CEFR B2 Level (score of 47 minimum) (C for integrated programmes) C "Weak" in all four components (listening, reading, speaking and writing)​

Plymouth University requirement - Cambridge English: Proficiency (CPE) ​

Undergraduate programmes Postgraduate programmes Minimum component scores
Pass at C1 level Pass at C1 level "Weak" in all four components (listening, reading, speaking and writing)

PUIC requirement​ - Cambridge English: Proficiency (CPE) ​

Undergraduate programmes Postgraduate programmes Minimum component scores
​Pass at C1 level Pass at C1 level "Weak" in all four components (listening, reading, speaking and writing)​

Plymouth University requirement - GCSE English Language

Undergraduate programmes Postgraduate programmes Minimum component scores
C C From Summer 2014 all GCSE English language awards will have a score for speaking and listening skills reported separately on the GCSE certificate (reading and writing already assessed)

PUIC requirement​ - GCSE English Language

Undergraduate programmes Postgraduate programmes Minimum component scores
​C C From Summer 2014 all GCSE English language awards will have a score for speaking and listening skills reported separately on the GCSE certificate (reading and writing already assessed)​​

Plymouth University requirement - Cambridge IGCSE English as a First Language (Syllabus 0500 and 0522)​

Undergraduate programmes Postgraduate programmes Minimum component scores
C C Reading E, Writing E, Speaking D, Listening D (Supplementary statement will be required)**

PUIC requirement​ - Cambridge IGCSE English as a First Language (Syllabus 0500 and 0522)

Undergraduate programmes Postgraduate programmes Minimum component scores
C C Reading E, Writing E, Speaking D, Listening D (Supplementary statement will be required)**

Plymouth University requirement - Cambridge IGCSE English as a Second Language (Syllabus 0510 and 0511)​

Undergraduate programmes Postgraduate programmes Minimum component scores
C B Reading D Writing D Speaking C Listening A (Supplementary statement will be required)**

PUIC requirement​ - Cambridge IGCSE English as a Second Language (Syllabus 0510 and 0511)

Undergraduate programmes Postgraduate programmes Minimum component scores
C B Reading D Writing D Speaking C Listening A​ (Supplementary statement will be required)**

Plymouth University requirement – SQA ESOL English (Higher)

Undergraduate programmes Postgraduate programmes
Grade C Grade B

PUIC requirement​ - SQA ESOL English (Higher)

Undergraduate programmes Postgraduate programmes
Grade C Grade B


Plymouth University requirement – SQA ESOL English (Intermediate 2 / National 5)

Undergraduate programmes Postgraduate programmes
Grade B Grade A

PUIC requirement​ - SQA ESOL English (Intermediate 2 / National 5)

Undergraduate programmes Postgraduate programmes
Grade B Grade A

Plymouth University requirement - WAEC / NECO English​

Undergraduate programmes Postgraduate programmes
C6 C6

PUIC requirement - WAEC / NECO English​

Undergraduate programmes Postgraduate programmes
C6 C6

Plymouth University requirement - Indian School Certificate (year 12) (when awarded by CISCE) OR

All India Senior School Certificate Examination (also known as Delhi Senior School Certificate Examination) (when awarded by CBSE)

Undergraduate programmes Postgraduate programmes
70% 70%

PUIC requirement - Indian School Certificate (year 12) (when awarded by CISCE) OR

All India Senior School Certificate Examination (also known as Delhi Senior School Certificate Examination) (when awarded by CBSE)

Undergraduate programmes Postgraduate programmes
60% (70% for integrated programmes) 70%

Plymouth University requirement - Hong Kong Certificate of Education Examination (HKCEE), post 2007 (except syllabus A)​

Undergraduate programmes Postgraduate programmes Minimum component scores
3 IELTS required as above​ Minimum score of 3 in all four components

PUIC requirement​ - Hong Kong Certificate of Education Examination (HKCEE), post 2007 (except syllabus A)​

Undergraduate programmes Postgraduate programmes Minimum component scores
3 IELTS required as above​ 2 in all four components (3 in all four components for integrated programmes)

Plymouth University requirement - Hong Kong Diploma in Secondary Education (HKDSE)​

Undergraduate programmes Postgraduate programmes Minimum component scores
4 at category A​ 4 at category A​ Minimum score of 3 in all four components

PUIC requirement​ - Hong Kong Diploma in Secondary Education (HKDSE)​

Undergraduate programmes Postgraduate programmes Minimum component scores
3 at category A
(4 for integrated programmes)
4 at category A Minimum score of 3 in all four components

Plymouth University requirement - Singapore / Cambridge GCE O Level​

Undergraduate programmes Postgraduate programmes
C6 C6

PUIC requirement - Singapore / Cambridge GCE O Level​

Undergraduate programmes Postgraduate programmes
C6 C6

Plymouth University requirement - USA / Canada high school diploma​

Undergraduate programmes Postgraduate programmes Minimum component scores
C C Plymouth University requirement, no Home Office requirement where student is a US or Canadian national

PUIC requirement​ - USA / Canada high school diploma​

Undergraduate programmes Postgraduate programmes Minimum component scores
C C Plymouth University requirement, no Home Office requirement where student is a US or Canadian national

Plymouth University requirement - Malaysia SPM - Advanced English 1119 (Cambridge O Level 1119​) ●

Undergraduate programmes Postgraduate programmes
6 6

PUIC requirement - Malaysia SPM - Advanced English 1119 (Cambridge O Level 1119​) ●

Undergraduate programmes Postgraduate programmes
6 6

Plymouth University requirement - Norway Vitnemål fra denVideregående Skole

Undergraduate programmes Postgraduate programmes Minimum component scores
4 4 Plymouth University requirement, no Home Office requirement where student is a Norwegian national

PUIC requirement​ - Norway Vitnemål fra denVideregående Skole

Undergraduate programmes Postgraduate programmes Minimum component scores
4 4 Plymouth University requirement, no Home Office requirement where student is a Norwegian national

Plymouth University requirement - International Baccalaureate (IB) (Diploma, studied in English)​

Undergraduate programmes Postgraduate programmes
Higher Level 4 / Standard Level 5 Higher Level 4 / Standard Level 5

PUIC requirement - International Baccalaureate (IB) (Diploma, studied in English)​

Undergraduate programmes Postgraduate programmes
Higher Level 3 Standard Level 4
(4 Higher Level and 5 Standard Level integrated programmes)
Higher Level 3 Standard Level 4

Notes: 

IELTS Academic Tests after 6 April 2015

Plymouth University continues to accept the IELTS (academic) test for study at and below degree level. To study a pre-sessional (English Language) course applicants must take the IELTS academic test at a UKVI approved test centre and obtain the required scores to meet UKVI and Plymouth University requirements. To study on an undergraduate, postgraduate taught or postgraduate research degree programme, the University will accept IELTS academic tests taken at non-UKVI approved test centres. Applicants must obtain the required scores to meet UKVI and Plymouth University requirements. Plymouth University does not accept the IELTS Life Skills test for either pre-sessional or degree programmes. 

It is the responsibility of applicants to ensure they are sitting the appropriate test at the correct type of test centre, that will allow them to apply for the visa they require for study. We strongly recommend that applicants register to take the IELTS academic test at a UKVI approved test centre if there is the possibility they will need to study on a pre-sessional programme, as tests taken at a non-UKVI approved centre cannot be used for Tier 4 visa applications for pre-sessional courses.

1. Your test scores must be deemed valid. If your test results are too old to be valid (as per UKVI and University requirements), you may be required to re-take a relevant test. 

2. English language qualifications will be verified with the awarding body where possible. If verification is not possible you may be asked to supply original documents or an alternative English language qualification if we have concerns about the documentation provided.

3. Your English language ability will be assessed from your most recent English language test or qualification, older tests will be disregarded even if they show a higher score.

4. This table represents the current English language requirements for degree level study at Plymouth University and Plymouth University International College (PUIC). It incorporates UKVI (Home Office) minimum English Language scores and requirement where appropriate, and is accurate at the time of publication (June 2016) but may be subject to change at any time. 

5. Other qualifications may be considered - please ask when you apply.

6. This table only shows minimum requirements for entry. Some programmes will have higher English language requirements.

7. If you don't meet these requirements you may be able to join one of our pre-sessional courses. Visit the English Language Centre web pages for more information.

8. † For all Cambridge English Examinations please supply your ID number and "secret number" to our Admissions team when applying, to enable us to verify your qualification. Where the qualification has not been achieved but you have still achieved B2 Level (confirmed on the certificate from Cambridge English)  this may still be acceptable, depending on the programme / level applied for. We'll consider this on a case by case basis.

9. ‡ Years 10 and 11 of the GCSE English Language syllabus must have been studied in the UK. You'll need to provide evidence of this when applying, for example mock results or confirmation from your school / 6th form.

10. ♦ CICSE (Council for Indian School Certificate Examination) and CBSE (Central Board of Secondary Education) (National Boards). Standard XII English from State Boards in India is not usually acceptable but may be considered on a case by case basis where grades are 80 per cent or above (for Plymouth University direct entry, 70 per cent for PUIC entry).

11.  ** Cambridge IGCSE English as a First Language and Cambridge IGCSE English as a Second Language. Applicants submitting either of these qualifications as evidence of English language ability must have studied on the correct syllabus (see table above) that examines in all 4 component skills, and must have included the Speaking & Listening component if applying with Cambridge IGCSE English as a First Language Syllabus (0500), or the Oral component if applying with Cambridge IGCSE English as a Second Language Syllabus (0510).  If your school or college cannot provide you with your component scores (or cannot release them to the University on request) then you will need to apply for the Supplementary Certifying Statement, which breaks down your Cambridge IGCSE English Language results into component grades.  

Please complete the application form to apply for a Supplementary Certifying Statement for CEFR. The cost for this service is £37.80 (price as advertised in February 2015)

12. ● The SPM results slip or certificate must specifically state, 1119 has been awarded OR please supply GCE O level certificate awarded by UCLES. If your SPM does not state 1119  we won't be able to accept it, nor will we allow the GCE O level if not awarded by UCLES.

13. Applicants to postgraduate programmes who hold a first degree (bachelor's degree) from a majority English language speaking country (as defined by UKVI at the time of application) won't usually be required to meet other postgraduate English language requirements as listed above. This will be confirmed as part of your application process.