IELTS, or the International English Language Testing System, is a standardised test designed to determine English language proficiency in non-native English speakers. English proficiency is required to obtain a UK Student Visa and nearly all UK universities require applicants to present an IELTS result as part of the application process. There are, however, a few exceptions to this rule.
How to Study in the UK Without IELTS
The need for international students to prove English proficiency is established by UK immigration. As such, many universities simply add the IELTS to their list of requirements. But while the IELTS is considered the default measure of English proficiency, it is not the only one and there are some universities that will accept alternative methods of proving English proficiency. Universities can do this due to their status as Higher Education institutions.
IELTS alternatives include being able to prove that you previously had success studying in a school where all courses were offered only in English. In other cases universities may accept IGCSE or an International Baccalaureate diploma as proof of English proficiency. MOI (Medium of Instruction) certificates may also be accepted. Below, we have put together a list of several IELTs alternatives that are sometimes accepted.
University English Test – As Higher Education institutions (HEI), universities are authorised to conduct their own English test. Many universities provide their own English test at a very low cost, while some even offer a test for free. This is a more affordable option compared to the IELTS exam fees and, because these university tests are often like the IELTS test, your ability should be sufficient enough to pass them if you have undertaken any IELTS preparatory course.
MOI (Medium of Instruction) Certificate – Some universities will accept students without IELTS for postgraduate courses if they have completed an honors degree and their medium of instruction for that degree was English. To opt for this approach, students would have to provide a letter from the university confirming the medium of instruction.
Alternative SELT (Secure English Language Test) – Besides IELTS, there are three more UKVI approved Secure English Language Tests available:
- PSI Services (UK) Ltd (for applying from overseas)
Studied in English Medium School or Curriculum – You might be able to study without IELTS if you have…
- Studied English at GCSE or A level and received an English Grade between A to C
- Received an International Baccalaureate pass in English A or B at HL or SL with a minimum grade of 5
12th Class or Higher Secondary Examination English Score – Some universities may not require the IELTS SELT if you have received 60% or above in your Higher Secondary or 12th class. Please note this is only applicable for select nationalities. The majority of Indian nationals get IELTS exemption if they have 70% or above in their Higher Secondary exam, and West African students get exemption if they have C6 or Above in WAEC. Contact Student Connect to find out if you are eligible.
Other English Language tests – Being a type of HEI (Higher Education institution), universities can accept wide range of English tests, please always check the universities website English requirements page for acceptable English language test list. Some of these tests are:
- PTE Academic – https://www.pearsonpte.com/pte-academic
- TOEFL – https://www.ets.org/toefl.html
- ELLT – https://englishtests.oidigitalinstitute.com/ellt/
- Password English – https://www.englishlanguagetesting.co.uk
- IELTS Indicator – https://www.ielts.org/about-ielts/ielts-indicator
Being from a Majority English Speaking Country – If you are from a majority English speaking country, you will not have to prove your knowledge of English, and therefore won’t have to provide an IELTS result.
Examples of Universities That Don’t Require IELTS
The following are some of the UK universities where international students can study without IELTS.
- Birmingham City University
- Coventry University
- University of Portsmouth
- University for the Creative Arts
- UWE Bristol
- Staffordshire University
- London South Bank University
- University of Greenwich
- Bournemouth University
- University of Gloucestershire
- Middlesex University London
- University of Hertfordshire
Disclaimer: The information on this page is correct at the time of writing. Please check https://www.gov.uk/student-visa for the most up-to-date information.
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