English language requirements

Since we deliver our courses in English, you need to have a sufficient level of English to contribute to your course's classes and pass assessments such as coursework and examinations.

You need to demonstrate your English language level by taking an approved English language test and sending us your results. Different courses need different levels of English, usually measured on the International English Language Test System (IELTS). You can see specific course requirements on the relevant course page.

There are some country exceptions to these English language requirements, which you can find below and on your country page.

If you need extra help with your English before your course, you can take a Pre-Sessional English programme with us.

Which test should I take?

There are many English tests available, but you need to take one of tests we recognise. You can either take an approved IELTS test for UKVI, or a Trinity College London test. You can find details of both of these below.

If you're joining an undergraduate degree, Master’s degree or PhD programme directly, you can take other tests instead. Explore your options below.

English Language Tests

The International English Language Testing System (IELTS) measures the language proficiency of people who want to study or work where English is used as a language of communication. It uses a 9-band scale to clearly identify levels of proficiency, from non-user (band score 1) through to expert (band score 9).

You'd normally choose to take an Academic IELTS test, as this is most common for students, but we do accept any type of IELTS test as long as your scores meet your entry requirements for your course. You can see some sample test questions on the IELTS website.

If you want to take a pre-sessional English course or a Foundation course, you must take your IELTS test at an approved UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) test centre.

You can book your IELTS test for UK Visas & Immigration here.

Generally, you need to have the following scores for different course levels:

Foundation courses

If you are interested in a Foundation or pathway course you need a minimum of IELTS band 5.5, with no component below 5.5.

Undergraduate courses

For most of our Bachelor's degrees, you need a minimum of IELTS band 6.0, with no component below 5.5. Some courses, especially those with a high level of discussion and writing, require higher scores. You can see course-specific details on the individual course pages.

Postgraduate course

For most of our Master's degrees, you need a minimum of IELTS band 6.5–7.0, with no component below 6.0. Some courses and PhDs require higher scores. You can see course-specific details on the individual course pages.

IELTS scores 5.0–6.5 are equivalent to a Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) level of B2, and a score of 7.0 is equivalent to a CEFR level of C1.

The TOEFL iBT® (Internet-based test), delivered via the Internet, measures your ability to use and understand English at university level. It also evaluates how well you combine your reading, listening, speaking and writing skills to perform academic tasks.

As part of this test, you'll be asked for your institution choice to be a score recipient. Quote "3234" in this section to have your TOEFL score sent directly to us by the Educational Testing Service.

Generally, you need to have the following scores for different course levels:

Foundation courses

If you're interested in a Foundation or pathway course you need a score of 72 with a minimum of:

  • 18 in Reading
  • 17 in Listening
  • 20 in Speaking
  • 12 in Writing

Remember, if you're joining us on a Foundation or pre-sessional English course, you must take an approved UK Visas & Immigration test as well. The TOEFL is not recognised by UKVI.

Undergraduate courses

For most of our Bachelor's degrees, you need a score of 79 with a minimum of:

  • 18 in Reading
  • 17 in Listening
  • 20 in Speaking
  • 17 in Writing

Some courses, especially those with a high level of discussion and writing, require higher scores. You can see course-specific details on the individual course pages.

Postgraduate courses

For most of our Master's degrees, you need a score of 91 with a minimum of:

  • 20 in Reading
  • 19 in Listening
  • 21 in Speaking
  • 20 in Writing

Some courses, especially those with a high level of discussion and writing, require higher scores. You can see course-specific details on the individual course pages.

The Pearson Test of English is another computer based test. It's based on real-life English skills you need to communicate effectively, using academically relevant tasks and measuring skills in an integrated way.

Please make sure you nominate University of Portsmouth to view your certificate online. This lets our admissions team verify your results.

Generally, you need to have the following scores for different course levels:

Foundation courses

If you are interested in a Foundation, or pathway, course you need at least 51 points, with a minimum of 51 in each component.

Remember, if you're joining us on a Foundation or pre-sessional English course, you must take an approved UK Visas & Immigration test as well. The PTE is not recognised by UKVI.

Undergraduate courses

For most of our Bachelor's degrees, you need at least 54 points, with a minimum of 51 in each component. Some courses, especially those with a high level of discussion and writing, require higher scores. You can see course-specific details on the individual course pages.

Postgraduate courses

For most of our Master's degrees, you need at least 61 points, with a minimum of 54 in each component. Some courses and PhDs require higher scores. You can see course-specific details on the individual course pages.

Trinity College London provides Secure English Language Tests (SELTs) in 10 locations across the UK. These tests are approved for applications to UKVI for visas, British Citizenship and Leave to Remain.

You need an Integrated Skills in English (ISE) Level III with a pass in all 4 components to take 1 of our undergraduate or postgraduate courses.

C1 Advanced, formerly known as Cambridge English: Advanced (CAE), is a Cambridge English Qualification. It's an in-depth, high-level qualification that shows you have the language skills that universities are looking for.

In 2015, the scoring system of this test was updated, so there are different requirements for scores depending on whether you took the test before or after 2015.

Generally, you need to have the following scores for different course levels:

Foundation courses

If you're interested in a Foundation, or pathway, course you need a score of 47 or above, with a minimum of Borderline in each skill on the pre-2015 test. If you took the test after 2015, you need an overall score of 162 with no component score less than 162.

Undergraduate courses

For most of our Bachelor's degrees, you need a score of 52 or above, with a minimum of Borderline in each skill on the pre-2015 test. If you took the test after 2015, you need an overall score of 169 with no component score less than 162.

Some courses, especially those with a high level of discussion and writing, require higher scores. You can see course-specific details on the individual course pages.

Postgraduate courses

For most of our Master's degrees, you need a score of 58 or above, with a minimum of Borderline in each skill on the pre-2015 test. If you took the test after 2015, you need an overall score of 176 with no component score less than 169.

Some courses and PhDs require higher scores. You can see course-specific details on the individual course pages.

Other accepted English language tests

If you're from one of the following countries where English is widely spoken, you don't need to have a specific grade in English, though you would still need to meet the entry requirements for your course. You can find these on your specific country page.

  • Antigua and Barbuda (nationals)
  • Australia (nationals)
  • Barbados (nationals)
  • Belize (nationals)
  • Canada (nationals – if taught in English)
  • Dominica (nationals)
  • Grenada (nationals)
  • Guyana (nationals)
  • Ireland (nationals)
  • Jamaica (nationals)
  • New Zealand (nationals)
  • St Kitts and Nevis (nationals)
  • St Lucia (nationals)
  • St Vincent and the Grenadines (nationals)
  • The Bahamas (nationals)
  • Trinidad and Tobago (nationals)
  • USA (nationals)

We also accept other standard English tests and qualifications, as long as they meet the minimum requirements of your course. You can find these listed below. The relevant qualifications are also mentioned on the individual country page.

Alternative English Language Qualification Required Level
A or AS Level Grade D or above in English
Botswana Secondary School Certificate Grade C or above in English
Brunei / Cambridge GCE O level Grade C or above in English
Cameroon General Certificate of Education Ordinary Level Grade C or above in English
Canada Secondary School Diploma (Ontario only, other territories will be considered) Grade 10 English above 60%
Czech Republic Vysvědčení o maturitní zkoušce (Secondary School Leaving Certificate) Grade 2 or above
ESOL Skills for Life (when all three components completed) Level 1
European Baccalaureate Where English is a compulsory subject or a full option with a score of 7.5
Finland Ylioppilastutkinto / Studentexamen (Matriculation Examination) Grade 4 or above in English
France Option Internationale du Baccalauréat Grade 12 or above in English
GCSE Grade C or above in English Language
German Zeugnis der Allgemeinen Hochschulreife / Abitur Grade 10 or above in English
Ghana Senior Secondary School Certificate Grade D or above if awarded 1993 – 2005
Hong Kong Diploma of Secondary Education (HKDSE) An overall score of 4 with a minimum of 3 in each component.
International Baccalaureate Diploma Standard or Higher Level English Language minimum grade 4
International Baccalaureate Middle Years Programme Minimum grade 4-7 in English Language
iGCSE First Language English syllabus 0500/ iGCSE First Language English syllabus 0522/ IGCSE English as a Second Language syllabus 0510/ iGCSE English as a Second Language syllabus 0511 Grade C or above in English.
India Higher Secondary Certificate (HSC) / Standard 12 75% or above in English
Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE) Grade C or above in English
Malaysia SPM (Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia) (Malaysia Certificate of Education) Grades 6C/6/C or above in English (Syllabus 1119 only)
Namibia Senior Secondary Certificate Ordinary Level/Higher Level Grade C or above in English/Grade 3 or above in English
NCUK Overall GRADE C required and GRADE C minimum in ALL components
Netherlands Voorbereidend Wetenschappelijk Onderwijs (VWO) (Gymnasium A/B and Atheneum A/B) diploma Grade 8 or above in English
Nigeria Senior School Certificate Examination (SSCE) Grade C6 or above in English
Norway Vitnemål fra den Videregående Skole (Leaving Certificate from Upper Secondary School) Grade 4 or above in English
Overseas course delivered in English (NCQF 5 or above) Evidence from the institution/provider that the course was fully taught in English for a minimum of 2 years
Portugal Diploma Nível Secundário de Educação / Certificado Nível Secundário de Educação Grade 14 or above in English
Romania Diplomă de Bacalaureat (Baccalaureate Diploma) A minimum grade of B2 in all elements of the English component of the Diplomă de Bacalaureat
If English taken as Diploma exam subject (Humanities stream only): A minimum grade of 6/10
Singapore / Cambridge GCE O level Grade C or above in English
Slovakia Vysvědčení o maturitní zkoušce/Maturita Grade 2 or above in English
South Africa National Senior Certificate Grade C or above in First Language English or Home Language
Sweden Slutbetyg från Grundskola (Compulsory Education Leaving Certificate) Grade Very 'Good' in English A/B
Tanzania Certificate of Secondary Education Grade C or above
TESA (Test of English for Studies Abroad) See published IELTS requirements on our course pages
Uganda Certificate of Education (UCE) Grade C or above or between 1-6
USA High School Graduation Diploma English Grade C or above (where English has been studied to Grade 12) 
West African Senior School Certificate (WAEC) Grade C6 or above in English
Zambia School Certificate / General Certificate of Education Grade C or above in English
Zimbabwe General Certificate of Education at Ordinary Level Grade C or above in English