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English Language Requirements

Important Notice for Applicants - TOEFL

You may be aware that the UK Home Office has confirmed that ETS (the provider of the TOEFL test) has decided not to extend its Secure English Language Test (SELT) licence.

Universities have discretion to choose the methods by which they assess the English language competence of students.  The UK Home Office has recently confirmed that Higher Education Institutions can continue, at their discretion, to accept TOEFL tests to assess the English language proficiency of students at degree level or above.  Therefore, for students enrolling on degree programmes at Queen’s, we will continue to accept TOEFL tests as evidence of English language proficiency.  Please see the information below under the heading ‘Accepted English Language Qualifications’.  Test results should be less than two years old.

Students coming to the UK for study below degree level (including pre-sessional programmes), where their current English language level is below CEFR B2, will be able to use a TOEFL certificate until the immigration rule changes have been made (and any transitional arrangements have expired).  Visa applications must be submitted before the transitional provisions come to an end.  This applies even where student has taken a TOEFL test after 17 April 2014 (the date when the ETS licence was confirmed to have expired). 

If you have any queries regarding your admission, please contact the International Admissions team at intl.student@qub.ac.uk

International students wishing to apply to Queen’s University Belfast (and for whom English is not their first language), must be able to demonstrate their competence in English in order to benefit fully from their course of study or research.  Non-EEA nationals must also satisfy the UK Border Agency (UKBA) immigration requirements for English language before the University can issue a Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) for visa purposes. 

Applicants who are either nationals of a country which is deemed by the UKBA to be majority-English-speaking*, or who hold a degree or an equivalent qualification which was taught in a country deemed to be majority-English-speaking** will normally be assumed to have met the UKBA requirements.  However, in some circumstances, applicants may be required to submit evidence of an English Language qualification to satisfy University course entry requirements.

EU nationals will not be required to submit evidence of English language for visa purposes, but may be asked for evidence of English competency to satisfy University course entry requirements.  The table below lists the English Language qualifications and minimum grades which are accepted by the University for entry to degree level study, and which are also considered to satisfy a minimum standard of CEFR Level B2 in each component of language learning (Listening, Reading, Speaking and Writing). 

Please consult the University Coursefinder for details of the English Language requirements for entry to individual undergraduate and postgraduate degree programmes.

* You are from a majority English-speaking country if you are a national of:

Antigua and Barbuda, Australia, The Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Canada, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, New Zealand, St Kitts and Nevis, St Lucia, St Vincent and the Grenadines, Trinidad and Tobago, United States of America

** If you have completed an academic qualification equivalent to a UK Bachelor's degree which was taught in one of the majority English-speaking countries listed below, you are normally exempt from additional English language requirements:

Antigua and Barbuda, Australia, The Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Ireland, Jamaica, New Zealand, St Kitts and Nevis, St Lucia, St Vincent and the Grenadines, Trinidad and Tobago, The United Kingdom, United States of America

 

Accepted English Language Qualifications

Qualifications Linguistically less demanding courses Most Courses Linguistically more demanding courses
IELTS International English Language Testing System - Academic 6.0 with minimum of 5.5 in all four elements of the test 6.5 minimum of 5.5 in all four elements of the test 7.0 with minimum of 5.5 in all four elements of the test
TOEFL iBT (Internet based test)
80 with minimum marks as follows:
Listening- 17
Reading - 18
Speaking - 20
Writing - 17
 
90 with minimum marks as follows: 
Listening - 17
Reading - 18
Speaking - 20
Writing - 17

95 with minimum marks as follows:
Listening - 17
Reading - 18
Speaking - 20
Writing - 17


Please note that some degree programmes may require higher scores in the individual sub-skill components of IELTS and TOEFL tests.  Please check the Coursefinder for specific programme requirements.  The following table may be used as a guide.

IELTS International English Language Testing System - Academic 7.0 with minimum of 6.0 in all four elements of the test 7.5 with a minimum of 6.5 in all four elements of the test 7.5 with a minimum of 7.0 in Speaking and Listening and 6.5 in Reading and Writing 6.5 with a minimum of 6.0 of all four elements of the test 6.5 overall with 6.0 in Speaking and Listening, and 5.5 in Reading and Writing
TOEFL iBT (Internet based test) 95 with minimum marks as follows:
Listening - 20
Reading - 19
Speaking - 21
Writing - 20
105 with minimum marks as follows:
Listening - 23
Reading - 21
Speaking - 22
Writing - 23

105 with minimum marks as follows:
Listening - 24
Reading - 21
Speaking - 23
Writing - 23

90 with minimum marks as follows:
Listening - 20
Reading - 19
Speaking - 21
Writing - 20
90 with minimum marks as follows:
Listening - 20
Reading - 18
Speaking - 21
Writing - 17


 


Other English Language qualifications may be accepted by the University in lieu of IELTS or TOEFL ibt.

Other UKBA Approved Tests

 Qualification

Comparable to IELTS 6.0

Comparable to IELTS 6.5

Comparable to IELTS 7.0

CPE
Cambridge Proficiency
 Grade C  Grade C  Grade C
CAE
Cambridge Advanced
Minimum of 60% (Grade C) overall and 50% or higher in test elements  Minimum of 60% (Grade C) overall and 50% or higher in test elements Minimum of 75% (Grade B) overall and 50% or higher in test elements

City & Guilds International ESOL (IESOL) Diploma

Pass at Level C1 or C2 in Listening, Reading and Writing report, and Pass in separate Speaking report Pass at Level C1 or C2 in Listening, Reading and Writing report, and Pass in separate Speaking report Pass at Level C1 or C2 in Listening, Reading and Writing report, and Pass in separate Speaking report
IGCSE in English (as a first language) Syllabus 0522* Grade C or higher in all components Grade C or higher in all components Grade C or higher in all components
IGCSE in English (as a first language) Syllabus 0500* Grade C in all components with Grade 2 in Speaking and Listening components Grade C in all components with Grade 2 in Speaking and Listening components Grade C in all components with Grade 2 in Speaking and Listening components
IGCSE in English (as a second language) Syllabus 0510 with separate Oral Endorsement* Grade B in Reading and Writing, Grade A in Listening, and Oral Endorsement Grade 2 Grade B in Reading and Writing, Grade A in Listening, and Oral Endorsement Grade 2 Grade B in Reading and Writing, Grade A in Listening, and Oral Endorsement Grade 2
IGCSE in English (as a second language) Syllabus 0511 with
Count-in Oral*
Grade B in Reading and Writing, Grade A in Listening, and Grade C in Oral test Grade B in Reading and Writing, Grade A in Listening, and Grade C in Oral test Grade B in Reading and Writing, Grade A in Listening, and Grade C in Oral test
Pearson Test of English (PTE) Academic 55 overall with minimum of 51 in each component 62 overall with minimum of 51 in each component 67 overall  with minimum of 51 in each component
Trinity ISE III Integrated Skills in English Examinations (with at least a Pass in all test components)  Pass  Pass  Pass
Trinity ISE IV Integrated Skills in English  Examinations (with at least a Pass in all test components)  Pass  Pass  Pass

* Applicants holding IGCSE will need to request the Supplementary Certifying Statement from Cambridge International Examinations - details can be found on their website
   

Other Acceptable Qualifications which test all four components of language learning

 Qualification

Comparable to IELTS 6.0

Comparable to IELTS 6.5

Comparable to IELTS 7.0

International Baccalaureate Diploma English A Syllabus

Standard level 4
Higher level 4

Standard level 4
Higher level 4
Standard level 4
Higher level 4
International Baccalaureate Diploma English B Syllabus

Standard level 5
Higher level 4

Standard level 5
Higher level 4

Standard level 5
Higher level 4

HKCEE Hong Kong Certificate of Education Examination in English Language A minimum of Grade 3 in all test elements A minimum of Grade 3 in all test elements  A minimum of Grade 4 overall with not less than 3 in any test element
HKCEE (syllabus B, prior to 2007) Hong Kong Certificate of Education in English Language  Grade C  Grade C  Grade B
Hong Kong Diploma of Secondary Education (Core Subject English Language) Grade 4 overall with not less than 3 in any component Grade 4 overall with not less than 3 in any component Grade 5 overall with not less than 3 in any component
Hong Kong Use of English Exam  Grade B  Grade B  Grade B
Indian CBSE/ICSE English Language Standard XII  75%  75%  75% +
INTO English for University Studies Test 60% with minimum of 55 % in each test component 65% with a minimum of 55% in each test component 70% with a minimum of 55% in each test component

University of Cambridge International Examinations GCE O Level English Language
Syllabus: 1119 (Malaysia), 1127/1128 (Singapore), 1125 (Mauritius)

Grade C Grade C Grade C

University of Cambridge International Examinations GCE O Level English Language
Syllabus: 1120 (Brunei)

Grade C or higher with Pass in Oral test Grade C or higher with Pass in Oral test  Grade C or higher with Pass in Oral test
University of Cambridge International Examinations GCE O Level English Language
Syllabus: 1123 (All other countries)
Grade B Grade B Grade B
MELAB Michigan Test of English Language Proficiency (acceptable only if Speaking test is included with result of at least 3)  80  85  90
NCUK International Foundation Year: English Academic Purposes Module Grade C (with minimum Grade D in each component) Grade B (with minimum Grade D in each component) Grade A (with minimum Grade D in each component)
WAEC West African Examinations Council Senior School Certificate (English Language)  C6  C6  C6

Notes:

1. These are the minimum standards acceptable and demand for places may mean that applicants will require higher grades in order to be competitive.

2. For admission to undergraduate Medicine and Dentistry, a higher standard is normally required ie. IELTS 7.5 overall with 7.0 in Speaking and Listening, and minimum scores of either 6.5 (for Medicine) or 6.0 (for Dentistry) in both Reading and Writing; or TOEFL Internet-Based Test of 105 overall with minimum scores of Listening - 24, Reading - 21, Speaking - 23, Writing - 23; or GCE O Level Syllabus 1119 Grade A2.

3. Certain tests (eg. IELTS and TOEFL) have a two year time limit in their validity and these will be applied.

4. Please note that Secure English Language Test (SELT) scores must be achieved from one sitting of the relevant qualification (eg. IELTS). We will not accept a combination of individual component scores from multiple tests.

5. The TOEFL Paper Based Test (PBT) is no longer accepted.

INTO Queen's English Language Programmes

INTO Queen's University Belfast offers a range of English Language courses, which may assist students to meet the required standard of English language to be eligible for entry to degree programmes at the University. Find out more about INTO Queen's courses  

Other tests/qualifications may be accepted as equivalent to the qualifications listed above. If you have a query about the acceptability of an English Language qualification, please contact the Admissions and Access Service at intl.student@qub.ac.uk