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English language requirements

Important Notice for Applicants
Updated September 2022

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 written and spoken English in order to benefit fully from their course of study or research.   Non-UK and non-Irish nationals will require a Student visa to study in the UK for periods of 6 months or more. For qualifications completed on or after this date, only Trinity ISE taken inside the UK and IELTS taken at UK government-approved test centres will be considered SELTs.  You can find more information about the changes on the UK Visas and Immigration webpages: Applying for a UK visa: approved English language tests

Universities have discretion to choose the methods by which they assess the English language competence of students.   Queen's University will accept the IELTS Academic (both SELT and non-SELT), and TOEFL internet-based tests for direct admission to undergraduate and postgraduate degree programmes. 

Due to the closure of English language testing centres as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, we increased the number of English language tests we accepted in 2021 and 2022, including some alternative online tests which are listed in the tables below.  These additional tests will continue to be acceptable for admission in the 2023-24 academic year.  Please note that the University will not accept the Duolingo English Test for admission in the 2023-24 academic year.  

Details of the tests which may be accepted by the University for direct admission to degree programmes are listed in the tables below. 

Students applying for English Language preparation courses or pathway programmes offered by INTO Queen's are advised to contact INTO Queen's directly for information about English language requirements at into@qub.ac.uk. Further information from UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) regarding acceptable English language tests for visa purposes (for admission to programmes below degree level) and a list of test centres can be found at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-on-applying-for-uk-visa-approved-english-language-tests

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

Please note that for undergraduate admission, all applicants (home or international) must satisfy the General Entrance Requirement, including GCSE English Language with a minimum grade of C/4, or alternative qualification acceptable to the University.

Applicants who are either nationals of a country which is deemed by the UKVI 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 UKVI requirements.  However, in some circumstances, applicants may be required to submit evidence of an English Language qualification to satisfy University course entry/general entrance requirements.  

The tables below list 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 (both taught and research).

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

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

Degrees must have been completed no more than five years prior to the expected date of admission.

UK ECCTIS English Language Proficiency Statement

If your degree is from a non-majority English speaking country, UKVI guidance indicates that you can submit a document from UK ECCTIS (formerly UK NARIC) confirming that you hold a degree or degree level qualification which meets, or exceeds, the recognised standard of a UK bachelor’s degree; master’s degree or doctorate and was taught or researched in English.  This document, together with a Medium of Instruction letter from your University confirming you were taught and assessed entirely in English, will meet the English language requirements for both entry to your degree at Queen's and the UKVI Student Route visa.  Please see the UK ECCTIS website for more information on how to apply. 

You can use your degree to meet the English language requirement if:

  1. It was taught and assessed through the medium of English; and
  2. It is recognised as being the same level as a UK Bachelor’s degree or above, by UK ECCTIS
  3. The level of English for the degree course is recognised by ECCTIS to meet the requirements of CEFR Level B2 or higher
  4. The degree must have been completed no more than five years prior to the expected date of admission

Deferred Offers - English Language Requirement

Applicants holding deferred offers must ensure that they have an English Language qualification acceptable to the University which is still valid for CAS/visa purposes for the new date of admission, and meets the course requirements for the new year of entry.  It is the responsibility of the applicant to check that their English language qualification is acceptable for the new date of admission.  IELTS and TOEFL ibt English tests must have been taken no more than two years prior to the expected start date of the course.  Please note that the Duolingo English Test is not accepted for CAS purposes for 2023 entry, and if you hold a Duolingo English Test you should make arrangements to take an alternative acceptable test. 

If your IELTS or TOEFL test will be more than two years old by the new course start date in 2023, you should make arrangements to complete a new English Language test as soon as possible, to avoid delays in CAS issue.  The new test must satisfy the course entry requirements. You should forward the result of your new test as soon as possible to Admissions at intl.admissions@qub.ac.uk 

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Accepted English Language Qualifications

Qualifications Linguistically less demanding courses Most Courses Linguistically more demanding courses Validity period (must have been taken within number of years shown)
IELTS Academic (UKVI Approved)* 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 2 years
IELTS Academic (Other Centres)
or IELTS Indicator* (online test)
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 2 years
TOEFL iBT* (Internet based test or iBT Special Home Edition)
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
2 years

* For the 2021-22/2022-23 academic years, the University accepted TOEFL MyBest scores, or a combination of two IELTS tests taken within two years prior to the start of the course.  One of the IELTS tests must have met the overall score required.  A combination of tests is not accepted for 2023-24 entry.

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 Academic or 
IELTS Indicator
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 or iBT Special Home Edition) 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

 

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Other Acceptable Qualifications which test all four components of language learning

 Qualifications
Comparable to IELTS 6.0 (with 5.5 in each test component) Comparable to IELTS 6.5 (with 5.5 in each test component) Comparable to IELTS 7.0 (with 5.5 in each test component) Validity period (must have been taken within number of years shown)
CPE
Cambridge Proficiency
169 overall with not less than 162 in each element of the test  176 overall with not less than 162 in each element of the test  185 overall with not less than 162 in each element of the test  7 years
CAE
Cambridge Advanced
169 overall with not less than 162 in each element of the test 

176 overall with not less than 162 in each element of the test

185 overall with not less than 162 in each element of the test
7 years

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 7 years

IGCSE in English (as a first language) Syllabus 0522

Grade C (speaking and listening included in final grade) Grade C (speaking and listening included in final grade) Grade C (speaking and listening included in final grade) 7 years
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 7 years
IGCSE in English (as a second language) Syllabus 0510 with separate Oral Endorsement
Grade B or above, with Grade 2 in Oral/Aural test Grade B or above, with Grade 2 in Oral/Aural test Grade B or above, with Grade 2 in Oral/Aural test 7 years
IGCSE in English (as a second language) Syllabus 0511 with
Count-in Oral/Aural

Grade B  Grade B Grade B 7 years
Password English Language Test* (Invigilated by Queen's Staff or ProctorU) Overall Score of 6.0 (No less than 5.5 in each test component) Overall Score of 6.5 (No less than 5.5 in each test component) Overall Score of 7.0 (No less than 5.5 in each test component) 2 years
DuoLingo English Test (DET)
(acceptable for 2022-23 academic year only, not accepted for 2023-24)
105-115 (with a minimum of 100 in each language subskill, if these are reported) 120-125 (with a minimum of 100 in each language subskill, if these are reported) 130-135 (with a minimum of 100 in each language subskill, if these are reported) 2 years

* The Password English Language Test is currently not being offered.

 

Qualifications Comparable to IELTS 6.0 (with 5.5 in each test component) Comparable to IELTS 6.5 (with 5.5 in each test component) Comparable to IELTS 7.0 (with 5.5 in each test component) Validity period (must have been taken within number of years shown)
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 2 years
Trinity ISE III Integrated Skills in English Examinations (with at least a Pass in all test components)  Pass  Pass  Pass 2 years
Trinity ISE IV Integrated Skills in English  Examinations (with at least a Pass in all test components)  Pass  Pass  Pass 2 years
International Baccalaureate Diploma English A Syllabus

Standard level 4
Higher level 4

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

Standard level 5
Higher level 4

Standard level 5
Higher level 4

Standard level 5
Higher level 4

5 years

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 7 years
HKCEE (syllabus B, prior to 2007) Hong Kong Certificate of Education in English Language  Grade C  Grade C  Grade B 7 years
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 5 years
Hong Kong Use of English Exam  Grade B  Grade B  Grade B 5 years
India Standard XII (CBSE/CICSE/Karnataka/Maharashtra/
Tamil Nadu/West Bengal boards)
An official Digilocker verification document will be required
 70%  70%  75% + 5 years
INTO Queen’s Academic English Test Overall 58 % to 62% with a minimum of 53% in each test component Overall 63% to 67% with minimum of 53 % in each test component Overall 68 % to 72% with a minimum of 53% in each test component 2 years
INTO English Language Assessment (IELA) Writing: B2
Speaking: B2
Listening: 65-69
Reading: 65-69
Writing: B2+
Speaking: B2+
Listening: 70-74
Reading: 70-74
Writing: C1
Speaking: C1
Listening: 75-82
Reading: 75-82
2 years
INTO Queen’s Pre-sessional English 50% with minimum of 40 % in each test component 60% with minimum of 40 % in each test component   Must precede start of degree course
LanguageCert International ESOL 
The qualification should have been achieved no more than 2 years from the start date of your course. The qualification must include all four language skills: Listening, Reading, Writing and Speaking. 
B2 Communicator - High Pass overall with Pass in each component B2 Communicator - High Pass overall with Pass in each component C1 Expert - Pass overall with a Pass in each component 2 years

 

Qualification

Comparable to IELTS 6.0 (with 5.5 in each test component) Comparable to IELTS 6.5 (with 5.5 in each test component) Comparable to IELTS 7.0 (with 5.5 in each test component) Validity period (must have been taken within number of years shown)

University of Cambridge International Examinations GCE O Level English Language
Syllabus: 1119 (Malaysia), 1127/1128 (Singapore), 1120 (Brunei), 1125 (Mauritius), 1123 (various countries)

Grade C Grade C Grade C 7 years
MELAB Michigan Test of English Language Proficiency (acceptable only if Speaking test is included with result of at least 3)  80  85  90 2 years
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) 2 years
WAEC West African Examinations Council Senior School Certificate (English Language)  C6  C6  C6 7 years

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English Language Qualifications from EU Countries

The University will accept the following high school/school leaving qualifications from certain European countries to satisfy the English Language course entry requirements (comparable to UK GCSE standard Grade C/4 or above).  Unless otherwise indicated, the qualification must have been completed no more than 5 years prior to the start of the degree programme.

Country

Qualification

Required Grade

Austria

Reifeprüfung / Matura

2 (gut) when both written and oral exams have been taken 

Denmark

Stundentereksamen

Grade 7 in English A or English B

France

Baccalauréat l'Option Internationale – English

 

Baccalauréat Géneral

Grade 13 or above

 

Grade 14 or above

Germany   

Abitur - English (or 2/6 in English Language as a Leistungkurs)

Grade 10 or above

Ireland

Irish Leaving Certificate

English O4/H4

Malta

IGCSE or Secondary Education Certificate

Secondary Education Certificate Examinations (SEC)

Grade C in IGCSE (taken within the past 7 years) or 4 in SEC (where 1 is high) 

Netherlands   

Voorbereidend Wetenschappelijk Onderwijs

Grade 8 or above

Norway

Vitnemål fra den videregående skole

Grade 4 or above

Sweden

Slutbetyg/Examensbevis från

Gymnasieskolan (Upper secondary school leaving certificate) - English

Grade VG or Grade C, or above

 

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. The University will accept IELTS and TOEFL tests which have been taken up to two years prior to the start of the course.  IELTS General Training tests are not acceptable.

3. For admission in the academic year 2022-23, where an applicant has taken two IELTS or two TOEFL tests within a two-year period, and through a combination of these tests has met the English language requirements, the University accepted the combined scores. A combination of tests is not accepted for entry in 2023-24.

4. The University reserves the right to amend the specific scores required overall in a test (or in test components), if comparability guidance from the test provider changes.

5. 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.

6. The TOEFL Paper Based Test (PBT) is not accepted.