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English language requirements

All overseas applicants whose first language is not English must have a standard level of English that will enable them to benefit fully from their course of study.

How do I prove my level of English?

You need to provide the results of any English language exams/tests that you have taken. We also accept a variety of alternative types of evidence of English language competence (see below).

The English language qualifications accepted by the University for entry and the required scores are listed below (please note that we have stated the minimum admission requirements; for some courses the admissions tutors may ask for higher grades).

Students who have studied or worked through the medium of English may not be required to sit a formal test, if they can provide evidence, by way of a reference letter which confirms their language ability.

Note: English tests or examinations must have been taken no more than two years before the proposed date of entry to the University. Where the English tests or equivalent qualifications were taken more than two years before the proposed date of entry, an applicant must be able to demonstrate that they have maintained or improved their English language competence and may be required to provide an up-to-date test result.

How can I improve my level of English?

If you would like to improve your English before starting your course, or are required as a condition of your offer to attend a pre-sessional English course, you can find out more information on our English Language Programmes pages.

Recognised English language qualifications

Below are the recognised English language qualifications required for standard Undergraduate and Postgraduate courses.

Cardiff University will accept IELTS (Academic) tests from any IELTS test centre (IELTS Life Skills test is not accepted), Pearson Test of English (PTE Academic), TOEFL iBT language test and Trinity (ISE III) language tests undertaken in the UK.

IELTS or IELTS for UK Visas and Immigration?

IELTS for UK Visas Immigration (offered by the IELTS SELT Consortium) is not required for Undergraduate or Postgraduate courses. Cardiff University will accept all IELTS (Academic) tests from any IELTS test centre.

For International Foundation, Pre-sessional English and English for University Study courses an IELTS for UK Visas and Immigration test must be taken.

We also accept the following tests for entry to Undergraduate and Postgraduate courses:

Qualification Minimum Score
GCSE/GCE 'O' level English language C
IELTS (Academic Test) 6.5
(with at least 5.5 in each sub-score)
TOEFL (iBT) 90
IGCSE level English language C
Cambridge Proficiency (CPE) C (185 from January 2015)
Cambridge Advanced (CAE) C (176 from January 2015)
Pearson Test of English – Academic (PTE – A) 62
Trinity ISE III Pass in all 4 components
International Baccalaureate Diploma
(English language at HL or SL)
Grade 5

Note: IGCSE English can be accepted as if syllabus 0552 or 0511 have been studied. Syllabus 0500 or 0510 may also be accepted, please contact the International Office for more information.

IELTS and Pearson score comparison table:

IELTS (Academic) TOEFL iBT Pearson Test of English (PTE A)
7.5 109 78
7.0 100 70
6.5 90 62
6.0 78 54
5.5 68 51
5.0 61 40
4.5 53 38
4.0 45 36

Note: In some cases students may be made offers to attend a pre-sessional English course instead of, or in addition to, an English Language qualification.

  • English language policy setting out the minimum standards of English language competence required for study.



2013 International brochure

Download or request our prospectus for International students.

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