English language requirements

If you want to study at the University of Sheffield, you must be able show that your English is good enough for you to successfully complete your course.

If you have successfully completed a first degree or postgraduate diploma taught in English in a majority native English speaking country, you will not normally need to provide other evidence of English language ability. Otherwise, in most cases you will need to complete an acceptable English language qualification.

For UK students we normally ask for a minimum of a grade C in GCSE English Language. We also accept a range of alternative UK qualifications.

International students

For EU and International students, we accept qualifications from several countries, as well as a range of international qualifications and tests.

If you are intending to include in your application a qualification considered by the UK government to be a Secure English Language Test (SELT), this should have been completed no more than two years before of the start date of your Sheffield course. SELT qualifications include IELTS and Pearson. If you are presenting a non-SELT qualification which was completed more than five years before the start date of your Sheffield course, we may ask you to provide evidence of ongoing use of English.

If you are taking a pre-sessional course at another institution, we will normally still ask you to demonstrate your English language proficiency by completing one of the qualifications listed below.

Acceptable English language qualifications

Details of all the English language qualifications, and minimum scores, that we accept for postgraduate study are provided below. If your qualification is not included, or if you require further information, please contact the Admissions Service. For details of English language teaching at the University of Sheffield, please visit the English Language Teaching Centre website.

Acceptable qualifications with variable requirements

These are the qualifications most commonly presented by applicants. The minimum levels of achievement for postgraduate study are detailed below. However, different courses require different levels of achievement in these qualifications.

Qualification Level
International English Language Testing Service (IELTS). Please note that we only accept the Academic Version of the IELTS test. Average of 6.5 or above with at least 5.5 in each component
Pearson Test of English Academic (PTE Academic) 61 or above, with at least 51 in each component
University of Sheffield English Proficiency Test (USEPT) (graded as a percentage equivalent to IELTS point score, eg 65% = IELTS 6.5) Average of 65% or above with at least 55% in each component

Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) internet-based test (IBT)

We do not normally accept TOEFL from non-EU citizens, but we will consider it where applicants are unable to complete an alternative qualification. Please contact the Admissions Service for more information.

88 or above, with at least 17 in Listening, 17 in Writing, 18 in Reading and 20 in Speaking

You can find the IELTS requirements for individual courses on the following webpages:

The Pearson, USEPT and TOEFL equivalent of IELTS requirements are set out in the second table on our ELTC's Comparison of English language test scores webpage.

Other acceptable qualifications

We also accept a range of other qualifications. The levels of achievement we normally require are detailed below. Please note that a few courses do not accept certain qualifications, or ask for higher levels of achievement. Where this is the case, it will be made clear on departmental webpages.

Other international tests of English

Qualification Level
International Baccalaureate (IB) Standard or Higher Level English Language/English Language and Literature Grade 4 or above
European Baccalaureate (EB) English 6.5 or above
Cambridge Certificate in Advanced English (CAE) 60%/Grade C or above
Cambridge Certificate of Proficiency in English (CPE) Grade C or above
London Examinations Certificate of Attainment Level 4 or above
NCUK International Foundation Year: English for Academic Purposes Module Grade C or above
Oxford Higher Level Certificate Pass or above
Trinity Integrated Skills in English (ISE) IV Pass or above

UK qualifications

Qualification Level
GCSE English Language Grade C or above
A Level or AS Level in an essay-based subject taught in English Grade C or above
AQA Level 2 Certificate (IGCSE) in English Language Grade C or above
CIE IGCSE English as a First Language (Syllabus 0500) Grade C or above, with at least Grade 2 in Listening and Speaking components
CIE IGCSE English as a First Language (Syllabus 0522) Grade C or above
CIE IGCSE English as a Second Language (Syllabus 0510) Grade B or above, with at least Grade 2 in Speaking component
CIE IGCSE English as a Second Language (Syllabus 0511) Grade B or above
Edexcel IGCSE English Language A Grade C or above from 70% exam/30% coursework option (including Speaking and Listening components)
Edexcel IGCSE English as a Second Language Grade B or above, with at least Grade B in Speaking component
Scottish Certificate of Education, Standard Grade English Grade 2 or above
Scottish Higher, Standard Grade English Grade C or above
Scottish Higher, English for Speakers of Other Languages (Syllabus C222) Grade B or above
Irish Leaving Certificate English Grade C or above

EU qualifications

Qualification Level
French Baccalauréat l'Option Internationale, English Grade 11 or above
German Abitur, English Grade 11 or above
Netherlands VWO, English Grade 7 or above
Norwegian Vitnemål, English Grade 4 or above
Swedish Fullstandigt fran Gymnasieskolan, English Grade B or above

International qualifications

Qualification Level

Cambridge International Examinations (CIE) GCE O Level, English (eg Brunei O Level, Singapore O Level)

Please note that we only accept the Malaysian O Level alongside the required score in the 1119

Grade C or above
Botswana BGCSE, English  Grade C or above
Cameroon GCE O Level, English Grade C or above
West Indies Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate, English Grade I or II
Hong Kong A Level Use of English Grade C or above
Indian Standard XII, English Language 70% or above
Kenyan Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE), English Grade B or above
Malaysian 1119 syllabus (UCLES) Grade A
Singapore Integrated Programme (IP) Students should go on to complete A Level or IB qualifications
National Examinations Council of Tanzania – Certificate of Secondary Education Examination, English Grade C or above
Uganda Certificate of Education (UCE), English Grade 6 or above
West African Examinations Council School Certificate (WAEC SSCE), English Grade 6/C or above (please note that in the West African Examinations Council School Certificate a lower grade indicates higher achievement – ie 5 is better than 6)
Zambian Secondary School Certificate, English Grade 6/C or above

Qualifications not accepted

We are unable to accept some qualifications as meeting the English language entry requirements. Qualifications we are unable to accept include the following:

  • Anglia Examinations in English
  • Cambridge First Certificate in English (FCE)
  • Cambridge Preliminary English Test (PET)
  • Key English Test (KET)
  • London Chamber of Commerce: English for Business
  • Malaysian Certificate of Educational English Language
  • Michigan Test of English Language Proficiency
  • Oxford International Business English Certificate
  • Pitman English for Business Communications
  • Test of English for International Communication (TOEIC)