Further guidance on English language requirements

To be accepted onto a degree course with us you must have a suitable English language qualification. 

For a full list of qualifications and information on requirements please visit our English language requirements page and chose your relevant qualification from the gallery.

On this page, you will find a complete list of notes and further clarifications across all qualifications for your guidance.

IELTS academic tests after 6 April 2015

The University of Plymouth continues to accept the IELTS (academic) test for study at and below degree level. 

To study a pre-sessional (English language) course applicants must take the IELTS academic test at a UKVI approved test centre and obtain the required scores to meet UKVI and the University of Plymouth requirements. 

To study on an undergraduate, postgraduate taught or postgraduate research degree programme, the University will accept IELTS academic tests taken at non-UKVI approved test centres. 

Applicants must obtain the required scores to meet UKVI and the University of Plymouth requirements. The University of Plymouth does not accept the IELTS Life Skills test for either pre-sessional or degree programmes.

It is the responsibility of applicants to ensure they are sitting the appropriate test at the correct type of test centre that will allow them to apply for the visa they require for study. 

We strongly recommend that applicants register to take the IELTS academic test at a UKVI approved test centre if there is the possibility they will need to study on a pre-sessional programme, as tests taken at a non-UKVI approved centre cannot be used for Tier 4 visa applications for pre-sessional courses.

General guidance

  • Test scores must be deemed valid and students with test results which are deemed too old to be valid (as per UKVI and University requirements) may be required to re-take a relevant test.

  • English language qualifications will always be verified with the awarding body wherever possible. If verification is not possible you may be asked to supply original documents or possibly an alternative English language qualification if we have concerns about the documentation provided.

  • Please note that your English language ability will be assessed from your most recent English language test or qualification, older tests will be disregarded even if they show a higher score.

  • The tables on the suite of English language requirement pages represent the current standard English language requirements for degree-level study at the University of Plymouth and the University of Plymouth International College (UPIC). They incorporate UKVI (Home Office) minimum English language scores and requirements where appropriate, and are accurate at the time of publication (December 2018) but may be subject to change at any time.

  • Other qualifications may be considered – please enquire upon application.

  • Some programmes have higher English language requirements; please note that the tables on the suite of English language requirement pages represent only standard requirements.

  • If you do not meet these requirements you may be able to join one of our pre-sessional courses – please see www.plymouth.ac.uk/elc for more information.

  • Applicants who hold a recent (awarded within three years of start date of programme) first degree (Bachelor’s degree or above) from the UK or a majority English language speaking country (as defined by UKVI at the time of application) will not usually be required to meet other English language requirements as listed above. Time spent studying in the UK where a degree was not awarded does not qualify for this exemption. Degrees awarded by UK institutions which were taught overseas also do not qualify for this exemption.

  • Nationals of countries that UKVI list as majority English language speaking will be exempt from meeting UKVI English language requirements, but will still be required to meet University requirements, as per the below statement. In some cases where there is no UKVI English language requirement, University or UPIC requirements may be waived at our discretion, or other evidence of English Language ability accepted.

  • Where there are no UKVI requirements, international students will still be expected to meet standard University requirements for English language or specific course requirements where higher levels of attainment are required. In some cases where there is no UKVI English language requirement, University or UPIC requirements may be waived at our discretion, or other evidence of English language ability accepted.

  • As per the UKVI Tier 4 Guidance for Sponsors document 2, students moving from Tier 4 (Child) to Tier 4 (General) are exempt from English language requirements. This is acceptable to the University also, where the student is moving from a programme of study in the UK under Tier 4 Child to study at the University under Tier 4 General, with no gaps in study. This is for entry onto programmes with standard English language requirements only. To meet University and UPIC requirements, applicants in this situation will be assessed on a case-by-case basis and an interview conducted by ELC staff may be required.


Qualification specific guidance

  • Australian English Language qualifications accepted by territory or state: We will accept any of the following results on the English Language component as meeting our minimum English Language requirements:

     Capital Territory: Grade C on the Australian Capital Territory Year 10 Certificate
    New South Wales: Grade C on the Year 10 Certificate
    Northern Territory: Grade C on the Junior Studies Certificate
     Queensland: VHA, HA or SA on the Year 10 Certificate
    South Australia: Pass on the South Australian Certificate of Education (SACE)
     Tasmania: Credit, Higher Pass or Pass on the School Certificate
     Victoria: Pass in Unit 3 or 4 on the Victorian Certificate of Education (VCE)
    Western Australia: Pass at level 1, 2 or 3 in Western Australian Certificate of Education (WACE).

    These qualifications are accepted as meeting University English language requirements, where the student is an Australian national and there are no UKVI requirements. Where the student is not an Australian national, IELTS may be required.

  • For all Cambridge English Examinations please supply your ID number and 'secret number' to our Admissions team when applying, to enable us to verify your qualification. Where the qualification has not been achieved but you have still achieved B2 level (confirmed on the certificate from Cambridge English) then this may still be acceptable, depending on the programme/level applied for. We would consider this on a case by case basis.
  • The Malaysia SPM results slip or certificate must specifically state '1119' has been awarded OR please supply your GCE O level certificate awarded by UCLES. SPM English that does not state '1119' is not acceptable, nor is the GCE O level if not awarded by UCLES.