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International students

English language requirements

Students from the United States who are native speakers of English will not be required to take a Secure English Language Test for entry to Essex, but will be required to achieve a certain mark in English in their high school qualification in order to meet our English language requirement which applies to all students.

If English is not your first language, we ask you to provide evidence of your ability to understand and express yourself in English for academic purposes ensuring that you fully benefit from your studies. There is support alongside your studies but we require a basic level before you arrive.

The most common tests for language proficiency are IELTS and TOEFL iBT. However we also accept some other English language test scores such as Pearson and Cambridge certificates and may accept your school qualification. If you have successfully completed university-level studies in the medium of English, you will not normally be asked for additional evidence of proficiency.

Following guidance from the Home Office, the University no longer accepts TOEFL iBT as an English language test, either for entry to study below degree level, or at degree-level and above, wherever a student will require a Tier 4 student visa. We will continue to accept TOEFL iBT for EU students and for any other students who will not require a Tier 4 student visa.

Minimum requirements for overseas students
Pathways IELTS
International Foundation Programme 5.0
Year Zero of Four-year degrees 5.5
International Year One in Business 5.5

See International Academy for more details as some courses require certain grades in specific components.

Undergraduate and postgraduate courses IELTS
Undergraduate year one 6.0
Undergraduate year two 6.5
Pre-Masters 5.5
Postgraduate 6–7

The score required will vary by subject; you can find out more by using our course finder.

If you have not taken an English language test yet or do not have a current valid test score, you can still apply for courses with us as we are able to make conditional offers which will be dependent on you meeting our language requirements.

In addition to our language requirements, if you need a Tier 4 visa, you must meet the Home Office’s minimum English language scores if you are using an English language test to meet our entry requirements. This page also has details of important changes to Home Office requirements, effective from April 2015.

For more information please contact our admissions office by email or by phone +44(0)1206 873666.

Improving your English language skills

Before you arrive

If you have not achieved the English language requirement for your degree but you do have a good score, you may be eligible to take a short pre-sessional English programme from between 5-25 weeks. This can help secure admission to the degree without the need to retake IELTS at the end of the course.

When you are here

We run a programme of in-sessional academic English classes to support you if English is an additional language. The programme is free of charge to all full-time students at Essex. Classes are run as non-credit or additional credit modules alongside your studies.