Skip to main content

English language ability for Student visa holders

Applicants who need a Student visa have a specific set of requirements, to comply with Home Office regulations.

Your English language ability will be sufficient if you meet one of the following criteria:

  • You are a national of a majority English-speaking country (see list below).
  • You have completed a qualification at a level comparable to RQF 6 that was awarded and taught in a majority English-speaking country (see list below), completed within three years of admission to the College.
  • You have been awarded one of the following International School Qualifications:
    • GermanyArbitur - Advanced English
      • Standard requirement: 9
      • Advanced requirement: 12
    • Hong KongHong Kong Diploma of Secondary Education (HKDSE) - English Language subject
      • Standard requirement: 4
      • Higher requirement: 5*
    • PolandSwiadectwo Dojrzalosci (Certificate of Maturity/Matura) - Advanced English
      • Standard requirement: 70%
      • Advanced requirement: 75%
    • Sweden: Avgangsbetyg/Slutbetgy fran Gymnasieskola - English 5
      • Standard requirement/advanced requirement: A
    • Malaysia: The Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia - SPM English
      • Standard requirement: A
      • Advanced requirement: A
  • You have already proved your level of English in a previous UK visa application. This must be at the CEFR B2 level.
  • You have completed one of the following English language tests. Please see our main English language page for details of the test scores required:
    • AS or A Level in English Language or Literature (including Cambridge International A Levels)
      • Standard and higher requirement: C 
    • Cambridge Certificate of Advanced English 
      • Standard requirement: 176 with 169 in each sub-test 
      • Higher requirement: 185 with 176 in each sub-test 
    • Cambridge Certificate of Proficiency in English 
      • Standard requirement: 176 with 169 in each sub-test 
      • Higher requirement: 185 with 176 in each sub-test 
    • Cambridge IGCSE:  First Language English (Syllabus 0500 or 0522) 
      • Standard and higher requirement: C 
      • Syllabus 0500 must demonstrate a minimum grade 2 in listening and speaking
    • Cambridge IGCSE:  Second Language English (Syllabus 0510 or 0511) 
      • Standard and higher requirement: C 
      • Syllabus 0510 must demonstrate a minimum grade 2 in listening and speaking.   
    • GCSE in English Language or Literature (where studied at a School in the UK when under 18) 
      • Standard and higher requirement: C 
    • IELTS Academic and IELTS Indicator  
      • Standard requirement: 6.5 overall with minimum of 6.0 in sub-tests. 
      • Higher requirement: 7.0 overall with minimum of 6.5 in sub-tests. 
    • International Baccalaureate English A: Literature or Literature and Language 
      • Standard requirement: Standard or higher level 4 
      • Higher requirement: Standard or higher level 5 
    • International Baccalaureate: English B 
      • Standard requirement: Standard level 5, higher level 4 
      • Higher requirement: Standard level 6, higher level 5 
    • INTO Test of English: IELA 
      • Standard requirement: 176 overall with 169 in sub-tests / 65% overall with 60% in sub-tests 
      • Higher requirement: 185 overall with 169 in sub-tests / 70% overall with 65% in sub-tests 
    • OnCampus Test of English: OCTOE 
      • Standard requirement: 65% overall with 60% in sub-tests 
      • Higher requirement: 70% overall with 65% in sub-tests 
    • Pearson's Test of English (Academic) 
      • Standard requirement: 62 with 60 in each sub-test
      • Higher requirement: 68 with 62 in each sub-test and 67 in writing 
    • PSI:  Skills for English (only valid when taken outside of the UK) 
      • Standard entry (equivalent to IELTS 6.5): B2 Pass with Merit  
      • Higher entry (equivalent to IELTS 7.0): C1 Pass 
    • TOEFL: IBT and TOEFL Special Home Edition 
      • Standard requirement: 79 (reading: 18, writing: 23, listening: 19, speaking: 19) 
      • Higher requirement: 94 (reading: 19, writing: 24, listening: 20, speaking: 20)
    • Trinity College London: Integrated Skills in English
      • Standard requirement: ISE II 
      • Higher requirement: ISE III 
  • Your IELTS, IELA, OCTOE, Pearson's, TOEFL or Trinity result must have been awarded no more than two years before your proposed course start date.
  • If you don't meet the minimum IELTS (or equivalent) requirement, we offer online pre-sessional English courses and foundation programmes to help you improve your English language skills and get your place at Birkbeck.

MAJORITY ENGLISH-SPEAKING COUNTRIES

  • Antigua and Barbuda
  • Australia
  • The Bahamas
  • Barbados
  • Belize
  • Canada (non-Canadian nationals with a degree from Canada will be required to take an English language test)
  • Dominica
  • Grenada
  • Guyana
  • Ireland
  • Malta
  • Jamaica
  • New Zealand
  • Republic of Ireland
  • St Kitts and Nevis  
  • St Lucia
  • St Vincent and the Grenadines
  • Trinidad and Tobago
  • United Kingdom
  • United States of America