English language requirements for postgraduates

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For 2021 entry, we are currently accepting:

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

This webpage lists the English language tests and other qualifications we accept. We also accept some first degrees taught in English. We consider these qualifications alongside other evidence of English language ability included in your application, for example in the supporting statement. We will base our decision on the English language qualification you completed most recently.

If your qualification is not included in the lists below, or if you need further information, please contact the Admissions Service.

If you need help to improve your English, our English Language Teaching Centre offers a range of pre-sessional courses. Visit their website to find out more.


Degrees taught in English

If you have recently been awarded 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.

If your degree or diploma was completed more than five years before the start date of your Sheffield course, we will normally ask you to provide evidence of ongoing use of English, or to complete an acceptable English language qualification.


English language tests

Tests measure English language ability at a single point in time. If you are presenting one of the tests listed in this section, it should have been completed no more than two years before the start date of your Sheffield course.

For most of these tests, different courses require different levels of achievement. For postgraduate taught courses, the IELTS requirements are published in each course listing. The IELTS requirements for research degrees are published on our PhD webpages.

English language tests
Test Standard Good Advanced Proficiency

International English Language Testing Service (IELTS), including IELTS Indicator tests taken from 1 July 2020*

Overall score of 6.5 with a minimum of 6.0 in each component Overall score of 7.0 with a minimum of 6.5 in each component Overall score of 7.5 with a minimum of 7.0 in each component Overall score of 8.0 with a minimum of 7.5 in each component
Cambridge C1 Advanced Overall score of 176 with a minimum of 169 in each component Overall score of 185 with a minimum of 176 in each component Overall score of 191 with a minimum of 185 in each component Overall score of 200 with a minimum of 191 in each component
Cambridge C2 Proficiency Overall score of 176 with a minimum of 169 in each component Overall score of 185 with a minimum of 176 in each component Overall score of 191 with a minimum of 185 in each component Overall score of 200 with a minimum of 191 in each component
LanguageCert International ESOL SELT C1 (Listening, Reading, Writing, Speaking)** 33/50 in each component 33/50 in each component 33/50 in each component 33/50 in each component
NCUK English Language Test Overall score of 6.5 with a minimum of 6.0 in each component Overall score of 7.0 with a minimum of 6.5 in each component Overall score of 7.5 with a minimum of 7.0 in each component Overall score of 8.0 with a minimum of 7.5 in each component
NCUK International Foundation Year: English for Academic Purposes module Overall EAP score of B with a minimum of C in each component Overall EAP score of A with a minimum of B in each component Overall EAP score of A* with a minimum of A in each component Not accepted
Pearson Test of English Academic (PTE Academic or PTE Academic UKVI) Overall score of 61 with a minimum of 56 in each component Overall score of 67 with a minimum of 61 in each component Overall score of 72 with a minimum of 67 in each component Overall score of 76 with a minimum of 72 in each component

Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) internet-based test (IBT) or internet-based test (IBT) Home Edition***

Overall score of 88 with a minimum of 19 in Listening, 20 in Reading, 22 in Speaking and 19 in Writing Overall score of 95 with a minimum of 21 in Listening, 22 in Reading, 23 in Speaking and 22 in Writing Overall score of 103 with a minimum of 22 in Listening, 24 in Reading, 25 in Speaking and 24 in Writing Overall score of 110 with a minimum of 24 in Listening, 26 in Reading, 27 in Speaking and 26 in Writing
Trinity Integrated Skills in English (ISE) III Grade of Pass or above in each component Grade of Merit or above in each component Grade of Distinction in each component Grade of Distinction in each component
Trinity Integrated Skills in English (ISE) IV Grade of Pass or above in each component Grade of Pass or above in each component Grade of Pass or above in each component Grade of Pass or above in each component

* We accept the IELTS Academic, IELTS for UKVI Academic and IELTS Indicator (taken from 1 July 2020) versions of the test. We do not accept IELTS Life Skills or IELTS General Training.
** We require the SELT version of the LanguageCert tests
*** We do not accept the TOEFL paper-based test, or MyBest scores

If the IELTS requirements for your course are not included in this table:

  • You can check what you need to achieve in the Cambridge C1 Advanced, Cambridge C2 Proficiency, Pearson and TOEFL on our ELTC webpages
  • The NCUK English Language Test requirements are the same as for IELTS
  • The LanguageCert, NCUK and Trinity requirements are the same for all courses

Other English language qualifications

We also accept a wide range of English language qualifications that include a formal programme of study.

The levels of achievement we normally require are detailed below. 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 in the course information.

If you completed one of these qualifications more than five years before the start date of your Sheffield course, we may ask you to complete a new English language qualification. Please include with your application any evidence you have of ongoing use of English.

International qualifications
Qualification Level
International Baccalaureate (IB) Standard or Higher Level English Language Syllabus A Grade 4 or above
International Baccalaureate (IB) Standard or Higher Level English Language Syllabus B Grade 5 or above
International Baccalaureate (IB) Standard or Higher Level English Language and Literature combined Grade 5 or above
International Baccalaureate (IB) Standard or Higher Level English Literature Grade 5 or above
European Baccalaureate (EB) English 7.5 or 75%, or above
UK qualifications
Qualification Level
GCSE English Language Grade 4 or Grade C, or above
A Level or AS Level English Language Grade C or above
A Level or AS Level English Language and Literature combined Grade B 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 Grade 2 in Speaking and Listening
CIE IGCSE English as a First Language (Syllabus 0522) Grade C or above
CIE IGCSE English as a First Language (Syllabus 0627) Grade 4 or above, with Merit in Speaking and Listening
CIE IGCSE English as a First Language (Syllabus 0990) Grade 4 or above, with Merit in Speaking and Listening
CIE IGCSE English as a Second Language (Syllabus 0510) Grade B or above, with Grade 2 in Oral and Aural
CIE IGCSE English as a Second Language (Syllabus 0993) Grade 6 or above, with Grade 2 in Oral and Aural
CIE IGCSE English as a Second Language (Syllabus 0511) Grade B or above
CIE IGCSE English as a Second Language (Syllabus 0991) Grade 6 or above
Edexcel IGCSE English Language A Grade C or Grade 4, or above, including Speaking and Listening
Edexcel IGCSE English as a Second Language Grade B or Grade 6, or above, including Speaking and Listening
SQA Intermediate 2 English or National 5 English Grade B or above
SQA Higher or Advanced Higher English Grade C or above
Scottish Higher, English for Speakers of Other Languages (Syllabus C222) Grade B or above
European qualifications
Qualification Level
French Baccalauréat l'Option Internationale, English Grade 12 or above
German Abitur, English Grade 12 or above
Maltese Matriculation Certificate English Grade C or above
Netherlands VWO, English Grade 7 or above
Norwegian Vitnemål for videregående opplæring, English Grade 4 or above
Romanian Diploma de Bacalaureat, English Grade B2 or above overall, with B2 or above in each component
Swedish Fullstandigt fran Gymnasieskolan, English Grade C or above
Qualifications from the rest of the world
Qualification Level

Cambridge Assessment International Education GCE O Level, English

For example:

  • Brunei O Level subject 1120
  • Malaysian O Level subject 1119
  • Mauritius O Level subject 1125/1126
  • Singapore O Level subject 1128
  • For other countries, O Level subject 1123
Grade C or above
Bahamas General Certificate of Secondary Education (BGCSE), English Grade C or above
Botswana General Certificate of Secondary Education, 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
HKDSE English Language Grade 4 overall, with Grade 4 in each component
Indian Standard XII, English Language (certain examination boards) 70% or above
Kenyan Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE), English

Grade B or above

Please note that we do not accept Grade B- in the KCSE English

Namibian Senior Secondary Certificate (NSSC), Higher English Grade C or above
Singapore Integrated Programme (IP) Students should go on to complete A Level or IB qualifications (in any subject taught in English)
South African National Senior Certificate (SANSC) Grade 4 or above
Tanzanian Certificate of Secondary Education (awarded by the National Examinations Council of Tanzania), English Grade C or above
Ugandan Certificate of Education (UCE) Grade 6 or above
WAEC West African Senior School Certificate (WASSCE), English Grade C or above
Zambian General Certificate of Education, English Grade 6/C or above

Registration with a professional body

Applicants to courses in the Health Sciences School: We will exempt you from our time limit requirements if you include with your application 1) evidence that you are currently registered with the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) and 2) a letter from your employer confirming your English language proficiency.


Qualifications we do not accept

Some of the English language qualifications we do not accept are listed below. We are also not normally able to accept the English language modules studied as part of a degree course.

Qualifications not accepted

Anglia Examinations in English
Cambridge First Certificate in English (FCE)
Cambridge Preliminary English Test (PET)
City and Guilds (I)ESOL
Key English Test (KET)
London Chamber of Commerce: English for Business
Malaysian Certificate of Educational English Language
Michigan Test of English Language Proficiency
Nigerian National Examinations Council qualification (NECO)
Oxford International Business English Certificate
Pitman English for Business Communications
Test of English for International Communication (TOEIC)
Trinity Integrated Skills in English (ISE) II

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