Undergraduate study - 2020 entry

English language entry requirements

You must demonstrate a level of English language competency that will enable you to succeed in your studies, regardless of your nationality or country of residence.

Programme requirements

English language requirements vary between degree programme. 

Find the specific requirements for your chosen programme in our degree finder.   


Undergraduate degree finder

Unless a higher level is specified in the published entry requirements in our degree finder, you will need a pass in English at the following grades or higher:

  • National 5 Grade C
  • SQA Standard Grade 3
  • SQA Intermediate 1 Grade A
  • SQA Intermediate 2 Grade C
  • GCSE/IGCSE Grade C / Grade 4
  • Level 2 Certificate Grade C
  • IB Standard Level Grade 5 (English ab initio is not accepted for entry)

Accepted qualifications

We also accept a wide range of international English qualifications and English language tests.

The qualifications we accept meet both our English language proficiency requirements and the minimum standards for Tier 4 visas.

Your English language qualification must be no more than three and a half years old from the start date of the programme you are applying to study, unless you are using IELTS, TOEFL, PTE Academic or Trinity ISE, in which case it must be no more than two years old.  

Two year expiry

IELTS International English Language Testing System (taken at any IELTS test centre)

Internet based Test of English as a Foreign Language Test

English requirements must be met in a single test. We do not accept TOEFL MyBest Score to meet our English language requirements.

PTE Academic PTE Academic
Trinity ISE Trinity Integrated Skills in English

Three and a half year expiry

CAE Cambridge Certificate in Advanced English
CPE Cambridge Certificate of Proficiency in English
International General Certificate of Secondary Education (iGCSE) English grade C/4 All First or Second Language iGCSE English qualifications are accepted.
  iGCSE English literature qualifications are not accepted.
SQA National 5 English National 5 English and National 5 ESOL are accepted.
SQA Higher English Higher English and Higher ESOL are accepted.
General Certificate of Secondary Education (GCSE) English Language GCSE English Language.
  GCSE English Literature is not accepted.
O Level English Language From the following countries: Botswana; Brunei; Cameroon; Mauritius; Pakistan; Rwanda; Singapore; Zimbabwe
AS or A Level English English Language; English Language and Literature; and English Literature
International Baccalaureate English Standard or Higher Level, (ab initio not accepted)
Cambridge Pre-U English Literature in English (Principal)
Singapore Integrated Programme Secondary 4 English or Language Arts
South African National Senior Certificate English Home/First Language
Hong Kong Diploma of Secondary Education (HKDSE) English Language
Malaysian SPM English plus Cambridge GCE O Level English 1119  
Indian CBSE or CISCE, Class XII English  
AP English English Language and Composition or English Literature and Composition
Canadian Secondary/High School Diploma

Grade 12 - English Language Arts/English

The Ontario Secondary School Diploma is only accepted if awarded by an Ontario Secondary School and not if taken online.

Singapore Cambridge GCE A levels Higher 1, Higher 2, or Higher 3 English in Literature, or Higher 2 English Language and Linguistics
Uganda Certificate of Education English
Certificate of Nile International Secondary Level 1 English  
Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate English A plus English B  
Option International du Baccalaureat (British/American version) English Language and Literature
Botswana GCSE English (BGCSE)  
Gatehouse ESOL International (Classic) Level 2 or Level 3

Foundation English for Academic Purposes

We also accept satisfactory completion of all Foundation English for Academic Purposes (FEAP) modules in our International Foundation Programme in Arts, Humanities and Social Science as meeting our English language requirements.


We will need to verify your qualifications and/or test results. If your certificates are not in English you will also need to submit a certified translation.

Submitting your certificates

Students who require a visa to study in the UK

In addition to our English language proficiency requirements, the UK Home Office sets its own minimum standards for applicants who require a Tier 4 visa to study in the UK. Our English language entry requirements are set at a level that will also meet the English language proficiency requirements of the UK Home Office.

Degree study

If you require a Tier 4 visa to study in the UK, the English qualification that you use for admission to an undergraduate degree must be included in our list of accepted qualifications, unless you are a national of a majority English speaking country as defined by UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI).

UKVI majority English speaking countries

English language education / International Foundation programme

If you are interested in our English language programmes as preparation for degree entry, or our International Foundation programme in Arts, Humanities and Social Science you must have an IELTS for UKVI test from a UKVI-approved test centre.

UKVI approved test centres

English language courses

If you do not have the English grades we require for entry, you can improve your language skills through our range of English courses.

English language courses at Edinburgh

Related links