English language requirements 2020/21: taught courses

If you're a non-native English speaking applicant you must provide evidence of your English language ability.

Due to the ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19) situation and the difficulties around English language tests, we are relaxing our standard English language requirements by 0.5 IELTS (or equivalent) for undergraduate degrees and postgraduate Masters, to provide greater flexibility for all applicants. No reduction will be made below the permitted UKVI minimum levels (no lower than 5.5 overall and in all components). Additional support will also be provided when you start your studies. We are closely monitoring the situation as it evolves and are developing further options to support offer holders in meeting language conditions and we will keep this page updated. 

You need to show enough fluency in all aspects of English (reading, writing, speaking and listening) to the required level of the course you're applying to.

There are some differences for distance learning applicants.


You may not need to provide evidence of your English language abilities if any of the following conditions apply:

  • You're a UK national
  • You're a national from a majority English speaking country as specified by UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI):
    • Antigua and Barbuda
    • Australia
    • The Bahamas
    • Barbados
    • Belize
    • Canada
    • Dominica
    • Grenada
    • Guyana
    • Jamaica
    • New Zealand
    • St Kitts and Nevis
    • St Lucia
    • St Vincent and the Grenadines
    • Trinidad and Tobago
    • United States of America.
  • You've completed a degree either in the UK, Ireland or in a country listed above. The degree must have been completed within two years of the course start date here at York.

For more information see UKVI Tier 4 Guidance from June 2019 (PDF).

Accepted tests

The following tests are accepted for entry into degree-level courses:

  • International English Language Testing System (IELTS) (Academic)
  • PTE Academic
  • Cambridge Certificate in Advanced English (CAE)
  • Cambridge Proficiency (CPE)
  • TOEFL iBT (internet based) (TOEFL MyBest score is not acceptable for meeting the English language requirement)
  • Trinity ISE

We seek formal confirmation of all test results. If you are intending to take a TOEFL test please enter our Designated Institution code 3065 on your test form.

You must have completed the test within two years of the starting date of your course. You cannot combine scores from more than one sitting of the test or multiple different tests.

The requirements for these tests vary by academic department.

Check the entry requirements for your course

If you are a visiting student see your English language requirements by subject

If you've not met the departmental requirements

If you've taken one of the accepted tests but not met the departmental requirement, you may be eligible for one of our pre-sessional English language courses. These courses will provide you with the level of English needed to meet the conditions of your offer.

If you require a Tier 4 visa

In order to be granted a visa to study in the UK, you must meet the UK Home Office's minimum standard of English language (called B2 level). In most cases our departmental requirements are higher than the B2 level.

If you're applying for a pre-sessional English language course and require a Tier 4 visa then you must take a UK government approved Secure English Language Test (gov.uk). Only IELTS for UKVI (Academic) or Trinity ISE can be accepted for entry to pre-sessional programmes.

For more information about visas and English language requirements see Tier 4 (General) student visas (gov.uk).