Enrolment Management Services

English language requirements


Whether you are applying to the University of Kent as a home or overseas student you will need to satisfy minimum English language entry requirements for your application to be considered. This guidance will help confirm if your application is likely to meet these requirements.

For international (overseas) applicants, in order to comply with the requirements of UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI), all English language requirements are set at a level that meet both the academic needs of the University and the minimum requirements for a Tier 4 (General) student visa.

UK (home) students

Undergraduate applicants from the UK are required to have an appropriate grade/score in an approved examination in English Language, usually a grade C (or above) in GCSE English language or an acceptable equivalent.

Postgraduate applicants are expected to have completed a Bachelor degree in which the medium of instruction was English Language.

If you would like to enquire whether the course you are applying to accepts alternative qualifications in English language, please email information@kent.ac.uk

International (overseas) and EU students

Students whose first language is not English, and who live/study in a non-majority English-speaking country are required to have an appropriate grade/score in an approved English language examination.

This requirement is necessary to meet the academic entry level for the University of Kent and, if required, the UKVI Tier 4 (General) Student Visa application process. Applicants should note that the University's English language requirements are set at a level that exceeds the minimum requirements for obtaining Tier 4 (General) student visa.

If you are a national of a majority English-speaking country, or if you completed a qualification equivalent to a UK Bachelor's degree in a majority English-speaking country a SELT will not be required as part of a Tier 4 (General) student visa application.

If you studied/are studying recognised qualifications in English at an International School, or took a GCSE English as a first or second language, a SELT may not be required.

You must satisfy a minimum English Language entry requirement to be accepted on your intended course at the University, any specific requirements will be included in your offer letter should your application to study be successful.

Find out more about the University's SELT requirements below

Secure English Language Test (SELT)

Anyone requiring a visa to study in the UK at degree level or above, has to achieve at least Level B2 (CEFR) in each of the four language components (Reading; Writing; Listening; Speaking). Level B1 (CEFR) is acceptable in each of the four language components for Foundation and Pre-sessional courses.

On 6th April 2015 UK Visa & Immigration (UKVI) introduced new English language requirements for international students requiring a Tier 4 visa to study in the UK.  The changes mainly affect the following groups of students:

  • Students who are coming to study a pre-sessional English language course before entering a main academic programme of study at the University of Kent.
  • Students who are coming to study an International Foundation Programme (IFP) at the University of Kent.

Further information about these requirements can be found on the UKVI website.

The scores listed on the UKVI website are the minimum requirement for UKVI purposes and do not replace the University entry requirements, which in most cases are significantly higher. University of Kent SELT requirements can be found here.

Pre-Sessional English and Foundation Levels

Please note, for students requiring a Tier 4 student visa who are applying for entry to a Pre-sessional or Foundation programme (below National Qualification Framework Level 6) we will only accept a valid SELT as proof of English language, alternative qualifications will not be accepted. The IELTS SELT Consortium and Trinity College London (Integrated Skills in English,ISE: UK Test Centres), are the only approved SELT providers acceptable to UKVI. If the IELTS or ISE was taken on or after the 6 April 2015, the test must be taken at an UKVI approved test centre. Find an approved test centre

If the IELTS was taken on or before 5 April 2015, a new UKVI IELTS test will have to be taken at one of the test centres listed here

Students who are nationals of one of the countries in the UKVI list of majority English speaking countries and are applying for entry to a Foundation programme do not need to provide English language evidence when applying for the student visa.

For more information on Pre-sessional courses, see the International Pathways website.

Degree level and above

The University for degree level study or above will accept IELTS taken at any IELTS test centre.  Please note however that for immigration purposes we will record the SELT as an HEI assessment for visa purposes if the IELTS was not taken at one of the approved test centres. The University will also continue to accept Pearson Test of English (PTE) Academic and Cambridge English: Advanced and Cambridge English Proficiency. 

Please note IELTS and PTE Academic tests are only valid for 2 years: therefore tests must be taken no more than 2 years prior to the course start date.

The University will not accept the IELTS Life Skills test as it does not test English language in all four components (listening, speaking, reading and writing).

If you would like some guidance about your English language entry requirements please contact:

Undergraduate and Postgraduate admissions queries:


Every effort is made to ensure that the information contained in publicity materials is fair and accurate at the time of going to press. However, the courses, services and other matter covered by web pages and prospectuses are subject to change from time to time and no guarantee can be given that changes will not be made following publication and/or after candidates have been admitted to the University. Please see our Applicant web pages for further information. Please note that modules shown are based on the current curriculum but are subject to change.

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Enrolment Management Services, Registry, University of Kent, Canterbury, Kent, CT2 7NZ, T: +44 (0)1227 768896

Last Updated: 06/02/2017