Postgraduate research

English language requirements for subjects requiring the equivalent to IELTS 6.5

Accepted academic English language qualifications

You will have satisfied our English language entry requirements if you are a national of one of these countries and have completed your secondary or university education in one of the listed countries and your teaching was in English.

We accept a small number of academic English language qualifications completed in countries other than those listed and which are equivalent to the UK GCSE (English) qualification.

To meet the English language requirements for your research degree, you should hold one of the following qualifications:

Qualification Minimum grade
UK GCSE (English) Grade C
Cambridge O-Level (English) Grade C
Cambridge International GCSE (English as a first language or English as a second language)
Grade C 
International Baccalaureate (English)  4 in SL EL 
European Baccalaureate (English)
80% in SL EL
Indian National Board Standard XII 70%
Indian State Board Standard XII 80%
West African Senior School Certificate Examination (English)
Sri Lankan O-Level (English)
Hong Kong Diploma of Secondary Education (English)
Grade 4
Hong Kong Advanced Supplementary Level Grade C

Accepted English language tests

Alternatively, you'll meet our English language entry requirement if you have successfully completed one of the three following approved English language tests with the minimum overall score, and at least the minimum score in each component (speaking, reading, listening, writing):

Minimum overall score  Minimum component score
IELTS (International English Language Testing Systems) - Academic Version  6.5 5.5
TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) - Internet-based test
90 20
PTE (Pearson Test of English) - Academic Version
61 51
TOEFL IBT Home Edition
90 20
Language Cert International ESOL B2
High pass  At least 33/50
Language Cert International ESOL C1  Pass  At least 33/50

Other English language tests and other versions of the above tests - such as the IELTS (General Version) - are not accepted under any circumstances.

In all cases you must have completed the English language test no more than two years before the start date of your research degree programme.

Departments may, at their discretion, make an offer of admission to applicants whose English language test results do not quite meet the minimum requirements. The offer of admission will then be conditional on the applicant achieving the required scores before the start of the research degree programme.

Accepted pre-sessional English Language Teaching Unit courses

We welcome applications from academically qualified and highly-motivated applicants whose first language is not English and whose potential to work successfully at research degree level can be realised with a small amount of pre-sessional English language training.

As an alternative to retaking an English language test to improve your score, it may be possible for you to complete the appropriate pre-sessional course(s) with our English Language Teaching Unit.

Unfortunately, the University of Leicester is unable to accept English language training courses completed at another institution. If you have completed English language training at another institution, you will need to achieve the minimum overall and component scores in the IELTS (Academic Version).

Information on this page applies to PhDs in the following subjects:

  • Archaeology and Ancient History
  • Cancer Studies
  • Cardiovascular Sciences
  • Criminology
  • Economics
  • Genetics
  • Geography (Human and Physical)
  • History
  • History of Art and Film
  • Infection, Immunity, Inflammation
  • Management
  • Media and Communication
  • Medicine, Doctor of (MD)
  • Modern Languages
  • Molecular and Cell Biology
  • Museum Studies
  • Neuroscience, Psychology and Behaviour
  • Politics and International Relations
  • Psychology
  • Social Science, Doctor of (DSocSci)
  • Sociology

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