English language requirements | University of Oxford
Index cards from the archives of the Oxford English Dictionary
Index cards from the archives of the Oxford English Dictionary (Image credit: Yin Yin Lu / Graduate Photography Competition)

English language requirements

Oxford’s graduate courses are demanding, and you will need to be able to demonstrate that you have a high level of proficiency in English to take up a place here. 

You may need to provide evidence that you meet the language requirement for your course in order to take up a place at Oxford. Your course page will show the level of English language proficiency required for the course: ‘Standard’ or ‘Higher’.

English language tests

Your course page will show the required language level and the scores you must achieve in one of the English test formats accepted by the University. To meet the requirement, you must achieve at least the minimum score in each component and overall.

If you already have language test scores that meet the required level for your course, please include them in your application. You can also upload test scores to your application after you have submitted it, using Graduate Applicant Self Service

Visit our Application Guide for more information about English language requirements and providing language test scores with your application.

Can I apply for graduate study at Oxford before I've taken a language test?

Yes, you can submit your application without English language test scores. If you don't submit scores, or the scores you submit don't meet the required level for your course, your application will still be assessed by the academic department as normal. 

However, if the department later makes you an offer, you may be required to submit scores that meet your course's requirement in order to take up your place. It can take a long time to secure a language test place, so you should arrange to sit a test as soon as possible. 

English language test waivers

You may be able to request a waiver of the requirement to provide English language test scores.

To request a language test waiver, you must have studied a degree-level course that is:
  • at least nine months in duration
  • full-time
  • undertaken at a recognised institution where teaching and assessment throughout the course is entirely in English
  • has been completed within 2 years of the start date of the course to which you are applying.

If you believe that you meet the eligibility criteria, you can upload a waiver request to your application form.

For more information and instructions on how to request a waiver, consult the Application Guide.

English language courses

The Oxford University Language Centre is the University’s central hub for language learning. The centre offers courses specifically for non-native English speakers to help them improve their academic English in preparation for studying here. 

Pre-Sessional English course

The University's Summer Pre-Sessional English Course is open to all international students preparing for graduate study at Oxford. This is a full-time, intensive course held over six weeks, geared towards improving your academic language and literacy while providing an opportunity to meet fellow students and learn about British culture. The course aims to help you integrate into an English-speaking university, so that you can hit the ground running from the first day of your graduate degree. More information is available from the Oxford University Language Centre website.

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