English language requirements
Working in the library at Somerville College.
(Image credit: Rob Judges Photography / Oxford University Images).

English language requirements

All teaching at Oxford University is carried out in English (with the exception of some language-specific teaching) and tutors must be convinced that you have sufficient fluency in written and spoken English to cope with your course from the start.

The majority of international students who receive offers to study at Oxford will be required to demonstrate their proficiency in English in order to fulfil the conditions of their offer. You do not need to have achieved an English language qualification before you apply, but would still need to do so before your place can be confirmed.

All non-native English-speaking offer holders need to meet the requirements described below as proof of English language proficiency. Depending on the course, applicants need to show either a standard or a higher level of ability in English, as specified in the table. 

ONLY these courses accept the standard level: Computer Science, Mathematics, Mathematics and Computer Science, Mathematics and Statistics.

ALL other courses require the higher level. 


Standard level scores

Higher level scores



Minimum 6.5 per component 


Minimum 7.0 per component 

TOEFL / TOEFL iBT Home Edition


Minimum component scores:

  • Listening: 22

  • Reading: 24

  • Speaking: 25

  • Writing: 24


Minimum component scores:

  • Listening: 22

  • Reading: 24

  • Speaking: 25

  • Writing: 24

Cambridge Certificate of Advanced English (CAE)


Minimum 176 per component


Minimum 185 per component

Cambridge Certificate of Proficiency in English (CPE)


Minimum 176 per component


Minimum 185 per component

Trinity Integrated Skills in English (ISE)


ISE III with merit in all skills or
ISE IV with pass in all skills

ISE III with distinction in all skills or ISE IV with pass in each section

Pearson PTE Academic

66Minimum 56 in all skills76Minimum 66 in all skills

English Language GCSE

grade B or grade 6

(We do not accept IGCSE in either First Language English or English as a Second Language as proof of English proficiency.)

English Language O-level

grade B

International Baccalaureate Standard Level (SL)

score of 5 in English (as Language A or B)

European Baccalaureate

score of 70% in English

*We recommend that you take the IELTS Academic option. The IELTS General, IELTS UKVI General and IELTS life skills options are not suitable for admission. The IELTS UKVI Academic test can be accepted but is not recommended, as this is more expensive than the IELTS Academic test and is not offered in as many countries or centres worldwide so it may be difficult to book an appointment. This UKVI version of the test is required for students taking courses below degree level but is not required for courses at degree level or above and IELTS recommend that university applicants do not apply for this version of the test as it will fill up spaces required by other students (below degree level) who do have to take this version of the test.


Exemptions from this requirement will be considered for applicants who have:

  • studied the International Baccalaureate programme, if it is taught in English
  • studied the Singapore Integrated Programme (SIPCAL) 
  • been educated full-time in the medium of the English language throughout the two most recent years before the 15 October application deadline, and who remain in full-time education conducted in the English language until the end of the school year in their home country. 

Evidence of your English language proficiency

You do not need to submit evidence of your English Language proficiency when you make your UCAS application.

If you have already achieved the required grade, please include the details along with your other qualifications in the appropriate section of your UCAS application.

If you have not yet achieved the required grade, evidence of this proficiency will form part of any conditional offer, and must be met by 31 July in the year you receive your offer. Note this is still the case, even if you are applying for deferred entry, so will not be expecting to start your course until over a year later. 

Visa requirements

If you require a student visa the University will vouch for your English language ability on your CAS (Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies) provided you have achieved the University's required results in one of the English language tests accepted by the University (as shown in the list above) or you have been granted an English language test waiver by your college. When submitting your student visa application, you will not be required to provide additional evidence of your English language ability.

Please note that the English language test you take does not need to be listed on the Home Office SELT (Secure English Language Tests) list as this only applies for students who want to study a course below degree level. 

Please visit our Student Immigration office page for further information on visas & information before you arrive.

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