1.3.1 University Guidelines
1. The University encourages the recruitment of academically well-qualified and highly motivated international students whose full potential can be realised with a limited amount of English Language training through pre-sessional and/or in-sessional courses.
2. It is the normal expectation that candidates for admission should be able to demonstrate satisfactory English proficiency before the start of a programme of study, whether via the submission of an appropriate English language qualification or by attendance on an appropriate pre-sessional course. However, there will always be cases where individual discretion will be required and the advice of the English Language Centre should be obtained in relation to such cases.
3. Candidates who are not native speakers of English (from a country listed in 1.3.3) should either:
a. have been taught and passed a qualification which meets the University's entry requirements using the English Language, within two years prior to their programme or pre-sessional course start date or
b. have taken a recognised English Language proficiency test within two years prior to their programme or pre-sessional course start date (see 126.96.36.199).
4. The University's standard English Language entry requirements for direct entry are outlined for each department/school in the table in Section 188.8.131.52. These levels vary according to the linguistic requirements of particular academic disciplines and are approved by the Quality and Standards Sub Committee following consultation with the English Language Centre.
5. The University will use the overall score of 6.5 in IELTS as its minimum requirement in its publicity and promotional material subject to specific course requirements. This corresponds to the information given in Section 184.108.40.206, which outlines absolute minimum scores for University entry.
6. The University accepts as preferred English Language proficiency tests IELTS, TOEFL iBT, Cambridge Proficiency (CPE) and Cambridge Advanced (CAE). These are also Secure English Language Tests (SELTS) accepted by the UK Border Agency. However, some applicants may experience difficulties in making the necessary arrangements to take these tests and alternatives may be acceptable in exceptional circumstances. Section 1.3.3 outlines alternative acceptable tests and Section 1.3.4 details tests currently deemed not acceptable as reliable evidence of English language proficiency.
7. IELTS and TOEFL iBT scores should not be accepted without additional information being provided on component scores. See the tables in Sections 220.127.116.11 and 18.104.22.168 for details of component score requirements.
8. A copy of the IELTS, TOEFL iBT, CPE or CAE transcript must be received by the appropriate Admissions Selector.
9. The 4-week Pre-Sessional course offer can only be made as part of an integrated offer that includes automatic progression onto a degree programme. Departments/schools cannot therefore accept any student for the 4-week pre-sessional course on condition that they achieve a certain standard at the end of that course. The 4-week course is to be offered primarily to applicants who have either met their language condition or are 0.5 IELTS points short of the required departmental/school entry level in non-writing components and have nonetheless been accepted via a concession. A course of only 4 weeks cannot guarantee a measurable improvement in language accuracy and thus the 4-week Pre-Sessional course is designed principally to provide training in University-appropriate writing and speaking skills, academic conventions and library use.
10. If a department/school wishes to make pre-sessional study a 'condition' of entry, applicants should be offered an 8- or 12-week programme. These applicants will then still be required to "complete successfully" and must achieve a Pre-Sessional 'B' grade or higher. These regulations embody the principle that students should study for a minimum of four weeks for each 0.5 shortfall in their IELTS score. However, it is important to note that this rate of progress is for guidance only and progress is not guaranteed.
11. It is the normal expectation that Pre-sessional Programmes undertaken before the start of a new academic year should be held at Durham University. Pre-sessional certificates from other universities must not be accepted without prior consultation with the English Language Centre to ensure that they are a satisfactory measure of competency and also meet the regulatory requirements of the UK Border Agency.
12. Foundation programme certificates cannot be accepted unless they clearly state the level of English language competency that the student has at the point at which they exit the programme. If it is not clearly stated whether or not the foundation programme meets Durham University's English language entry requirements, guidance should be sought from the International Office.
13. In all cases late applications for entry may make it difficult to complete the necessary summer Pre-Sessional English Language courses in time. In such cases it will not be possible to offer admission to candidates for taught qualifications for the first entry point. A year-round Pre-Sessional programme may be possible for such candidates. Entry points exist in October, January and April and advice should be sought with the English Language Centre. Where a year-round Pre-sessional is not feasible, candidates for postgraduate programmes (except the Master in Social Work and Postgraduate Certificate of Education) should be offered deferred entry. It is not possible to offer deferred entry to undergraduate programmes or to the Master in Social Work or Postgraduate Certificate in Education programmes. Candidates for research degrees who apply late may need to be admitted at the start of the following term having successfully completed a summer or term-time year-round Pre-Sessional programme.
14. Responsibility and authority for ensuring the implementation by departments/schools of the University's English Language requirements lies with the Student Recruitment and Admissions Office.