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English Language Centre

Entry Requirements

Studying for a degree at Durham (or at any other British university) requires significant proficiency in English. Whether you are a prospective undergraduate or postgraduate, you will be required to have a sufficient level of English to be accepted onto your chosen course of study.

Academic Programme Entry Levels

Academic departments at Durham set minimum entry language requirements for their degree courses. These are given here. Please contact your department directly if you have questions about the requirements for a particular degree programme.

Pre-Sessional Entry Levels

Departments also set, in collaboration with theEnglish Language Centre, minimum entry requirements for Pre-Sessional. These requirements vary depending on the degree programme to which you are applying. They also vary for different lengths of Pre-Sessional programme. Entry points onto different Year-round and Summer Pre-Sessional programmes are given here.

Offers with a Pre-Sessional Condition

If your department has made you an offer with a Pre-Sessional condition, the details will be given on the offer letter. If you have questions or if you would like to request a Pre-Sessional programme instead of re-taking IELTS (or an equivalent test, if you are an EU student), please contact your department.

IELTS certificates

If you are an overseas student (i.e. non-EU), you will need to have an IELTS certificate that a) meets the entry requirements specified by your department, AND b) is a Secure English Language Test (SELT) IELTS, taken at a UKVI-approved test centre.

Please note that it is possible to take both SELT and non-SELT IELTS tests at UKVI-approved centres. If you are a non-EU student, this means you must actually request a SELT IELTS at an approved centre. Without a SELT IELTS, you will not be able to obtain a UK visa for your Durham Pre-Sessional programme.

'Successful Completion'

Successful completion of a 4, 8 or 12 Pre-Sessional programme normally requires the student to achieve a Pre-Sessional exit grade of 'B' or higher.

Durham academic departments accept Pre-Sessional assessment grades in lieu of a new IELTS profile. You will not be required to retake an IELTS test at the end of your EAP programme.

Important Additional Notes:

i) We cannot accept IELTS (or other accepted) certificates with test dates that are more than 24 months before the proposed date of entry onto a Durham degree programme. Candidates with English language certificates more than two years old will be asked to retake IELTS at a UKVI-approved test centre before their Pre-Sessional offer is made. This is also now a UKVI visa requirement.

ii) We are usually unable to accept any student onto a Durham Summer Pre-Sessional programme with an overall English level lower than IELTS 5.5 or equivalent. In our experience, students below this level require 6 months to a year (or more) of dedicated language study in order to be ready for their chosen Durham degree.

If your level is indeed lower than IELTS 5.5, please see information on the year-round courses available at the English Language Centre during term time. This course will be a better option for you until you reach the minimum entry requirements for a Pre-sessional programme.