English language requirements

Applicants from outside the UK usually need to meet specific English language requirements in order to study at The University of Manchester.

The UK Visa and Immigration Authority (UKVI) requires that every student requiring a visa to study in the UK must show evidence of a minimum level of English language (Common European Framework (CEFR) B2 level) in order to be granted a Student Route visa (previously known as a Tier 4 visa) to study at undergraduate or postgraduate level.

In addition, our academic Schools may require applicants to demonstrate English proficiency above B2 level, as the academic content of a UK degree can be linguistically demanding. Academic English entry requirements vary by course, and can be found on individual course profiles.

Majority English-speaking countries

For Student Route visa purposes, the UKVI has a prescribed list of Majority English-speaking countries (this list is not defined by The University of Manchester).

Ifyou are a national of one of the following countries (or have a bachelor’s degree or higher from one of these countries) you may be exempt from submitting further evidence of English language proficiency:

  • Antigua and Barbuda
  • Australia
  • the Bahamas
  • Barbados
  • Belize
  • Dominica
  • Grenada
  • Guyana
  • Ireland
  • Jamaica
  • Malta
  • New Zealand
  • St Kitts and Nevis
  • St Lucia
  • St Vincent and the Grenadines
  • Trinidad and Tobago
  • UK
  • USA

You also do not need to prove your knowledge of English if one of the following applies:

  • you’re a national of Canada;
  • you’re applying to come to the UK for a study abroad programme as part of a university degree course in the USA;
  • you proved your level of English in a previous visa application.

Acceptable English language tests

For courses below degree-level

UKVI-approved Secure English Language Test (SELT) is required if you are joining a course below degree-level, including:

  • separate/non-integrated foundation courses;
  • separate/non-integrated Pre-Sessional English courses;
  • separate/non-integrated English for Academic Purposes courses. 

These are taken in person in a UKVI-approved secure English language testing centre.

The UKVI-recognised SELTs are: 

Please note that IELTS, Pearson and Trinity ISE are only valid for two years after the test date. 

For entry to degree-level study or higher

We accept a wide range of tests if you are joining a degree-level course or above, including: 

  • an undergraduate degree;
  • a postgraduate degree;
  • an integrated course with a joint CAS (where a foundation year or pre-sessional English course are part of the degree).

Some of the most common tests include: 

  • IELTS Academic (UKVI and non-UKVI versions);
  • Pearson PTE Academic (UKVI and non-UKVI versions);
  • LanguageCert International ESOL (UKVI version only);
  • Trinity College London Integrated Skills ISE – ISE II, ISE III or ISE IV (available in UK only);
  • Cambridge Advanced (CAE/C1 Advanced) and Cambridge Proficiency (CPE/C2 Proficiency);
  • TOEFL iBT;
  • TOEFL iBT Special Home Edition (2021 entry only) – further information can be found on our COVID-19 advice pages

Please note that IELTS, Pearson, TOEFL and ISE are only valid for two years after the test date.

English language requirements

Each course and programme we offer has its own requirements in terms of English test scores. Please refer to the course profiles for details of specific English language scores that are acceptable for entry.

Although score requirements vary by course, typical scores for entry to Manchester are summarised below (sub-skill scores may also apply):

IELTS overall score 5.5 6 6.5 7 7.5+
TOEFL iBT 72 80 90 100 109–120
LanguageCert SELT (B2 Test) 100–128 132–152 156 NA
LanguageCert SELT (C1 Test) NA 128 132
CAE or CPE 162–168 169–175 176–184 185–190 191–230
ISE II (accepted for foundation courses only) Pass in each section NA
ISE III Pass in each section

Merit or above in each section Check with academic School
ISE IV Pass in each section

For 2021 entry: In order to comply with UKVI requirements, if you require a student visa and choose to sit Pearson PTE, an overall score of 59 with no less than 59 in each component will be required for visa purposes.

IELTS overall score 5.5 6 6.5 7 7.5+
PTE Academic 42 50 58 65 74+

Other English language qualifications

We also accept some English language qualifications from other countries, depending on the University’s assessment of its academic suitability. You can check if your qualification is accepted by contacting the International Office team

Although requirements vary by course, typical scores for common overseas English language qualifications include:

IELTS Score equivalency

5.5 6 6.5 7 7.59

International Baccalaureate 

(SL or HL: Language A: Literature (English); Language A: Language and Literature; Language B; English 2)

IB Lang A (English Literature or Language and Literature) Completion 4 5
IB Language B (HL) 4 5

IB Language B (SL) 5 6

IB English 2 (HL) 4 5

IB English 2 (SL) 5 6

IGCSE (First or second language) Grade C (45)

Grade B (6) Grade A (7)
Indian Standard XII English
(CBSE, ISC, Maharashtra, Karnataka, West Bengal, Tamil Nadu, Gujarat Boards)
65% 70% 75% 80% 80%+
Hong Kong HKDSE/HKCEE (Post 2007) 3 4 4 5 5*5**
West African Education Council (WAEC) Senior School Certificate (SSCE)  C6 C5C4 B3 B2 A1

If you have a qualification that is not listed above, you can ask the Admissions Office of the School to which you are applying whether your qualification is acceptable.

When enquiring, please inform the School of:

  • the name, level and date of the qualification;
  • the country in which it was taken; and
  • the scores you obtained.

If possible, please send a scanned copy of the certificate and transcripts, showing as much of the above information as possible.

You can find the relevant admissions contact details on your course profile page, or contact the International Office.

English language support

The University Language Centre (ULC) has more than 30 years’ experience of delivering English language courses for international students. These courses are accredited by the British Council.

The ULC is an IELTS testing centre and its pre-sessional courses are accredited by the British Association of Lecturers in English for Academic Purposes (BALEAP). The Centre also runs in-sessional English support for international students during their studies.

Course and programme finder

A-Z lists: