English language requirements

All International and EU students applying for a course with us must meet the following minimum English language requirements:

  • for study at undergraduate level – minimum standard – IELTS 6.0 with a minimum of 5.5 in each band (or equivalent)
  • for study at postgraduate level – minimum standard – IELTS 6.5 with a minimum of 6.0 in each band (or equivalent)
  • for study at postgraduate research (PGR) level – minimum standard – IELTS 7.0 overall with a minimum of 6.5 in each band (or equivalent)

However, if you do not meet these requirements we offer pre-sessional academic English (PEP) language courses.

Types of English Language Qualifications considered by the University of Northampton

We accept various qualifications from overseas, as well as a range of English language tests. We also consider Pre-sessional English programmes taken at other UK institutions, providing we are satisfied that the programme meets our minimum English language entry requirements.

If you have successfully completed a degree or postgraduate diploma taught in English in a majority native English speaking country, you will not usually need to provide other evidence of English language ability.

The minimum levels required in the most commonly presented English tests are detailed in our Comparison of English language test scores. We do accept a range of other qualifications as evidence of English language levels, to enquire about these please contact international@northampton.ac.uk or +44 (0)1604 892134/2546.

Please note that, in assessing whether you have sufficient English language to successfully complete your course, we consider these qualifications alongside other evidence of English language ability included in your application, for example in the personal statement. Some courses do not accept certain qualifications, or ask for higher levels of achievement. Where this is the case, it will be made clear on our Course Information pages.

SELT and non SELTs

If you are interested in studying a course at NQF Level 5 (pre-degree level) or lower, you will be required to hold a UKVI approved English Language Test (SELT) in order to get a Tier 4 student visa. For further details on UKVI approved tests please see Applying for a UK visa: approved English language test.

Other qualifications that are not SELTs cannot be used in applications for a Tier 4 student visa to study our Pre-sessional English programme (PEP), but can be used in visa applications to study a degree or Masters course.

Academic IELTS exams and IELTS for UKVI exams follow the same grading scale but they are different. Academic IELTS is not a SELT, but IELTS for UKVI is a SELT. This means that Academic IELTS cannot be used to obtain a Tier 4 visa to attend a full-time English course, however it can still be used to obtain a Tier 4 visa for degree courses at the University.

Visit our international students page for more information regarding visas and immigration for international applications.


Our brand new £330 million campus.

  • Designed to adapt to 21st century teaching
  • Full range of integrated learning environments
  • 24/7 library and learning zone
  • Low environmental impact

Now Open

Discover the campus

360° Tour