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Language Requirements for UK Universities: Which Pathway Programme Suits Your Needs?

Fri 08 Jul 2016

Not sure which pathway programme you should be applying to? Pre-university course providers offer a range of options to suit students at different language levels, stages of study, and areas of academic interest, which can make it difficult to choose the right programme for your needs.

The first thing to consider is your current English language level, which ONCAMPUS measures using the International English Language Testing System (IELTS). This is an internationally recognised scale that ranks your English proficiency on a scale from 1 to 9. However, students who have been learning English using a different system, such as TOEFL, can easily consult with an advisor to find out their equivalent level.

Once you know what your level is, there could be a number of different programmes to choose from, depending on what areas of study you’re interested in. Read on to find out more.

How Language Requirements for UK Universities are Measured: The IELTS Scale

The IELTS measures language skills in four areas: listening reading, writing and speaking. The test is available in a number of different countries, and your total scores are combined to rate your proficiency. Here’s what your IELTS rating indicates:

  1. Non-User
  2. Intermittent User
  3. Extremely Limited User
  4. Limited User
  5. Modest User
  6. Competent User
  7. Good User
  8. Very Good User
  9. Expert User

Generally, a student will need an IELTS score of 6.5 or higher to meet the language requirements for UK universities. However, pathway programs accept students with a lower level of proficiency, allowing them to develop their English skills in an academic setting before progressing to their degree. The entry requirements for pathway programs vary depending on the specific pathway.

For example, ONCAMPUS’s The University of London International Foundation Programme (IFP) is only open to students with an IELTS of 5.5 or higher, whereas the Undergraduate Foundation Programme (UFP) accepts applicants with scores from 4.5, while students with a lower score can also enrol provided they complete additional terms.   

Using the TOEFL System? Here’s How to Find Out if You Meet Entry Requirements

The Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) exam is another common method of measuring English language proficiency, which tests the same four areas as IELTS, but assigns candidates a score between 0 and 120. A student looking to apply to a UK university will usually need a TOEFL score of at least 79, with pathway students needing a score of 46 or above depending on their chosen course.

Figuring out how your TOEFL score translates onto the IELTS scale can be a challenge, but students will find a number of comparison tables and calculator tools online, while ONCAMPUS advisors are always happy to explain the entry requirements and how your TOEFL score translates.

Options for Meeting Postgraduate Entry Requirements

If you have already completed a degree in your home country, but are looking to come to the UK for further study, you may need to look for a program specifically designed for students preparing for a postgraduate degree. For instance, ONCAMPUS’s Master’s Foundation Programme (MFP) is open to students with an IELTS score of above 4.5, and offers specialised postgraduate elements, including a research project as well as personal and professional development modules alongside Academic English study.

Students looking to go on to postgraduate study can enroll in a MFP

Still have more questions about admission requirements for universities in the UK?

Contact us for more information. 

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