English language requirements and support

English language requirements

To study at the University for the Creative Arts, we require evidence of your English language ability to meet the requirements for your course. If you want to take one of our courses, you must have a certain level of English language skills.

If you are an applicant from an EU country, please refer to your individual country requirements.

Secure English Language Test (SELT)

If you are applying for a Tier 4 student visa, you will need to take a test, recognised by the Home Office, to prove your English language ability – this is called a Secure English Language Test. The SELT is valid only for two years, so if you have taken it before you applied to UCA, please make sure it is still in date.

If you need a Tier 4 visa, you do not need to take a SELT if one of the following applies:

  • you are a national of a majority English speaking country, as defined by the UKVI, and have taken your academic qualifications in that country
  • You have completed a Bachelor’s Degree in one of the majority English speaking countries, as defined by the UKVI, within the last two year
  • You are a Canadian national who has completed a Bachelor’s Degree at an English-speaking University, as defined by the UKVI, within the last two years.

What test you need to take if you want to study at UCA

Course type

SELT type

Pre-sessional English and Foundation

IELTS Academic for UKVI or Trinity ISE (only available in UK)

Undergraduate and Postgraduate

- IELTS for UKVI Academic

- IELTS Academic

- Trinity ISE (only available in the UK)

- Pearson Test of English (Academic)

- Test of English as Foreign Language (TOEFL) iBT

- Cambridge English Advanced (CAE) or Cambridge               English Proficiency

- University for the Creative Arts In-Country English             Language Test

- University for the Creative Arts Password Online               English Language Test


If you are applying for a BA or MA course at UCA, you can take the IELTS Academic test if you are sure you will get the required scores as listed in the course entry requirements. If you are not sure about your level of English, and may need to take a Pre-sessional English course, then we recommend taking IELTS Academic for UKVI.

We will also consider equivalent qualifications from your home country for entry onto our courses.

You can find more information about SELTs on the following pages:

What scores you need to study at UCA

IELTS Scores for Entry for all UCA Courses

Course/level applying for

IELTS Overall

IELTS Subscores

International Foundation courses
(with 5 weeks English)


4.5 in Writing and no other component below 4.0

International Foundation courses
(with 10 weeks English)


No component below 4.0

International Foundation courses


No component below 4.5

Foundation Diploma in Art & Design


No component below 5.5

Extended Diploma


No component below 5.5

Undergraduate courses


No component below 5.5

Graduate Diploma in Art, Design & Media 


No component below 5.5

Postgraduate courses

(MA / MSc / March / MFA)


No component below 5.5

MBA and MBM courses


No component below 6.0

Study Abroad or Exchange

Please visit our Study Abroad section for more information.


Alternative Qualifications for Undergraduate and Postgraduate Entry

The entry requirements for those taking accepted SELTs can be found in the table below.

  Listening Speaking Reading Writing Overall
IELTS Academic 5.5 5.5 5.5 5.5 6.0
Pearson Test of English (Academic) 51 51 51 51 56
Test of English as Foreign Language (TOEFL) iBT 17 20 18 17 80
Cambridge English Advanced (CAE) or Cambridge English Proficiency 162 162 162 162 169
Trinity College London Integrated Skills in English (ISE) Merit Merit Merit Merit ISE II
University for the Creative Arts English Language test 5.5 5.5 5.5 5.5 6.0

UCA English Language Tests

The UCA English Language Tests can also be used as verification of English language ability for entry to any of our undergraduate, graduate diploma and postgraduate courses. There is no single pass grade for everyone as different courses require you to achieve a different level in the test.

University for the Creative Arts In-Country English Language Test

We run several tests during the spring and summer months at our Farnham campus in the UK and in China.

Visit the UCA In-Country English Language Test page to find out more and register your place on a test. Please note, the test is only valid for a single start date.

University for the Creative Arts Password Online English Language Test

UCA will be delivering Online English Tests to support our applicants who are unable to take a SELT or attend the UCA In-Country English Language Test. Visit the UCA Password Online English Language Test page to find out more and register your interest. Please note, there are strict rules to be followed if students wish to take the test online.

What if you do not meet the required English language level

Pre-sessional English

Our Pre-sessional courses in the UK and China support your English language development and academic context of art, design and media to raise your English language level before progressing on to your main UCA course. Visit the Pre-sessional English page for more information.

English for Creative Arts

Our 28-week English for Creative Arts course is specifically designed to prepare you to study art and design at UCA and aimed at supporting international students who have received and accepted a conditional offer to study with us. Visit the English for Creative Arts page for more information.

International Foundation with English

For those applicants whose scores have not met the entry requirements for their chosen course, we offer our International Foundation courses fully integrated with 5 or 10-weeks English language teaching, helping you to reach your IELTS target for undergraduate level study. Visit the International Foundation page for more information.