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


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

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.

What if you do not meet the required English language level

UCA English Language Test

The UCA English Language Test can be used as verification of English language ability for entry to all UCA courses. There is no single pass grade for everyone as different courses require you to achieve a different level in the test.

We run several tests during the spring and summer months in Farnham, UK and China. Go to the UCA English Language Test page and find out about the test dates and register for your place.

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. Find out more, go to the Pre-sessional English page

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. Find out more, go to the English for Creative Arts page

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, find out more, go to the International Foundation page