IELTS Test Scores for Top Universities in the UK

The UK possesses some of the best universities in the world. Therefore, it is a popular and prestigious education touring destination globally. Famous universities in the UK, such as Cambridge and Oxford, admit scores of students yearly. 

One of the considerations that international students must fulfill is scoring a particular score on the IELTS exams. The IELTS exam is used as a standard to gauge an individual’s proficiency in the English language.

The minimum IELTS test score for admission into a UK university depends on the requirement of the University in question. This article will discuss and compare the minimum IELTS Test scores for the top universities in the UK.

What Should You Know About Studying in the UK?

Over the years, the United Kingdom has become increasingly popular among international students, including undergraduate and postgraduate studies, as the ideal destination for Higher education. This decision is not surprising as the UK is a famous hub of academic pursuit for several reasons such as;

  • Quality of study: The UK is equipped with universities with the best minds and equipment to help students achieve their academic aspirations. There is an abundance of revered universities like Oxford, Cambridge, and The London School of Economics who have made their mark in academia.
  • Length of study: The UK offers a shorter duration for degrees. Except for Scotland, there is a three-year average for undergraduate degrees and a one-year to the two-year average for postgraduate degrees; it is considered a better alternative to other English-speaking countries.
  • Abundant Scholarship Opportunities: International students, especially those who intend to get their postgraduate degrees, prefer studying in the UK because of the numerous available scholarship opportunities. Several universities, private organizations, and governments offer grants, financial aid, and scholarships specifically for international students in the UK.
  • Part-time Employment: The UK offers international students the opportunity to work part-time for 20 hours a week during the academic year. Thus, helping students earn money to keep up with living expenses.
  • Post Study Work Visa: In September 2019, the government of the UK announced the establishment of a Graduate Immigration Route, also called the post-study work visa for international students in the UK. This new graduate route allows students to remain in the UK for up to two years to look for employment after they graduate.

What are the Requirements for Studying in the United Kigdom?

 The requirements for international students who intend to study in the UK always vary. Each University has its unique assessment process. The general factors that influence eligibility are the course of study, the academic study, and the candidate’s nationality.

 The admission process is dependent on how much each candidate meets up to these requirements. It is therefore important to get the required documents ready before one begins the application process.

 The primary requirements for admission into universities in the UK are:

  •  Academic records/ transcript.
  • A copy of your university certificate
  • Proof of English language proficiency.
  • A copy of your Passport/ Identification Card.
  • Academic reference letters.
  • A personal statement.
  • A copy of your curriculum vitae (where applicable)
  • Letters of recommendations from employers (where applicable)

 Which IELTS is Required for UK Universities?

 The IELTS is an international standardized English language proficiency test for non-native English language speakers.

 There are two forms of IELTS tests available, and they are IELTS Academic and IELTS General Training. Any International student who intends to study in the UK is required to take the IELTS academic test.

 IELTS Academic measures whether a candidate’s English language proficiency level is adequate for learning in an academic environment. The test considers several aspects of academic language and evaluates whether the candidate is ready to begin training or studying.

 The IELTS Academic is designed for those who want to study at an undergraduate level or postgraduate level in the UK or globally where it is required. It is also helpful for applying for a student route visa (Tier 4) at a university that is a student route (Tier 4) Sponsor in the UK.

 The recent addition of the IELTS for UK Visa and Immigration (UKVI) is also worth noting. The test is for those who wish to study courses below degree level in the UK. 

Visa TypeIELTS Requirements
Tier 4 (General) Student visa – below degree level and pre-sessional coursesIELTS for UKVI – 4.0 overall, and in each of the four skills
Tier 4 (General) Student visa – degree level and aboveIELTS or IELTS for UKVI – 5.5 overall, and in each of the four skills

What is the Minimum IELTS Score for UK Universities?

Before enrolling in an undergraduate program in the UK, one must have completed a minimum of 13 years of education.

A candidate must also have a minimum IELTS score of 6.0 with no less than 5.5 in each band.

For the Postgraduate programs, a candidate must hold an undergraduate degree and have an excellent academic record. The candidate must also have a good record in the subject they intend to pursue a postgraduate degree. The minimum IELTS score requirement for postgraduate studies is 6.5, with no less than 6.0 in each band.

To better understand how the scoring works for the IELTS exam, check out our details guide: IELTS Band Scoring System Overview.

IELTS Score Requirements for Leading UK Universities

 Before listing IELTS score requirements for universities in the UK, here is a brief description of the top universities in the UK

 1. University of Oxford

The University of Oxford is a research university and is one of the leading educational institutions in the world. The University is ranked 1st in the world based on the Times Higher Education world universities ranking.

There is proof that teaching started as early as 1096, making it the oldest University in the English-speaking world and the second-oldest University. The institution is widely known for training the best and brightest minds and has produced 72 Nobel Prize winners as of 2020.

The University of Oxford requires a minimum IELTS band score of 6.5 in all four components at undergraduate and postgraduate levels.

2. University of Cambridge

The University of Cambridge is the second oldest in the English-speaking world. The University is ranked 5th in the world according to the Times Higher Education world universities ranking. This citadel of learning boasts over 150 academic departments divided into six schools.

The institution is highly recognized for its leading research base. The University of Cambridge has several notable alumni, lawyers, mathematicians, writers, actors, and world leaders.

The University of Cambridge requires a minimum IELTS band score of 6.5 in all four components at undergraduate and postgraduate levels.

3. Imperial College London

The Imperial College London is a public university that focuses on engineering, science, business, and medicine. It is the only University in the UK to do so.  The University is ranked 12th in the world based on the Times Higher Education world universities ranking.

The institution is highly sought after by international students, and they make up 63% of its student population

Imperial College London requires a  minimum IELTS band score of 6.0 in all four components at undergraduate and postgraduate levels.

4. University College London

Known as London’s Global University, the University College London is the second-largest University in England in enrollment. The institution is one of the leading multidisciplinary universities, and it comprises students from various nationalities. 

It ranks 18th in the world based on the Times Higher Education world universities ranking. The institution is the first University in England to admit students irrespective of religion. Thus, the first secular University in England. 

The institution adopts a practical approach to teaching, using it as a medium to solve global problems.

University College London requires a  minimum IELTS band score of 6.5 in all four components at undergraduate and postgraduate levels.

5. London School of Economics and Political Science

The London School of Economics and Political Science focuses on teaching and research across the social, political, and economic sciences.  LSE ranks 27th according to the Times Higher Education world universities ranking. The institution offers various programs, from undergraduate and graduate study to executive education, distance learning, language study, and summer school.

Its courses are divided across more than thirty research centers, twenty-five departments, and a Language Centre. LSE promotes extra-curricular activities to guarantee the wholesome development of their student students.

London School of Economics and Political Science requires a minimum IELTS band score of 6.5 in all four components at undergraduate and postgraduate levels.

6. University of Edinburgh

The University of Edinburgh is located in Scotland. The University is divided into 21 schools hosted by three colleges. Academically, the University of Edinburgh holds a strong reputation for medicine and science and is home to numerous discoveries, including the invention of the telephone.

The institution ranks 30th in the world based on the Times Higher Education world universities ranking. The University also has the oldest Department of English Literature in the UK. It is ranked 4th in the United Kingdom in terms of research power.

The University of Edinburgh requires a minimum IELTS band score of 6.5 in all four components at undergraduate and postgraduate levels.

7. Kings College London

Kings College London is a public research university famous for its Medicine, Law, and Mathematics programs. The University ranks 11th in the Times Higher Education Impact Rankings that measure universities against the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

The institution has a stellar reputation in terms of teaching capacity. King’s College London also ranks 30th globally based on the Times Higher Education world universities ranking.

Kings College London requires a minimum IELTS band score of 6.5 in all four components at undergraduate and postgraduate levels.

8. University of Manchester

The University of Manchester is a public research university in England established in 2004 by the merger of two existing universities. It is ranked 50th in the world based on the Times Higher Education world universities ranking. The institution has 25 Nobel laureates among its past and present students and staff. 

The University of Manchester requires a minimum IELTS band score of 5.5 in all four components at the undergraduate level and a minimum band score of 6.0 at the postgraduate level.

9. University of Warwick

The University of Warwick is a public research university, and it is organized into three faculties that host 32 departments. The University of Warwick ranks 78th in the world based on the Times Higher Education world universities ranking. It Is the University of the Year for Teaching Quality and runner-up for the University of the Year by the Sunday Times Good University Guide 2022.

 The institution is home to international students from various countries and offers an excellent service to international students, both before and throughout their studies.

The University of Warwick requires a minimum IELTS band score of 5.5 in all four components at the undergraduate level and a minimum band score of 6.0 at the postgraduate level.

10. University of Glasgow

The University of Glasgow is a public research university located in Scotland. The institution’s high educational standards, strict entrance requirements, and strong international research reputation make the University a competitive destination for students worldwide. Thus, earning its place as the 86th best University globally based on the Times Higher Education world universities ranking. 

The University boasts a diverse community that attracts students and staff from over 140 countries.

The University of Glasgow requires a minimum IELTS band score of 6.0 in all four components at the undergraduate level and a minimum band score of 6.5 at the postgraduate level.

11. University of Bristol

The University of Bristol is the 92nd best University globally based on the Times Higher Education world universities ranking. It is a public research university founded in 1876. The institution is divided into six academic faculties, with multiple schools and departments running over 200 undergraduate courses.

 The University boasts 9 Nobel Laureates. Additionally, the University of Bristol was the second most sought-after University by the UK’s top 100 employers, according to the Graduate Market in 2019 report produced by High Fliers.

The University of Bristol requires a minimum IELTS band score of 5.5 in all four components at undergraduate and postgraduate levels.

12.  University of Birmingham

The University of Birmingham is a public research university. The University prides itself on encouraging and empowering people to turn ideas into reality and make important things happen.  The institution is ranked 105th in the world based on the Times Higher Education world universities ranking. The University of Birmingham has 10 Nobel Laureates among its staff and alumni.

The University of Birmingham requires a minimum IELTS band score of 5.5 in all four components at the undergraduate level and a minimum band score of 6.0 at the postgraduate level.  

13. University of Sheffield

The University of Sheffield is a public research university comprising 50 academic departments organized into five faculties and an international faculty. The institution is one of the top 7 British universities by postgraduate student enrollment.

It is also ranked 110th in the world based on the Times Higher Education world universities ranking. The University employs a research-led method of learning and teaching.

The University of Sheffield requires a minimum IELTS band score of 5.5 in all four components at the undergraduate level and a minimum band score of 6.0 at the postgraduate level.

14. The Queen Mary University of London

The Queen Mary University of London is a leading public research university comprising five East and Central London campuses. It has undergraduate and postgraduate degrees across the entire disciplinary spectrum. The institution is ranked 117th in the world according to the Times Higher Education world universities ranking.

There are 9 Nobel Laureates amongst Queen Mary’s alumni and staff. Notable among them are Ronald Ross, who discovered the origin and cure for malaria, and Professor Andrew Pollard, the chief investigator of the Oxford–AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine.

The Queen Mary University of London requires a minimum IELTS band score of 5.5 in all four components at the undergraduate level and a minimum band score of 6.0 at the postgraduate level.

15.  University of Southampton

The University of Southampton is a foremost research-intensive university, and it is also a founding member of the Russell Group of research-intensive universities. It is ranked 124th in the world based on the Times Higher Education world universities ranking, and it comprises over 40 academic schools and departments divided into five faculties.

 The institution also awards a wide range of academic degrees cutting across bachelor’s, master’s, junior doctorates, and higher doctorates.

The University of Southampton requires a minimum IELTS band score of 5.5 in all four components at the undergraduate level and a minimum band score of 6.0 at the postgraduate level.

16. University of Leeds 

The University of Leeds, established in 1904, is one of the largest higher education institutions in the UK. It is globally renowned for the Quality of its teaching and research, and it ranks 127th in the world according to the Times Higher Education world universities ranking. The institution comprises students and staff from all backgrounds from across the globe. 

It’s divided into seven faculties and is based in one of the most student-friendly cities in England.

The University of Leeds requires a minimum IELTS band score of 5.5 in all four components at the undergraduate level and a minimum band score of 6.0 at the postgraduate level.

17. University of Exeter

The University of Exeter is a public research university. It has an international reputation for outstanding teaching, research, and graduate employability prospects. 

The University comprises 5,450 international students from 140 countries and is ranked 143rd in the world based on the Times Higher Education world universities ranking.  

The University of Exeter requires a minimum band score of no less than 5.5 in any other section.

18. Newcastle University

Newcastle University is a public research university based in North East England. The institution has overseas campuses in Singapore and Malaysia and is highly renowned for its excellence in teaching and research. Newcastle University is ranked 146th in the world based on the Times Higher Education world universities ranking. The University has degree programs across a diverse and exciting range of subject areas and boasts over 200 undergraduate and 300 postgraduate degrees.

Newcastle University requires a minimum IELTS band score of 6.0 in all four components at the undergraduate and postgraduate levels.

19.  University of Sussex

The University of Sussex was established in 1961 and is located on the south coast of England. The University has several subjects ranked in the global top 100, including business and economics, social sciences, psychology, and law.

It is also ranked 151st in the world based on the Times Higher Education world universities ranking. The institution has 5,944 international students from 165 countries and boasts 3 Nobel Prize winners.

The University of Sussex requires a minimum IELTS band score of 5.5 in all four components at the undergraduate and postgraduate levels.

20. Durham University

Ranked 162nd in the world on the Times Higher Education world universities ranking, Durham University is a public research university. It is divided into 17 distinct colleges and has eight subjects in the Top 50 QS World University Rankings by Subject 2021. The institution is also ranked 6th in the Complete University Guide 2022. 

Durham University requires a minimum IELTS band score of 5.5 in all four components at the undergraduate level and a minimum band score of 6.0 at the postgraduate level.

21. Lancaster University 

Lancaster University is a public research university. It ranks in the top 10 in all three major national university league tables and ranks 122nd in international league tables such as the Times Higher Education world universities ranking. Lancaster is preferred for the flexibility of its degree courses. 

Many students choose to take a second or third subject in their first year before specializing in one area in the second and third years.

Lancaster University requires a minimum IELTS band score of 5.5 in all four components at the undergraduate level and a minimum band score of 6.0 at the postgraduate level.

22. University of Aberdeen

The University of Aberdeen is a public research university founded in Scotland in 1495. It is Scotland’s third oldest and the UK’s fifth oldest University. 

The institution is highly renowned for its learning and research excellence. It boasts one of the best medical schools in Scotland.  The University is ranked 158th in the world according to the Times Higher Education world universities ranking.

The University of Aberdeen requires a minimum IELTS band score of 5.5 in all four components at the undergraduate level and a minimum band score of 6.0 at the postgraduate level.

23.  University of York

The University of York is an outstanding teaching and research university and a member of the prestigious Russell Group of research-intensive UK universities. The University is highly regarded for its groundbreaking research and academic excellence. It also ranks 169th in the world based on the Times Higher Education world universities ranking. 

The University of York requires a minimum IELTS band score of 6.0 in all four components at the undergraduate level and a minimum band score of 5.5 at the postgraduate level.

24. University of Liverpool

The University of Liverpool is a public research university based in England. Its core values revolve around the advancement of learning and ennoblement of life.  The institution ranks 178th in the world based on the Times Higher Education world universities ranking. 

It has a strong international student community with over 7,700 international students on campus and over 10,000 online students from over 160 countries. The University also boasts 9 Nobel Laureates.

To gain admission to the University of Liverpool, students must attain a minimum IELTS band score of 6.0 in all four undergraduate and postgraduate components. 

25. University of East Anglia

The University of East Anglia is a renowned world-leading research institution renowned for academic excellence. The University is well known for its wide range of disciplines, including the first creative writing course in the UK. It is also acclaimed for its cutting-edge environmental science research. 

The institution is currently ranked 182nd in the world based on the Times Higher Education world universities ranking.

The University of East Anglia requires a minimum IELTS band score of 5.5 in all four components at the undergraduate level and a minimum band score of 6.0 at the postgraduate level.

26. University of Leicester

The University of Leicester was established in 1921 to memorialize those who lost their lives and fought in the first world war. The University is committed to making a difference and contributing towards attaining the Sustainable Development Goals through its teaching, research, and operations. 

With students and staff from more than 100 countries worldwide,  the University is ranked 185th in the world on the Times Higher Education world universities ranking.

The University of Leicester requires a minimum IELTS band score of 6.0 in all four undergraduate and postgraduate components.

27. Cardiff University

Cardiff University is a public research university located in Cardiff, Wales. The institution offers a wide range of programs ranging from engineering and science to management, humanities, and social sciences. 

It is the only University in Wales to join the Russell Group of research-intensive British universities. The University also ranks 189th in the world based on the Times Higher Education world universities ranking.

Cardiff University requires a minimum IELTS band score of 5.5 in all four components at the undergraduate and postgraduate levels.

When ranking universities worldwide, there are two major institutions whose rankings are widely accepted:

Where do UK Universities Stand According to Times Higher Education Ranking?

The Times Higher Education ranking has been providing performance data on universities worldwide since 2004. The rankings cover the three major areas of university activity, which are:

  • Research: The institution judges institutions based on their learning environment, research volume and reputation, research influence, and international outlook.
  • Impact: The institution assesses universities against the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals and their progress towards delivering them.
  • Teaching: This aspect of the ranking focuses on student engagement and student success in universities.

  Times Higher Education World University Rankings in 2022 

World Ranking  Name of Educational InstitutionIELTS Minimum Requirement  (Undergraduate)IELTS Minimum Requirement (Postgraduate)
1University of Oxford7.07.5
5University of Cambridge7.07.5
12Imperial College London6.56.5
18University College London6.56.5
27London School of  Economics and Political Science7.07.0
30University of Edinburgh6.57.0
35Kings College London7.07.0
50University of Manchester6.06.0
78University of Warwick6.06.5
86University of Glasgow6.07.0
92University of Bristol6.06.0
105University of  Birmingham6.06.5
110  University of Sheffield6.06.5
117Queen Mary University of London6.06.5
122Lancaster University6.06.5
124University of Southampton6.56.5
127University of Leeds6.06.5
143University of Exeter6.57.0
146Newcastle University6.56.5
151University of Sussex6.06.0
158University of Aberdeen6.06.5
162Durham University6.06.5
169University of York6.56.0
178University of Liverpool6.56.5
182University of East Anglia6.06.5
185University of Leicester6.56.5
189University of Bath7.06.5

Where do UK Universities Stand According to Quacquarelli Symonds University Rankings?

Popularly known as the QS Rankings, this institution has independently provided world universities rankings since 2010.

The QS ranking comprises six parts, which are:

  •  Academic Reputation
  •  Employer Reputation
  • Faculty/Student Ratio
  • Citations per faculty
  • International Faculty Ratio
  • International Student Ratio

QS World University Rankings 2022

World RankName of Educational InstitutionIELTS Minimum Requirement(Undergraduate)IELTS Minimum Requirement(Postgraduate)
2University of Oxford7.07.0
3University of Cambridge7.07.0
7Imperial College London6.56.5
8University College London6.56.5
16University of Edinburgh6.57.0
27University of Manchester6.06.0
35Kings College London7.07.0
49London School of Economics and Political Science7.07.0
61University of Warwick6.06.5
62University of Bristol6.06.0
73University of Glasgow6.07.0
77University of Southampton6.56.5
82Durham University6.06.5
90University of Birmingham6.06.5
91University of St Andrews7.07.0
92University of Leeds6.06.0
95University of Sheffield6.06.5
103University of Nottingham6.06.0
117Queen Mary University of London6.06.5
132Lancaster University6.06.5
134Newcastle University6.56.5
149University of Exeter6.57.0
151University of York6.56.0
151Cardiff University6.56.5
166University of Bath7.06.5
189University of Liverpool6.56.5
202University of Reading7.06.5
205University of Aberdeen6.06.5

Frequently Asked Questions About IELTS Scores for UK Universities? 

What If I Cannot Meet the IELTS Requirements?

If you do not meet the minimum IELTS requirements for your institution, you can still submit your application before the language requirement is met. In most cases, the university admission will form a condition on the offer sent to you, and you will be required to meet the condition before you arrive at the University. Candidates who fall under this category may also be advised to take a pre-sessional course designed to improve their English command.

How Long Is My IELTS Result Valid For?

The IELTS results are valid for two years. However, if a candidate can prove that they have actively maintained or improved their English, they may be exempt. The IELTS Partners cannot confirm the validity of test results that are more than two years old.

Where Can I Take the IELTS Exam?

Since the test is globally recognized, test centers are widely available. A visit to the IELTS official website will give you information about test centers near you, as well as precise upcoming exam dates and times.

How Soon Will I Receive My Test Results?

The IELTS test center will post your test result 13 days after you sit for the test. Test centers have also started sending results via email or SMS for convenience. You should keep your test result as you are only entitled to one copy.



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