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English language requirements

English language requirements

If English is not your first language or if the language of instruction for your first degree is not English, we ask you to provide evidence of your command of English. The most common qualifications are the IELTS| or TOEFL| tests. You do not need to have the required marks when you apply, but they would form a condition of any offer that you received, and would have to be achieved before your arrival at LSE. In each case we require the test of English for Academic Purposes. Your test should be no more than two years old by 1 October in the year you intend to start your programme. Other tests may be acceptable if you have already taken them, but conditions attached to offers will be set as required scores in either the IELTS or TOEFL. If you are entering the UK on a student visa (tier 4), your language test scores must meet not just LSE's requirements, but also those of the UK Border Authority (UKBA). Please note that test scores must be achieved from one sitting of the relevant qualification. We will not accept individual component scores from multiple tests.

  • PLEASE NOTE: Following concerns about the security of tests administered by ETS, UK Visas & Immigration has suspended the consideration of all applications for temporary and indefinite leave to remain where the customer relies on tests administered by ETS to prove their English language ability. This includes the TOEFL. This refers to applications from people who are already in the UK only: For individuals who are both applying for a visa and testing outside the UK there is no change. 
  • UK Visas & immigration have set up a helpline to assist people with a pending visa application who are relying on a test certificate or who were about to apply with such a certificate. These people may call +44 (0) 114 207 3463 if they have any further questions relating to this issue. LSE's advice is to take the IELTS if you have not already taken your English test. We will continue to monitor the situation and official guidance issued by UKVI.


The minimum requirements are listed below. You may need additional language instruction before you register in order to be confident that you can participate fully in your programme. Experience has shown that students who are fully proficient in English are best placed to make the most of all that LSE has to offer, both academically and socially. The LSE Language Centre| offers courses in English for Academic Purposes (EAP) to support you both prior to and during your studies. 


The following qualifications are acceptable to LSE:

  • GCSE English Language with a grade B or better.
  • IGCSE Grade B or better, plus the Speaking and Listening coursework component OR
    Grade B or better, plus grade 2 in the optional speaking test OR
    Grade B or better, plus proof that you have been instructed in the medium of English for the past 5 years ^ 
  • International English Language Testing Service (IELTS) academic test with a score of 7.0 in all four components.
  • Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) with a minimum score of 627 in the paper test including 5.5 in writing and 50 in TSE, or 107 in the internet based test with a minimum of 25 out of 30 in each of the four skills.
  • Cambridge Certificate of Proficiency in English (CPE) with grade C or better.
  • Cambridge Advanced Certificate of English (CAE) with a grade B or better.
  • Cambridge English Language (1119) conducted overseas by the University of Cambridge Local Examinations Syndicate: B4 or better.
  • O level (1120 Brunei, 1125 Mauritius A, 1127 Singapore) grade B or better.
  • Singapore Integrated Programme (IP) Secondary 4 English Language grade B or better. 

    ^ If an applicant is offering IGCSE in English as a First Language without the optional component (as above), and has been educated in the medium of English during their five most recent years of study (prior to 1 October 2014), then we will accept the qualification as sufficient evidence of English language proficiency.


If students are offering the International Baccalaureate, they would not require one of the English Language qualifications above, provided they achieve one of the following:

  • English A1 or A2 (any grade at Standard of Higher Level).
  • English B with the maximum score of 7 at Higher level.


If your previous degree has not been taught entirely in English, you will be required to provide evidence of your English language ability. There are standard and higher requirements, and you must check which applies to your programme. Research programmes and the Law Department have yet higher requirements. Please note that our standard requirements have increased slightly from 2013 entry.

  • Standard: 6.5 in IELTS (at least 6.0 in speaking and writing and 6.5 in reading and listening) or 100 in the internet-based TOEFL (at least 21 in writing, and 22 in reading and listening and 20 in speaking)
  • Higher: 7.0 in IELTS (at least 6.0 in speaking and writing and 6.5 in reading and listening) or 107 in the internet-based TOEFL (at least 21 in writing, 22 in listening and reading and 20 in speaking)
  • Law Department: 7.5 overall in IELTS (at least 7.0 in listening and writing, 6.5 in reading and 6.0 in speaking) or 109 in the internet-based TOEFL (at least 24 in listening, 25 in writing and 22 in  reading and 20 in speaking)
  • Research programmes: 7.0 overall in IELTS (at least 7.0 in writing and 6.5 in the other elements) or 107 in the internet-based TOEFL (at least 25 in the writing element and 22 in the other elements)

Other test scores may be acceptable if you have already obtained them. You should supply evidence of your English test with your application and if you are made an offer we will indicate whether we will accept your score or if we require one of the tests above. You may be required to achieve a higher score at the discretion of the selectors. If you have not yet taken any English test, we recommend that you take the IELTS test.