An International English Language Testing System (IELTS) score is one of the most important admission requirements for top universities in the UK. It is a standardized language assessment test used by universities worldwide to assess the language skills of their prospective international students. However, international students can also study in the UK without IELTS. 

Students who studied from schools where English was the primary medium of instruction can apply for UK universities without an IELTS score. Certain UK universities also consider the X and XII English marks or may conduct their own interviews to assess the language skills of the applicants. Alternatively, international students can take other language assessment tests such as TOEFL, PTE Academic to study in the UK without IELTS. Students with average English communication skills can also opt for pre-sessional English courses that will help them adapt to the new educational system.

International students can also apply for a study visa in the UK without IELTS. In place of the IELTS score, the applicant can submit a document from the respective university that states that he/ she is eligible to apply for a visa. The British High Commission allows students with “Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies” (CAS) issued by the respective UK institution to apply for a UK student visa. 

How to Study in the UK Without IELTS?

IELTS is the standardized English language assessment test used by most universities in the world. This test consists of four sections of reading, writing, listening, and speaking. An aggregate score of all four sections is used to prove English proficiency for admission to UK universities. Given below are some alternative options for international students to study in the UK without IELTS:

  • UK universities accept students who studied in schools that had English as the primary medium of instruction. This can be shown as proof of English language proficiency. Several UK universities also accept this as proof based on the other scores obtained in the English medium schools
  • Certain UK universities consider the 10th and 12th English marks to assess the language skills of the applicants. Students should ensure that they have at least 70% in final exams to be considered by primary universities in the UK
  • Many UK universities conduct their own interviews to assess the language skills of the applicants. Online interviews are conducted as a part of the admissions process to analyze the English language skills of the applicants
  • International students can also take other language assessment tests such as TOEFL, PTE Academic, etc instead of IELTS to prove language proficiency. Having good scores in other English language proficiency tests help students to study in the UK without IELTS
  • The applicant can also choose to enroll in a pre-sessional English course that can help them adapt to the new educational system. The pre-sessional courses are university-specific and will help the students to gain the required language skills along with the needed classroom skills. International students, especially those with a lack of English communication skills can opt for foundational or pre-sessional English courses.

Top Universities to Study in the UK without IELTS

The UK is home to several top-ranking universities in the world offering degree programs in various disciplines such as medicine, engineering, arts, business, and more. Most of these universities require an IELTS score for admission to prove the English language proficiency of the applicants. However, certain universities offer international students an opportunity to study in the UK without IELTS. Listed below are some of the best universities to study in the UK without IELTS for Indian students 2020:

  1. University of Warwick
  2. Birmingham City University
  3. University of Bristol
  4. London South Bank University
  5. Northumbria University
  6. University of Bolton
  7. University of Northampton
  8. University of Plymouth
  9. University of Portsmouth
  10. Aston University

University of Warwick

The University of Warwick is one of the top universities in the UK offering undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral degrees to students from 147+ countries around the world. It offers courses in the fields of arts, science, engineering, medicine, social sciences, and more. The University of Warwick has now approved some additional English language tests in place of IELTS to meet English language conditions such as TOEFL iBT Special Home Edition, LangCert (for postgraduate courses), and Duolingo (for Pre-sessional English language course and postgraduate courses). Listed below are the other basic admission requirements at the University of Warwick for international students:

  • Official academic transcripts
  • English language proficiency test scores such as TOEFL/ DET/ CEP/ CEA
  • SAT/ ACT scores
  • Proof of financial support
  • Letters of recommendation
  • GRE/ GMAT score for MBA admissions
  • Personal statement
  • CV/ Resume
  • Work experience, for MBA applicants

Birmingham City University

Birmingham City University is known for its student-focused education in a friendly and professional environment and offers 400 bachelor’s, master’s, and Ph.D. programs through its 4 faculties of Business, Law and Social Studies, Art, Design and Media, Health, Education and Life Sciences and Computing, Engineering and Built Environment. International students who demonstrate proficiency in English are offered admission in various degree programs. Listed below are the other admission requirements at Birmingham City University for international students:

  • Official academic transcripts
  • Other academic certificates
  • Letters of recommendation
  • Portfolio
  • Passport copy
  • English language proficiency test scores

University of Bristol

The University of Bristol is a public research university and the first higher education institution in England to admit women on an equal basis to men. It is globally recognized for its courses in the fields of clinical medicine, arts, public health, and more. Students without a required level of English proficiency scores are offered to take a pre-sessional language course offered by the University of Bristol. Listed below are the other admission requirements at the University of Bristol for international students:

  • Official academic transcripts of high school/ college
  • Letters of recommendation
  • English language proficiency test scores
  • CV/ Resume
  • Visa/ Passport copy
  • Statement of purpose
  • Proof of financial support
  • ACT/ SAT, GMAT/ GRE scores

London South Bank University

London South Bank University also called LSBU is globally recognized for its quality education offered to both domestic and international students from 130 countries around the world. It offers foundation, undergraduate, graduate, continuing professional development, short courses, and research and doctorate courses in various fields of study like computing, business, health, and social care, etc. LSBU accepts other English proficiency test scores in place of an IELTS score from Indian students. Listed below are the other admission requirements at London South Bank University for international students:

  • Fully completed application form
  • Official academic transcripts from high school/ college
  • English language proficiency test scores
  • Personal statement
  • Passport copy
  • Work experience
  • Bank statements as proof of financial support
  • Other country-specific admission requirements

Northumbria University

Northumbria University is a research-rich, business-oriented institute with a global reputation for academic excellence. It offers over 400 undergraduate and graduate programs in disciplines such as business, computer science, engineering, and more. Northumbria University has a pre-sessional English program for students who do not meet the English language requirements through tests such as IELTS, TOEFL, etc. Listed below are the other admission requirements at Northumbria University for international students:

  • GCSE or equivalent score
  • English language proficiency test scores
  • Letters of recommendation
  • Statement of purpose
  • Portfolio, if applicable
  • Interview, if required
  • UCAS tariff points

University of Bolton

The University of Bolton is a public university that offers degree programs and research opportunities to students from all over the world. It is known for its industry-relevant teachings and vocationally focused degree programs in the fields of management, engineering, and more. The University of Bolton offers admission to international students without an IELTS score. Listed below are the other admission requirements at the University of Bolton for international students:

  • English language proficiency
  • Official academic transcripts
  • Reference letter

University of Northampton

The University of Northampton is one of the youngest public universities in the UK offering a wide range of undergraduate and graduate programs to students belonging to different nationalities. It offers courses in the study areas such as business, law, arts, science, and more. The University of Northampton accepts other English language proficiency test scores such as IELTS, PTE Academic instead of an IELTS score for admissions. Listed below are the other admission requirements at the University of Northampton for international students:

  • A completed application form
  • English language proficiency test scores
  • Mathematics, Natural Science, History & English subjects opted in high school
  • Reference letters
  • Statement of purpose
  • Official transcripts
  • Letters of recommendation

University of Plymouth

The University of Plymouth is a civic university that offers undergraduate and graduate courses in various disciplines like management, finance, medicine, etc. It offers admission to students from all over the world without an IELTS score in various degree programs. Listed below are the other admission requirements at the University of Plymouth for international students:

  • High school certificate/ Indian School Certificate/All India Senior School Certificate Examination with at least 60%
  • English language proficiency test scores
  • Proof of financial support
  • Letter of recommendation
  • Official academic transcripts

University of Portsmouth

The University of Portsmouth is a public research institution that offers a range of undergraduate and postgraduate programs to students from over 150 countries around the world. Some of the popular courses are offered in the areas of business administration, health, engineering, etc. The University of Portsmouth offers pre-sessional English courses or foundation courses to international students. Listed below are the other admission requirements at the University of Portsmouth for international students:

  • A completed application form
  • Statement of purpose
  • Official academic transcripts
  • Reference letters
  • English language proficiency test scores

Aston University

Aston University is a public university home to more than 3,000 international students from 120 different countries around the world. It offers 109 undergraduate and 97 graduate courses through its different academic schools in the fields of business, medicine, engineering, etc. Aston University does not mandatorily require an IELTS score for admission to various degree programs. Listed below are the other admission requirements at Aston University for international students:

  • Official academic transcripts from all previously attended institutions
  • High School Diploma/ Higher/Senior Secondary School certificate
  • Letters of recommendation
  • Reference letter
  • Personal statement
  • Letter of financial support
  • English proficiency test score
  • Passport copy
  • Health insurance copy
  • Foreign Transcript Evaluation
  • Work experience, if applicable


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