English language requirements

As our programmes are taught and assessed in English, applicants must be able to prove their level of English language ability as part of the application process. This should be shown through one of the following means:

1. You are from a majority English speaking country or have completed a qualification equivalent to a UK degree from a majority English speaking country as defined by UK Visas & Immigration (UKVI). View UKVI Majority English speaking countries here.

2. You have successfully completed a degree from a UK University where all study has taken place at an overseas campus in a non-majority English speaking country as defined by the UKVI, then we will consider this on a case-by-case basis. Our decision will be made on a variety of factors including length of study, level of study, subject relevance, nature of degree and time since graduation (ideally no longer than two academic years).

3. You have passed one of the following English Language Tests at the levels indicated (we will need to verify the results of the test and as such you will need to upload your original certificate as part of the application process).

Test Foundation Entry Undergraduate Entry Postgraduate Entry
IELTS Academic 5.0 6.0 6.5
IELTS Indicator 5.0 6.0 6.5
PTE Academic 44-49 50-57 with 51 in each component 58-64
TOEFL ibt 70 78 including reading 18, listening 17, speaking 20 and writing 20 90
Cambridge (new) 162-168 169-175 176-184
Cambridge (old) FCE (grade C) FCE (grade B) FCE (grade A) or CAE (grade C)
Trinity ISE II   Pass in all components Pass in all components
LanguageCert   B2 Communicator – High Pass overall with a Pass in each component B2 Communicator – High Pass overall with a Pass in each component

Please note:

  • There are some exceptions, such as for our Translating and Interpreting programmes, which require higher level equivalent to an IELTS of 6.5 for undergraduate programmes and 7.0 for postgraduate programmes. Our Actuarial Mathematics and Statistics programmes require higher level equivalent to an IELTS of 6.5 for undergraduate programmes.
  • The test should have been passed within two years of the enrolment date of the degree for which you are applying.
  • In relation to TOEFL ibt, we do not accept myBest or Superscore results
  • Where tests include individual element scores, minimum scores must be achieved in one sitting
  • We do not accept Duolingo

4. Successful completion of one of our Pre-Sessional English Language Programmes within one year and one month of the enrolment date of the degree programme for which you are applying.

5. Successful completion of another UK University Pre-Sessional English Language course, based within the UK and which has BALEAP accreditation. This course must have been completed within one year of the enrolment date of the degree programme for which you are applying. It is your responsibility to prove that the mark you have obtained is a pass and would enable you to continue your studies at the UK University at which the English programme was taught.

6. Successful completion of a UK University Pre-masters qualification. This course must have been completed within one year of the enrolment date of the degree programme for which you are applying. It is your responsibility to prove that the mark you have obtained is a pass and would enable you to continue your studies at the UK University at which the pre-masters was taught.

7. Successful completion of one of the following School level English Language qualifications within 5 years of the enrolment date for your proposed degree programme with us.

Country Qualification Minimum English Language Grade
Global GCE A or AS level - English C
Global GCE O level - English C or 4
Global International Baccalaureate SL4 or HL4
Ghana WAEC/WASSCE C6
Nigeria WAEC/WASSCE C6
India Standard XII when awarded by SSCE or CESCE exam boards only 75%
Global European Baccalaureate 7
Botswana Botswana General Certificate of Secondary Education (BGCSE) 6
Germany Arbitur Year 12 12
Kenya Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education C
Norway Vitnemol (VVO) 4
Pakistan Intermediate Certificate/High School Certificate 75%

8. For Postgraduate students: If you have met the above school level English Language qualifications but did so between 6-10 years ago, we will accept an official letter from the university at which you studied your undergraduate degree stating that the language of instruction and assessment for your degree was English. To do this you must have graduated within 2 academic years of the enrolment date for your proposed Heriot-Watt degree programme. If you graduated more than 2 academic years ago, in exceptional circumstances we will consider a letter from your employer confirming English is the language of the workplace. In this case, your employer must be a verifiable, international company or government agency, the letter must come from your employer’s HR department or line manager and the signatory of the letter must be contactable. 

9. In relation to point 8, where proof of English may be inconclusive or when it is not possible to contact the signatory, the University, at its discretion, reserves the right to ask postgraduate applicants to take an in-house English test or other appropriate assessment to confirm English level. 

10. The University has the right to call students for a pre-CAS interview at its discretion.