International prospective students

English language

Our Sussex Centre for Language Studies can help you prepare for university study in the UK and provide support while you study, so that you get the most out of your degree.

Sussex Centre for Language Studies

The Sussex Centre for Language Studies (SCLS), at the heart of the campus, is the University's hub for English language teaching. It is a founder member of QuiTE (The Association for Quality in TESOL Education). It's also home to a friendly and diverse international student community.

English language entry requirements

If your first language is not English, you will normally be required to pass an English language test, such as IELTS or PTE, to study at Sussex. You can find the English requirements for your course in our study with us pages (under 'entry requirements').  The level of English required varies by subject and level of study and is expressed in IELTS terms but the link below gives a list of commonly accepted equivalencies.

 

IELTS

Sussex’s English language requirements are expressed in terms of IELTS in the individual course details in our Undergraduate and Postgraduate Prospectuses. We have three levels, depending on the course applied for:

                   Higher                            Standard                        Lower
A small number of degrees have a requirement of IELTS 7.0 overall with at least 6.5 in each component (note that the BM BS in Medicine requires IELTS 7.5 overall with at least 7.0 in each component) The requirement for most undergraduate and postgraduate degrees is IELTS 6.5 overall with at least 6.0 in each component                                    

For postgraduate degrees in Mathematics & Physics and the PG Diploma in International Teacher Education the requirement is IELTS 6.0 overall with at least 6.0 in each component                  

Pearson Academic English (PTE academic)

We recognise PTE academic as below

                    Higher                 Standard                     Lower
67 overall, including at least 62 in all four skills 62 overall, including at least 56 in all four skills

56 overall, including at least 56 in all four skills

Please refer to the section “Our English language requirements” above and either the Undergraduate or Postgraduate Prospectus to find the appropriate English level for the course you are applying for.

PTE (Academic) scores are valid for two years from the test date; your score must be valid when you begin your Sussex course. You cannot combine scores from more than one sitting of the test. For more information about PTE (Academic) please see the Pearson website.

TOEFL (iBT)
                   Higher                  Standard                        Lower
95 overall, including at least 22 in Listening, 23 in Reading, 23 in Speaking, 24 in Writing 88 overall, including at least 20 in Listening, 19 in Reading, 21 in Speaking, 23 in Writing

80 overall, including at least 19 in Listening, 19 in Reading, 21 in Speaking, 21 in Writing

Please refer to the section “Our English language requirements” under the equvalencies link above and either the Undergraduate or Postgraduate Prospectus to find the appropriate English level for the course you are applying for.

TOEFL (iBT) scores are valid for two years from the test date; your score must be valid when you begin your Sussex course. You cannot combine scores from more than one sitting of the test. For more information about TOEFL (iBT) please see the ETS website.

The TOEFL Institution Code for the University of Sussex is 9166.

Pre-sessional English courses

If you have not met the English language requirement for your programme, you may need to complete a pre-sessional English language course before starting your degree. Pre-sessional courses focus on English for academic purposes and study skills. You will learn comprehension for lectures and seminars, critical reading skills, note taking, academic writing and key study skills (including citation and referencing). A pre-sessional course will also prepare you for the culture and practice of studying in the UK, so you can really fulfill your potential.

At Sussex, we run several pre-sessional courses. The table below shows how many weeks you need, based on the gap between your current IELTS level and the English language requirement for your course at Sussex. We also offer some extended pre-sessional courses, for all relevant course dates and fees, refer to pre-sessional English on the SCLS website.

IELTS gapPre-sessional required
Overall 0.5 below requirement
(with no band more than 1.0 below overall requirement)
Five weeks
Overall 1.5 below requirement 
(with no band more than 1.5 below overall requirement)
Please note, we cannot accept students with any single band score below 5.0
Ten weeks
More than 1.5 below requirement in any band or overall or any band below 5.0 Enquire about Extended Pre-sessional
Integrated and standard pre-sessional offers

You will receive an integrated offer for your pre-sessional if you are:

  • a postgraduate student,
  • have met the language requirements for a five-week or ten-week pre-sessional, and
  • have met the academic requirements for your degree.

This means you can apply for one student visa to cover the entire duration of your study (combining the Pre-sessional and the degree). If you attend the whole course, complete all the work set, and take all the assessments you are guaranteed to progress onto your postgraduate course.

If you do not meet the requirements above, you will receive a standard offer. This means you will need to extend your visa at the end of the Pre-sessional.

For further advice, see the SCLS information on progression to your degree.

In-sessional English (while you study)

Academic development support is free if you are completing a full degree at Sussex. Our friendly, highly qualified staff teach a range of classes in English language and study skills, covering subjects such as:

  • note-taking,
  • summarising and paraphrasing,
  • essay writing,
  • paragraphing,
  • referencing and writing a bibliography,
  • introductions and conclusions, and
  • advanced language skills.
Other English language courses

Whether or not you are a Sussex degree student, you can join SCLS all year round for a range of other English language courses, including:

  • Pre-sessional English preparation
  • Summer at Sussex
  • General English
  • Intensive English
  • English examination preparation
  • English Language Teaching