English Language Requirements

All students should be aware of the ETS Policy on English Language Entry Requirements, which is available here.

If English is not your native language, studying theology in the UK can make tough demands on your ability in English and there are national guidelines for the level of English needed to study in the UK (see below for details). You are required to have a certificate with a Secure English Language Test from any of the four recognised providers of SELT: IELTS (6.5 or above) SELT Consortium, LanguageCert (B2 or above) and Pearson and Trinity (at least within the UK) for validated Seminary courses. Please bear in mind that a IELTS certificate is only valid for two years. United Kingdom Visas and Immigration will not accept an older certificate for visa purposes. The Programme Application Form asks you to confirm this.

The application interview will involve oral communication which is designed to gauge competency in English. In addition, all international students for whom English is not a first language will be expected to provide a sample of their written work on request as part of the interview process.

If you wish to give yourself an informal test in English try this test. This will help you to gauge your level of ability in English.

If you are a Scottish resident, then you may be able to get funding to develop your use of English: See the ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages) website. There it states “that all Scottish residents for whom English is not a first language have the opportunity to access high-quality English language provision so that they can acquire the language skills to enable them to participate in Scottish life: in the workplace, through further study, within the family, the local community, Scottish society and the economy. These language skills are central to giving people a democratic voice and supporting them to contribute to the society in which they live.”

Pre-sessional training in English may also be provided by institutions like Basil Paterson College or Edinburgh College. Both of these offer English language courses specifically for those in training for, or shortly to begin, English-medium training. Daily, individual and small group classes in English are offered, to develop all language skills in an English-only community environment alongside native speakers. There are formal lessons in phonetics, grammar, conversational and written English. Courses are extremely flexible and can be taken full or part-time from as little as one month to a full academic year. Students can take Cambridge and IELTS examinations as required.

The University of Glasgow which validates our BTh and MTh courses also makes such provision for international students (see here for more information).

However, if you require such pre-sessional training in English, as a non-Scottish resident, you will have to make provision of this yourself and apply for a visa to study English through the UKVI. The Seminary is unable to offer you a place until your English is at the appropriate level, and all students are expected to achieve an IELTS score of 6.5 or B2 from one of the other SELT providers prior to entrance.

For more information see the International Students’ Handbook.

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