Minimum English Language Requirements

Teaching in UCD is through the medium of English; therefore you must demonstrate a high level of competence in the English language to be admitted. UCD's minimum English language requirements are approved by the University Programmes Board and apply to all applicants and all levels of study.

Undergraduate Applicants: If you are presenting the Irish school leaving certificate you are required to have attained a H7/O6 in English. If you are presenting other examinations through English, you are required to have the specified equivalent. If you are studying in another education system you are required to show equivalent competency in English either through your school leaving examination or matriculation examination or by achieving the minimum standard in a recognised English language test, as outlined below.

Graduate Applicants: The qualifications shown below are minimum requirements for graduate taught and graduate research degrees. However, for some graduate courses the requirements may be higher. In some cases, other evidence may also be taken into account at the discretion of the school/Graduate Research Board, for example a degree taken through English, in an English-speaking country may be taken as proof of proficiency. Please contact the school to which you are applying if you need further information.

Currency of results: For all proficiency tests the results must normally have been issued within the last two years (i.e. for entry in September 2021, results must have been attained since 1 February 2019).

Single Sitting Rule: Applicants assessed on the results of a single sitting only - this means that the minimum requirements for all components must be met at the same time as the required overall score is attained.

Examining BodyRequirements


An average score of 6.5 over all components and a minimum of 6.0 in each band on the Academic Version. 

In 2021 we will accept IELTS indicator. We do not expect to continue to accept this for future years.


Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) 

  • A minimum score of 90 is required in the Internet based TOEFL (iBT) with no less than 21 in writing and at least 19 in every other section.

The TOEFL code for UCD is DI Code 0087

In 2021 we will accept TOEFL Home Edition. We do not expect to continue to accept this for future years.

Cambridge Examinations

English language examinations administered by the University of Cambridge: 176+ on Cambridge English scale (with no less than 169 in each skill and use of English)

Acceptable Examinations:

  • Proficiency Certificate, Grade C (i.e. CEFR Level C1 or C2).
  • Advanced Certificate, Grade C (i.e. CEFR Level C1 or C2)
  • First Certificate, Grade A (i.e. CEFR Level C1)


  • University of Cambridge Local Examinations Syndicate (UCLES): English at grade C or above (incorporating the Oxford Examining Body's English as a Foreign Language (Higher Paper)
  • (Malaysia) Cambridge English Language (1119) conducted overseas by the University of Cambridge Local Examinations Syndicate: B4 or better.

 UCD Pre-Sessional/Pre-Masters Programmes

Overall grade C+ with at least grade C- in all components.

UK Examining Boards/Bodies

  • GCE O-Level English Language at Grade C or above
  • GCSE English Language at Grade C or above
  • GCSE English Literature at Grade C or above

ETAPP English Test for Academic and Professional Purposes (ETAPP)

Grade C1 or better (i.e. CEFR Level C1 or C2)

Pearson English Language Text

Minimum of 63 and at least 59 for each item in the Communicative Skills section.

Trinity ISE

Trinity ISE 3 with at least merit in each skill category


Merit or Distinction in the level 5 modules "English as a Second language" or "Communications"

School Leaving Examinations

Matriculation/school-leaving examinations from most European Countries and many non-EU countries will meet the requirements where English is presented as a subject at an acceptable level. For example, in the International Baccalaureate English A1, A2 or B: 5 at Higher Level (4 @ either Level if presenting IB through English) will meet the requirement.

Where the examination has been taken more than 2 years previously candidates may be required to take a proficiency test.

Where an English proficiency test which is scored on the Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR) is presented as part of a school-leaving qualification, grade must be C1/C2.

Duolingo English Test (DET) –
Temporary measure for 2020  and 2021 ONLY
(response to Covid 19)

The minimum requirement will be a  DET score of 110 is required with at least 100 in each subscore. This test of English will be reviewed during 2021 and a decision taken as to whether it should continue to be acceptable.

An equivalent level of English

Other evidence of proficiency in English may be accepted, e.g. degree through English. For further advice please contact

For EU undergraduate applicants: UCD Admissions
For non-EU applicants: UCD Global
For graduate applicants: contact the school to which you are applying

Please note an interview may also be required  in addition to the minimum standards above, at the discretion of the Programme Board.

Entry Requirements

last edited May 2021