Admission criteria

University English language proficiency requirements

English language proficiency (ELP) is an admission requirement for all tertiary courses offered through UAC. However, most people – including those with an Australian Year 12 qualification – do not have to prove proficiency in English. If you do need to provide proof of your proficiency in English, this will be indicated in your application.

Qualifications that usually satisfy ELP

For most institutions, you do not need to provide proof of English language proficiency if you have an assessable qualification – undertaken in English – from one of the following countries. 

Note that some institutions may accept a different group of countries or have different qualification requirements: check institution-specific details.

  • American Samoa
  • Australia
  • Botswana
  • Canada
  • Fiji
  • Ghana
  • Guyana
  • Ireland
  • Jamaica
  • Kenya
  • Lesotho
  • Liberia
  • New Zealand
  • Nigeria
  • Papua New Guinea
  • Singapore
  • Solomon Islands
  • South Africa
  • Tonga
  • Trinidad and Tobago
  • United Kingdom
  • United States of America
  • Zambia
  • Zimbabwe

Assessable qualifications
from the countries listed above include:

  • senior secondary studies, comparable with the NSW HSC (including the IB Diploma or Bilingual Diploma)
  • one full year of Australian or comparable tertiary studies, including associate degree, bachelor degree and postgraduate studies
  • Australian non-award studies
  • tertiary preparation courses, including the NSW TAFE Tertiary Preparation Certificate (TPC), with a full-time equivalence of one year.

Being born in Australia or one of the countries listed above doesn't automatically pass you for ELP. You must also have at least one of the assessable qualifications listed.

The following qualifications may also be accepted as satisfying English language proficiency if you were born in and undertook the qualification in one of the countries listed above:

  • AQF qualifications: AQF Certificate III or IV, diploma or advanced diploma (or equivalent)
  • Special Tertiary Admissions Test (STAT)
  • professional registration/qualification (eg nursing, trade, CPA).

Additional qualifications and tests accepted by each institution

Each institution specifies additional qualifications it will accept as proof of English language proficiency. Use the links below to view individual institution requirements.

If your ELP test or qualification is not included in the list of general assessable qualifications or an institution’s list of additional ELP qualifications, write to the Admissions Office at each institution to which you’re applying. Include supporting documentation so that the acceptability of your test or qualification can be determined. Do not send this information to UAC – we cannot make decisions about your English proficiency on behalf of institutions.

English language proficiency tests

There are a number of English language proficiency tests that are commonly accepted by institutions.

Check with your preferred institution to make sure it will accept the test results as proof of English language proficiency for the course you want to study. Include details of your proposed test in the English language proficiency question in your UAC application and submit it. Provide UAC with evidence of your results as soon as you receive them.

The commonly accepted English proficiency tests are:

Requirements for nursing and midwifery courses

Before you can start studying to become a registered nurse, the Australian Nursing and Midwifery Accreditation Council requires you to demonstrate a high level of English language proficiency. You will be asked to prove this as part of the application process.

When you graduate and apply for registration as a nurse or a midwife in Australia, you will also need to meet the English language skills registration standard of the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia.

How to demonstrate English language proficiency when you apply for nursing

Australian Government requirements

The Australian Government has separate English language requirements for students applying for student visas from some countries. For more information, visit the Department of Home Affairs website.