Admission criteria

University English language proficiency requirements

English language proficiency (ELP) is an admission requirement for most tertiary courses offered through UAC. However, most people – including those with an Australian Year 12 qualification – do not have to do anything extra to prove their proficiency. Their qualification will be used as evidence.

If you do need to provide evidence of your proficiency in English, this will be indicated in your application.

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 ELP details via the institution profiles.

  • American Samoa
  • Australia
  • Bahamas
  • Barbados
  • Botswana
  • Belize
  • Canada
  • Fiji
  • Ghana
  • Gibraltar
  • 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)
  • Skills for Tertiary Admissions Test (STAT)
  • professional registration/qualification (eg nursing, trade, CPA).

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.

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.

UAC will verify your results with your test provider before you are assessed as meeting the English language proficiency requirements.

The commonly accepted English proficiency tests are:

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

In your undergraduate application, you will see the following statement under each of your course preferences: Results pending – English language requirements.

You do not need to take any action in response to this statement.

All applicants born in non-English-speaking countries are required to provide proof of their English language proficiency, no matter how long they have lived in Australia. Your Year 12 qualification will provide this proof. Once you have received your ATAR (or IB Admissions Score) this statement will disappear.

If you don’t receive an ATAR (or IB Admissions Score), the institutions you have preferenced will assess your English language proficiency on a case-by-case basis. While they are doing this the following statement will be displayed under each of your preferences: Decision pending – English language requirements

If you apply for an early offer through the Schools Recommendation Scheme, you can still receive an offer before your Year 12 results are released. It is assumed that all applicants who receive an SRS offer will successfully complete Year 12.

Note that there are additional English language proficiency requirements for nursing and midwifery courses.

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.