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English Requirements

Evidence of English Proficiency is essential for the rigorous assessment process that is undertaken by the HDR Support team and Faculties. As research degrees require a level of sophistication and confidence with regard to the English language, particularly in the bands of writing and reading, language proficiency is just as an important qualifier as a research proposal.

There are three categories in which applicants may demonstrate English language proficiency to a level that meets admission requirements. Applicants who do not meet English language proficiency as specified in the three categories may be eligible for entry to an English language pathway program (details below).

The University reserves the right to request that the applicant undertakes an English test in addition to any other evidence of English proficiency provided.

Category One

Applicants are deemed to meet the English language requirements if they achieve the requisite recognised English language test results.

Evidence of English proficiency is valid for a period of two years from the date of the test, except for TOEFL where results are valid for a period of 18 months from the date of the test.

The University accepts Academic IELTS, TOEFL-iBT, PTE Academic and CAE: A1 Advanced testing instruments as appropriate to the level of academic English proficiency required for HDR courses.

Minimum scores in IELTS and TOEFL tests required to meet HDR English language requirements are outlined in the table below.

Minimum English Proficiency for Admission to a Higher Degree by Research Course


IELTS Academic


PTE AcademicCAE: C1
General minimum entry requirement

Overall ≥ 6.5

Each band ≥ 6.0

Overall ≥ 79

Each band ≥ 16         

Overall ≥ 58

Each band ≥ 50

Overall ≥ 176

Each band ≥ 169

PhD Clinical Psychology Overall ≥  7.0          Overall ≥ 94 Overall ≥ 65 Overall ≥ 185

Category Two

Applicants may be deemed to meet English language requirements:

If they were born in Australia, Botswana, Canada, Fiji, Ghana, Guyana, Ireland, Jamaica, Kenya, Lesotho, Liberia, New Zealand, Nigeria, Papua New Guinea, Samoa (American, Independent State), Singapore, Solomon Islands, South Africa, Tonga, Trinidad & Tobago, United Kingdom (including Northern Ireland), United States of America, Zambia or Zimbabwe and

  1. have at least one tertiary qualification from one of the countries or territories listed above; and
  2. the language of instruction and assessment of the qualification was English.

Previous study under this category does not expire and will be valid for any period of time following completion, as evidence of English proficiency.

Category Three

Applicants may be deemed to meet English language requirements if they:

  1. have completed two years (full time equivalent) study at Bachelor level in one of the countries listed in Category Two, where the language of instruction and assessment was English; or
  2. have completed a postgraduate qualification equivalent to an Australian Master degree in one of the countries listed in Category Two, where the language of instruction and assessment was English.

This previous study is valid as evidence of English proficiency for a period of two years from the date of completion of the qualification.

For both admission and scholarship purposes you may require an Academic IELTS or TOEFL test, for visa purposes you may require an Academic IELTS test. Please check with your local Australian embassy or visit the immigration website: //

English language pathway programs

Applicants who have provided an English language proficiency test that does not meet the minimum standards required may be made an offer of admission conditional on English, or a packaged offer that includes admission to an Academic English course taught by University of Canberra College.