English language proficiency requirement

Acceptance at faculties

Students planning to do undergraduate studies at Stellenbosch University (SU), must have an excellent command of writing, reading comprehension, listening and speaking. Completion of the Pre-academic level IEP course does NOT guarantee acceptance into any faculty or department at SU.

Postgraduate studies

International applicants are strongly advised to contact the respective faculties and/or departments at SU to enquire about additional application criteria such as the submission of either TOEFL or IELTS score or the required pass percentage of the IEP Pre-academic level.

Contact person: Cindy de Doncker (Postgraduate Office - cnm@sun.ac.za)

Table: The English language requirements for admission to Stellenbosch University postgraduate degree programmes.

English Language Requirements


CEF Level

Cambridge ESOL





PTE General

PTE Academic


Possible score







No language tuition required

C2 Proficient


8 – 9

96 - 110

243 - 270

90 - 100

Level 5


Support Language tuition may be required




6.5 - 7.5

79 – 95

213- 240

75 - 89

Level 4

76 - 84

Language Tuition is required



Lower than 6.5

Lower than 79

Lower than 213

Lower than 75

Lower than level 4

Lower than 76

The minimum English language proficiency requirements for acceptance to University courses are:

  • 6.5 IELTS band (minimum 6 at all bands)
  • 550 TOEFL paper based / 79 TOEFL iBT / 213 TOEFL CBT

Language proficiency test:

If you are unsure of your level, a language proficiency test can be taken at the Language Centre. The proficiency test is recommended to the following students

  •  those who have an IELTS score of LESS than 6.5.
  • those who are unable to submit IELTS or TOEFL result dated within two years prior to application.
  • those referred by the Stellenbosch University International (SUI) and Postgraduate Office and/or Academic Departments. The SUI, Postgraduate Office and/or Academic Departments reserve the right to refer a student for language testing at the Language Centre if there is any doubt about their English language proficiency.

Your language proficiency test costs R350 and can be taken at the Language Centre, 7 Bosman Street on Wednesdays at 14h30. Contact nluiters@sun.ac.za to book your test date.

*English for Academic Purposes (EAP) is recommended to students with an IELTS score of 6.5 – 7.5 to be taken concurrently with postgraduate studies.

**Intensive English Programme (IEP) is available for students with an IELTS score lower than 6.5. 

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