Improve your English

Four students chatting with each other

The UK is the home of the English language, so there is no better place for you to master your English skills.

English is spoken by over 95 per cent of the population in the UK, so you'll be surrounded by the language here, learning faster and using your language skills in real-life settings. When you learn English in the UK, you will learn about all the different accents, phrases and vocabulary. And by immersing yourself in the English language, you’ll find studying your chosen course simpler and more beneficial.

English language courses for everyone

English language courses can prepare you for a university course in the UK, help you to go further in your career and improve your confidence.

There are British Council accredited English language centres all over the UK. With high standards of teaching and support, you can progress quickly and practice speaking English with other learners from around the world.

You can find more information about studying English in the UK on the English with Confidence website.

Improve your English before starting a UK university degree

The minimum English language level required to study for an undergraduate or postgraduate degree is upper intermediate.

Different universities accept different exams as evidence of an applicant’s English language level. You should check on the university’s website before you book a test to find out what results you need. Your course may require a specific test result for the different language skills: writing, reading, listening and speaking.

If you do not meet the English language requirements for your degree, there are options for improving your English in the UK before you study. Read more about the different options and courses available to you below.

Visa requirements for English language courses

Everyone can study in the UK for up to six months as a visitor. This means many students, including students from European Union member countries, Japan, South Korea, Brazil, Argentina, Mexico and more, can study a short English language course without a visa.

Some nationalities need to apply for a standard visitor visa if they want to do a short course. You can check if you will need a visa on the English with Confidence website.

For courses longer than six months, all international students need to apply for a visa before travel. There are two student visas available:

  • Short-term (English language) study visa allows you to study an English language course for between six and 11 months.
  • A student visa is required if you want to study English for more than 11 months, or any other subject for more than six months.

If you want to study an undergraduate, postgraduate, foundation or pathway course, you need a student visa. You must take your course at an institution with a student sponsor license.

You can find clear information on the visa requirements for English language courses on the English with Confidence website.

Find an English language course

You can book your English language course directly through a school, or through a study abroad agency in your home country.

English language schools and agents can help you book your:

  • English language course
  • Accommodation
  • Airport transfers
  • Travel insurance
  • Additional activities and excursions

You can view a list of all British Council accredited centres in the UK.

English in Britain is an award-winning service guiding students and agents to the websites of accredited English language course providers in England, Scotland and Wales. The course finder contains profiles of subscriber organisations and their courses.

Special care for young learners

When language centres are accredited by the British Council for the teaching of English, they have robust safeguarding procedures to ensure the wellbeing and protection of all children and teenagers under 18 years old.

Young learners are always supervised by trained staff during their stay in the UK: in the classroom, at their accommodation, during organised activities, and during the students’ free time.

Other relevant websites

English with Confidence

British Council English language accredited centres

English in Britain

British Council Learn English

More in this section

Postgraduate study

Studying for a postgraduate degree in the UK can transform your career, with many courses taking just one year to complete.

Undergraduate study

Get started in your academic career with a UK undergraduate degree.

Studying for a degree outside the UK

A life-changing UK degree, yet closer to home. Learn more about studying for a UK degree in your home country.

Foundation pathway courses

Foundation pathway courses can help you improve your English skills and give you the confidence to start undergraduate or postgraduate study.

Boarding schools

A boarding school is a residential school where pupils live and study during the school year. Find out all you need to know about UK boarding schools.

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