I am a student from India, and have applied for some PhD positions in the UK. All the universities asked for scores of one English language proficiency test. Some of them had an option to request a wavier based on the fact that my school and college curricula were taught completely in English. Some others had an option I have planned to take an English language test, but haven't registered yet, so I chose that. The projects that I have applied for specifically mention that they need IELTS scores of 6.5 overall.

I want to wait until I get accepted and then take the test. Is this possible, or do I need to be ready with the test scores even before they pick me?

The reason I wish to wait is, if I don't get accepted anywhere, then the test would be just useless, with all the money going down the drain. Manchester, for instance, gave me a desk rejection stating "you do not have the academic qualifications for this program". If that happens in all cases, I will just lose money.

The field is accelerator physics, in case that matters.

  • 1
    For some places the score might be required to be considered. If you aren't considered, you can't be accepted. But ask them to be sure. I'd be surprised if India is any issue, especially for UK.
    – Buffy
    Jan 19 at 21:11
  • @Buffy Actually, I had emailed them, but received no reply. Jan 19 at 21:37

2 Answers 2


At my (UK) institution you can be made an offer conditional on meeting the language requirements. But you need to check with the institution you want to apply to. If the position is competitive (especially rare fully-funded positions covering international fees) your language ability may factor into the decision process. They may not want to take a chance on you not meeting the language requirements unless the rest of your application is exceptional.

Keep the timelines in mind though. You will need an unconditional offer to apply for a visa (ie have passed the IELTS exam meeting the University requirements). I believe you can complete the ATAS application (if needed) with only a conditional offer. The whole ATAS/visa application can take months depending on your situation. So depending on your intended start date this can be an issue.


The answer here depends on the processes of the particular university; many universities may be willing to accept (and possibly even assess) an incomplete application with a lanugage test still pending, but you should check the rules and procedures at the particular university/school you are applying to.

With regard to your broader problem, I note that you are motivated here by trying not to waste money on an unnecessary test. Whilst I appreciate the desire you cost savings, if you are considering postgraduate study in English-speaking countries then it is worth noting that a single test is probably going to be sufficient for all your applications and will probably maintain currency for a reasonable period of time. This is probably a reasonable upfront investment (if you are confident you can pass it) if you intend to continue making applications to English-speaking institutions.

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