Study Abroad Without IELTS/TOEFL - USA, Canada, UK, and more

    Updated on: 27 Sep 2023

    For most students, the abroad education journey starts with a list of tests like the GRE, GMAT, IELTS, TOEFL, etc. While some test scores are necessary in order to secure a seat in a prestigious university, some can be skipped. 

    In this blog, we will expand on the various countries and universities where you can study without IELTS, TOEFL, or any other language proficiency tests. 

    Is it possible to study abroad without IELTS? 

    Studying in an abroad university usually requires students to take language proficiency tests to measure their ability to read, write, speak, and understand the English language. These tests form an essential parameter for admission to an abroad university, wherein a satisfactory score is a minimum requirement. Each school or university has its own pre-defined set of satisfactory marks that are required to be submitted along with the application. 

    Some students who are non-native English speakers find it difficult to attain satisfactory marks. Taking these tests repeatedly not only affects the motivation of the student, but it also proves to be an added expense in the study abroad list. Spending $180 every time you take the test, only to get a low score will surely discourage you from applying further. 

    It is a common doubt among the student body - whether test scores like TOEFL and IELTS are absolutely necessary to study abroad. To this, we say, no. 

    While many universities set the language proficiency tests as important criteria, there are still many that offer international students a chance to study without taking these tests. There is another route as well - Pathway programs.

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    What are Pathway programs? 

    Pathway programs are preparatory programs for international students to help them acquire certain skills, knowledge, and qualifications. These programs help students with necessary qualifications who are unable to qualify for bachelor’s or master’s courses. Many countries like Canada, Australia, offer Pathway programs to international students to meet the course requirements. 

    These programs last for one academic year with no degree at the end. But these programs offer you a chance to study English in your target country without having to sit for language proficiency tests. The main emphasis is on the academic language that will help students build strong English language skills. 

    However, if you do not wish to enroll in a Pathway program, you can choose a university that does not require any language proficiency scores. 

    Let’s look at some of the countries where you can study without IELTS - 

    Where can you study abroad without IELTS? 

    Countries where you can study without IELTS - 

    1. Canada
    2. Australia
    3. UK 
    4. EU except for the UK - Germany
    5. USA

    Study in Canada without IELTS 

    If you do not want to take the IELTS to study abroad, then Canada is the place for you. There are many universities where you can study without IELTS in Canada. Students are not required to submit the IELTS score if they have lived and attended a school, for at least four years, where the primary language is English. Some of the Canadian universities where you can study without IELTS are  - 

    However, if you want to apply for your Canadian student permit through the Student Direct System (SDS) then you will have to submit your IELTS score to be eligible for the SDS processing. You will have the option to apply for your student permit through the non-SDS route. 

    Study in Australia without IELTS

    Many Australian universities offer international students a chance to study in Australia without IELTS. If the education you previously received was in English, then the language requirements are waived. However, the previous institution will have to provide certain evidence to support your claim. Some universities where you can study without the IELTS are - 

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    Study in the United Kingdom without IELTS

    If you are planning to study in the UK, then English language skills are a must. Though, there are a few universities where the IELTS requirement is waived off, which means that you can study in the UK without the IELTS. Some of those universities are - 

    Study in the EU (except for the UK) without IELTS 

    There are a few universities in the European Union that allow international students to pursue their education without IELTS. However, students might have to submit some other proof of English language skills, such as - 

    • Received education in English medium during the five most recent years of study and offered English as a first language at the IGCSE (International General Certificate of Secondary Education) or O Level (Ordinary Level). 
    • The student can prove prior education was in English. The university will conduct an interview via Skype or telephone to judge the language skills of the student.
    • The IELTS requirement is also waived off if the student wants to study at the same university from where they got their first degree. 
    • Having a degree which has been solely taught in English 

    Study in Germany without IELTS

    Students can study abroad without IELTS, and Germany is one of the best countries to do so. There are many courses provided by the German universities where the IELTS/TOEFL requirement has been waived off. However, the students will have to keep these key points in minds while applying for admission to a German university without IELTS - 

    • The university will demand a Language/Medium of Instruction Certificate (MOI), which you need to get from your previous university.
    • Students who can prove that the medium of instruction was English in their previous education are also exempted from the IELTS. 
    • Certain courses like Bachelors in English Literature also exempt students from the language requirement. 
    • Some universities might conduct a video interview to judge the student’s language and communication skills. 

    Some universities that offer courses without the IELTS are - 

    • University of Siegen 
    • University of Kassel
    • Esslingen University of Applied Sciences
    • University of Kiel
    • Braunschweig University of Technology 
    • Free University of Berlin


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    Study in the USA without IELTS

    You can study abroad without TOEFL or IELTS if you meet certain criteria of the US universities. There are very few universities in the US that offer admission to international students without the IELTS or TOEFL requirement. 
    Some US universities where you can apply without IELTS or TOEFL with certain requirements - 

    • The University of Wisconsin - the medium of study in the previous university should be English.
    • Drew University
    • Illinois State University 
    • State University of New York - students will have to take the Intensive English Language Program (IELP) to be exempted from the IELTS or TOEFL requirement. 
    • The University of Arkansas - students will have to take the Intensive English Language Program (IELP) to be exempted from the IELTS or TOEFL requirement. 
    • The University of Dayton - the requirement is to undertake the Intensive English Language Program (IELP). 
    • The University of New Orleans 
    • The University of Iowa


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    The students should check the website of each university they wish to apply so as to ascertain the language requirements. Many universities do not explicitly list out the requirement or the choice of leaving out test scores. You can directly contact the university or the department to verify the same. The requirement for IELTS or TOEFL also depends on the course, so it would be wise to check with the university before sending in your application. 

    As a non-native speaker of English, if you are finding it difficult to prepare for your IELTS or TOEFL exam, then GyanDhan can help you. 

    If you have any queries or comments related to this blog or IELTS/TOEFL in general, please post them in the discussion section below

    How can GyanDhan help you? 

    We understand that students need proper guidance to prepare for IELTS and TOEFL. Therefore, we have tied-up with some of the best institutes to bring to you the best of resource materials with a comprehensive syllabus, test papers, mock tests, along with assistance and guidance from experts in the field. You can contact GyanDhan to start preparing for your IELTS and TOEFL at a discounted rate. 

    If you have decided that you want to study abroad without IELTS, then also GyanDhan can help you connect with the best admission counselors to help you with the same. 

    GyanDhan partners with agencies and experts only after thorough research to make sure you get your money’s worth. So contact us right away to start your abroad education journey with the right people and guidance. 

    First published date: 08 Oct 2020


About author

Rahul Srivastava
A vampire hunter, a renowned archaeologist, and an Oscar-winning filmmaker... Rahul is none of them. He is just a curious soul whose interest in education and finance sectors goes beyond his journalism degree and the monthly salary.

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GyanDhan is India's first education financing marketplace.

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