IELTS Academic, Score Requirements for Prestigious Universities in the United States and United Kingdom

Today, I’ve compiled detailed information on the IELTS score requirements for renowned universities and colleges in the United States and the United Kingdom, especially for those planning to study abroad at prestigious or upper-tier institutions. As of 2023, this information is the most up-to-date, so I recommend reading it carefully for those preparing for international studies.



⓵ Two Types of IELTS



Firstly, let’s briefly categorize the IELTS types that even diligent learners often find confusing. IELTS can be broadly classified into General, UKVI, and Life Skills, and the required modules vary depending on the purpose of the test and the destination specified by the institution or school.


  1. General IELTS: Required for academics and study abroad / 4 modules / Taken at general testing centers.
    2. IELTS UKVI: Necessary for obtaining a UK visa / 4 modules / Taken at visa immigration-approved centers.
  2. IELTS Life Skills: Required for obtaining a UK visa / 2 modules / Taken at visa immigration-approved centers.


Today, the focus will be on the topic of studying abroad and university admissions, mainly on the ‘General’ module. This module is divided into two sections: General, which assesses language communication and proficiency, and Academic, which evaluates the potential for academic performance.


⓶ If Studying Abroad, Academic Module


As mentioned earlier, if the purpose of the test is to study abroad, the General IELTS should be taken. Refer to the table below for key features of the Academic module.

Four Essential Points for Academic IELTS:

  1. Take the test if planning to pursue education at the undergraduate or graduate level.
  2. Minimum required scores vary by country/school, so refer to your specific submission guidelines.
  3. Some professions, such as healthcare and education, also require IELTS scores.
  4. Necessary for immigration to English-speaking countries (Note: Academic is not taken at visa immigration centers).

So, what is the cutoff score for renowned and upper-tier universities in the General IELTS?



⓷ Top 5 Prestigious Universities in the United States

For the top 5 prestigious universities in the United States, an average score of 7.0 is required.

(School Name: Minimum Score Cutoff)

  1. Harvard : 7.0
  2. Stanford : 7.0
  3. Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) : 7.0
  4. University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) : 7.0
  5. University of Michigan : 6.5

An overall score of 7.0 indicates a high proficiency in handling challenging English, understanding detailed content, and effectively expressing oneself. While solving problems is important, exposure to English through novels, newspapers, broadcasts, etc., in real-life situations is equally crucial. Essential vocabulary can be found through the link provided, where you can study and enhance your language skills.


⓸ Upper-Tier Colleges / Universities: Top 5


The average requirement for upper-tier colleges and universities is 6.5.

(School Name: Minimum Score Cutoff)

  1. Arizona : 6.0
  2. California State University, Fullerton : 6.5
  3. North Texas : 6.0
  4. Houston : 6.5
  5. San Francisco State : 6.5

You might need a slightly lower overall score, around 0.5 to 1 point, for these institutions. It’s not necessarily easier, but if they require 6.0 – 6.5, it might be a relatively strategic and focused choice compared to aiming for 7.0. Planning a strategy for each section would be beneficial. Now, let’s see the score requirements for schools in the United Kingdom.


⓹ Top 5 Prestigious Universities in the United Kingdom

Similarly, the average requirement for the top 5 prestigious universities in the United Kingdom is 7.0.

(School Name: Minimum Score Cutoff)

  1. Oxford : 7.0
  2. Cambridge : 7.5
  3. Imperial College London : 6.5
  4. Edinburgh : 6.5
  5. Warwick : 6.5

Cambridge, in particular, conducts its own admission tests. I will provide more detailed information on this soon. Let’s continue by looking at the requirements for upper-tier colleges.


⓺ Upper-Tier Colleges: Another 5


The average requirement for upper-tier colleges is 6.0.

(School Name: Minimum Score Cutoff)

  1. Manchester Metropolitan : 6.0
  2. Portsmouth : 6.0
  3. Coventry : 6.0
  4. Sheffield : 6.0
  5. Liverpool John Moores : 6.0

Compared to the United States, it seems relatively standardized with an overall score of 6.0 for upper-tier colleges. These scores are based on last year’s data, so please consider them as the most recent updates for the minimum required academic scores. These are indeed the minimum requirements, and I hope they prove helpful as you prepare for your academic journey.



Today, we’ve compiled seven essential words that those aiming for a high score of 7.0 or above on the IELTS must know. Save them and repeat to memorize, it will be helpful, so I highly recommend referencing them before taking the exam! (Check often!)

Also, TestRider is currently offering an additional 40% discount for new members, so I recommend you take on the IELTS at a lower cost.

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