Cambridge IGCSE recognition

VIDEO: Leading universities give their views on Cambridge qualifications and programmes.

Cambridge IGCSE is widely recognised by higher education institutions and employers around the world as evidence of academic achievement. Many universities require a combination of Cambridge International A Levels and Cambridge IGCSEs to meet their entry requirements.

Admission to North American institutions

Leading US and Canadian universities require Cambridge International AS and A Levels, but some US and Canadian colleges and universities will accept learners with five Cambridge IGCSEs at grade C or above.

Admission to UK institutions

In the UK, Cambridge IGCSE is accepted as equivalent to the GCSE. 

When applying to UK universities, it is essential that students can communicate effectively in English and are able to do so in an academic environment. Cambridge IGCSE English Language qualifications are recognised by a significant number of UK universities as evidence of English language competency for university study. We strongly advise students to check the English language requirements of their selected universities and individual departments/faculties prior to submitting an application because these requirements can differ depending on whether you are applying from within the UK, within the EU or EEA, Switzerland, or from overseas. 

Important information for students requiring Tier 4 visas to study in the UK

From 6 April 2014, Cambridge IGCSE English as a First Language (syllabus 0500 and 0522) and Cambridge IGCSE English as a Second Language (syllabus 0510 and 0511) will no longer be included on the Home Office’s approved list of English language tests for immigration purposes. We have chosen to withdraw the qualifications from the approved list because the Home Office has introduced mandatory security requirements that not all Cambridge schools will be able to implement. We believe this would have led to an unmanageable level of complexity for our schools and a confusing situation for students and universities.

For your information the UK Border Agency (UKBA) was brought back under the control of the Home Office in March 2013. All information concerning immigration and visas can be found on the gov.uk website

Please be aware that UK universities have the right to set their own English language entry requirements with regard to Tier 4 visas. This means they can choose their own method of assessing a student’s English language ability as long as the student is applying to follow a full-time course at undergraduate degree level or above: Paragraph 372 of the Policy Guidance for Tier 4 Sponsors 12/2013.

What do these changes mean for Cambridge IGCSE English Language qualifications?

Many UK universities will continue to accept Cambridge IGCSE English as a First Language (syllabus 0500 and 0522) and Cambridge IGCSE English as a Second Language (syllabus 0510 and 0511) even though these qualifications will no longer appear on the Home Office’s approved list of English language tests after 6 April 2014. 
 

Some UK universities or colleges require applicants to provide an approved English language test from the Home Office's list as part of their English language requirements policy. From 6 April, universities with these requirements will not accept Cambridge IGCSE English qualifications as proof of an applicant's English language proficiency.


The details of English language requirements can be found on each university’s website. These requirements may vary depending upon the course and the university. It is essential that you check your chosen institutions’ requirements before making your university application. 


You may well be required to show evidence of your proficiency in all four skills (reading, writing, listening and speaking). Cambridge offers the following support to students who require evidence of their competence in English as part of their visa application to study in the UK:


  • You can apply to us for a Supplementary Certifying Statement for CEFR. This statement provides evidence of your proficiency in all four language skills – reading, writing, listening and speaking. It gives a breakdown of your Cambridge IGCSE English Language results into component grades and corresponding levels according to the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR). Please complete the application form to apply for a Supplementary Certifying Statement for CEFR. The cost for this service is £39.40. Further information can be found below.

  • You can download the documents below which give the CEFR levels by grade and skill for each of our Cambridge IGCSE English Language qualifications. You can use the relevant document, alongside your final certificate of results and a copy of your component grades (available on request from your school), to support your student visa application.
What is a Supplementary Certifying Statement for CEFR?
 
The grade you achieved in your Cambridge IGCSE English language examination does not provide sufficient evidence of your English language proficiency for visa purposes. 
 
Evidence of your proficiency in all four skills (reading, writing, listening and speaking) according to the CEFR scale is also required. A minimum CEFR standard in all four components or skills is required; the standard depends on the tier and, if you are a student, also on your choice of programme. For example, for study at undergraduate degree level, a minimum standard of CEFR Level B2 in each component is required. Please be aware that CEFR B2 is the minimum standard; some university Departments will require higher levels of English language proficiency than the Home Office minimum. 
 
The Supplementary Certifying Statement for CEFR is a document which gives a breakdown of your Cambridge IGCSE English Language results into component grades and CEFR levels. The document provides:
 
  • the Cambridge IGCSE grade achieved for each component (exam paper within the syllabus)
  • a CEFR level for each of the four above skills
  • a generic CEFR table showing the associated CEFR levels for the Cambridge IGCSE grades for each of the four skills (reading, writing, listening and speaking) on the reverse of the statement.
Please note: Cambridge candidates applying for a Supplementary Certifying Statement for CEFR must have included the Speaking & Listening component if applying with Cambridge IGCSE English as a First Language Syllabus (0500), or the Oral component if applying with Cambridge IGCSE English as a Second Language Syllabus (0510).
 
In order to process your application, you must have been issued with your final Certificate of results within the past three years. Cambridge cannot issue the Supplementary Certifying Statement for CEFR if you submit your provisional Statement of Results with your application. 
 
You can also use a Supplementary Certifying Statement for CEFR if you are applying to universities outside the UK which require a breakdown of English language results into CEFR levels for each of the four skills.
 
Related useful links

Recognition search

Search our recognition database to find out which institutions recognise Cambridge qualifications. You can view details by country and qualification. To search for recognition statements from universities for Cambridge IGCSE, select the following options: 'Country', 'Institution Type' (select 'Higher or Further Education') and 'General Qualifications' (select ‘IGCSE/O Level’).

In some statements, universities have provided us with recognition statements specific to Cambridge IGCSE English and Mathematics. To view these statements in the recognitions database, select the following option: 'Country', 'Institution Type' (select 'Higher or Further Education') and 'General Qualifications' (select ‘IGCSE/O Level English’).

Guidance for admissions staff

The certificates awarded to learners who take Cambridge International Level 1/Level 2 Certificates (Ofqual-approved Cambridge IGCSEs for UK schools) differ slightly from Cambridge IGCSE certificates. This factsheet gives an overview of the key differences.