English Language Requirement

Programmes are taught through English in the National College of Art and Design, therefore all applicants are required to demonstrate a high level of competence in English language. Applicants who have not passed English as a subject in the Irish Leaving Certificate Examination must provide evidence of equivalent competence in English language through their school leaving examination or matriculation examination or by achieving the minimum standard in a recognised English language test.

Undergraduate Applicants: 

If you are presenting the Irish school Leaving Certificate you are required to have attained a H5/O6 in English.
If you are studying in another education system, you are required to show equivalent competency in English either through your school leaving examination or matriculation examination or by achieving the minimum standard in a recognised English Language Test, as outlined below.

Graduate Applicants:
The qualifications shown below are minimum entry requirements for graduate taught and graduate research degrees. However, for some graduate courses the requirements may be higher.
In some cases, other evidence may also be taken into account, such as a degree taken through English, in an English-speaking country. Please contact the Admissions Office if you need further information: admissions@ncad.ie

Recognised English Language Tests

Currency of results:
For all proficiency tests the results must normally have been issued within two years prior to the start of your course.


Duolingo English Test (DET)

Temporary measure for 2020 and 2021 ONLY
(response to Covid 19)

For students affected by testing centre closures due to COVID-19, NCAD has approved  the use of the Duolingo English Test (DET) as a temporary measure  for the 2020 intake. The minimum requirement will be a DET score of 110. An interview may be required in conjunction with this.
International English Language Testing System (IELTS) An average score of 6.5 over all components and a minimum of 6.0 in each band on the Academic Version.
Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) administered by Princeton University • A minimum score of 600 in the paper-based Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL PBT), with Test of Written English at 475 +.
• A minimum score of 90 is required in the Internet based TOEFL (iBT) with a score of at least 20 in the each section.
Pearson Test of English - Academic Minimum of 63 and no section less than 59
Cambridge Examinations
English language examinations administered by the University of Cambridge: 180+ on Cambridge English scale (with no less than 175 in each skill and use of English) i.e.
Acceptable Examinations:
• Proficiency Certificate, Grade C (i.e. CEFR Level C1 or C2).
• Advanced Certificate, Grade C (i.e. CEFR Level C1 or C2)
• First Certificate, Grade A (CEFR Level C1)
UCLES (University of Cambridge Local Examinations Syndicate)
• English at grade C or above (incorporating the Oxford Examining Body's English as a Foreign Language (Higher Paper))
• (Malaysia) Cambridge English Language (1119) conducted overseas by the University of Cambridge Local Examinations Syndicate: B4 or better.
UK Examining Boards/Bodies • GCE O-Level English Language at Grade C or above
• GCSE English Language at Grade C or above
• GCSE English Literature at Grade C or above
English Test for Academic and Professional Purposes (ETAPP) Grade C1 (i.e. CEFR Level C1 or C2)
Trinity ISE Trinity ISE 3 with at least merit in each skill category
LanguageCert B2 Communicator High Pass with no less than 33 in each skill 
QQI FETAC ESL Distinction in the module "English as a Second Language"
School Leaving Examinations
Matriculation / school-leaving examinations from most European Countries and many Non-EU countries will meet the requirements where English is presented as a subject at an acceptable level (http://www2.cao.ie/downloads/documents/Guidelines-EU-EFTA.pdf)
For example, in the International Baccalaureate, English A1, A2 or B: 5 at Higher Level (or 4 at Standard Level if presenting the IB through English) will meet the general entry requirements.
Where an English proficiency test which is scored on the Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR) is presented as part of a school-leaving qualification, grade must be C1/C2.