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FAQ - Language Requirements

Candidates who are English native speakers, or have a degree from a university programme entirely taught in English and who have written a thesis in English in such a programme, are exempt from submitting a certificate of English proficiency.

If you cannot submit an English International Language Certificate due to reasons beyond your control, you must attach to the application form a personal declaration stating the extenuating circumstances which prevent you from submitting the certificate.

Extenuating circumstances can include the following situations:

  • a serious, acute or chronic medical condition
  • significant caring responsibilities, or recent bereavement or serious illness within close family
  • serious financial reasons
  • other circumstances where serious disruption has occurred

If you are shortlisted for an interview during the selection process, you will need to take an English Language Assessment Test at the EUI Language Centre.  

No, all required documents, including language certificates must be submitted by 31 January.

Candidates who are unable to provide a certificate by 31 January must attach a personal declaration to the application form stating the reason for this. Exemption from the requirement to submit an English international language certificate may be granted in the case of extenuating circumstances. Where the certificate of English proficiency is missing and the applicant is still invited for interview, he or she must take an equivalent English Language Assessment test at the EUI in addition to the interview.

No additional language test is generally needed.

Exceptionally, candidates will have to take additional language test(s) in French, German, Italian or Spanish when this is considered necessary for their dissertation project. If skills in other languages are considered necessary, candidates will be asked to submit proof of their competence in these.

The only language requirement is a good knowledge (level C1) of English.

Your application will still be considered. Candidates with IELTS or TOEFL scores below the EUI expected test score may nevertheless be invited for an interview and will have to sit an English Assessment Test before their interview. The results of the test will be communicated to the Interviewing Panel.

Yes, we can accept your English Language proficiency certificate (if your test scores are equal or above the EUI Expected Test Scores) even if the recommended validity has expired.

Your level should be equivalent to the level C1 of the Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR).

English oral tests are held during the interview week for those candidates without the necessary language certificate attesting to their English proficiency at C1 (CEFR) who are not exempt. Candidates are informed about the timing and date of their test. The test takes about 15 minutes.

English Needs Analysis interviews are held in June for all the incoming cohort of researchers.

All researchers will be asked to submit a writing sample in June. 

Language tests in French, German, Italian and Spanish will be held during the interview period at times which will be shown on the Language Centre website nearer the date of the interviews.

The results of the Assessment Test are sent to the departments and to the Entrance Board, and will be taken into consideration when admission of a candidate is decided.

If a special recommendation is made to improve language competence, registration in the programme is conditional upon the required progress being made.

The candidate’s language proficiency is part of the application and plays a role in the selection. Applicants who submit a certificate with a test score below the threshold may be conditionally admitted but will have to take English language courses during their first year. Sufficient progress in English language skills will be a criterion for admission to the second year.


The purpose of the FAQ pages is to provide prospective applicants with general guidance, additional clarification and examples. In case of doubt or differences of interpretation, the EUI Academic Rules and Regulations for the Doctoral and Master’s Programmes shall prevail.

Page last updated on 17 August 2017

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