What are the entry requirements for STEP?

All candidates must have completed a first degree of good standing (1st or 2nd class degree) from an accredited university, equivalent to a British Bachelor’s degree. Proof of English language proficiency in the form of a valid IELTS for UKVI (Academic). Please see below for details on IELTS test, scores and subscores.
Other requirements can be found

Will I have had to study for 16 years?

You will need to have completed a first degree of good standing from an accredited university, equivalent to a British Bachelor’s degree. This is usually a three of four year degree, but varies depending on country, institution and discipline.

How do I know if my degree is equivalent to a British Bachelor’s degree?

UK NARIC is the United Kingdom's National Academic Recognition Information Centre and provides services for individuals and organisations to compare international qualifications against UK qualification framework levels.  You can compare non-UK qualifications to the UK system by contacting the UK's National Academic Recognition Information Centre (NARIC). Please note, however, this may incur a cost to you. The IIS will only check degree equivalency once applications have been submitted and cannot confirm candidates’ qualifications are eligible prior to application.

I am graduating summer 2020, can I still apply for STEP? 

Yes, you can still apply, however we will require an interim transcript detailing all modules taken to date. If you are accepted, your offer of acceptance will be conditional upon successful completion of your degree and upon meeting the minimum grades set by the selection committee. If selected, your final official transcripts and/or certificates will need to be submitted.

Will I have to take a test to prove my competency in the English Language?

You will be required to take an English language test unless you are a national of an English majority speaking country (as defined by UKVI), or have completed an undergraduate and postgraduate degree taught in the following countries: Antigua and Barbuda, Australia, Barbados, the Bahamas, Belize, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Republic of Ireland, Jamaica, New Zealand, St Kitts and Nevis, St Lucia, St Vincent and the Grenadines, Trinidad and Tobago, the United Kingdom, and the United States of America.

If you are a national of Canada you are also exempt from taking the test. If you have completed an undergraduate and postgraduate degree in Canada and are not a Canadian national you will be required to take the test.

If you are exempt from taking the IELTS UKVI (Academic) due to the fact you have completed an undergraduate or postgraduate degree taught in an English majority speaking country but are not a national of that that country, you also will need to meet the UCL requirement below.

UCL rules state in order to be exempt from the IELTS for UKVI (Academic) test you must have completed your undergraduate or postgraduate studies no later than the summer two years prior to the proposed date of enrolment (i.e. Summer 2018 for a 2020 enrolment) otherwise you will be required to take the IELTS test. For further guidance please refer to the UCL website: https://www.ucl.ac.uk/prospective-students/graduate/learning-and-living-ucl/international-students/english-language-requirements(link is external).

Please note the IELTS for UKVI (Academic) test must have been taken no more than two years before the proposed start date of the programme being applied for: that is, not before September 2018.

Also students who are not nationals of the above exempt countries but hold a Bachelor or Master’s degree from one of these countries, will be required to provide a Statement of Comparability from UK NARIC. Please check www.naric.org.uk for further information.

I undertook a study abroad term/year or module abroad, do I still need to take the English language test?

Yes, you will still have to prove your English language proficiency.  Completing a module/term or year does not exempt you from the English language requirement.

Which English language test is valid?

You must take the International English Language testing system known as an IELTS test. This test is for test takers wishing to study at undergraduate or postgraduate levels, and for those seeking professional registration in the United Kingdom. For more information on IELTS, please read the pdf below.





The IIS can only accept IELTS (Academic) for UKVI test, please see the below guidance to ensure you book the correct test.

The IELTS (Academic) for UKVI will display your UKVI number as below:

IELTS (Academic) for UKVI is the only IELTS qualification that the UKVI will accept for the Tier 4 visa, so please ensure you take the IELTS (Academic) for UKVI and not the similarly named IELTS Academic test (https://www.ielts.org/). The IIS will not accept any other IELTS certificate. The test must have been taken no more than two years before the proposed start date of the programme being applied for.


What IELTS Academic score must I achieve to be eligible for STEP programme?

The minimum requirements for English language proficiency are as follows: An overall band score of 7.0 with a minimum score of 6.5 in each component in IELTS (Academic) for UKVI test certificate. Applicants with the overall score of 6.5 (with a minimum 6.0 in each component) will be considered and, if selected, will be eligible to receive a conditional offer. All conditional offer holders will be required to attend and successfully complete the pre-sessional programme at UCL IOE and demonstrate that they have reached an overall score of 7.0 before they are enrolled onto the STEP programme.


Do I need to submit my IELTS for UKVI certificate when I apply?

Yes. The IIS will not accept or consider your application for STEP unless you have provided the IELTS for UKVI (Academic) certificate with a valid UKVI number prior to the deadline.

What if the name on my qualifications differs from my name on my passport?

The consistency of your name on all documentation is very important and it is imperative that your name is always spelled and written exactly the same on all formal documents which includes your passports, evidence of previous qualifications IELTS for UKVI (Academic) certificate. Should you have any discrepancies, you will need to provide an affidavit with your application. This affidavit should confirm all variations of your name are one of the same person.


Can my references be emailed to you?

We will accept email references only if they come from the referee’s professional or academic account. Any references received from personal email accounts will not be accepted. If sending application via by post, each referee is required to return the reference letter and reference form in a sealed envelope with his / her signature across the seal.


How do I apply?

You will need to complete the pre-application form online. Please click the APPLY NOW button on the STEP main page. 

We will then send you a link to both the application pack and to your unique candidate portal (OneDrive) where you can upload your application. If you would like to send a postal application please write to admissions@iis.ac.uk.


What happens after I have submitted my application?

Once your application has been received we will send you an initial email confirming that we have received your documentation, as long as you have provided a valid email address. We will not be able to acknowledge your application, if you do not provide an email address.

You will then receive a second email informing you if your application is complete, eligible and if it will be considered.


How do you assess my application?

All complete applications, once received will be processed and assessed in a first and second review by the STEP Selection Committee. The role of the first and second reviews are to ascertain the suitability of an applicant in terms of experience, potential and professional commitment, and academic performance.

In this process due consideration will be given to:

  • your university degree
  • the grades achieved in individual units/components of your degree
  • your references
  • your personal statement
  • your teaching experience, both voluntary and professional

What happens if I am shortlisted?

If you are shortlisted:

  1. You will undertake a six week secondary teaching placement at a local Religious Education Centre (REC) where your teaching skills will be assessed by ITREB. ITREB will organise this with you between December and February.
  2. You will be invited to have a face to face interview with IIS faculty in collaboration with ITREB in your home context. You may need to travel to the location of your national ITREB.
  3. You will be required to take a timed qualifying essay, which will be invigilated by the IIS interviewer, concurrently with interviews.


When will I receive a final decision?

You will be informed as soon as a decision has been made. We aim to communicate all offers and decisions in early April.


What happens if my application is incomplete?

Any applications that are incomplete will be rejected and will not be considered.


I have a complaint about the admissions process. Who do I contact?

If you have any complaints relating to the admissions process, please see our complaints policy on the IIS website.


Where do students live while in London?

Students reside in the newly built accommodation in King’s Cross. Located minutes away from the King’s Cross Rail and Tube station, in the heart of London, the building has 198 bedrooms all designed to enhance students’ experience of living and studying. Designed by award winning Stanton Williams Architects, the building offers a number of amenities such a reception, reading rooms, communal kitchens, a gym, a roof terrace and a courtyard. The cost of living at the residence is covered by the students’ scholarship. You will be provided with a single room. The rooms are based in "Cluster Flats" with individual rooms, each with its own ensuite shower room. Each cluster has six to eight rooms, with a shared kitchen and living area. All students are required to live in this residence.


Does the scholarship cover living expenses during the academic programme in London as well as during the extended practical back home?

All STEP students receive a monthly stipend for the full two-year programme, the amount of which is in line with UKVI guidelines. During the Teaching Practice in their home contexts, students will be paid a stipend based on the World Bank Purchasing Power Parity (PPP) model. This may be more or less than the normal monthly stipend payments.

How are classes organised during the academic phase in London? How many hours of class do I have per week?

Students spend approximately 15 hours per week in class for the MA, PGDip and other related lectures, seminars and tutorial sessions. The MA programme follows a lecture – seminar – tutorial model. The PGDip is a mixed mode course which includes online tasks as well as face-to-face teaching sessions. Additionally, students spend two to three days a week teaching at London mainstream schools and one day a week teaching religious education classes at RECs. Students are also expected to keep up with both their MA and PGDip assessments alongside their lectures, readings and class work.


What is a DBS check and why do I have to have one?

It is a requirement of the UK Home Office that any individual teaching in a UK school or working with children/young people must be in receipt of a satisfactory Enhanced Disclosure certificate from the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS). The Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) certificate will be arranged by the UCL Institute of Education (IOE) in line with UK regulations.

You will also need to supply a criminal record check (Police Report) from the relevant authorities in your home country, and from every other country in which you have previously spent 12 months or more. This document should contain details of any cautions, convictions, reprimands, warnings or bind-over recorded against your name, or confirm that there are none. If this information is not in English you will need to supply an official certified translation of the document. Failure to submit a satisfactory criminal record check will jeopardise your teaching practice if your clearance remains outstanding at the time of enrolment.

For further information please click here.

Can I apply to both STEP and GPISH?

Yes. However, each programme has distinct aims. Therefore, you are encouraged to think very carefully before applying about how either programme would meet your academic and career goals. In reviewing your application(s), the respective selection committees will be looking for your ability to make a strong case for your decision to apply to a particular programme.

Can I bring my spouse/dependents with me when I study in London?

We recognise that most of our students are recruited from outside of the United Kingdom and the European Economic Area and may want to invite dependants to live with them in the UK at some point during their study. Please note that current UKVI regulations do not allow STEP students to bring any dependants to the United Kingdom. For more information, please refer to the UKVI’s website:


Am I allowed to work whilst I am in the UK?

Under current UKVI policy, students will not be entitled to seek any paid or even unpaid employment while staying in the UK as a student enrolled on STEP.


Am I eligible to vote whilst I am in the UK?

You may be eligible to vote in local and general elections if you qualify under the following criteria:

  • You are a UK or Irish citizen
  • You are a qualifying Commonwealth citizen resident in the UK
  • You are an EU citizen resident in the UK

A qualifying Commonwealth citizen is someone who has leave to enter or remain in the UK, or does not require such leave. The definition of a ‘Commonwealth’ citizen includes citizens of British Crown Dependencies and British Overseas Territories. You can register to vote from this website: https://www.yourvotematters.co.uk/register-to-vote