All candidates must have completed a first degree of good standing from an accredited university, equivalent to a British Bachelor’s degree. This is usually a three- or four-year degree, but varies depending on country, institution and discipline. Candidates are expected to have achieved the equivalent of a UK 1st or 2nd Class degree, with a preference for Upper 2nd (2:1) Class results or higher.

Proof of English language proficiency is also required, either in the form of a valid IELTS or other Academic Skills Test (please see below for details on accepted tests, scores and subscores).

Entry Requirements

UK ENIC is the UK national agency for international qualifications and skills 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 UK ENIC. 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.


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.

You will be required to take an English language test unless you are a national of a majority English-speaking country (as defined by UKVI), or have completed a degree in the following countries, a maximum of two years before the start of the GPISH programme: 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 or postgraduate degree in Canada and are not a Canadian national you will be required to take the test
UCL - English Language Requirements

Applicants must submit an IELTS (Academic) score or IELTS Indicator with their application (any IELTS (Academic) or Indicator test must have been taken no more than two years before the proposed start date of the programme being applied for). The minimum requirements for English language proficiency are as follows:

An overall band score of 6.5, with a minimum score of 6.0 in each component in an IELTS (Academic) test certificate / IELTS Indicator statement of results. Please select “The Institute of Ismaili Studies” as receiver of your scores when registering for IELTS Indicator.

Alternatively, applicants can submit scores from the following English language tests:

  • TOEFL iBT with an overall score of 92 and a minimum of 24/30 for Reading & Writing, and 20/30 for Speaking & Listening.
  • PTE Academic with an overall score of 62 and a minimum of 59 in Communicative Skills Papers.
  • Cambridge English CAE/CPE with an overall score of 176 and a minimum of 169 in each sub-test.
  • Trinity ISE III with a Standard in all sub-tests.

Yes. The IIS will not accept or consider your application for GPISH unless you have provided an accepted Academic English Skills certificate prior to the deadline.

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.

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 and Academic English Skills 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 of the same person.

Applications are submitted online via our new application portal, accessible on the GPISH main page. You will be required to register your details and complete an online form, as well as upload the necessary documents.Postal applications are only accepted in very exceptional circumstances. Please email us to discuss options.



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.

Once your application has been received you will receive an email confirming your submission. The admissions process takes three to four months after the application deadline, during which you will be updated by email after each stage (see “How do you assess my application?”).

How do you assess my application?

Once your application has been received, it will be processed (providing it is complete) and assessed by relevant staff at the IIS.

Stage 1 – Your application will be reviewed by a committee of IIS faculty. To assess your suitability for the programme, the committee will look at:

  • your university degree grade
  • the grades achieved in individual units/components of your degree
  • your references
  • your personal statement
  • your sample of academic written work
  • your record of service to the community

The outcome of this review will be communicated to you by mid-February 2022.

Stage 2 – If you are shortlisted, the IIS will organise an entrance exam which will take place in late February.

Stage 3 – The final stage is a panel interview, normally conducted via Zoom. This interview will be organised in mid-March 2022. You will be informed as soon as a decision has been made. It is likely that all decisions and offers will be communicated in early April 2022.

It is a statutory requirement of the Home Office, that any individual who will be teaching in a UK school or works with children or young people must be in receipt of a satisfactory Enhanced Disclosure Certificate from the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS). The DBS checks will be arranged by UCL Graduate Admissions team in line with the UK regulations.

Teaching practice places students in a ‘position of trust’, as set out in the Exceptions Order to the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act (ROA) 1974. Students will need to supply a criminal record check (Police Report) from the relevant authorities in their home country, and from every other country in which they have previously spent 6 months or more. This document should contain details of any cautions, convictions, reprimands, warnings or bind overs recorded against the student’s name, or confirm that there are none. If this information is not in English, students will also need to supply an official certified translation of the document. This will need to be supplied to the UCL Graduate admissions team.

Failure to submit a satisfactory criminal record check will jeopardise a student’s teaching practice, if their clearance remains outstanding at the time of enrolment.

UCL guidance document on DBS checks UCL policies

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 Field Teaching Practice (FTP) 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.


We recognise that most of our students are recruited from outside of the United Kingdom and may want to invite dependants to live with them in the UK at some point during their study.

  • It is important that you understand that while you are now legally allowed to bring your dependants to the UK, the IIS cannot provide any support for dependants’ visa applications or accommodation at Victoria Halls for your spouse / family. Travel, housing and any other costs for any dependant coming to the UK will be the sole responsibility of the student for the entire duration of their stay.
  • Should you wish to bring your dependants to the UK, please bear in mind that your housing contract at Victoria Halls cannot be terminated before 31st August 2022 and therefore you would not receive an alternative housing stipend until after this date should you choose to move out.
Bringing a family member in the UK

The Graduate Programme in Islamic Studies and Humanities

For further information, programme module and latest prospectus