Graduate SchoolUC Home PageGraduate School Home Page

Graduate School

International Student Admission

UC International Services supports the needs of international students at the University of Cincinnati. The office assists international students in understanding the rules, regulations, and procedures that must be followed during their stay in the United States and provides support services and cultural information to students. UC International Services is located in Suite 3134, One Edwards Center (1-513-556-4278). Information about admission to the University of Cincinnati for international students is available on their website. International students with F-1 visas can only be granted admission as matriculated graduate status in a degree seeking program (Most international students with J-1 visas can be granted admission with matriculated graduate status only, with some exceptions.) Students with J-1 visas should inquire with UC International Services to determine the regulations that apply to them. Students with green cards (U.S. resident aliens/permanent residents) are not defined as international students and, therefore, are not governed by the university’s international student policies. However, the English proficiency requirement does apply to green card holders (see The English Proficiency Requirement section).

In instances where an international student holds a degree for which the U.S. equivalent is not known, or if it is determined by the program that the applicant does not have the equivalent of a bachelor’s degree, the program must submit a petition for admission without the bachelor’s degree, with supporting documentation and rationale, to the Associate Dean of the Graduate School.

All international students are required to carry University of Cincinnati student health insurance unless they qualify for a waiver. Semester fees are automatically assessed each registration period. Please see here for more information on the Graduate Assistant/Fellow Health Insurance Award. 

English Proficiency Requirement

English proficiency is required of all applicants whose native language is not English. Students can demonstrate proficiency in a number of ways at the graduate level. Most students fulfill the English requirement by taking the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL), the International English Testing System (IELTS), or the PEARSON Test of English (PTE).

For IELTS an overall band score of 6.5 is sufficient for graduate admission. For PEARSON a score of 47 is sufficient. TOEFL requirements vary based on the type of TOEFL test taken and scores are valid for up to two years. The minimum university requirement is:

  • 520 (paper-based test), or
  • 190 (computer-based test), or
  • 68 (internet-based test)

However, many colleges and programs have higher score requirements than those listed above. Applicants can contact the programs of colleges to which they are applying for details.

Students who have received a baccalaureate or higher degree with English as the medium of instruction from the following countries are exempt from the English proficiency requirement:

Antigua & Barbuda
British Virgin Islands
Canada—except Quebec
Cayman Islands
China—Hong Kong Public Universities only

New Zealand
South Africa
St. Kitts & Nevis
St. Lucia
St. Vincent & the Grenadines
United Kingdom
United States of America

The English proficiency requirement is also met for students who have completed level 112 of Intensive English instruction at ELS Language Centers. More information on the ELS Language Center at UC can be found here.

Request for a waiver of the English proficiency requirement must be made by the applicant’s Program Director (with appropriate documentation justifying English proficiency) to the Associate Dean of the Graduate School. A TOEFL waiver request can be submitted if one of the following applies:

  • the applicant has a degree from an accredited American college or university in which the coursework was taught in English
  • the applicant has taken the TOEFL at another institution and can document a score of at least 520 on the paper exam or 190 on the electronic version within the five years immediately prior to his/her application.
  • the applicant has passed the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) with an overall score of 6.5 or higher, or
  • the applicant has passed the Cambridge CPE with a B.

Upon approval, the following individuals will be notified:

  1. the department Graduate Program Director
  2. the Director of International Student Service
  3. the Director of OEPT (Oral English Proficiency Testing)
  4. the Program Manager, Graduate School Admissions

If denied, the Graduate Program Director, and Amy Robinson, Program Manager Graduate School Admissions will be notified

Oral English Proficiency Test (OEPT)

The OEPT tests the spoken language skills of non-native speakers of English. An overall score of 3.0 is the minimum passing score for the test. If a score is less than 3.0, students are recommended to take ESL courses before retaking the test. Non-native speakers of English who are awarded teaching assistantships at the University of Cincinnati are required to take the Oral English Proficiency Test (OEPT) before they are able to begin their instructional duties. Score requirements and information regarding waiver based on standardized test scores are detailed in the Graduate Assistantships section.

Compulsory Health Screening

The University of Cincinnati requires a health screening of all international students at University Health Services. It is imperative that the student consult the letter included in the pre-arrival packet. It contains an immunization record sheet that must be completed, signed, and sealed by a medical official. Failure to complete the evaluation upon arrival will result in cancellation of classes for the subsequent term. If classes are cancelled, the student will be in violation of immigration status.