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
  • 80 (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
  • Australia
  • Bahamas
  • Barbados
  • Belize
  • Bermuda
  • British Virgin Islands
  • Canada (except Quebec)
  • Cayman Islands
  • China (Hong Kong Public Universities only)
  • Dominica
  • Fiji
  • Grenada
  • Ireland
  • Jamaica
  • Liberia
  • Malawi
  • New Zealand
  • Singapore
  • 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 at their website.

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. An English proficiency waiver request can be submitted if one of the following applies:

  • the applicant has taken the TOEFL (or PEARSON, or IELTS) in order to enter another institution in an exempt English-speaking country (above), are still actively enrolled in that institution, and can document the minimum requirements (e.g., TOEFL: 520 paper-based, 190 computer-based, or 80 internet-based), 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 Wheeler, Program Manager for Graduate School admissions, will be notified.