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 7148, 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 or the Graduate School 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 visit the Graduate School website for more information on the Graduate Assistant/Fellow Health Insurance Award.

International Student Fee

All international students are required to pay the International Student Fee. The fee is $125 per semester for fall and spring semester. The fee is not charged for summer semester.

International students are charged the same tuition fees as other U.S. students who are not Ohio residents. The university incurs additional expenses associated with hosting international students, which include federal tracking and monitoring requirements associated with the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS). The university also provides services and resources necessary for international students’ academic and personal success. This fee will help accomplish these tasks and ensure student success.

Please contact UC International Services at 513-556-4278 or for more information.


English Proficiency Requirement

See Graduate School Handbook Addendum, 2017-18 for additional information and instructions. To view this document, you will need Adobe Acrobat Reader, a free download.

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. Please note, many colleges and programs have higher requirements than those listed below. Applicants should contact the programs to which they are applying for details.

Standardized Tests of English Proficiency

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)

For applicants or students who are on campus, there are two other tests that can satisfy the English proficiency requirement.

  • For students who have joined UC as conditional admits, satisfactory completion of 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.
  • For exchange students or visiting scholars on campus, achieving a score of 3 or better on the Graduate Placement Test (GPT-VS) administered on campus by the Center for English as  a Second Language (CESL) in CECH. Programs, and not students, must initiate the request for CESL testing (view addendum for instructions).

Automatic Waiver of English Language Testing

When completing a graduate school application, international students will automatically be exempted from the English Proficiency testing requirement if they have received a baccalaureate or higher degree from one of the following countries where English is the official language:

  • Anguilla
  • Antigua and Barbuda
  • Australia
  • Bahamas
  • Barbados
  • Belize
  • Bermuda
  • Botswana
  • British Virgin Islands
  • Cameroon
  • Canada (except Quebec)
  • Cayman Islands
  • Dominica
  • England
  • Fiji
  • Gambia
  • Ghana
  • Gibraltar
  • Grenada
  • Guyana
  • Hong Kong (public university)
  • Ireland, Northern
  • Ireland, Republic of
  • Jamaica
  • Kenya
  • Lesotho
  • Liberia
  • Malawi
  • Malta
  • Mauritius
  • Montserrat
  • Namibia
  • New Zealand
  • Nigeria
  • Papua New Guinea
  • St. Kitts and Nevis
  • St. Lucia
  • St. Vincent and the Grenadines
  • Scotland
  • Seychelles
  • Sierra Leone
  • Singapore
  • Solomon Islands
  • South Africa
  • Swaziland
  • Tanzania
  • Tonga
  • Trinidad and Tobago
  • Turks and Caicos Islands
  • Uganda
  • United Kingdom
  • Vanuatu
  • Wales
  • Zambia
  • Zimbabwe

Conditions for Programs to Request a Waiver of English Proficiency Tests

Based on the criteria below, request for a waiver of the English proficiency requirement may be made by the applicant’s Program Director (with appropriate documentation) to the Director of the Graduate School. The Director will approve or deny the language-proficiency waiver requests submitted by the program.

Waivers will be considered if the applicant has fulfilled one of the following:

  • received a baccalaureate or higher degree from an entirely English-instructing institution. This requires that all programs at the institution are taught in English, not just the program in which the applicant earned their degree.
  • passed a nationally administered professional test that requires evaluation of both oral and written English (e.g. USMLE, Cambridge CPE passed with a B).
  • holds a US immigrant visa for permanent residency (also known as green card) and has been a full-time resident of the United States for at least 3 years.
  • the applicant has taken the TOEFL (or PEARSON, or IELTS) in order to enter another institution in an exempt English-speaking country, is currently actively enrolled in that institution, and can document achieving our minimum standardized test scores.

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.