All international applicants whose native language is not English must submit an official Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or International English Language Testing System (IELTS) score. These tests measure the ability of non-native speakers of English to use and understand North American English as it is used in college and university settings. The tests are offered throughout most regions of the world. In areas where access to Internet-based testing is limited, a supplemental paper-and-pencil version of the tests may be administered.
Regarding TOEFL, the recommended minimum score for admission consideration is 577 on the paper-based test and 90 on the Internet-based test. For IELTS, the recommended minimum overall band score is 7. Some programs may have more rigorous language proficiency standards; applicants with questions should contact programs directly. These exams should be taken early enough to allow the scores to reach the Graduate School by your program's deadline. Performance on the tests is one of many factors considered in making admission decisions.
Language proficiency exams are not required of those students who have earned a degree from a non-U.S. university where the primary language of instruction is English, or from a college or university in the United States, or in any of the following countries: Australia, Bahamas, Botswana, Cameroon, Canada (except Quebec), Ethiopia, Ghana, Ireland, Kenya, Lesotho, Liberia, Malawi, New Zealand, Nigeria, Zimbabwe, South Africa, Sierra Leone, Swaziland, Tanzania, Gambia, Uganda, United Kingdom (England, Scotland, Northern Ireland, Wales), West Indies, Zambia. Students with degrees from universities in countries not on this list should have their university Registrar or Dean send a letter to the Graduate School, referencing the applicant's name and proposed area of study, stating that English is the primary language of instruction for that institution.
Students who have been awarded teaching assistantships and whose native language is not English will be tested upon their arrival for English proficiency before they begin teaching. If a student's English language skills do not meet the minimum standards of certification, provisional approval of the appointment may be made on the condition that the student enroll in an English-language training course during the first semester of the appointment and be assigned to other duties that will prepare them for teaching.
For students who are concerned about their English-language abilities, the University offers an intensive English program each summer, and graduate students who need to improve their skills significantly before beginning their academic work are strongly encouraged to enroll. (The Graduate School will subsidize the cost of this program for people with pending TA appointments.) For more information on summer language programs, please contact the Center for Language Studies about its English for Internationals Program.
NOTE: Students who have not been certified at the appropriate level for the classroom or laboratory will not be supported as teaching assistants past the first year.