International Education

Academic Affairs Division

USG English Proficiency Requirements

Completion of a test of English language proficiency is required of all international students and scholars. Please refer to the chart below for approved exams and minimum standards or some other USG-approved evaluation of English.

The minimum and recommended scores acceptable for admission:

  Minimum Score for Admission* Recommended Score for Admission
Internet TOEFL 69 79
Paper TOEFL (only accepted until October 2019) 523 550
IELTS 6 6.5
SAT Evidence-Based Reading and Writing Section Sore 480  
ACT English 17  
EIKEN Pre-1  
MELAB (Michigan English Language Assessment Battery) 77  
Cambridge English Scale Score - which can be demonstrated in B2 First (First Certificate in English -FCE), C1 Advanced (Certificate in Advanced English - CAE) or C2 Proficiency (Certificate of Proficiency in English - CPE) 169 177
Cambridge International Examinations (CIE) IGCSE and “O” Level “English” exams “D” or Better  
UK GCSE “English” exam “C” or Better  
UK GCE A-Level “English” exam “C” or Better  
EdExcel International A-Levels and IGCSE English exams “D” or Better  
Pearson (PTE) Academic 53 58
Completion of an approved USG campus-based ESL program of study. Per USG approval.  
A waiver of the English proficiency requirement can be applied to students who have successfully completed academic instruction in English. Successful completion can be demonstrated by one of the following methods: 1) Proof of degree at the secondary or collegiate level either outside or inside the U.S. where English is the official language of academic instruction. 2) Proof of completion of the equivalent of English 1101 and/or 1102 with a grade of C or better in one or both courses, at an accredited U.S. institution. Per USG campus review.  
Students who are required to take Compass or Accuplacer placement tests, may be waived of the English Proficiency requirement if the calculated EPI places them directly into college level English with no required co-requisite. Per USG campus review.  

*Institutions and departmental programs within the institution may set higher minimum test scores for international student admission.

English and Math admissions criteria, including the SAT or ACT, and placement criteria are required for international students.

Institutions may develop procedures to determine whether there is a need for placement in Learning Support English and/or ESL courses for students who meet the minimum English Proficiency requirements. An academically admissible applicant with credentials from another country who meets the minimum English Proficiency requirements (as indicated by an approved method for determining English Proficiency described above), but could benefit from supplemental English language instruction may be admitted to a degree program on the condition that the student will receive the supplemental English language instruction in a System-approved program. If a student does not meet the minimum English Proficiency requirements (as indicated by an approved method for determining English Proficiency described above), then the student cannot be granted regular admission. If an institution has an approved English-as-a-Second Language program, then the student can be referred to and admitted into that program*. Programs of English-as-a Second Language used under this provision must be approved by the Executive Vice Chancellor and Chief Academic Officer.

*Please note that for these cases for F-1 students, the English-as-a-Second Language program must be approved by the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) via an I-17. The I-20 for this type of case must be issued reflecting English Language Study.

U.S. Immigration Regulations
Federal regulations place significant responsibilities on students and universities in the administration of the U.S. laws pertaining to F-1 or J-1 non-immigrant students. Institutions are required to follow certain record-keeping and reporting requirements of the U.S. government. Institutions enrolling international students are required to determine the academic admissibility and the financial resources of applicants prior to the issuance of the immigration document I-20 or DS-2019.

Only a Designated School Official appointed by the institution’s president and registered with the Student Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) may sign form I-20 and other F-1 student immigration-related documents. Only a Responsible Officer or Alternate Responsible Officer approved by the U.S. Department of State and SEVP may sign form DS-2019. For more information, see