English Language Proficiency (ESL) Information

Applicants whose native language is not English (including US Citizens) must provide proof of English language proficiency as a condition of admission, in the form of either a TOEFL, IELTS or MELAB exam occurring within the last 2 years.  Operational minimum scores are as follows; though individual programs may set higher requirements.

Test Type Operational Minimum Score (individual programs may have different requirements)
TOEFL 79 total score with subscores of 21 for writing and 19 for reading.
IELTS 6.5 total score with subscores of 6.5 for both writing and reading sections.

The following exceptions to the proficiency exam requirement are generally accepted; however individual programs may set stricter requirements.  

English Speaking Countries:

Applicants from certain English-speaking countries and regions may not need to take a proficiency exam.   Applicants from certain other countries may have their English proficiency assessed when they arrive in Minnesota.  See the TOEFL Exemption list PDF document for details.

Post-secondary education in the United States or other English-speaking country:

Applicants who have completed 16 semester (24 quarter) credits within the past 24 months in residence as a full-time student at a recognized or accredited post-secondary institution in the US (or other English-speaking country) may be exempted from the proficiency exam requirement. 


Programs may request a waiver of proof of English proficiency for an individual applicant.   Details are available here:  TOEFL waiver form

Official Test Scores
Other Resources
  • TOEFL Online Speech Sample Service now offers the ability to listen to a sample of spoken English online. For more information, read ETS' Speech Sample Frequently Asked Questions document; or contact Dean Tsantir (tsan0006@umn.edu)
  • Official TOEFL scores for current applicants:   This one-page tutorial briefly describes the ETS electronic score load process: