Conditional Admission

For International Students

As the University's international graduate applications increase, programs are receiving more requests for conditional admission for applicants who are academically qualified, but may not yet have the language skills to successfully enter the program. Often students in this category carry partial or full funding from their home government, Fulbright, or another sponsoring organization that may cover a year or more of intensive English study.

This web page has information for those graduate programs interested in offering conditional admission. These resources are not encouraging the lowering of any graduate program admissions requirements. To the contrary, we are seeking to support your graduate program with the recruitment of top-tier academic candidates who simply need some additional English proficiency skills.

How can my program conditionally admit international students?

If you are interested in putting your graduate program on a list of programs to be considered by funding agencies, contact Gabi Schmiegel in the ISSS office.

If you are reviewing applicants, the charts on this page are meant to help you make conditional admissions decisions by offering "recommended minimum conditional scores." These scores have been determined by experienced ESL instructors and researchers within the U of M's Minnesota English Language Program (MELP), and they reflect how much progress can be expected in one year of intensive English study. In other words, if your program requires a score of 79, but admits someone with a score of 61 on the internet based TOEFL test, it would be very likely that one year of study at MELP would result in the 79 score required for admission.

You will notice there are two admission requirement scores in each table. The lower score (79, 550, 6.5) reflects the University's operational standard for that test. The higher score (100, 600, 7.5) reflects the scores commonly used by U of M graduate programs with more stringent English proficiency requirements. If your program uses a different required minimum for admission, you can contact Mike Anderson within the MELP office for assistance.

What are some of the risks involved with this process?

It is important to note that graduate programs are not required to admit an applicant if he/she does not make adequate progress after a year of intensive language study. To avoid this unfortunate situation, programs should take considerable care when making a conditional admission decision and make it clear in the offer letter that admission can be revoked if necessary. Please consult with either MELP or the International Student and Scholar Services (ISSS) offices, with other graduate programs allowing conditional admission, or even faculty/students from the applicant's home country.


TOEFL – internet based

Admission Requirement

Recommended Minimum Conditional Score






TOEFL – paper based

Admission Requirement

Recommended Minimum Conditional Score







Admission Requirement

Recommended Minimum Conditional Score





(The tables above indicate the recommended minimum
scores that indicate how much progress can be made after
one year of intensive study)


International Student and Scholar Services (ISSS):

Front Desk: 6-7100,   

Gabi Schmiegel, Director of Sponsored Student Programs:



Minnesota English Language Program (MELP):

Front Desk: 4-1503,

Mike Anderson, Director:

Graduate Admissions

Dean Tsantir: 5-1303,

Jim Rowan: 6-7454,

Front Desk: 5-3014,


Conditional Admission Process:


1.) Application

  • An applicant applies via the ApplyYourself online admission system. The graduate program reviews the application using the charts above and its own admissions criteria and considers whether it is feasible for the student to improve his/her English abilities to the level required by the program in one year.
  •  It is also possible that a prospective student or University contact person (ISSS or MELP) will ask the graduate program if they are willing to consider conditional admission for a particular applicant.  If so, graduate program may be asked to complete a preliminary review of the admission materials to determine if the prospective student should proceed with the application. If it is determined that the prospective student should apply, the student will apply using normal processes through ApplyYourself. 

2.) Granting Conditional Admission

  • The graduate program contacts MELP to see if it is possible for the student to study English before entering the program.
  • The graduate program completes the ApplyYourself appraisal form, changes the term to the new actual term of admission (after expected completion of MELP) and makes any special notes about conditional admission in the comments section (contact the graduate admissions office for help if needed)
  • The conditional admission notice is sent to the applicant through ApplyYourself.  The admission notice instructs the applicant to apply to the MELP Intensive English Program.
  • Student is not admitted in PeopleSoft. Instead, a letter is sent indicating the conditions of their admission and the original application term is changed in PeopleSoft to the future admission date. The conditional admission language is provided to MELP by the graduate program.

3.) MELP Application

  • Student applies to the full time intensive English program via downloadable PDF application. There is no additional application fee.
  • MELP then issues the visa document to study in the Intensive English Program. There is a $100 fee only if a student requests the visa document be sent via FEDEX.
  • MELP adds language to the admission letter that the student has been conditionally admitted and will transfer to a graduate program upon meeting the minimum English requirement.

4.) MELP Intensive Study

  • Student arrives at MELP and takes English classes until the student reaches the minimum requirement to begin the graduate program.
  • Student takes the End of Term Assessment (ETA) at the end of each term.
  • MELP will update the graduate program and graduate admissions office for each student at the end of each term on their progress.
  • Student will be recommended to begin the graduate program if the student maintains good standing in the English program and reaches the minimum English proficiency level required by the program as measured on the End of Term Assessment.

5.) Transitioning to the Graduate Program

  • Student submits transfer form to MELP and MELP transfers the student’s visa document to the graduate admissions office so that the student can begin a degree program
  • Student is admitted to graduate program in PeopleSoft and sent a standard admission notification through ApplyYourself.