English Language Proficiency Requirements

University policy requires international students (and domestic students whose native language is not English) to provide proof of English language proficiency as a condition of admission.  In addition, federal immigration regulations prohibit the University from issuing a visa document to any student who has not satisfied this requirement.

The chart below lists the different types of acceptable proof of English proficiency and associated minimum requirement.   Individual programs may set stricter requirements.

Acceptable Proof of English Proficiency
 University Minimum Requirement for Admission

 (individual programs may set higher requirements.)


  • 79 total score.
  • Writing subscore of 21
  • Reading subscore of 19
  • Test date within 2 years of program start


  • 6.5 total score
  • Writing subscore of 6.5
  • Reading subscore of 6.5
  • Test date within 2 years of program start


  • 80 total score
  • Test date within 2 years of program start

PTE or Cambridge Assessment Exam

  • Contact the Office of Graduate Admissions

Post-secondary coursework in US

  • 16 semester/24 quarter credits
  • US institution or certain institutions in other English-speaking countries (see:  ESL Exam Exam Exemption)
  • Credits completed within the past 2 years
  • Credits must not be ESL courses

Native of English speaking country

  • Students from certain English-speaking countries are exempt from providing exam scores or additional proof of English proficiency (see: ESL Exam Exemption)
  • Not all countries where English is an official language or is widely spoken are included in the exemption list.  

MELP Assessment

  • Satisfactory English assessment from Minnesota English Language Program (usually given after student completes a program at MELP.)

If your program wishes to admit a student who is not able to satisfy the English requirement through one of the means above, you may request a waiver  by completing the English Proficiency Test Score Waiver form.   Programs should be prepared to provide evidence of a student’s English ability.  Waivers for Twin Cities students are submitted to the Minnesota English Language Program.  Waivers for Duluth campus students are submitted to the Duluth Graduate School Office.

Official Test Scores
Other Resources
  • TOEFL Online Speech Sample Service 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)