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For information related to the COVID-19 outbreak, visit: grad.illinois.edu/covid-19-updates.

English Proficiency Requirement for Admission

COVID-19 English Proficiency Requirement Updates

TOEFL IBT

TOEFL testing centers are open in some locations, including within Mainland China. Please review the TOEFL iBT Test Centers and Dates page for more information.

TOEFL iBT Special Home Edition Test

Please review the TOEFL iBT Special Home Edition Testing page for more information about this test option. We will accept this test in lieu of the traditional TOEFL iBT with the same score and test date requirements posted in the chart below. 

TOEFL ITP PLUS FOR CHINA TEST

We are accepting this test for students in China only. This is a paper-based test that can be taken in ATA-operated test centers in China while the iBT is temporarily unavailable. If submitting this test, a minimum score of 550 will be required for admission. Students who submit this test will not be eligible for full status admission and will be required to take the English as a Second Language English Placement Test (EPT)* prior to erolling at Illinois. Additional information about this test can be found on the ITP Plus for China page. Note that the TOEFL ITP Plus test does not provide a scored speaking component and cannot be used to satisfy the English proficiency requirement for teaching assistants. Students who submit a TOEFL ITP Plus score for admission will need to either take the TOEFL iBT or IELTS at a later date or take the English Proficiency Interview (EPI) upon arrival to campus if planning to hold a teaching assistantship. 

DUOLINGO ENGLISH TEST

In addition and in response to the temporary closings of testing centers in countries impacted by the COVID-19 epidemic, the Graduate College will now temporarily accept Duolingo English Test examination results for tests taken between February 1, 2020 and August 1, 2021. The Duolingo English Test will be accepted as an alternative to TOEFL and IELTS for proof of English proficiency for impacted applicants. If submitting the Duolingo English Test, a minimum score of 105 will be required for admission. Students with scores between 105 and 124 will be required to take the English as a Second Language (ESL) English Placement Test (EPT)* upon arrival to campus. In addition to providing a score above these minimums, graduate programs may choose to require students to participate in a zoom or skype interview prior to making an admission decision. The Duolingo English Test does not provide sub-score breakouts and cannot be used to satisfy the English proficiency requirement for teaching assistants. Students who submit a Duolingo score for admission will need to either take the TOEFL/IELTS at a later date or take the English Proficiency Interview (EPI) upon arrival to campus if planning to hold a teaching assistantship. Please visit the Duolingo peparing for the exam, scheduling the exam, and FAQs sites for more information. 

English Proficiency Requirements for Admission

 

DOMESTIC APPLICANTS

All domestic applicants are exempt from taking the TOEFL or IELTS for admission. However, some domestic applicants may be admitted on limited status and be required to take the English as a Second Language Placement Test (EPT) prior to enrolling at Illinois. Success in your Illinois graduate program depends upon your ability to converse in, write and understand English. The EPT may be required of domestic applicants:

  • who have lived, been educated, or worked professionally primarily outside of the United States or another approved country; or
  • who have U.S. permanent resident, asylee or refugee status and have lived in the United States for less than two years from the first term of enrollment; or
  • who have lived, been educated, or worked professionally primarily within Guam, Puerto Rico, or the Northern Mariana Islands.

 

international APPLICANTS

All international degree-seeking applicants are required to submit the results of the TOEFL or IELTS as evidence of English proficiency unless they qualify for an exemption. Official scores are required to be submitted directly from the testing agency. All scores must be dated within two years of the beginning of the proposed admission term.

Minimum Score Requirements

English Proficiency Test

Minimum for Limited Status Admission

Minimum for Full Status Admission
TOEFL iBT 79 103
IELTS (academic exam) 6.5 7.5
TOEFL Revised PDT 60 Not Eligible
TOEFL ITP Plus (China Only)                             550 Not Eligible

Duolingo (Accepting tests
taken between Feb. 1, 2020 and
Aug. 1, 2021 only)

105 125

Additional Score Information

  • The English as a Second Language Placement Test (EPT) will be required prior to enrolling at Illinois for all students who score below the full status minimums listed in the chart above. On the basis of the EPT results, applicants are generally required to enroll in non-credit "English as a Second Language" courses and take a reduced academic load beginning the first semester at the University. 
  • Students applying to online programs must satisfy the full status admissions requirement.
  • Students who take the revised paper-delivered test (PDT) or the ITP Plus test are not eligible for full status admission and will be required to take the English as a Second Language Placement Test (EPT) prior to enrolling at Illinois (and any subsequent ESL coursework). Note that not all graduate programs will accept these tests. Also note that the TOEFL ITP Plus exam is only offered in Mainland China.
  • Individual academic programs may require a higher score, or evidence of spoken English language proficiency; please review your proposed program of study's website for program TOEFL or IELTS minimums for admission.

Test Information and Instructions for Requesting Official Scores

  • TOEFL is owned by Educational Testing Service (ETS). Applicants who have already taken the TOEFL should request ETS to send scores to the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign using our institution code number 1836.
  • IELTS (International English Language Testing System) is jointly owned by University of Cambridge ESOL Examinations (Cambridge ESOL), British Council and IDP Education Australia: IELTS Australia. Applicants who have already taken the IELTS should upload their score report forms directly to the online application.

 

ENGLISH PROFICIENCY REQUIREMENT EXEMPTIONS

Applicants who meet one of the following criteria are exempt from submitting a TOEFL or IELTS exam and from taking the English as a Second Language Placement Test (EPT) prior to enrolling at Illinois:

  • Completion of at least two years of post-secondary full-time study, as defined by the home institution, in an approved country where English is the primary language and at an institution where English is the primary medium of instruction, within five years of the proposed term of initial enrollment.
  • Completion of at least two years of professional work experience in an approved country where English is the primary language within five years of the proposed term of initial enrollment.
  • Completion of a post-secondary degree in an approved country where English is the primary language and at an institution where English is the primary language of instruction, within five years of the proposed term of initial enrollment.

 

APPROVED COUNTRIES WITH ENGLISH AS THE PRIMARY LANGUAGE

Illinois Graduate Admissions recognizes the following countries as having English as the primary language: Australia, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Botswana, Cameroon-Anglophone, Canada(excluding the Quebec Province), Dominica, Fiji, Gambia, Ghana, Granada, Guyana, Ireland, Jamaica, Kenya, Lesotho, Liberia, Malta, Malawi, Mauritius, New Zealand, Nigeria, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Samoa, Scotland, Sierra Leone, Singapore, South Africa, St. Kitts, Swaziland, Tanzania, Trinidad & Tobago, Uganda, United Kingdom, United States*, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.

*If your educational or professional work experience has primarily been within Guam, Puerto Rico, or the Northern Mariana Islands, you may be required to take the EPT.

 

ENGLISH PROFICIENCY FOR TEACHING ASSISTANTS

Please note that all English proficiency requirements and exemptions listed above are for admission purposes only. Admissions minimums are not equivalent to minimums required for holding a teaching assistantship; and not all exemptions apply for those holding a teaching assistantship. For more information, please see the English Proficiency Requirement for Graduate Teaching Assistants.