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English Language Requirements of American (US) Universities in 2024

Minimum IELTS & TOEFL Score Required in USA Universities for Admissions in BS, MS, and PhD Programs in 2024

English proficiency is a critical factor for international students seeking admission to universities in the United States. As English is the medium of instruction in U.S. universities and colleges therefore international students interested in starting a course/degree in US are required to show competence in the English language.

In this article, we will explore the English language requirements for admission to top U.S. universities in 2024:

Intro about IELTS or TOEFL Acceptance in US Universities

Most universities in the United States accept either Medium of Instruction (MOI), Duolingo, IELTS academic, CAE, or Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) as proof of English proficiency. These standardized tests assess an applicant’s ability to speak, write, read, and understand English language, ensuring that they can participate fully in their academic studies in US universities.

Which English Language Test is Widely Accepted in US Universities?

While both IELTS and TOEFL are accepted in US Universities but this TOEFL is most widely accepted in U.S. universities! However, it’s important to note that the IELTS academic module test is also widely accepted and recognized. It’s crucial for applicants to check the specific English language requirements of the US universities they plan to apply to, as some may have a preference for one test over the other.

In addition to IELTS and TOEFL, some US universities also consider other English language tests like Cambridge Assessment English (CAE), the Pearson Test of English (PTE) Academic, and the Duolingo English Test (DET). Additionally, standardized tests such as the Scholastic Assessment Test (SAT) and Advanced Placement (AP) exams include English language components that can contribute to an applicant’s overall language proficiency.

US universities also consider an applicant’s English proficiency in other aspects of the application, such as the personal statement, letters of recommendation, research proposal writing or motivation letter. Applicants having these documents written in proper English language may be admitted to US universities even if their English proficiency test scores are slightly below the minimum requirements.

Now, let’s explore the English language requirements for admission to 10 globally ranked U.S. universities in 2024.

English Language Requirements of US Universities for 2024

List of Top US Universities TOEFL Exam IELTS PTE Cambridge Tests Duolingo English
Harvard University Yes Yes Yes No Yes
Massachusetts Institute of Technology Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Stanford University Yes Yes Yes No Yes
University of California Yes Yes Yes No Yes
University of Washington Yes Yes Yes No Yes
Columbia University Yes Yes Yes No Yes
Caltech Yes Yes No No Yes
Johns Hopkins University Yes Yes Yes No Yes
Yale University Yes Yes No No Yes
University of California Yes Yes Yes No Yes

Now, let’s delve into the specifics of these top 10 U.S. universities and explore the minimum scores they require for these English language proficiency tests:

1# Harvard University English Language Requirements

Harvard University requires all international applicants whose native language is not English to submit a valid English proficiency test score. Accepted tests include:

  • TOEFL iBT: Minimum score of 109
  • IELTS Academic: Minimum score of 7.5
  • PTE Academic: Minimum score of 75
  • Duolingo English Test: Minimum score of 145

Harvard strongly discourages applicants from applying with English proficiency test scores below these minimum requirements.

#2 Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) English Language Requirements

MIT recommends that non-native English speakers submit an English proficiency exam score. Accepted tests and recommended minimum scores are:

  • TOEFL iBT: Recommended minimum score of 100
  • IELTS Academic: Recommended minimum score of 7.5
  • PTE Academic: Recommended minimum score of 65
  • Cambridge English Qualifications (C1 Advanced or C2 Proficiency): Recommended minimum score of 185
  • Duolingo English Test (DET): Recommended minimum score of 120

MIT does not have a strict cutoff score, but scores are considered in the context of the overall application. Applicants with scores below the recommended minimums may be required to take English language support courses.

3# Stanford University English Language Requirements

Stanford University requires international applicants to submit a valid English proficiency test score. Accepted tests and minimum requirements include:

  • TOEFL iBT: Minimum score of 100
  • IELTS Academic: Minimum score of 7.0
  • PTE Academic: Minimum score of 68
  • Duolingo English Test: Minimum score of 125

Stanford strongly discourages applicants from applying with scores below these minimum requirements. Other aspects of the application, such as personal statements and letters of recommendation, may also be considered.

#4 University of California, Berkeley English Language Requirements

UC Berkeley requires international applicants to submit an English proficiency test score. Accepted tests and minimum requirements include:

  • TOEFL iBT: Minimum score of 80
  • IELTS Academic: Minimum score of 6.5
  • PTE Academic: Minimum score of 65
  • Duolingo English Test: Minimum score of 115

Applicants are strongly discouraged from applying with scores below these minimum requirements.

5# University of Washington Seattle English Language Requirements

UW Seattle mandates that international applicants whose native language is not English provide a valid English proficiency test score. Accepted tests and minimum requirements are:

  • TOEFL iBT: Minimum score of 76
  • IELTS Academic: Minimum score of 6.0
  • PTE Academic: Minimum score of 65
  • Duolingo English Test: Minimum score of 110

UW Seattle discourages applicants from applying with scores below these minimum requirements. Some exemptions exist for certain applicants, including those who have completed degrees or substantial coursework in English-speaking countries.

#6 Columbia University English Language Requirements

Columbia University requires international applicants to submit a valid English proficiency test score. Accepted tests and minimum requirements include:

  • TOEFL iBT: Minimum score of 72 (with no subset score below 16)
  • IELTS Academic: Minimum score of 6.0 (with no band scores below 5.5)
  • PTE Academic: Minimum score of 60 (with no subset score below 50)
  • Duolingo English Test: Minimum score of 105

Columbia strongly discourages applicants from applying with scores below these minimum requirements.

7# California Institute of Technology (Caltech) English Language Requirements

Caltech requires international applicants to submit a valid English proficiency test score. Accepted tests and minimum requirements are:

  • TOEFL iBT: Minimum score of 100
  • IELTS Academic: Minimum score of 7.5
  • Duolingo English Test: Minimum score of 120

Caltech strongly discourages applicants from applying with scores below these minimum requirements.

#8 Johns Hopkins University (JHU) English Language Requirements

JHU requires international applicants to submit a valid English proficiency test score. Accepted tests and minimum requirements include:

  • TOEFL iBT: Minimum score of 100
  • IELTS Academic: Minimum score of 7.0
  • PTE Academic: Minimum score of 67
  • Duolingo English Test: Minimum score of 120

JHU discourages applicants from applying with scores below these minimum requirements.

9# Yale University English Language Requirements

Yale University requires international applicants to submit a valid English proficiency test score. Accepted tests and minimum requirements include:

  • TOEFL iBT: Minimum score of 100
  • IELTS Academic: Minimum score of 7.0
  • Duolingo English Test: Minimum score of 120

Yale discourages applicants from applying with scores below these minimum requirements.

#10 University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) English Language Requirements

UCLA requires international applicants to submit a valid English proficiency test score. Accepted tests and minimum requirements are:

  • TOEFL iBT: Minimum score of 80
  • IELTS Academic: Minimum score of 6.5
  • PTE Academic: Minimum score of 65
  • Duolingo English Test: Minimum score of 115

UCLA discourages applicants from applying with scores below these minimum requirements.

In conclusion, for international students aspiring to study in the United States in 2024, it is crucial to be aware of the English language requirements of the universities they wish to apply to.

Dr. Engr. Zahira

Dr. Engr. Zahira Bano is a distinguished alumna of Nanjing University of Science and Technology, is renowned in the field of international education, having secured both her PhD and Master's degrees under prestigious scholarships, including the Chinese Government Scholarship and the Nanjing Municipal government scholarship. Known for her expertise as a scholarship mentor and speaker, she dedicates her efforts to guiding international students in securing educational opportunities abroad. Through her insightful guidance articles, Dr. Engr Bano shares valuable strategies for navigating scholarship applications and adapting to new academic environments, making her a respected and sought-after voice among students seeking to pursue higher education on a global stage.

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