UW Graduate School

Memo 8: Graduate School English Language Proficiency Requirements

Proficiency in English is required for graduate study at the University of Washington. Therefore, every applicant whose native language is not English must demonstrate English language proficiency.i Proficiency can be demonstrated in one of the following five ways:

      1. A bachelor’s, master’s, or doctoral degree from a regionally accredited institution in the United States where English is the medium of instruction.
      2. A bachelor’s, master’s, or doctoral degree from an institution in Australia, the Bahamas, Canada, Ireland, Jamaica, Kenya, New Zealand, Singapore, Trinidad and Tobago, or the United Kingdom where English is the medium of instruction. While enrolled at the degree-granting school, the student must be in residence on campus.
      3. Official documentation from the applicant’s undergraduate degree-granting institution (if the institution is in a country other than those listed in #2 above) verifying that all instruction is in English. A minimum of three years of enrollment at the undergraduate institution is required. Documentation must be presented to the Graduate School; credential service reports are not acceptable. Acceptable documentation must be one of the following:
        • Official or attested letter from the undergraduate college, university Registrar, or Controller of Examinations office.
        • Official transcripts, attested mark sheets or degree statements, are also accepted if English is stated as the medium of instruction.
      4. An official letter stating successful completion of the UW Intensive English Program (IEP): University Track. The letter must be submitted to the Graduate School.
      5. Official English Language Test Score (sent electronically to the University of Washington via testing center):


Minimum Required Score
(ELP Required)
80 6.5 500
Recommended Score
(ELP Satisfied)
92 or higher 7.0 or higher 580 or higher
  • An applicant who does not meet the minimum required score will not be considered admissible by the Graduate School. The Graduate School does not offer conditional admissions to students who have not yet met the minimum English Language Proficiency (ELP) requirement.
  • An applicant who has attained the recommended score has satisfied the Graduate School’s ELP requirement.
  • An admitted applicant below the recommended score will be required to satisfactorily complete 1 to 3 UW Academic English Program (AEP)iii courses to fulfill the ELP requirement. Students enrolled in AEP courses will pay additional fees.


iEach prospective graduate student indicates on his/her graduate application whether or not s/he is a native speaker of English.

ii Many UW graduate programs do not accept IELTS test scores. Please check the programs’ websites prior to scheduling a test exam to ensure your IELTS scores will be considered. The Graduate School is phasing out the usage of IELTS and will not accept scores with a test session date after May 31, 2017.

iiiInformation about how students are placed into AEP courses >
Revised: March, 2006; July, 2009; May 2010; November 2010; March 2014; February 2015; August 2016; September 2016; October 2016; December 2016