Policy 3.2: Graduate School English Language Proficiency Requirements – UW Graduate School Skip to content

Policy 3.2: Graduate School English Language Proficiency Requirements

English language proficiency (ELP) is required for graduate study at the University of Washington. Therefore, every applicant whose native language is not English must demonstrate English language proficiency. Each prospective graduate student indicates on the graduate application whether or not the student is a native speaker of English.

Students who will receive a Teaching Assistantship will also be required to satisfy additional requirements described in Policy 5.2: Conditions of Appointment for TAs who are not Native Speakers of English.

3.2.1     Demonstration of Proficiency

Proficiency can be demonstrated in one of the following ways. A graduate program may set additional standards or qualifications in any of these categories. Students must confirm specific requirements with the admitting program.

  • A bachelor’s, master’s or doctoral degree from a regionally accredited institution located in the United States and where English is the medium of instruction.
  • A bachelor’s, master’s or doctoral degree from an institution in Australia, the Bahamas, Canada, Ireland, Jamaica, Kenya, New Zealand, Singapore, South Africa, Trinidad and Tobago, or the United Kingdom and where English is the medium of instruction. While enrolled at the degree-granting school, the student must be in residence on campus.
  • 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.
  • Official English Language Test Score (sent electronically to the University of Washington via testing center). Note: Graduate programs may require a higher minimum scores for admission than the scores listed below.
  TOEFL iBT TOEFL MyBest Duolingo Academic IELTS
Minimum Required Score
(ELP Not Satisfied) – effective through Autumn Quarter 2024 admissions
80 80 105 6.5
Minimum Required Score
(ELP Not Satisfied) – effective starting Winter 2025 admissions
80 80 110 6.5
Recommended Score
(ELP Satisfied) – effective through Autumn Quarter 2024 admissions
92 or higher 92 or higher 120 or higher 7.0 or higher
Recommended Score
(ELP Satisfied) – effective starting Winter 2025 admissions
92 or higher 92 or higher 125 or higher 7.0 or higher

3.2.2     Submission of Test Scores

  • The Graduate School also accepts the TOEFL paper-delivered test, which is available only to students in areas without internet testing access. Contact Graduate Enrollment Management Services (GEMS) for special instructions if you have taken this test.
  • Applicants using TOEFL test scores must submit official scores electronically via ETS, using the University of Washington’s institution code 4854.  An offer of admission cannot be extended prior to the receipt of official scores.
  • Applicants using Academic IELTS test scores must submit official scores electronically via the IELTS system (E-TRF), using the University of Washington’s organization ID 365. An offer of admission cannot be extended prior to the receipt of official scores.
  • Applicants using Duolingo test scores must submit official scores via Duolingo to the University of Washington Graduate Admissions (Bothell, Seattle, Tacoma). An offer of admission cannot be extended prior to the receipt of official scores.
  • 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.

3.2.3     Meeting English Language Proficiency (ELP) Requirements

  • 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) courses to fulfill the ELP requirement. Students are expected to register for any required AEP classes beginning the student’s first quarter.
  • Admitted applicants who are required to take ENGL 102 and ENGL 104 may choose to fulfill this requirement before the start of the student’s graduate program by successfully completing the Graduate Preparation Program through the International & English Language Programs. Students enrolled in the Graduate Preparation Program pay additional fees.
  • Test scores are valid for two years and must be valid on the date the application is submitted or on the date the program requests a deferral petition.
  • Graduate students whose native language is not English and who wish to be appointed as teaching assistants (TAs) must meet the conditions for appointment specified in Graduate School Policy 5.2.

Policy 3.2 revised: November 2021; March 2022; April 2022; November 2022; December 2022; August 2023 (removal of temporary policy statement)

Policy 3.2.3 revised: February 2023