English Proficiency

International freshman and transfer students must submit English proficiency test scores — from an exam taken on or before the published deadline — that meet the University of Washington’s minimum requirement for admission.

English Proficiency Requirement

International students must submit English proficiency test scores that meet the minimum requirement for admission at the Seattle campus of the University of Washington. Exams must be taken on or before the published deadline. Official TOEFL or IELTS scores must be sent directly to the UW from the testing agency.

The most competitive applicants will demonstrate a higher level of English proficiency and have test scores that exempt them from enrolling in the UW's Academic English Program (92 TOEFL iBT, 580 paper-based TOEFL, or 7.0 IELTS).

  • Previous ESL coursework or English composition courses, even when taken in the United States, will not satisfy the English proficiency admission requirement.
  • An associate degree from a community college does not exempt applicants from submitting English proficiency exam scores. All applicants must submit official TOEFL or IELTS scores to be eligible for admission consideration.
  • International students currently enrolled in U.S. or Canadian schools must also submit official TOEFL or IELTS exam scores.
  • Applicants who have not met the minimum English proficiency requirement by the application deadline or who have not taken one of the English proficiency exams by the deadline will not be considered for admission.
  • The Seattle campus of the University of Washington does not offer conditional admission to students who have not yet met the minimum English proficiency requirement.

Exception: International students whose primary and secondary education took place in Australia, Canada (English-speaking provinces), Great Britain, Ireland, New Zealand, or the U.S. are exempt from this requirement. Students born in one of these countries yet educated elsewhere are still required to satisfy the English proficiency requirement.

SAT or ACT Scores as an Alternative to English Proficiency: The UW will consider the English proficiency requirement satisfied if you have achieved academic success in high school level English writing or literature courses where English is the primary language of instruction and you have attained a minimum SAT Critical Reading score of 550 or an ACT English score of 22. Official test scores must be sent directly from the College Board or ACT to satisfy this requirement.

Deadlines

  • Freshman applicants for 2014 must submit English proficiency test scores from any exam taken on or before December 31, 2013.
  • Transfer and postbaccalaureate applicants for 2014 must submit English proficiency test scores from any exam taken on or before February 15, 2014.

Minimum Test Score for Admission

For an application to be considered and reviewed, students must submit one of the following English proficiency test scores:

Test Title Minimum Score Before Admission
TOEFL Internet-based 76
TOEFL paper-based 540
International English Language Testing System (IELTS) 6.0

The most competitive applicants will demonstrate a higher level of English proficiency and have test scores that exempt them from enrolling in the UW's Academic English Program (92 TOEFL iBT, 580 paper-based TOEFL, or 7.0 IELTS).

Submitting Test Scores

  • UW's Institution Code for the TOEFL is 4854.
  • December is the last month for international freshmen to take an English proficiency exam. For freshmen applying for autumn or summer quarter 2014, we will allow any test scores from any exam taken on or before December 31, 2013. Test scores from exams taken after December 31, 2013, will not be accepted and will be considered late.
  • International transfer and postbaccalaureate applicants must submit exam scores from an exam taken on or before February 15, 2014. Any exams taken after the February 15 deadline will not be considered for admission.
  • Plan ahead to take the English proficiency exam. Test dates and locations are limited, so be sure to register early for a test date. Spaces fill quickly, especially during November and December. Do not delay taking the exam.
  • Official test scores. All exam scores must be sent directly from the testing agency. Score reports provided to the applicant (i.e. examinees’ copies, student copies, high school copies, etc.) or photocopies of score reports will not be accepted.
  • Use your legal name. Make sure to use your legal name as it appears on your passport when you take any exams and use the same name on your UW application. If there are any differences in your name, be sure to list the name discrepancy on your application or notify the Office of Admissions by email or postal mail.
  • Official English proficiency scores are only valid for two years from the original exam date. If scores are more than two years old, you will be required to take a new exam. Photocopies of previous exam scores will not be accepted. Institutional exams administered by other colleges/universities will also not be accepted.
  • Confirm that the name on your test score matches exactly the name on your exam results. Even a slight difference in the name or spacing will prevent test scores from being matched to your application file. This could delay the review of your application.
  • List all name variations on the application if there are any differences in how your name appears on the test scores. Notify the Admissions Office in writing by email or postal mail if you discover a difference in your name after your application has been submitted.

English Language Proficiency Requirement: After the Offer of Admission to the UW

After the offer of admission has been made and the student confirms enrollment to the Seattle campus of University of Washington, all new undergraduate students must satisfy an additional English Language Proficiency Requirement. Students will be required to complete a series of Academic English Program (AEP) courses if they do not have a minimum TOEFL ibt 92, paper-based TOEFL 580, or IELTS 7.0, or other qualifying test scores or academic degree by the first day of class at the UW. Students take AEP courses in addition to regular UW academic courses and pay an extra fee for each AEP course in addition to regular tuition. Previous English composition, literature, or ESL courses taken at the high school or college level will not satisfy this requirement.

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