English proficiency for international freshman applicants

As an international student, you are required to submit an official TOEFL, IELTS or Duolingo English Test (DET) score that meets the UW’s minimum English proficiency requirement. English proficiency is considered in the holistic review of applications. Take a look at test score averages for admitted international students. 

Official test scores, including subscores, should be sent to the University of Washington. Exams must be taken on or before December 31 of the year of application, and scores must be sent directly from the testing agency to the UW. Plan ahead—test dates and locations are limited and fill quickly.

The TOEFL iBT special home edition and the IELTS Indicator at home exam will be accepted for international freshman applicants.

Test score requirement

TOEFL (iBT) IELTS Duolingo (DET)
Minimum score required 76 6.0 110
Recommended score 92 or higher 7.0 or higher 125 or higher

Exception: If your primary and secondary education took place in Australia, Canada (English-speaking provinces), the United Kingdom, Ireland, New Zealand or the U.S., you are exempt from this requirement. If you were born in one of these countries and educated elsewhere, you are still required to satisfy the English proficiency requirement.

Alternatives to TOEFL, IELTS or DET: Using SAT or ACT scores for English proficiency

The UW will consider the English proficiency requirement met for students who satisfy both of the following:

  • A minimum average grade of B in all high-school-level English writing or literature courses where English is the primary language of instruction for all grade 10-12 classes taught at the school and
  • A minimum SAT Evidence-Based Reading and Writing score of 580 or ACT English score of 22. Official scores must be sent to the UW directly from ACT or the College Board to satisfy this requirement. Although the UW no longer requires the SAT/ACT, international students may use SAT/ACT scores to meet the alternative English proficiency requirement. SAT/ACT scores will be considered to meet the English proficiency requirement only and will not be included in the holistic review process. If self-reported scores are used to meet the English requirement, official scores will be required prior to enrollment.

Common equivalencies for an average grade of B: IB scale = 5; 100 point scale = 80; 4 point scale = 3.0; IGCSE exams = C

Deadline for submitting exam scores

Exams must be taken on or before December 31 of the year of application, and scores must be sent directly from the testing agency to the UW. Plan ahead—test dates and locations are limited and fill quickly. 

If you take an exam after the November 15 freshman application deadline but on or before December 31 be sure to list UW as a score recipient when you register for the exam so official scores will be sent from the testing agency to the UW as soon as they become available.

How to request scores

The UW must receive your official electronic TOEFL, IELTS or Duolingo (DET) scores directly from the testing agency. Request that scores be sent to the UW at the time you register for the test. Or, if you have already taken the exam, you may request official scores by contacting the testing organization directly. 

    The UW’s four-digit code is 4854
    School information for electronic submission:
    University of Washington, All Campuses
    Undergraduate & Graduate Admission
    Box 355850
    Seattle, WA 98195
  • Duolingo English Test

Frequently Asked Questions about English Proficiency

I completed English coursework at my high school. Do I need to submit an English proficiency test score?

Previous ESL coursework or English composition courses, even when taken in the U.S. or an English speaking country, do not satisfy the English proficiency requirement.

Will the UW consider TOEFL's MyBest score to meet the minimum English proficiency score requirement? Does the UW superscore English proficiency exam scores

  • The UW does not consider TOEFL’s MyBest score to meet the minimum English proficiency requirement for freshmen admission.
  • The UW does not superscore English proficiency exams.

My score is below the minimum proficiency requirement. Can I still apply? Does UW offer conditional admissions?

  • Applicants who have not met the minimum English proficiency requirement by the December 31 exam deadline or who have not taken an English proficiency exam will not be considered for admission.
  • The UW does not offer conditional admissions. All applicants must submit qualifying English proficiency exam scores by the December 31 exam deadline. Applicants who do not meet the requirement by the deadline will not be considered for admission.

There are no open registration dates left before December 31, what should I do? The testing center nearest where I live is full, what should I do?

We strongly recommend you plan ahead and register early for a TOEFL or IELTS exam or register to take the Duolingo English Test which offers an online English proficiency exam. We will not consider exams taken after December 31. In person test centers fill up quickly and space is limited. If a test date or center is full, keep checking the test site since space may open up when other students cancel. Plan ahead so you can take the test well before the deadline.

I sent my test scores to the UW but I don't see my scores when I check my application information through MyUW. Is there a problem? Do I need to send the scores again?

Always use your legal name as it appears on your passport when registering for any exam.

The UW considers self-reported test scores from the UW application, so you do not need to send scores again unless the UW asks you to send them again. Official scores will be required for any applicant who is offered admission, but we will use unofficial or self-reported scores to complete our evaluation and holistic review of applications.

How long are TOEFL and IELTS valid? I took the TOEFL/IELTS more than 2 years ago. Do I need to take an exam again? Will my scores be considered official if they expire after December 31?

  • The UW requires official test scores for all applicants. TOEFL and IELTS exams are valid for two years from the date of the original exam. If your scores are more than two years old, you will need to take a new exam to be considered for admission.
  • If your scores are valid through December 31 but will expire before classes begin in September, be sure to have TOEFL or IELTS send official scores to the UW before they expire. We will consider your scores official as long as they are sent to the UW before they expire.