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English proficiency for international transfer 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.

Exams must be taken on or before February 15 of the year of application, and scores must be sent directly from the testing agency to the UW. Official test scores, including subscores, should be sent to the University of Washington. 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 transfer applicants.

Test score requirement

TOEFL (iBT) IELTS Duolingo (DET)
Minimum score required 76 6.0 110
Average score 96 6.5 125

Exception: International students whose primary and secondary education took place in Australia, Canada (English-speaking provinces), the United Kingdom, Ireland, New Zealand or the U.S. are exempt from this requirement. Students born in one of these countries and educated elsewhere 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 statements:

  • 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 is test optional for SAT and ACT, international students may use SAT or ACT scores to meet the alternative to the English proficiency requirement. SAT and ACT scores will be considered to meet the English proficiency requirement only and will not be included in the holistic review process.

Common high school 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

International transfer applicants for autumn quarter are required to have official test scores sent to the UW from any TOEFL, IELTS, or DET taken on or before  February 15 of the year of application.

List the 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. We will accept all test scores from exams taken on or before February 15 of the year of application as meeting the deadline.

How to request scores

The UW must receive your official TOEFL or IELTS scores directly from the testing agency. You may request scores be sent to the UW at the time you register for the test. If you have already taken the exam, you may request official scores by contacting TOEFL or IELTS directly. Scores should be sent to the UW electronically.

    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 super-score English proficiency exam scores

  • We will not consider TOEFL’s MyBest score to meet the minimum English proficiency requirement for transfer admission at this time. Although we are reviewing our policy and collecting data about the MyBest scores, applicants applying for autumn quarter should plan on meeting the minimum English proficiency requirement for admission with scores from a single test date.
  • The UW does not super-score English proficiency exams at this time for transfer applicants. We are reviewing our policy and will update this information if any changes are made.

If my score is below the minimum proficiency requirement, is that okay? Can I still apply if my score is too low? Do you offer conditional admissions?

  • Applicants who have not met the minimum English proficiency requirement by the February 15 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 February 15 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 February 15, 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 February 15. 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 know 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 will expire after February 15?

  • 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 February 15 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.