UW Graduate School

Memo 8: Graduate School English Language Proficiency Requirements

As of 6/2/2020 the Graduate School is temporarily accepting official test scores for both the Duolingo English Test and the TOEFL ITP Plus For China to assist international students with remote testing options. The following guidelines apply:

  • Applicants using Duolingo must have a minimum Duolingo English Test score of 105 for admission. Graduate programs may require a higher score, but may not petition a score below 105.
  • Applicants using TOEFL ITP Plus for China must have a minimum TOEFL ITP Level 1 test score of 627 (C1) for admissions. Graduate programs may require a higher score, but may not petition a score below 627.
  • Students admitted with the Duolingo English Test or the TOEFL ITP Plus for China will be required to take all sections of the UW Academic English Language Program (AEP) Placement Exam and take any AEP courses indicated by the exam outcome. Students who receive a Teaching Assistantship will also be required to take the Versant English test and meet the Versant requirements described in Memo 15.

9/23/2020: The above policy has been
extended through the autumn 2021 admission cycle (i.e., students enrolling in
autumn 2021).


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 located in the United States and 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 and 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). Note: Graduate programs may require a higher minimum TOEFL score for admission than listed below.
Only IELTS test dates prior to
June 1, 2017 will be accepted
Minimum Required Score
(ELP Required)
80 6.5 500
Recommended Score
(ELP Satisfied)
92 or higher 7.0 or higher 580 or higher
  • 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.
  • 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) courses to fulfill the ELP requirement.
  • Admitted applicants who are required to take ENGL 102 and ENGL 104 may choose to fulfill this requirement before the start of their 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.


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

ii The Graduate School no longer accepts IELTS scores, unless the test was taken before June 1, 2017. If you took an IELTS test before June 1, 2017, then please check the websites of individual graduate programs to confirm if they will accept your IELTS score (many UW graduate programs do not accept IELTS scores).

Revised: March 2006; July 2009; May 2010; November 2010; March 2014; February 2015; August 2016; September 2016; October 2016; December 2016; June 2017; July 2017; December 2018; February 2019