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English Language Proficiency Requirements: Graduate

All graduate students whose first language is not English must meet the English language proficiency requirement prior to enrolling in academic classes. Please note that this requirement applies to all students, including permanent residents and U.S. citizens.

Requiring valid proof of English language proficiency is a mandate of the Office of Graduate Studies (OGS); the Office of Admissions merely enforces the mandate. Thus, only the OGS (not Admissions) can approve any exceptions. If you have not met the English language proficiency requirement, please do not approach the OGS to ask for an exception or waiver. Instead, discuss your situation with the graduate coordinator in the academic department to which you are applying for admission. Depending on your special circumstances, the department may choose to submit a petition to the OGS asking for a waiver/amendment to the English language proficiency requirement. But please note that waivers/amendments are rarely granted.

Some graduate departments will recommend admission without proof the English language proficiency; however, many will not. Please ask your graduate coordinator to explain your department's policy.

Valid Proof of English Language Proficiency

  • Completion of a bachelor's degree, master's degree or doctoral degree in Australia, English-speaking Canada, Great Britain, Ireland, New Zealand or the U.S. or
  • Minimum required official score on the International Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL), the PSU Institutional TOEFL, the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) exam, or the Pearson Test of English-Academic (PTE) or
  • Test score more than two years old if the score exceeded the minimum requirement and you have maintained continuous residency in the United States since the exam date.

Minimum Test Score Requirements


  • Paper-based: 550
  • Computer-based: 213
  • Internet-based: minimum overall score of 80; minimum subscore of 18 in reading and writing


  • 6.5 overall
  • minimum 6.5 in reading and writing


  • 60 overall

Some graduate programs require higher scores than the minimum scores listed above. Consult your academic department's graduate coordinator to verify minimum score requirements.

Invalid Proof of English Language Proficiency

  • Test score less than Portland State's minimum requirement
  • Test score more than two years old (unless you have lived in the United States since the exam date)
  • Institutional TOEFL score from any school except PSU

PSU Institutional TOEFL

Applicants to Portland State may take the Portland State Institutional TOEFL on campus. The Portland State Institutional TOEFL is offered on campus four times each year, preceding each term.

International TOEFL

Scores from the International TOEFL are valid worldwide. Visit the TOEFL web site for information about testing and ordering score reports. When ordering test score reports, please use Portland State's institutional code: 4610.