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English Language Proficiency Requirements: Undergraduate

All admitted undergraduate and postbaccalaureate students on non-immigrant visas must satisfy the English language proficiency requirement before they can enroll in regular academic classes. Although Portland State University offers conditional admission to applicants who have not submitted proof of English language proficiency, enrollment is restricted to English as a Second Language (ESL) courses until you submit valid proof of English language proficiency.

Valid Proof of English Language Proficiency

  1. Minimum required official score, achieved within the last two years, on the International Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL), the Portland State Institutional TOEFL, the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) exam, or the Pearson Test of English-Academic (PTE);
  2. 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; or
  3. Completion of Level 5 of the Intensive English Language Program (IELP) with an average GPA of 2.7 or higher, and approval for release from the IELP student academic adviser.
  4. Completion of a transferable Associate's degree from a U.S. institution, with a minimum GPA of 2.50 and 8 credits of college level writing - culminating in the equivalent of WR 121, with a grade of C- or better.

Minimum Test Score Requirements

Computer-based Internet-based    
527 197 minimum overall score of 71: minimum subscore of 15 in reading & writing 6.0 overall;

minimum 6.0 on reading & writing
53 overall

Invalid Proof of English Language Proficiency

  1. Test score less than Portland State's minimum requirement;
  2. Test score more than two years old (unless you have lived in the United States since the exam date);
  3. Institutional TOEFL score from any school except Portland State;
  4. Completion of an ESL program at any school except Portland State;
  5. Successful completion of English, Writing, or Literature classes; or
  6. A diploma from a U.S. high school.

If you have not met Portland State University's English Language Proficiency Requirement, your enrollment will be restricted to English as a Second Language (ESL) classes.  

Conditional Admission to Portland State: English Language Restriction

Conditional admission is offered to applicants who are academically admissible but who lack the required TOEFL score or English language proficiency. As a conditionally admitted student you are restricted to ESL classes in the IELP until you demonstrate the required English proficiency (see above).

Your enrollment in ESL classes (offered through the Department of Applied Linguistics and listed in the Schedule of Classes as LING 110) is for credit. Credits are applied to your university degree requirements as general elective credits and are included when calculating term and cumulative grade point averages. ESL courses are recorded on Portland State transcipts.

Portland State Institutional TOEFL

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

Contact the Office of Admissions for exact test dates and registration information.

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.

Intensive English Language Program

If you seek English language training only and do not wish to pursue academic study, you may apply for admission to the Intensive English Language Program (IELP). To be eligible to apply, you must have earned the equivalent to a U.S. high school diploma.

For further information, please contact

  • International Admissions about the English Language Proficiency Requirement: 503-725-3511 or
  • The Intensive English Language Program about applying to the IELP and about ESL class registration: 503-725-4088 or
  • Testing Services about the Portland State Institutional TOEFL exam: 800-547-8887, extension 4428 (toll free in the United States) or 503-725-4428, or