Pathway Programs

Language Proficiency Requirements

The PSU Pathway programs are for students who want to improve their academic English skills and avoid taking high stakes language tests over and over. Students take their first PSU classes in a supportive environment and meet other international students who are studying at PSU. Pathway students are members of the PSU community, earn college credits and have access to PSU’s international achievement scholarship.  

The application process is simple. Apply using Portland State's online application following the steps for Freshman or Transfer students. PSU will place students into the appropriate Pathway Program based on the information supplied in their application. Students will transition to full time enrollment in their degree program when they complete their Pathway Program. No additional applications are required.

Students applying for undergraduate admission are not required to provide proof of English proficiency to be admitted at Portland State University. Freshman undergraduate admission is based on high school GPA. Transfer student admission is based on college GPA (30 credits or more).

  • Students who want to immediately begin their university coursework must meet PSU’s Direct to Degree language proficiency requirement.
  • Students who do not meet PSU’s Direct to Degree language requirement or who want to improve their academic English can enroll in one of three Pathway Program options. Placement into the Direct to Degree or Pathway Program Option is determined at the time of admission. Additional details about Pathway tuition and fees can be found here.

Direct to Degree Language Proficiency Requirements


6.0 overall
6.0 reading and writing 

TOEFL IBT Paper-based: 527
Internet-based: 71 overall; 15 reading and writing 
PTE 53

Pathway Programs

IELTS 5.5 overall
5.5 reading and writing
5.0 overall
5.0 reading and writing
No Score
Below 5.0 
iBT 60 overall
12 reading and writing
50 overall
9 reading & writing
No Score
Below 50
PTE 45 40 No Score
Below 40