English Proficiency Requirements

Non-native English speakers must demonstrate English proficiency in the skill areas of reading, writing, and listening to gain admission to a graduate program. Please review our updated 2020 requirements and categories for English proficiency below.

 

Admission:

There are five ways to prove English profiency

  1. Graduation with a baccalaureate degree (or higher) earned in residence from an accredited English-medium U.S. college or university or from a foreign university which conducts all instruction in English and which maintains substantially equivalent bachelor's, master's, or doctoral degree requirements. Applicants with one of these degree options demonstrate full proficiency, and will not be required to complete Applied English Center (AEC) testing. 
    • ​​Degrees earned online may not be used to verify English proficiency
  2. Satisfactory completion of the entire AEC curriculum with a final university designation of "Proficiency Obtained." Applicants who complete the curriculum will be considered to demonstrate full proficiency and will not be required to do any further English-language testing or coursework. 
  3. Employment as an officer in the U.S. military with documentation of selection or promotion to the rank of Major or higher (or the equivalent U.S. Navy or Coast Guard rank). These applicants will be considered to demonstrate full proficiency and will not be required to complete AEC testing.
  4. Official scores from an English proficiency standardized test (e.g. TOEFL, IELTS-Academic, or PTE), sent by the testing agency to the University of Kansas. Official scores must be less than two years old at the time that Graduate Admissions processes the application.
    • Scores demonstrate Provisional, Admission, or Full Proficiency in accordance with the table below.
  5. ​In exceptional cases, a department, with written support from the appropriate school or college, may petition the Vice Provost for Graduate studies to consider alternative documentation of English proficiency. In consultation with the Executive Council of Graduate Faculty and the Director of the AEC, the Vice Provost for Graduate Studies will determine whether the alternative documentation demonstrates English proficiency at the level expected for regular admission to graduate study at KU.
    • Demonstrates Provisional, Admission, or Full Proficiency, depending on the documentation provided.

 

Proficiency Bands and Score Requirements:   

Documentation Type

Full Proficiency

Admission Proficiency

Provisional Proficiency

TOEFL (paper)

All part scores at least 57, TWE 5.0

All part scores at least 53

All part scores 51-52

TOEFL (iBT)

Reading, Listening, and Writing part scores at least 23

Reading, Listening, and Writing part scores at least 20

Reading, Listening, and Writing part scores 18-19

IELTS-Academic

Minimum overall score 6.5, at least 6.0 in Listening, Reading, and Writing

Minimum overall score 6.0 with no part score below 5.5

Minimum overall score 5.5 with no part score below 5.0

PTE

Minimum overall score 58 with no part score below 53 in Listening, Reading, and Writing

Minimum overall score 55 with no part score below 50

Minimum overall score 45 with no part score below 40

AEC Coursework

Completion of all AEC coursework and designation as "Proficiency Obtained"

N/A

N/A

AEC Testing Required?

No

Yes

Yes

 

Applied English Center Testing

The Applied English Center (AEC) maintains a testing process for non-native speakers of English. This process serves to confirm each student's level of English proficiency and determines whether English courses will be included as a requirement of the student’s academic program. In order to graduate, students who are required to complete AEC courses must meet KU’s Full Proficiency standard as demonstrated by their performance in AEC coursework and/or testing.

  • Students who are admitted in the Full Proficiency band are not required to complete AEC testing.
  • All other non-native speakers of English who gain admission to campus-based programs are required to complete AEC testing prior to enrollment.

Visit the full English Proficiency Requirements for Admission to Graduate Study

Exclusions/Special Circumstances:

  • Provisional admission is not available to applicants who are applying to online-only programs and are not native English speakers.

Employment:

GTA and GRA eligibility:

Graduate teaching and research assistant eligibility requirements are distinct from admission requirements. In other words, GTA and GRA positions are governed by separate policies and have different English proficiency requirements than graduate admission. Additional information on eligibility for graduate teaching assistants and graduate research assistants may be found in the GTA/GRA/GA Eligibility Guidelines.

The Board of Regents policy on spoken English competency for graduate teaching assistants requires that non-native speakers of English demonstrate English proficiency by obtaining a minimum score of 50 on the SPEAK or TSE, a 22 on the speaking portion of the iBT, or an 8 on the IELTS and that the student must be interviewed by three institutional representatives to determine sufficient English proficiency. More information may be found in the Kansas Board of Regents Policy on Spoken English Language Competency of Faculty and Graduate Teaching Assistants.

GTA
Reading, Listening, and Writing part scores at least 20, Speaking 22 Minimum overall score 6.0 with no part score below 5.5, Speaking 8

50

English proficiency sufficient for GTA or GRA offer
GRA
Reading, Listening, and Writing part scores at least 20 Minimum overall score 6.0 with no part score below 5.5

 

English proficiency sufficient for GRA offer

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