English proficiency information for international students

The University’s English proficiency requirements are in the process of being updated. Please check back soon for updated information.

Please note: You are considered an international student if you are not a U.S citizen, permanent resident, or refugee, and you are on a temporary visa; or if you will require any type of visa to study in the United States. The test information included below is specific to international students. If you do not meet this definition, please see our English proficiency information for domestic students.

The University of Minnesota requires all non-native English speakers to demonstrate a command of the English language that is necessary for success in college level classes taught in English. Applicants are required to submit results from the TOEFL, IELTS or MELAB English language proficiency tests.

What English proficiency test score do I need to earn to be considered for admission?

Most undergraduate programs at the University of Minnesota require a specific minimum score for admission (see the chart below). Some undergraduate programs may admit students with lower scores, but they require an additional English language proficiency test prior to registration. Based on English proficiency exam results and placement examinations taken on campus, admitted students may be required to take additional English courses when they enroll.

Students whose writing subscore is below 21 TOEFL, 6.5 IELTS or 80 MELAB will be tested on arrival to campus and may be required to take additional English language courses. Some programs in the health sciences may require higher scores. For example, view the School of Nursing requirements (BSN Admissions Criteria.)

Minimum Required Score for Admission

Test Total Score
Internet-based TOEFL 79

An official report of TOEFL, IELTS, or MELAB scores must be sent to the Office of Admissions directly from the testing agency (from one set of exam results).

Freshman applicants may be exempt from the total score requirement if they have:

  • Scored 430 or greater on the SAT critical reading (verbal) section; or
  • Scored 18 or higher on the ACT exam on the English AND Reading sections.

Additionally, a student may be exempt from the writing subscore requirement if they have:

  • Score greater than 470 on the SAT writing; or
  • Scored greater than 20 on the ACT writing

Transfer applicants may be exempt from the total score requirement if they have:

  • Successfully completed 26 or more transferable semester credits at a two or four year post-secondary institution in the United States AND have completed the equivalent of the U of MN freshman English writing requirement with a grade of C or better;
  • Successfully completed 60 or more transferable semester credits at a two or four-year postsecondary institution in the United States.

How do I register for the TOEFL, IELTS, or MELAB?

Registration information is available at the websites listed below:

Inside the U.S. and Canada: 1-800-486-6335
Outside the U.S. and Canada: 1-609-771-7100
U of M test code: 6874.

Phone: 323-255-2771 (in the U.S.A.)


What if my English proficiency score does not meet the minimum requirement?

The University of Minnesota has an intensive English program for international students wishing to improve their English skills before applying for admission to the University. Students who take English as a second language courses at the University of Minnesota have access to the University's many resources and facilities. Classes are small, instructors are highly qualified, and students will receive advising and support services designed specifically for them. Find out more about the English as a Second Language program.

Email: esl@umn.edu
Phone: 612-624-1503

Minnesota English Language Program
University of Minnesota
College of Continuing Education
160 McNamara Alumni Center
200 Oak Street S.E.
Minneapolis, MN 55455

Conditional Admission For International Freshmen

What is Conditional Admission?

The University of Minnesota Twin Cities offers conditional admission to a limited number of academically qualified fall term freshman applicants who require additional English language instruction in order to be successful degree-seeking students at the University of Minnesota.

Freshman applicants whose English proficiency test scores do not meet the University's minimum requirements noted above are automatically considered for conditional admission to the University of Minnesota based on a review of their completed international application for admission.

Students accepted to this program complete one year of intensive English language study at the University’s Minnesota English Language Program. After one year, program participants who have demonstrated high enough English proficiency are admitted for the following fall semester as a degree-seeking student.

What English language score do I need to be considered for conditional admission?

Test Minimum Total Score for Conditional Admission
Internet-based TOEFL 53

These scores have been determined by experienced ESL instructors and researchers within the U of M's Minnesota English Language Program (MELP), and they reflect how much progress can be expected in one year of intensive English language study.

How do I apply for Conditional Admission?

  1. Application
    • Submit a complete application for undergraduate admission to the University of Minnesota Twin Cities (application, required materials and deadlines.) The Office of Admissions conducts an overall assessment of the application and determines whether an offer of conditional admission will be made to the applicant.
  2. Granting Conditional Admission
    • The offer of conditional admission is sent to the applicant. The admission notice instructs the applicant to apply to the Minnesota English Language Program (MELP) Intensive English Program.
  3. MELP Application
    • Student applies to the full-time intensive English program via a downloadable PDF application.
    • MELP issues the visa document for the student to study in the Intensive English Program.
  4. MELP Intensive Study
    • Student takes English classes and completes the End of Term Assessment (ETA) at the end of each term. MELP updates the Office of Admissions for each student at the end of each term on their progress.
    • Student will be recommended to begin their undergraduate degree program when the student reaches the minimum English proficiency level required by the program as measured by the Spring End of Term Assessment (550 ETA) and maintains good standing in the MELP program.
  5. Transitioning to a degree-seeking Undergraduate Program
    • Student submits transfer form to MELP and MELP transfers the student’s visa document to the University of Minnesota Twin Cities so that the student can begin a degree program
    • Student is sent a letter of admission to start the following fall term.

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