English proficiency information for international students

Am I an International Student?

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.

English Language Proficiency Requirements

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. The University of Minnesota accepts the results from the English language proficiency tests listed below. Registration information is available at each test's website.

All undergraduate programs at the University of Minnesota require a specific minimum score for admission. The Carlson School of Management and College of Design will not admit applicants who have not met both the Total Score and Writing Subscore requirements. Some undergraduate programs may admit students with lower scores.

Minimum Required Scores for Admission

Test Total Score Writing Subscore
TOEFL iBT (U of M test code: 6874) 79* 21
IELTS Academic 6.5 6.5
Pearson Test of Academic English (PTE Academic) 59 59
Cambridge Assessment English (CAE) C1 Advanced 180 180

*The University of Minnesota Twin Cities does not consider MyBest Scores: Sum of Highest Section Scores of the TOEFL iBT Score Report to meet the minimum total score requirement for admission. Freshman applicants should self-report their highest Total Score from the one test date as well as their highest Reading, Listening, Speaking and Writing subscores each from one test date. Transfer applicants should submit their official TOEFL iBT scores via ETS.

TOEFL MyBest Scores

Alternate Test Options due to COVID-19

The following English proficiency measures will be accepted for Spring 2021 and Fall 2021 application purposes during the COVID-19 pandemic. If you are admitted and confirm enrollment, prior to your first semester at the University of Minnesota, you may need to verify your English proficiency by testing on arrival to campus with the Minnesota English Language Program (MELP).

Note: The University of Minnesota Twin Cities does not accept Duolingo results.

Test Total Score Writing Subscore
TOEFL iBT Special Home Edition 79 21
TOEFL ITP Plus for China*
Subject to test on arrival
550 n/a
IELTS Indicator
Subject to test on arrival
6.5 6.5

* Freshman applicants who plan to submit their TOEFL ITP Plus for China results should self-report their scores via the Self-Reported Academic Record form or send their official TOEFL ITP Plus for China scores.

Other ways to meet English Proficiency requirements

Freshman

Freshman applicants who have exceeded the following minimum required scores on SAT or ACT may be exempted from the English proficiency test.

SAT Minimum Required Score
Evidence Based Reading & Writing 540
Writing & Language 28
ACT Minimum Required Score
Both English and Reading 21
Writing 8

Transfer Applicant

Transfer applicants may be exempt from the English proficiency test if they have successfully completed one of the following:

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

The English proficiency test exemption may be granted on a case-by-case basis upon successful completion of one full-year of transferable credits from a U.S. institution even if the applicant has not met the requirement stated above. Contact the Office of Admissions with questions.

Exemption by Country

Applicants from the following countries whose first language is English are exempt from the English language test requirement:

Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, Australia, Bahamas, Barbados, Bermuda, British Virgin Islands, Canada (except Quebec), Cayman Islands, Dominica, England, Federated States of Micronesia, Grenada, Guyana, Ireland, Jamaica, Monserrat, New Zealand, Northern Ireland, Palau, Scotland, Seychelles, Shetland Islands, St. Kitts-Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Trinidad and Tobago, Turks and Caicos Islands, Wales, U.S. Territories including American Samoa, Guam, Northern Mariana Islands, Virgin Islands.

Current Minnesota English Language Program (MELP) Student

Students who currently enroll in the Minnesota English Language Program (MELP) Intensive English Program (IEP) may use their grades, coursework and End of Term Assessment (ETA) scores or the Minnesota Battery (MNBat) in lieu of other English proficiency test results. This is for students who are applying for degree admission while enrolled in MELP. Students who leave the program and apply for admission for a later term will need to submit other evidence of English proficiency.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

International students enrolled in a U.S. (AP), British Pattern (A-level) or IB curriculum within or outside of the United States are not exempted from an English proficiency test unless they have met one of the English proficiency requirements mentioned above.

To determine if your classes will transfer to the University of Minnesota and if your class is the equivalent of the U of MN first year or freshman writing requirement, please visit transferology.com. Transferology is a transfer credit database that lists all transfer courses previously evaluated by the U of M Twin Cities.

You will need to create an account, and place the credits that you are inquiring about into the "Will My Courses Transfer" section. Once these courses are entered, click search for matches and find the University of Minnesota Twin cities. Select the percentage rate that is shown. Transferology now will bring up a list of what courses will transfer, and what they will transfer as. For the English proficiency requirement, you will check if the course is listed as a First Year Writing Course.

Note: Currently, the University of Minnesota Twin Cities does not provide international transfer credit evaluation through Transferology.

All undergraduate programs at the University of Minnesota require a specific minimum score for admission. The Carlson School of Management and College of Design will not admit applicants who have not met both the Total Score and Writing Subscore requirements.

Some undergraduate programs and colleges may admit students with lower scores. After they are admitted and confirm their enrollment, they can fulfill the University of Minnesota English proficiency requirements. We place an AZ hold on these student's University of Minnesota accounts. The AZ hold does not mean you have been offered Conditional Admission. Review "What is an AZ hold on my student account?" below.

Some freshman applicants whose English proficiency test scores do not meet the University's minimum requirements are automatically considered for Conditional Admission to the University of Minnesota based on a review of their completed application for admission. Review "What is Conditional Admission?" below.

The AZ hold is a reminder that degree-seeking undergraduate students who did not meet the University of Minnesota's English proficiency requirements at the time of admittance still need to fulfill the requirements. The AZ hold does not mean you have been offered Conditional Admission.

In order to have the AZ hold cleared, students can select one of the following options:

  • Take an English proficiency test and submit an official test score report. Both the Total Score and Writing Subscore must exceed the minimum required scores.
  • Upon arrival to campus, take an English proficiency test administered by the University's Minnesota English Language Program (MELP). Depending on your test results, you may be required to take one or two English language courses in your major area of study during your first year, in addition to academic courses. Contact MELP at esl@umn.edu for more information.
  • If you do not wish to take an English proficiency test, enroll in one or two English language courses during your first year, in addition to academic courses. At orientation, your academic advisor will assist you with selecting English language courses. You will receive University elective credit for your English language courses.
  • If you are a transfer student and have successfully completed the required number of transferable semester credits and the equivalent of the University of Minnesota first-year English writing course requirement at a U.S. institution, submit an updated official transcript to the Office of Admissions.

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. This program is intended for students whose English language proficiency test scores indicate they would benefit from an entire year of intensive English language instruction.

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

For more information, visit Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Conditional Admission.

NOTE: The University of Minnesota Twin Cities does not offer Conditional Admission for transfer applicants. Transfer applicants may apply for a later term after they have completed the English proficiency requirement.

Test Minimum Total Score for Conditional Admission
TOEFL iBT (U of M test code: 6874) 53
TOEFL iBT Special Home Edition 53
TOEFL ITP Plus for China 477
IELTS Academic 5.5
IELTS Indicator 5.5
PTE Academic 42
CAE C1 Advanced 160

These scores have been determined by experienced English Language 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.

To be considered for Conditional Admission, submit a complete application for freshman admission to the University of Minnesota Twin Cities by the application deadlines.

We offer Conditional Admission to a limited number of academically qualified freshman applicants who require additional English language instruction in order to be successful degree-seeking students at the University of Minnesota. Conditional admission is offered for fall semester only. This program is intended for students whose English language proficiency test scores indicate they would benefit from an entire year of intensive English language instruction.

For more information, visit Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Conditional Admission.

The University's Minnesota English Language Program (MELP) offers an Intensive English Language program for international students wishing to improve their English skills before applying for admission. Students who take English language courses at the MELP 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. More information on the MELP is available below.

Minnesota English Language Program (MELP)

University of Minnesota
College of Continuing & Professional Studies
20 Nicholson Hall
216 Pillsbury Drive SE
Minneapolis, MN 55455

Email: esl@umn.edu
Phone: 612-624-1503
Web: https://ccaps.umn.edu/minnesota-english-language-program

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