Graduate Division

English Proficiency

English Language Proficiency Requirements for International Student Admission

Applicants whose primary language is not English are required to demonstrate proficiency in English for admission consideration. A student may receive a waiver for admissions purposes only, to the requirement for the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) Internet-based Test (iBT) or a paper-based test (PBT) or International English Language Testing System (IELTS) if they completed all the requirements for their high school diploma, bachelor’s degree, or an advanced degree in a country where the primary and/or dominant language is English and English was the language of instruction of the school where the requirements were completed. The list of countries where English is considered the primary or dominant language, as approved by the UC Irvine Graduate Council, is below:

IMPORTANT NOTE: The TOEFL iBT or IELTS requirement may be waived for admissions purposes only. If a student will be supported as a Teaching Assistant (TA) by their program, the English language requirement is NOT waived under any circumstances. Therefore, many programs require international students to demonstrate English language proficiency at the time they apply to the program. Please refer to the website of the program(s) to which you intend to apply for individual requirements.

Table 1:  Countries* Having English as the PRIMARY Language



Antigua and Barbuda

Isle of Man






New Zealand (see also Table 2)


Northern Ireland


St. Kitts and Nevis


Scotland (see also Table 2)

Canada - Except for Quebec

St. Vincent and the Grenadines


Trinidad and Tobago


United States


Wales (see also Table 2)


Virgin Islands

Table 2: Countries* Having English as the DOMINANT Language

Canada - Except for Quebec

New Zealand (see also Table 1)

Channel Islands

St. Lucia

Eire/Republic of Ireland

Scotland (see also Table 1)


South Africa


Wales (see also Table 1)

* Includes varying political entities

  • The TOEFL iBT or IELTS requirement may be waived for admissions purposes only. This is not related in any way to the oral English Language proficiency requirements for students to be appointed as TAs. Departments that wish to appoint international students or permanent residents as TAs should communicate the appropriate oral English language proficiency test requirements to their applicants/students.
  • This revision pertains to the minimum UCI campus admission policy for English language proficiency. Individual departments may have stricter requirements than the minimum campus standard.
  • US citizens are not required to take the TOEFL exam.



The TOEFL is administered by the Educational Testing Service (ETS).

  • Please select institution code 4859 to have your official score sent to UCI.
  • Test results that are two years old or older are not acceptable.
  • Results of institutional (non-ETS) administrations of the TOEFL are not acceptable.

TOEFL Score Requirements for Admission Consideration:

  • On the TOEFL iBT minimum score of 80


As an alternative to the TOEFL, you may submit scores from the Academic Modules of the International English Language Testing System (IELTS). UC Irvine, Graduate Division only accepts scores submitted electronically by the IELTS test center. No paper Test Report Forms will be accepted. An institutional code is NOT required. Please contact the test center directly where you took the IELTS test and request that your test scores be sent electronically using the IELTS system. All IELTS test centers worldwide are able to send scores electronically to our institution.

IELTS Score Requirements for Admission Consideration:

  • An overall minimum score of 7 for admission, with a score of no less than 6 on any individual module.
  • Applicants who qualify for admission by the above criteria, and also achieve a score of 8 or higher on the Speaking module may be eligible to serve as a Teaching Assistant.