English Proficiency Policy For International Applicants
International graduate student applicants must submit a TOEFL or IELTS score when applying. Exemptions are:
- English is the official language of the applicant’s country
- the student attended a US university for four semesters
- other cases that warrant exemption determined by the admitting department.
Graduate Studies at SLU recommends a minimum paper-based TOEFL (PBT) score of 550, an 80 on the computer-based TOEFL (iBT), a 6.5 on the IELTS, and a 4+ on SLU’s own SLUWE (Saint Louis University Writing Evaluation). The latter test is administered by ESL once the international student has arrived on campus. Individual graduate programs may decide to set higher or lower minimums based on the level of English proficiency needed for their respective course of studies.
This policy emphasizes that the scores listed above indicate a level of English that does not necessarily guarantee that the international student will have a command of spoken and written English, an ability to read the language and to take notes in it such that s/he will be on equal terms with native speakers of English. It is thus very important that the international student follow the recommendations by ESL for improving her/his English based on the TOEFL/IELTS test score, the SLUWE score and the English proficiency needed by the particular graduate program. It is the student’s responsibility to do so. It is in the departments’ best interest to accept ESL’s recommendations and from their end to impress the importance of the recommendations on the international student. These recommendations may range from exemption from any ESL courses, to concurrent enrollment in ESL and the graduate program, or full-time enrollment in ESL with no registration in graduate-level work until the desired level of English has been achieved.
Read more about electronically submitting your test scores and other TOEFL/IELTS topics from our Frequently Asked Questions section regarding International applicants.