English Requirements

English Proficiency

If your first language is not English, or if you did not receive your bachelor’s degree in an Anglophone country, you must certify proficiency in English when you apply to UCLA. This applies to U.S. citizens and Permanent Residents as well as international applicants. If you are admitted, you may also be required to confirm your proficiency upon arrival.

Submit your scores from the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) Academic as part of your application. TOEFL iBT Home Edition, IELTS Online, and IELTS Indicator test scores can count towards meeting current UCLA English language requirements. The TOEFL is administered by the Educational Testing Service (ETS). IELTS Academic is administered by local IELTS test centers throughout the world. Consult IELTS for the test center nearest your home or university.

Please note that TOEFL and IELTS scores are considered valid for only two years. The scores must be valid at the time you submit your application. If you took the examination multiple times, only the most recent score is considered.

Your test results can help you determine whether you are prepared to undertake graduate study conducted in English before making extensive plans for graduate study in the U.S.

Special note: If you studied at a satellite campus located in a country where English is not the primary spoken language of daily life, be sure to submit recent TOEFL or IELTS  Academic scores.  Citizenship, U.S. residence and/or work experience are not substitutes for meeting the requirement.

Meeting UCLA’s English Language Requirement

Do you hold a bachelor’s or higher degree from an accredited university located in the United States or in another country in which English is both the primary spoken language of daily life (e.g., Australia, Barbados, Canada, Ireland, Jamaica, New Zealand, United Kingdom) and the medium of instruction?

– OR –

Have you completed at least two years of full-time study at such institutions?

If you meet either of these criteria, you are exempted from both the TOEFL/IELTS requirement and the English as a Second Language Placement Examination (ESLPE).  Please be sure to include such information and transcripts in your application.

In certain rare circumstances, an official transcript and diploma from the high school you attended in an Anglophone country may be used to fulfill the requirement.

Minimum IELTS & TOEFL Scores

UCLA does not currently accept MyBest TOEFL scores.

Your IELTS Academic overall band score should be at least 7.0.  7.0 is the minimum required.

Your TOEFL score on the paper and pencil test must be at least 560 or at least 87 on the internet-based test. These scores represent the minimum required for applicants to graduate programs at UCLA. Some of our majors may require higher scores as noted in Departmental Information.

For the internet-based TOEFL (TOEFL iBT), the following are the expected scores for each section:

  • Writing:  25
  • Speaking:  24
  • Reading:  21
  • Listening:  17

Please note that these expected section scores help you judge your English language ability in different areas.

Your application is not complete without the test scores.

TOEFL scores should be sent to your major department. Be sure to list the TOEFL institution code for UCLA 4837.

Ask IELTS to send your scores to your major department and the Division of Graduate Education.

ESLPE for Admitted Applicants

If you are an admitted applicant who has not met UCLA’s English language requirement for waiving the English Requirements for this examination, you must, upon arrival at UCLA, take the UCLA English as a Second Language Placement Examination (ESLPE).  The ESLPE is an English diagnostic test.  Depending on your results on the ESLPE, you may be required to complete English as a Second Language courses beginning in your first term at UCLA. If English courses are required, you should enroll in them right away, and you should also anticipate spending a longer period of time at the University.

Admission is canceled for those who do not pass the ESLPE.

If you achieved a score of 100 or higher on the TOEFL iBT, or 7.5 or higher on the IELTS, the ESLPE requirement is waived!

If you scored below 100 on the TOEFL iBT, or below 7.5 on the IELTS, you must sit for the ESLPE upon arrival at UCLA and immediately enroll in any assigned English as a Second Language courses.

Test of Oral Proficiency (TOP)

Eligibility for teaching assistantships at UCLA, for admitted applicants whose first language is not English, depends upon passing, upon arrival at UCLA, the Test of Oral Proficiency (TOP). TOP is UCLA’s own examination designed specifically for screening the spoken English skills of international students before their appointment as teaching assistants.

A clear pass of 7.1 or higher is needed on the TOP.

A provisional pass of 6.4 to 7 permits those who are concurrently enrolled in English as a Second Language 38A, 38B, and 38C, or 39A, 39B, and 39C to accept a teaching assistantship; eligibility for further teaching assistantships is contingent upon passing the course.

Consult with your major department to determine if a higher score is required.