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UCLA Graduate Division

English Requirements

English Proficiency

Any applicant whose first language is not English must certify proficiency in English when applying to UCLA, and, if admitted, upon arrival.

Such applicants must submit scores received on the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) as part of their application. The TOEFL is administered by the Educational Testing Service (ETS). IELTS is administered by local IELTS test centers throughout the world. Applicants should consult IELTS for the nearest test center.

The results of these tests help applicants determine whether they are prepared to undertake graduate study conducted in English before making extensive plans for graduate study in the U.S.

Applicants who hold a bachelor’s or higher degree from a 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 who have completed at least two years of full-time study at such an institution, 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 in your application.


Minimum IELTS & TOEFL Scores

An IELTS overall band score of at least 7.0 is the minimum required.

A TOEFL score of at least 560 on the paper and pencil test or at least 87 on the internet-based test is the minimum required for applicants to graduate programs at UCLA; some majors may require higher scores as noted in Departmental Information.

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

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

Please note that these minimum section scores are guidelines to help judge English language ability in different areas.

Applications are 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.

IELTS scores should be sent to your major department and the Graduate Division.

Please note that scores are considered valid for only two years, and that if several scores are submitted, only the most recent is considered.


ESLPE for Admitted Applicants

Admitted applicants who have not met UCLA's English language requirement must, upon arrival at UCLA, take the UCLA English as a Second Language Placement Examination (ESLPE), an English diagnostic test, before being permitted to register. Depending on the results of 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 anticipate spending a longer period of time at the University.

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

Please note that you must sit for the ESLPE regardless of your score obtained on the TOEFL, IELTS or any other English proficiency test.


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.


Intensive English Program

An intensive English program is offered through the UCLA Extension division. Information and applications are available at American Language Center.