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English Proficiency for International Undergraduate Admission, Policy on


To provide English language proficiency guidelines for undergraduate admission to the University of Kansas.

Applies to: 

International undergraduates for whom English is not their primary language at the University of Kansas.

Policy Statement: 

Every international undergraduate applicant (with some exceptions, see below) whose native language is not English will be required to submit an official examination score report providing evidence of his/her level of English proficiency, such as the TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) or IELTS (International English Language Testing System), as a part of the admissions application.

Official scores must be less than two years old and submitted directly from the testing agency to the University of Kansas. Students who are unable to present official scores may submit unofficial scores to be verified by IRUA or AEC staff. If the student is unable to take one of the accepted English tests and also does not meet one of the exception options, they may apply directly to the Applied English Center (AEC) as a non-degree seeking student. A current list of accepted English tests is available on the IRUA website.

Admission without Meeting Minimum Waiver Requirements:

There is no minimum English proficiency test score for undergraduate admission to KU. Upon arrival, all international students admitted to KU who have not submitted adequate evidence of English proficiency or met requirements for one of the policy exceptions, must report to the AEC for an evaluation of their English proficiency.

Proficiency Required for Academic Enrollment:

At the time of admission, students who submit the following test scores will be waived from all on-campus proficiency testing and will be immediately eligible to enroll in full-time academic coursework. (See the IRUA website for scores on other tests that will also be accepted as evidence of adequate English proficiency.)


Students who fall into one of the following exception categories are not required to submit English proficiency scores or take the AEC English placement test: 

  • TOEFL iBT (internet-based test): 79 or higher overall score with no subscore below 18
  • TOEFL (paper-based test): 550 or higher overall score with no subscore below 52
  • International English Language Testing System (IELTS), academic format: 6.5 or higher overall score with no subscore below 6.0.
    • 4 years of college preparatory English and high school graduation with a 2.5 GPA in one of the following places:
      • United States of America
      • The United Kingdom
      • Ireland
      • Australia
      • New Zealand
      • An English-speaking province of Canada
      • An English-speaking Caribbean country
      • Any US-accredited school located abroad
  • Transfer student who
    • Earned a B or better grade in English Composition 1 and 2 AND
      • Earned 24 or more credit-bearing hours toward a degree at an accredited US institution OR
      • Earned 24 credits within one of the countries listed above O
      • Earned an associate’s degree from a US-accredited post-secondary college with a 2.5 GPA

Students who did not submit either adequate test scores or transcripts showing sufficient coursework in English at the time of application may submit these items until the first day of International Student Orientation at the beginning of the semester to which they have been admitted.

All other students will register for the AEC English placement test. If English proficiency is satisfactory as demonstrated on the AEC placement test, a student will be permitted to enroll in university courses full-time. If English proficiency is not satisfactory as demonstrated on the AEC placement test, students will be required to enroll in AEC courses or a combination of AEC courses and university courses.

All admitted students will receive a personalized statement notifying them if they have met the minimum requirements for full-time academic coursework or, if an official test score was submitted, providing AEC estimates as to the amount of ESL coursework that may still be needed to meet the English proficiency requirement for enrollment in full-time academic coursework.

In exceptional cases, alternative documentation of English proficiency may also be considered for undergraduate admission. The Director of International Admissions may petition the Associate Vice Provost for International Affairs to consider alternative documentation of English proficiency. In consultation with the Director of the Applied English Center, the Associate Vice Provost will determine whether the alternative documentation demonstrates English proficiency at the level expected for regular admission for undergraduate studies at KU. Specific English proficiency requirements for direct admission to the professional schools or specific academic programs are excluded from this exceptions process.

Exclusions or Special Circumstances: 

Applicants in these categories, who otherwise meet requirements for regular undergraduate admission, may be admitted with an exemption from the requirement to submit an official test score with their application:

  • Sponsored international undergraduate applicants.
  • Native speakers of English.
  • Participants in official KU reciprocal exchange programs and students currently enrolled in the KU Applied English Center.
  • Other requests for exemption from the requirement to submit an official test score will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

International Programs

Approved by: 
Associate Vice Provost for International Programs
Approved on: 
Thursday, June 29, 2017
Effective on: 
Thursday, June 29, 2017
Review Cycle: 
Biennial (Every Two Years)

This policy will allow the University to identify and notify students who are proficient in English at the time of admission and better inform international applicants as to additional English language study that may be required before commencing academic coursework. This policy does not change the level of English proficiency required for admission.

English proficiency; proficiency waiver; international admission; TOEFL; international undergraduate, IELTS, Test of English as a Foreign Language, admission, International English Language Testing System, Applied English Center, AEC, international programs
Change History: 

11/14/2018: Updated policy.
06/29/2017: Updated waiver process language, clarified score requirements, and expanded language on allowable tests of proficiency for admission.
01/27/2015: Policy formatting cleanup (e.g., bolding, spacing).
05/12/2014: Updated Contact, minor technical/formatting edits.
11/12/2009: Approved by Faculty Senate.

Academic Categories: 
Admission to KU

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