English Language Tests

Overview

Graduate students must demonstrate a level of oral proficiency in the English language sufficient to participate successfully in all the various activities that comprise a graduate education, including classwork, research, research presentations, group meetings, project teamwork, and the teaching of undergraduates. You can view our English Language Proficiency policy for more information.

The two internationally recognized tests of English language proficiency which we accept are Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or the International English Language Testing System (IELTS).

The following applicants MUST submit valid TOEFL or IELTS scores:

  • Applicants whose native language is not English. Native language is defined as the language you grew up speaking in your family, community, and nation.
  • Applicants whose native language is not English and who have earned an undergraduate degree from a college/university in a country where the native language is not English.
  • Applicants whose native language is not English and who have earned a graduate degree in the United States, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, or Anglophone Canada.
  • Applicants whose native language is not English but transferred to a college/university in the United States, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, or Anglophone Canada.

The ONLY exemption for this requirement is if your native language is not English, but you earned your bachelor's degree in its entirety in the United States, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, or Anglophone Canada.

Receiving your bachelor's degree in a country that lists English as an official language such as India, Pakistan, the Philippines, Hong Kong, Nigeria, or Singapore does not exempt you from the English language proficiency requirement.

TOEFL

Educational Testing Service administers the internet-based TOEFL. The Graduate School prefers scores from the iBT TOEFL. Due to the nature of the graduate admission process, the Graduate School has not set a recommended minimum score for the iBT TOEFL. Applicants who take the test in a country which does not offer the iBT TOEFL should take the PBT TOEFL.

Admitted students who score below a 28 on the speaking subsection of the TOEFL iBT will be required to take an English placement test at Princeton.  Students who do not pass the test will be required to enroll in English Language Program classes.

TOEFL scores expire after two years from your original test date and will not be available from ETS. All scores MUST be valid through December 31. We do not accept expired or self-reported test scores nor do we accept copies of test reports.

When registering for the test, you must request that your scores be sent to Princeton University, institution code 2672. Department codes are not used at Princeton, if you are required to select a code choose one closest to your interest. Allow several weeks for test scores to reach us. Graduate Admission will update your submitted application checklist when the scores are received even if they are received after the department deadline. To ensure your scores arrive in time for the review process applicants should take the TOEFL by the following dates:

  • Paper based test (PBT) taken by October 31
  • Internet based test (iBT) taken by December 1

An application is considered incomplete without these scores.

For more information contact Educational Testing Service at 609-771-7100 or 877-863-3456 or on the web.

IELTS

IELTS is a testing arm of Cambridge University, United Kingdom ESOL examinations and the British Council. Students who wish to demonstrate English proficiency through the IELTS test should visit their website, for information about the administration of this test and how to have test results reported to Princeton in a timely fashion. Normally test results are mailed out within two weeks from the date of the test by IELTS administration and should be sent to:

Princeton University
Graduate Admission
ATTN: IELTS Test Results
One Clio Hall
Princeton, NJ 08544

IELTS scores expire after two years from your original test date. All scores MUST be valid through December 31. We do not accept expired or self-reported test scores nor do we accept copies of test reports.

Students must sign up to take the Academic Test version of IELTS. Admitted students who score below an 8.0 on the speaking subsection of the IELTS will be required to take an English placement test at Princeton.  Students who do not pass the test will be required to enroll in English Language Program classes.