English Language Tests

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. Please 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 spoken in one's 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 master's 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 the native language is not English, but the applicant earned (or will have earned before enrollment) a bachelor's degree or a Ph.D. in its entirety in the United States, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, or Anglophone Canada.

Receiving a 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 an applicant 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 TOEFL Paper-delivered Test.

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.

The ETS institution code for Princeton University is 2672. Department codes are not used at Princeton; if required to select a code, choose one closest to desired field. Allow several weeks for test scores to reach us. Graduate Admission will update the submitted application checklist with the test date when the scores are received.

An application maybe considered incomplete without these scores.

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

TOEFL scores expire after two years from the original test date and will not be available from ETS. Please contact ETS if there are questions about the validity of the TOEFL scores. If ETS is able to send valid scores, we will accept them. We do not accept expired, copies, or self-reported test scores.

If the name entered on the test report is different than the name on the application, the test scores will not match. If the applicant only has one name, please enter it in both the first and last name fields. For example, an applicant cannot enter a period for a name. If there is a name discrepancy, please email gsadmit@princeton.edu.

IELTS

IELTS is administered jointly by the British Council, IDP Education Australia, and the Univeristy of Cambridge ESOL Examinations (Cambridge ESOL). The Graduate School accepts the IELTS Academic test and has not set a recommended minimum score for the 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.

Princeton receives IELTS scores electronically and no institution code is required. Allow several weeks for test scores to reach us. Graduate Admission will update the submitted application checklist with the test date when the scores are received.

IELTS scores expire after two years after the original test date. For questions about the validity of the IELTS scores, please contact the administrator.

If the name entered on the test report is different than the name on the application, the test scores will not match. If the applicant only has one name, please enter it in both the first and last name fields. For example, an applicant cannot enter a period for a name. If there is a name discrepancy, please email gsadmit@princeton.edu.

For more information about English language proficiency tests, please visit our Frequently Asked Questions.