RUL 02.15.02 – English Proficiency Requirements for International Applicants

Authority: Dean of the Graduate School

History: First Issued: June 1, 2002. Last Revised: November 29, 2011.

Additional References: 
Graduate Administrative Handbook 2.3
Countries Exempt from TOEFL

Contact Info: Dean of the Graduate School (919-515-7956)


1.  In order to be eligible for admission to the Graduate School, all non-US citizen applicants (i.e., non-resident aliens and permanent residents) must demonstrate proficiency in English at a level necessary to be successful in a graduate program at NC State.  This requirement can be met for most applicants in one of the following ways; however, some programs may require additional evidence of English proficiency:

1.1  Provide Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) with a total score of at least 80 on the Internet-based Test (iBT).  Minimum test scores for each section:

listening (15 points)

reading (20 points)

writing (20 points)

speaking (20/23/26 points):

. 20 points – for admission to the Graduate School

. 23 points – for TA appointment where TA has direct verbal interactions with students

. 26 points – for TA appointment where the TA presents lectures in the class or laboratory.

The maximum total score for the iBT is 120 with each section worth 30 points.

1.2  Beginning with applications for the Spring 2009 semester, provide International English Language Testing System (IELTS) scores with an overall band score of at least 6.5.  Minimum test scores for each section are:

Listing (6.5)

Reading (6.5)

Writing (6.5)

Speaking (6.5 for admission to the Graduate School; 7.0 for TA appointment)

1.3  Be a citizen of a country where English is an official language and the language of instruction in higher education, or

1.4  Have successfully completed at least one year of full-time study in a degree program at a four-year U.S. college or university.

1.5  TOEFL or IELTS test date must be no older than two years (24 months) prior to the beginning of the requested entry term.