International Students masthead image with link to International Students home page

English proficiency requirement

Graduate students

Students applying to a graduate (master's level or higher) program at UW Tacoma must follow the UW Graduate School guidelines for English proficiency.

Undergraduate students

All international undergraduate applicants must complete the English proficiency requirement one quarter prior to their quarter of anticipated enrollment (E.g. if the applicant is applying for autumn quarter 2015, they must meet the English proficiency requirement by the end of spring quarter 2015). 

International undergraduate applicants to UW Tacoma can fulfill the English language proficiency requirement in one of four ways:

1. Submit official TOEFL or IELTS scores at or above the following minimum scores


Minimum score 

Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) (Internet-based)*


TOEFL (paper-based)


TOEFL (computer-based)


International English Language Testing System (IELTS - academic only)


The TOEFL institution code for University of Washington Tacoma is 9965. (Note: Graduate students should send TOEFL results to code 4854).

2. Submit official SAT or ACT scores at or above the following minimum scores


Minimum score 

SAT: Critical Reading (SAT CR) or Writing (SAT W)


ACT: Combined English/Writing (ACT E/W) score


3. Transfer students can fulfill the English proficiency requirement based on classes if all of the following apply:

  • Enter as a transfer student at UW Tacoma with at least 30 transferable college-level credits from another U.S. higher education institution; AND
  • Earn a 2.75 or higher overall grade point average in transfer coursework (GPA); AND
  • Complete two transferable English composition classes with a GPA of 3.0 or higher in each class.


4. Successfully complete the UW Intensive English Program

  • Achieve a minimum grade of 3.0 for each upper division academic preparation course; AND
  • Obtain a recommendation from the Senior Director of the UW International  and English Language Programs.


Students may also be considered to have met the English language proficiency requirement in cases where they have studied for at least two years in an accredited high school, community college or four-year university where the official language of instruction is English. Students must have achieved a minimum overall GPA of 2.75 and a minimum GPA of 3.0 in two English courses (ESL courses do not count towards this requirement). Applicants are required to submit official documentation from their school verifying that the language of instruction is English if the school is located outside of the U.S., Great Britain, Australia, New Zealand or the English-speaking provinces of Canada.

The university reserves the right to request TOEFL or IELTS scores in cases where the admissions office determines that more information regarding an applicant's English language proficiency is needed.

Milgard School of Business applicants:

Undergraduate transfer applicants to the Milgard School of Business are required to submit at least one test score to apply to the business major:

  • Writing Skills Assessment (WSA) test – can take on any UW campus
  • TOEFL (minimum 83 ibT, 558 paper-based, 220 computer-based)
  • IELTS (minimum 6.5 overall)

The TOEFL or IELTS test results can be submitted to the Office of Admission with the general application, and the Milgard School will be able to review the results when they consider an application to the major.